Peripheral Visions

a blog from SuppliesGuys™ -- Good Guys. Great Buys.

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Holding a Twitter Contest for Your Small Business

There are countless numbers of companies that have held giveaways and contests through Twitter. From small businesses tolarge corporations, the ease of the Twitter medium has presented a quick and easy opportunity for contests. Giveaways through Twitter are effective because there’s typically no landing page where the user has to enter their information, with the fear of being stalked and spammed thereafter.

Another reason Twitter contests are beneficial, especially to small businesses, is because there are plenty of ways to go about the contest, depending on your wants and needs. For example, if your goal is to reach X amount of followers by the end of the month, creating buzz around this encourages users to follow you, as long as there’s potentially something for them to get out of it. Domino’s executed this method last year when they offered a chance to win a $100 gift card for those that helped them reach followers by noon on a Friday.

If you aren’t in the market for gaining hundreds of followers, using hashtags are a good way to generate buzz around your business. Hashtags also leave room for creativity, as you can use them in a contest however you please. For example, you can request that entries tweet a specific message containing a hashtag, such as “I love the Supplies Guys! They are the best guys in town #suppliesguys.”

Or, you can ask that tweeters use the hashtag in any way they choose, as long as they use it. Moonfruit, a website development company, used this method in which they gave away a Macbook Pro every day for 7 days. While they did give a pre- tweet to be sent out, they also offered the option of using the #moonfruit hashtag in creative, original tweets. At the end of each day, they selected someone at random that had used the hashtag #moonfruit.

What are some contests you’ve seen on Twitter? Which method would you choose when holding a contest on Twitter?

Categories: Business Tips

B2B Social Media Marketing – Facebook for Business Part 1

Did you know that the  average Facebook user spends six hours and nine minutes (according to a November 2009 NielsenWire report) every month on the social networking giant? That is triple what the average internet user spends on Google (two hours and thirty four minutes)! So if you are using Google AdWords to reach your market, shouldn’t you be utilizing B2B social media marketing platforms such as Facebook for your business?

The Supplies Guys and Peripheral Visions is here to get your Facebook Page started by showing you how to maximize your time. eMarketer recently surveyed 643 marketers who used Facebook in their B2B social media strategy. The top five most effective tactics used were; Create a survey of fans, Friending recent customers, profiling customers, creating a Facebook application, drive inbound traffic to corporate material and finally buying targeted Facebook CPC ads.

We are going to review for you these B2B social media tactics and several others so that you’ll have solid ideas to how you power your own B2B web marketing objectives.  Our first of three posts in this B2B social media series, the one you are currently skimming, will cover ways to find customers and how your Facebook Page can be used to profile your customers. We’ll also go over  some basic Facebook Page optimization you can do and provide examples of best practices.

Facebook for Business - B2B social media marketing

Customer Friending

Your B2B social media journey starts when you setup your Facebook Page, populating it with your company information, choosing your publishing and privacy settings and perhaps even uploading a few videos or photo albums. We won’t go into detail about how to set-up your Facebook Page as there are plenty of blog posts out there for this – simply run a search for “Facebook Page Best Practices.” You need to get eyeballs on your Facebook Page, and the more the merrier. Our first suggestion is to let your visitors know that they can and should connect with you on Facebook.

A couple ideas for promoting your Facebook Page include; adding a Facebook URL link within the signatures of your e-mails (company wide), integrating your website with social badges – the Footer is the norm for placement, consider creating a Facebook landing page that describes the benefits of becoming a Fan, or even include a “Connect with us on Facebook” call-to-action in your e-mail newsletters or on receipt pages. Another unique way to use your customers for word of mouth marketing is to utilize the Facebook Sharer application. This function allows Facebook users to share a link through their profile wall. B2B companies can use this feature to promote a coupon code or sale. Simply add this code to your payment confirmation e-mails. When you have a decent following be sure to check out your Facebook Insights. These can be found in your Page’s admin section. Facebook Insights are statistics that anlyze; fan demographics,  interaction levels such as engagement and page views and some sentiment analysis.

TOMs Shoes Facebook Connect

TOM’s Shoes, provides a “Share this coupon code on Facebook,” call-to-action prominently displayed in their payment confirmation e-mails.  Customers partake in a good cause and save their friends money by simply clicking a link, genius.

Now I’ve been asked if there is a way to pro-actively / automatically search for and add customers to your Facebook page, and the short answer is No.  As a Facebook Page administrator you can only “Suggest” the Page to friends on your personal account but this is of course limited to whom you are actually friends with. Facebook does not provide an e-mail upload tool for you to locate which of your past customers or those on your e-mail list on Facebook. This was a conscious decision on their part, because if they included this functionality then any organization that had your e-mail address and had a Facebook Page could bombard you with updates and messages.

There is one small hole in the system however, it is in violation with the Facebook community guidelines and user agreement and we do not recommend or sponsor this activity. Your company could create a personal account and use the e-mail tool to add your friends on Facebook. Now Facebook caps the number of friends personal accounts can have (last time I heard this number was at 5,000), so chances are you’ll surpass that number pretty quickly. However the idea is that companies are adding friends to their personal account, and then suggesting they become fans of their Page. Seems pretty confusing to us. We suggest abiding Facebook’s guidelines and growing your Page naturally!

Fan Interaction

So you have built a solid following of past and current customers, what do you do next? The answer is anything that you can imagine. We would suggest that your message remains consistent with that of others used in B2B web marketing initiatives; however, your Facebook Page provides unique flexibility to communicate with the ones who keep your business alive. In today’s environment it is increasingly important to interact with your target market on social technologies because they are a free* branding tools that aren’t necessarily construed as traditional marketing. FYI, your Page’s status updates are published to your fan’s news feeds, so create content that encourages and invites interaction. Do remember though that Facebook Fan Pages are opt-in, meaning that if your messages become over bearing in either frequency or message (don’t shout at your customers with loud marketing pitches, rather openly talk with them about how you can fulfill their needs). Below you will find several tactics we encourage you to use on your B2B Facebook Page as well as examples of companies who have best utilized these tactics.

Wall & Discussions

The Wall is the default landing section of your Page  (which can be changed in your Page admin settings), and is a chronological listing of your Facebook status updates, and subsequently your fan”s comments to your status updates. If permitted your fans themselves could post onto your Wall, making them visible for the Facebook community (and beyond as many Facebook Pages get ranked in Google and Yahoo). In your Page settings you can change the settings as you see fit. It is important to decide whether you will allow your fans to post onto your wall or not. We recommend weighting the costs and benefits of allowing such a practice. However we encourage B2B companies to allow their fans to publish updates directly onto your Page’s Wall. This shows your fans that you are a transparent company, and that you are willing to communicate with them regardless of the message’s tone – improved communication is after all the primary benefit of B2B social media marketing! The Forrester Research group released a 2008 study in their book, Groundswell, that stated 80% of reviews and comments posted about products and companies are positive in sentiment. Even if 20% of your comments are negative, your company along with it’s fans will have the ability to address any and all negative comments. If someone is going to talk poorly about your company wouldn’t you rather it be right under your nose so you have the ability to challenge the claim, rather on a site you aren’t even familiar with?

Sun Microsystems Facebook Page - Wall Best Practices

Sun Microsystems, provides a great example of a company that has a balance of control and interaction on their Wall. By default Fans only see posts from the company, however they do have the option of seeing Fan posts. iProspect.com Facebook Page - Wall Best Practices

iProspect, on the other hand encourages Fans to interact directly on their wall thus maximizing their transparency.

If you want to engage with your customers and provide them with a platform to share their opinion, but don’t want this conversation taking place on your Wall, then Discussions could be your alternative. Discussions is a default application that Facebook enables on your Page.  Although this feature is somewhat under utilized, it can be extremely valuable if used correctly. The Discussions tab could be used as a product or customer support forum, or as an area to receive product feedback and if executed correctly you could even use the tab to conduct focus groups with your customers.

SAP Facebook Page - Diescussions Example

SAP, uses the Discussions tab of Facebook to share information, advertise job openings, and provide support. What could your company discuss with it’s customers?

Blog

A standard B2B social media tactic for companies to syndicate their corporate blogs onto Facebook so that they can streamline fresh content to their fans. There are two primary ways of adding your blog. The first of which is simply to import your blog feed into the Notes (a default application) section of your Facebook Page and then enabling the option in your Notes Tab. The second option would be to use a third-party application; the most popular being NetworkedBlogs. Use the following link if you want to directly add your blog to Facebook. No matter which application you decide to use, your blog title and a brief snippet of your content will be broadcast to your page’s fans, automatically when you publish a new post on your blog.

Forrester Research Facebook Page - Notes Best Practices

Forrester Research, uses the default Notes tab to import their blog feed. This simple tool enables Forreseter research to automatically update their Fans when they post a new blog entry.

WebTrends Facebook Page - Blog Best Practices

Webtrends, has enabled the NetworkedBlogs app on their Facebook Page. Essentially this application functions similar to Facebook’s Note however aesthetically NetworkedBlogs wins.

Multimedia – Video & Photos

US American internet users love their video and photo consumption. comScore estimated that in July of 2009, 158 million internet consumers streamed a total of 21.4 billion videos. Between that fact and given the amount of time Americans are spending on Facebook it should be clear that in order for your B2B social media marketing initiatives to be successful the use of multimedia should be a substantial part of the equation. Stumped on what kind of video or photos to include? Then you are thinking too hard. The best use of multimedia is to show your transparency and enable you to connect with your customers on a more personal level, let me give you an example. Professionally created commercials and promotions are great however; consumers have been viewing these for years. Now is the opportunity to save some money and create content that shows the personal side of your company’s organizational culture and day-to-day happenings.  Interview employees, show off the office, tape presentations or speaking engagements, have start a web series with an executive sharing their insight, attempt to create a viral video, maybe even poke fun of yourself throughout the process. After you’ve created some excellent content, Facebook makes it easy to upload content to your Page. Two default applications that Facebook supplies to Pages are the Photo and Video. If you don’t have a desire to upload your content directly to Facebook then there are multiple options for integrating content from other sources, perhaps Flickr (for photos) or YouTube (for video). We’ll discuss these third-party applications in B2B Social Media Marketing – Facebook for Business Part 2.

GoDaddy.com Facebook Page - Video Best Practices

GoDaddy.com, uses their Video tab to broadcast past commercials and work-life around the office. Their Video tab is primarily used to entertain their fans.

MailChimp Facebook Page - Video Best Practices

MailChimp.com, makes use of their Video tab by displaying informational material on how their products work and the benefits provided to customers. They also include a couple work-life videos.

GSD&M Idea City Facebook Page - Photos Best Practices

GSD&M Idea City, is a great example of a company that maximizes the Facebook Photo app. Their photo albums show off both their work and their employees. Who wouldn’t want to hire these guys?

Events

Another useful B2B social media tactic is to publicize corporate events on Facebook. The Events tab could be particularly useful for; a service provider who will be holding a workshop, a company launching a new B2B promotion or sale, even a raising awareness for a sponsored event such as a “walk for the cure.” Once you create your event, you can then invite your fans to join. Facebook Events is an easy application that nearly all B2B companies could apply. If you are trying to promote your event, it would be wise to set the Events section as your page’s default landing section.

eMarketer Facebook Page - Events Best Practices

eMarketer, keeps there customers up to day by using their Event tab. They invite their fans to join them at industry seminars and tradeshows (sponsored and un-sponsored). A hyper-local social community, Cbusr.com also does a fantastic job of publicizing fun things to do in Columbus Ohio through their Facebook Page’s events section.

FBML

For more advanced and technically savvy B2B marketers, Facebook enables you to customize the design and function of Facebook applications or Pages using the Facebook Markup Launguage. FBML is a modified form of HTML and is the language available for development.  Simply add the Static FBML application to your profile and you’ll then be able to customize your Page by creating box or tab. Again this feature can be used as an extension of your website so use your imagaination and create content that you feel would be of benefit and interest to your fans.

Intuit Facebook Page - FBML Best Practices

Intuit, has created a tab called “Small Business Spot,” which is their default landing section. As you can tell the tab provides three clear call-to-actions for their fans with the objective of pushing them onto their corporate site and into the sales funnel.

SODEXO Facebook Page Best Practices

Sodexo, on the other hand has set up a Sodexo Careers Page aimed at young professionals. Their “Careers,” tab provides a brief overview to the benefits of working for Sodexo as well as a list of current job openings.

Our second post on Facebook B2B marketing in this series which will cover how you can integrate other B2B social media channels into Facebook, and how surveys can be administered. Then finally our third post will cover B2B Facebook applications and social shopping applications.

To keep up with all of our B2B marketing advice, promotions and updates then connect with us on Facebook.
The Supplies Guys


Categories: Business Tips

The Webby Awards – Top 10 Internet Moments of the Past Decade

This years Webby Awards are in!! The Webby Awards are the leading international awards honoring excellence on the Internet. This year they have compiled the top 10 most influential Internet moments of the past decade. Feel free to comment if you agree or disagree, or if you think they missed any. Webby did not rank these top 10 so I have taken it upon myself to rank them in order of importance, #1 being the most important / influential.

#10: 2009 – Iranian election protests

When Iran’s 2009 presidential election produced suspicious results, the opposition took to the tweets — and the “Twitter Revolution” was born. Twitter became such a key tool in spreading news of the protests that followed that the U.S. State Department asked the company to delay a planned shutdown for maintenance. The protests also put a spotlight on Twitter’s key asset as a protest tool. Since most users don’t access it through a central website, it is almost impossible to censor. Twitter let protesters distribute images from the chaotic country at a time when mainstream media outlets had been restricted.

#9: 2001 – Napster Shut Down

Although Napster, one of the first controversial file-sharing sites, shut down it’s “free” service in 2001, it opened the file-sharing doors. Its collapse sparked a wave of innovations that forever changed how we obtain, listen and watch music and video. YouTube, Hulu, iTunes and other legal sites followed, as did downloading songs from less creditable sites. Some artists started releasing their music exclusively online. Napster, now under new ownership, still offers over 8 million songs but you must pay a monthly fee to have access. A portion of those fees are then distributed back to the artists similar to how iTunes works.

#8: 2008 – U.S. Presidential Campaign

The Internet changed the presidential race in 2008 similar to how tv had 40 years earlier during the Kennedy/Nixon election. “Obama Girl” and  Reverend Wright online videos helped in shaping the debate. Social media outlets mobilized voters and there was also record breaking online fundraising. Presidential campaign management was permanently transformed.

#7: 2000 – Craigslist expands outside San Francisco

In 2000, Craigslist.org, the free classifieds website, expanded its service outside of San Francisco into nine additional U.S. cities, causing a major shift from traditional newspaper classifieds to online classified ads.  Craigslist now serves free listings in more than 500 cities in 50 countries. In addition to traditional buy/sell classified ads, you can also find someone to paint your house, find a new job, or find a date – in addition to a ton of other listings.

#6: 2007 – The iPhone debuts

The iPhone was released on June 29, 2007. By the end of the first weekend, 500,000 had been sold. The iPhone from Apple has made “smartphones” a part of every day life. There are now “apps” for just about everything you can think of. Over the next 10 years, it’s estimated that a billion users will come to the Internet for the first time through mobile devices. The iPhone may not have been the first smartphone, but it is by far the most influential.

#5: 2004 – Google IPO

Google’s IPO, one of the largest in history, put the six year old search engine on the path to becoming the most dominant and influential company of the decade. From gmail and YouTube to Google Earth, Google Maps, and Google Android, the Internet giant and constant innovator is the engine that powers the world. And they have a really cool headquarters too - click here to take a look inside.

#4: 2006 – Online video revolution

In 2006, a perfect storm of faster bandwidth, cheaper camcorders, and the groundbreaking use of Adobe’s Flash 9 video player by YouTube combined to launch the online video revolution. The trifecta led to a boom in homemade and professional content that has reshaped everything from pop culture to politics.

#3: 2006 – Facebook opens to non-college students and Twitter takes off

In September 2006, a social networking site for college students changed its user qualifications to include anyone 13 and older with a valid e-mail address. Facebook struck an immediate chord — and almost overnight, social media went mainstream. Less than a month later, the creators of Twitter acquired the company and its assets from its investors, paving the way for the service to take off in 2007. Both companies took social media mainstream, radically changing the way we connect, collaborate, and communicate with everyone from friends to colleagues to customers. And poor MySpace, they are now a distant memory in the social media landscape.

#2: 2001 – Wikipedia launches

Containing 20,000 articles in 18 languages by the end of its first year online, Wikipedia today boasts more than 14 million articles in 271 different languages. The free open-source encyclopedia epitomizes the Internet’s power to bring strangers from around the world together to collaborate on projects both big and small. The overall validitity of the posts will always be suspect, but that can be expected with anything posted online – except for this blog of course :)

#1: 2000 – Google AdWords launches

With the launch of AdWords in October 2000, Google turned advertising on its head. The self-service ad program opened up the marketplace to any business, no matter how big or small, and allowed advertisers to target their customers with laser-sharp precision. Overture was the first major paid search engine to open the internet advertising doors (in 1998) and many believe Google built Adwords off of the Overture module. Overture is now owned by Yahoo. Google Adwords generated $21 billion in 2008, $16 billion in 2007, and $10 billion in 2006. Without Google Adwords, the Google IPO listed above would most likely never have happened.

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The top 10 listed above have definitely had an impact on most of our everyday lives. If you feel Webby has missed anything “online” that has impacted your life in a major way, feel free to post a comment and add it to the list.

Resource for this post: The Webby Awards

Categories: News

100 Best Companies to Work For…on Twitter part 2

Interested in checking out the which of the remaining 50 “Best Companies to Work For” have established a presence on Twitter. Check them out. Plus for more information on how you can begin to establish your social media presence check out Kate’s blog entry – Starting with a Social Media Plan.

Best of the Rest (51-100)

51. Ernst & Young on Twitter
52. Booz Allen Hamilton is currently not on Twitter
53. Stew Leonard’s on Twitter
54. Erickson Retirement Communities is currently not on Twitter
55.  Salesforce.com on Twitter
56.  KPMG on Twitter
57. Novo Nordisk is currently not on Twitter
58. PricewaterhouseCoopers on Twitter
59. Scripps Health on Twitter
60. Scottrade on Twitter
61. Deloitte on Twitter
62. Griffin Hospital is currently not on Twitter
63. Mayo Clinic on Twitter
64. Milliken is currently not on Twitter
65. Texas Instruments on Twitter
66. MITRE on Twitter
67. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is currently not on Twitter
68. Southern Ohio Medical Center is currently not on Twitter
69. National Instruments on Twitter
70. Stanley is currently not on Twitter
71. Men’s Wearhouse is currently not on Twitter
72. Nordstrom on Twitter
73. Chesapeake Energy is currently not on Twitter
74. Alcon Laboratories is currently not on Twitter
75. Atlantic Health is currently not on Twitter
76. Lehigh Valley Hospital & Health Network is currently not on Twitter
77. Northwest Community Hospital is currently not on Twitter
78. Marriott International on Twitter
79. Baptist Health South Florida on Twitter
80. Bright Horizons is currently not on Twitter
81. S.C. Johnson & Son is currently not on Twitter
82. Perkins Coie on Twitter
83. eBay on Twitter
84. Juniper Networks on Twitter
85. Arkansas Children’s Hospital is currently not on Twitter
86. CH2M HILL on Twitter
87. Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe is currently not on Twitter
88. Publix Super Markets is currently not on Twitter
89. Herman Miller on Twitter
90. FedEx on Twitter
91. Gilbane on Twitter
92. Four Seasons Hotels on Twitter
93. Valero Energy is currently not on Twitter
94. Build-A-Bear Workshop on Twitter
95. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is currently not on Twitter
96. T-Mobile on Twitter
97. Accenture on Twitter
98. Vanderbilt University (School of Law) on Twitter
99. General Mills (Brands on Twitter)

100.  SRA International on Twitter

Be sure to follow SuppliesGuys on Twitter for product give-a-ways, contests, discounts and for all of our business tips.

Categories: Business Tips

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