Social Media Blog: Social Networking Finesse

Social medial marketing today represents the biggest opportunity for businesses seeking to connect with customers and prospects online. Social networks are where businesses will find people who are networking and socializing and researching; almost laying around in anticipation of buying something.

Social networks are where people are influenced by what others say more than by marketing messages and television commercials geared to attract a buyer. However, despite being easy, free and so effective, social media marketing requires expertise and a certain level of skill. You can’t just begin Tweeting self-promotional stuff and hope to make a sale.

Tips for Successful Social Networking

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you begin networking on the various social networks.

a) Monitor Your Mentions

You need to monitor your company’s name and note how it appears in the search results and google alerts. Keep an eye on conversations about you and your company. Pay special attention to find any negative comments or not-so-flattering discussions happening online about you, your company, its products and services.

b) Be Engaged in Conversations

One you get online, you must engage with others. Asking questions, answering other people’s questions, commenting on someone’s blog, retweeting information, etc. are some of the ways you’ll have to “engage” with others. If someone posts a comment on your FB status, you have to respond back to that. If someone asks you something on Twitter, you’ll have to respond back to them.

c) Assume Selfless Objectivity

Social media marketing is not just about you bragging about your company, promoting your goods and services, narrating your uniqueness and what makes you the best etc. By the 2nd week, people will begin avoiding you. To get the most from your social media marketing activity is to assume a selfless objectivity where you mention yourself and your company intermittently. Focus on sharing information, content, and participating in discussions while showcasing what you do. Try to connect and engage and be authentic.

Social media marketing isn’t much unlike face to face networking. The same rules apply. You have to connect, engage, ask questions, provide information, and build relationships. You wouldn't ask someone to buy something from you the first time you met them in person, would you??

Social Media Blog: Microsoft Windows Loved By Hackers!

Here's another reason I think I need to go over to the dark side and get a MAC.
 
A news article published today showed that 99 percent of all malicious software is targeted towards companies using Microsoft Windows.

Now Microsoft Windows is one of the most popular operating system being used throughout the world and so it may make sense as to why it is also loved by hackers. But could it also be that hackers find it easy to penetrate Microsoft Windows than they can a MAC?
 
Last year a German anti-virus software company documented over 1.5 million new malware.

Ok, enough said. I think I'm going to go research some MAC's right now!

Social Media Blog: If Buzz not a Facebook or Twitter Rival, then what is it for?

Since Google Buzz's launch a few days ago, most people opined that Google's newest plan to engage in the social networking arena was to give Facebook and Twitter a run for their money. But Google VP of product management, Bradley Horowitz, assured critics & others that that was not their plan. Hmmmm…..

He said that Google's Buzz is focusing on creating "conversation" which is missing in most other social networks.

Double hmmm!
 
Horowitz emphasized that for Google's  Buzz conversation and engagement was the focus and it wasn't just about checking or updating status like people do on Facebook or Twitter. Google also plans to create services around that engagement and interaction.
 
OKAY! So the Buzz is different according to Google. But I just don't see the difference yet; at least not from the standpoint of engagement. I engage with people on Twitter. I do a lot more engagement with people on Facebook than I do on Twitter. I've checked out Google's Buzz and I see the same kind of opportunity to engage. Except now I can stay on the Buzz and also email people.

Anyone want to enlighten me as to what I'm missing that's so special about the Buzz that it fills a "market need"?

Social Media Blog: So Facebook was a bit unaccessible, so what?

So Facebook was a bit unaccessible yesterday. I read people complaining on Twitter and other sites about how frustrated they were that Facebook wasn't loading or had a lot of errors.

Hello!!! People! What's wrong with this picture?

Social networks are there to help us have fun and connect and interact so that we have fun in our lives. But our life should not become so dependent on social networks that their unavailability makes us frustrated and angry. I personally find it quite funny that people were complaining about their time being wasted because they couldn't get on Facebook and someone actually threatened to cancel their account if Facebook didn't get their act together.

If Facebook's down, pick up the phone and call your friends and family. spend some time with a family member. Aren't we missing the point here if our life is going to get stressed out over online networking?

Social Media Blog: Pleaserobme.com Raises Cyber Criminal Activity Awareness

Pleaserobme.com is a social media website "listing all those empty homes out there". The website aggregates all Twitter tweets which have location based information or information telling others that the user is not home. The website explains its purpose with this little explanation in their "Why" section:

"The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you're definitely not… home. So here we are; on one end we're leaving lights on when we're going on a holiday, and on the other we're telling everybody on the internet we're not home."
 
Here are some recent feeds from the site; although I've protected them by leaving out the tweeter's information:

  • @xxx I'm at http://4sq.com/9i…..

You get the point. Pleaserobme.com's goal is to raise awareness about this growing concern about online privacy and cyber criminal activity. They do it in an interesting way; if I were them, I'd do it just a little bit differently. Calling it "opportunities" just makes me feel creepy even though their intent is to raise awareness and help people be safe.
 
Are we all saying "Please Rob Me" when we are posting real-time status updates to share where we are, where we plan to go on vacation, who's home and who's not? I did that once too. I posted details about where the family was going on vacation including dates and location pictures of the most beautiful condominium I found on the ocean. Talk about stupidity!!!
 
I'm a reformed social networker. I am a lot more careful about personal information sharing than I was even 10 months ago.
 
Be safe everyone, think before you post your status and details about your life online.

 

Social Media Blog: Extensive Corporate Cyber Attacks Discovered

NetWitness, a Northern Virginia security firm found that between 2008 to January 2010, over 75,000 computers in 2,500 or so firms across the US and the world were attacked by cyber criminals. NetWitness states that these attacks targeted corporate data, credit card information, and other sensitive information at SlimLife hcg drops providers including the health and technology companies in 196 countries including the US, Mexico, and the Middle East.

A NetWitness engineer discovered the intrusion last month and learned that the hackers lured employees to download infected emails or software which when downloaded allowed the hackers to take over the computers, scrape the passwords, and use that data to login other systems.

What this report highlights is the need for more robust security software for companies and individuals. The hackers are getting more and more sophisticated and its time for all of us to really get focused on online security.

Social Media Blog: What’s a #spon on Twitter?

Have you noticed the #spon hashtag on Twitter? Has it confused you? The first time I saw it, I did a double take but as soon as I read the ad I was able to deduce that it was an ad and that the twitter user was doing his part in disclosing to the general public that it was an ad.

So what's a #spon hastag again? It's a tweet which is or has an advertisement.

This new hashtag was in response to nwe guidelines released by WOMMA, the word of Mouth  Marketing Associaton in response to the Federal Trade Commission's call for bloggers to be more explicit in disclosing their endorsement of a product in exchange for compensation.

I searched on ""#spon" and found a lot of tweets now contain this new hashtag which goes to prove that new taxonomies and trends are easily adopted on social networks; well, especially on Twitter.

Social Media Blog: Have you checked your Facebook privacy settings recently?

Is your birth date on your Facebook or another social network profile? How about your school or hometown information? And are you one of those individuals who also uses private/personal information as an answer to security questions for online banking and online accounts? Are you getting where I'm going with this?
 
Cyber criminals can harvest all this information from your profiles if you are not hiding these private details from strangers. Also note that you face risk even if you are sharing this information only with friend if the friend's account gets compromised.

So how can you protect yourself?
 
Check your privacy settings. Determine who is allowed to view what information. Hide details from everyone who doesn't need to know personalized information. Be careful about adding people whom you don't know as friends. Think before you share any private information online including vacation plans, dinner out plans, and anything that compromise your security.

When was the last time you checked your Facebook privacy settings? I checked mine settings again today. Make this a recurring task on your calendar to make sure that any new additions to your friends or followers are thoroughly checked and your information remains as private as possible.

Identity threat is real. Cyber criminals are combing online websites to find their next victim. Don't become one.

Social Media Blog: Facebook the New Search Engine

If you have a Facebook account, you know how fun it is to get connected to friends and family, how easy it is to share information and photos, and essentially stay connected to others, right?

Well, all this "sharing" is making Facebook a huge traffic source for information. Compete Inc, which is a web measurement firm reports that Facebook has bypassed Google to become the top source for traffic. I don't know about Facebook bypassing Google but it certainly appears to be a site from which I personally click on a lot of links to go find information. When a friend posts something on Facebook that is interesting, and it contains a link, how often do you click on that link? I know that I do and I also share it with my friends when it is especially interesting.

So is Facebook now the new "search engine"? Well if others do what I do and if people are indeed going from Facebook to other sites, the I can see how Facebook can become the new version of an informational search engine. So instead of just being a portal to connect friends and businesses, Facebook is perhaps a great information source too.

On a closing note, did you know that recently Facebook reported that it has 400 million active members!  If you are a business NOT yet on Facebook, can you calculate the lost opportunity cost?
 

Social Media Blog: Measuring Social Media Marketing with Clicks, Followers, Traffic, OR…..?????

Talk to a business owner about online marketing and immediately the questions come in the form of:

"How will I know it works?"

"How many fans and followers will I have on Facebook and Twitter?"

"Will you promise traffic?"

"What is my ROI on this?"

"It all appears too fuzzy"
 
Hmmm! That's what I say, hmmmm!

Ok so measurement is important. I mean it makes sense to count followers and to count fans and to diligently review traffic reports if only to justify that the money being spent is showing results. I'm all for results.

But really is the end-game all about "counting" fans and followers?
 
What does matter then?

I say quality balanced with quantity counts. Quality of content!

Engage with people. Participate in what they are interested in. Publish interesting content in the form of comments that actually make sense. Ask questions. Ask for feedback. Also recommend others to your followers. And follow people back.  So I say, measure traffic, measure followers, measure fans on Facebook but at the end of the day look at how you are influencing rather than just "being there".

Quantity is important but quality is more important.