Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

I have come across several articles this week that were saying that it is amazing that more brick and mortar businesses are not using Foursquare.

The truth is, I just don’t think that most business owners even know about it!

Here is a brief description of what Foursquare is and some ways you can use it to promote your business or website and bring targeted web traffic to your site…

What is Foursquare?

Foursquare is a free website that lets people who have a cell phone with internet service (and the Foursquare app on it) “check in” to any location they want. The person who “checks in” the most with their little Foursquare app on their phone becomes the “mayor” of that location.  I know, it sounds silly at first…but please read on!

How are Businesses Using Foursquare to Promote Their Business?

Foursquare is an incredibly fun and easy way for businesses to promote their business through the popularity of  social media and mobile technology. Starbucks is a good example of a business that is using it right. After five visits (with a check-in), patrons can unlock a special badge called the Barista Badge from Starbucks and recently they started offering $1 off drinks to Foursquare mayors nationwide.This is the first national Foursquare marketing campaign, but McDonalds is in hot pursuit.

For a non-techie “brick and mortar” business owner with a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan, this may not seem like anything you would care about, but I beg to differ! With just a tiny bit of ingenuity (offering $1 off drinks for mayor isn’t rocket science!), you could make your shop or restaurant the next hottest thing in your community for avid Foursquare users!

5 Ways You Could Use Foursquare to Promote Your Business

  1. Create Tips & To-Do Items at www.foursquare.com for your business. You don’t even need a cell phone to do this. Use the Tips and To-Do’s on your business page on Foursquare to let visitors in on some little secrets about your business that make the people who check-in feel like they are part of the family.  This could include such things as:
    • Try the Macaroni Salad. It is our special recipe made by Joe’s grandmother
    • Try our X hair product. It’s new and uses our special ingredient which does this…
    • It’s Jennifer’s birthday today. She is one of the servers. Tell her happy birthday and get a free dessert with your check-in.
  2. Offer “specials”. If a Foursquare venue has a special, users will see a big button on the page when they check in. This makes them want to see what it is. You can offer specials to mayors or to frequent visitors. I would recommend both… why not? Anyone who bothers to check-in to your location is a big fan and is proud to be part of your business.
  3. Offer something free the first time they check in. By doing this, you are encouraging them to try out Foursquare with your business.
  4. Give them something free for multiple friends checking in together. Foursquare is a social event. Make use of that and encourage them to share it.
  5. Send them to your website for a secret clue or a question to answer. If they provide the answer and show their check-in, they get a discount price or special offer. This will bring targeted traffic to your website and help to increase website traffic.

These are just a few ideas to get you thinking. I am including a few links below for other articles and resources of Foursquare promotional ideas:

The Bar Blogger – 8 Foursquare Promotion Ideas for Your Bar (or Restaurant or…)
Mashable – Foursquare and Starbucks Team Up to Offer Customer Rewards
I Was Around – FourSquare Badge List
Huffington Post – Foursquare Badges: The Ultimate Guide
Kyle Lacy – 5 Ways to Use Foursquare for Business
ReadWriteWeb – Why We Check In: The Reasons People Use Location-Based Social Networks
NY Times – Bits: Foursquare Introduces New Tools for Businesses
Spin Sucks –  The Time for Location-Based Marketing is Now & Geo-Location Marketing by Danny Brown
Max Gladwell – 10 Ways Geolocation is Changing the World

Here is a great example of combining Facebook and FourSquare by AJ Bombers restaurant.


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107 smartphone.jpgAnyone hoping to make an internet start-up work should go for the mobile platform first, then do a standard website after, said technocrat and founder of the Geek Squad, Robert Stephens in an interesting interview with sustainablejournalism.org. Mobile is where it’s at according to Stephens.

“If I were to advise a company on what to build going forward: don’t build a website” he said. “Build a mobile app or interface first, and then build for the larger screens.”

Geek Squad is a successful company founded in 94, that fix computers in person, or through 24hr phone and online services: but if he were starting up these days, Stephens said he’d do it differently: “I tell people now if I started the Geek Squad today I wouldn’t start a computer repair company. I’d really develop a mobile development company.” Stephens reckoned his advice was good for start-ups of any flavour, journalists for example.

The launch of the iPad had given the mobile computer market a huge boost and shown that that format size is not just about making phone calls.

“I don’t know how much longer they’ll be called phones but that’s really the central device. Because most of us are moving and mobile, on the go. So our mobile device will be the one we interact with the most.”

And the fact that its only got 3 inches of screen space can actually be a good thing…
“The last thing is that the constraint of the mobile screen is actually really liberating in that when you only have a small set of real estate to design your interface for, you can only put so many buttons. Just think of the Google start page, versus the AOL, the Yahoo startpage. Much cleaner.”

Read the full interview on sustainablejournalism.org

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I’ve been discouraged in recent months to find that in the wider business world there is still an enormous resistance to embracing newer communications tools such as blogs, microblogs and social networks as part of a fully-integrated marketing strategy. I watch as public relations and marketing departments all but ignore the social media marketing vendors they bring in. I see print ads still going into newspapers failing to mention that the company or organization are now on Facebook or Twitter. I hear PSAs and radio ads failing to mention these new consumer touch points in addition to a web site.

If social media tools can enhance our various forms of more traditional marketing — including traditional web sites and email marketing — why do the social media presences we build get ignored and are rarely integrated into other forms of marketing communications?

There is only so much a social media marketing consultant who has been hired as an outside vendor can do to remind and encourage clients to mention and leverage social media tools. To have a better impact on marketing best practices, we need to first identify why there is so much resistance to a set of tools and a fresh, more interactive and engaging way of communicating with consumers.

Here are some thoughts as to why social media marketing is hard for some to understand and embrace: (more…)

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Social media normally refers to a category of websites where content is created by the participation of the users of that website for the remaining community. In short, we can say that social media websites are basically tools to share the information among their users. It gives its users a chance to interact with other users.

Human beings are social animals and they always love to interact with others discussing their hobbies, interests and personal lives. These tendencies gave birth to lot of social media websites like Digg, Facebook, StumbleUpon, etc. and produced new channels of traffic which webmasters can use easily to drive some good traffic to their websites and generate some leads. Due to huge advantages of social media it’s become an important part of a successful SEO campaign. You can’t do good SEO without including social media in to it.

How Social Media Websites can help you:

  • The biggest advantage of using Social media is that it helps you to create various bridges.
  • New traffic can reach your website easily and reduce dependency on search engines to an extent (if run successfully).
  • This one is not a secret… Social bookmarking websites help in getting backlinks for your website. It can help you in your SEO Campaigns.
  • It helps you to interact with your target audience easily. You can find your target audience quickly on social media websites and can see what about they are talking about, their needs, happenings in your industry, etc .
  • It helps in establishing yourself as a brand and can help you in reputation management.
  • As popular social media sites are getting good rankings in search engines you can use them to promote your website. It’s very effective if you have a new website with no links then try to create a page on social media website. It’s much easier to get it ranked as compared to a new website.

Social Media websites are very important for a successful SEO campaign, therefore you should not ignore its importance. It’s a subject worth consideration and if planned wisely and implemented successfully, it can show you wonderful results.

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Social media has become somewhat of a buzzword nowadays.  From corporate marketing strategies to presidential election, the awesomeness of social media power seems to have spread to every corner of our society.   However, there is one thing that most social media users might have neglected, which is to use social media to do social good.  Here I will list seven tips of how I use social media for the purpose of social good.

1. Tweeting/blogging for news.

Twitter is the new breed of social media which exists as a micro-blogging tool. Twitter has the potential to broadcast news fast, on time, and in a mass scale.  One recent example was related to the Iranian election.  Twitter users are even faster than CNN journalists to deliver timely news.  The hashtag #CNNfail has been adopted by Twitter users to indicate a lack of news coverage from the mainstream news media.

Another example is the 7.8 earthquake in China back in May, 2008.  Twitter was very fast in delivering the news.  If you had tried to search for the word “Earthquake” in Twitter Search, you could literally see hundreds of updates within minutes.

In addition, some bloggers have been actively blogging about the earthquake and therefore raised tons of awareness.  According to a post from ReadWriteWeb, Forrester Analyst Jeremiah Owyang used his blog as a platform to inspire people to donate money to the Red Cross.  He took a trip to China personally, and then posted all the photos he took about the earthquake in China on his blogs.  This has allowed his audience to see how badly some people were affected by the earthquake.  His initiative through social media has significantly made a difference.

2. Building tribes.

Seth Godin’s book “Tribes” illustrates how important it is to leverage modern technology, namely social media and Internet, to build your own followers. It has come to my realization that this type of network not only can provide religious, social, and spiritual supports for the “tribe” members, it will also become the fundamental bonding power for our entire society.

For example, if you had a Facebook group or a fan page that attracts environmental fans, it would be easy to assemble a global army of like-minded people in this particular field, without concerns of geographical barriers.  The bigger the group gets, the more advocates there are, and the more it will benefit the society.  In essence, this “tribe” mentality now has spread to every corner of the society.  Instead of resisting and fighting it, we ought to all embrace this hugely powerful tool to do social good.

3. Empowering others.

Personally, I like to transform my inner beliefs into quotes and then distribute them in my community.  Besides being able to influence and inspire others, this kind of behavior reinforces my own faith by simply sharing something I deem as valuable and useful.  After all, social media is all about “Sharing.”  Instead of saying something trivial that others don’t even care, why not transform your beliefs into something tangible that others can benefit from?

Now granted, not everyone will understand your initial attempt and appreciate your good deeds.  This happens in almost every situation of life.  But it’s important to stay consistent in what you do so you can influence those who do want to be helped.  So be patient.  One post at a time.  Eventually, consistency and commitment will make a difference.  I like to call this “Personal Development Training Made Easier.”

4.  Facebook “Cause” Application

As I am writing this post, the Facebook “Cause” application has about 24 ½ million monthly active users. Causes is one of the most popular Facebook apps.  The official definition, according to Facebook, goes like this – Causes empowers anyone with a good idea or passion for change to impact the world. Using our platform, individuals mobilize their network of friends to grow lasting social and political movements. It includes categories such as Animals, Education, Environment, and more.

This app allows Facebook users to create a cause and link it to a registered non-profit organization in the US or Canada.  In general, this app has been a very useful fundraising tool for a lot of charities.  It also has drastically raised people’s awareness about some pressing issues in the world.

5.  Blogging for a Cause

This summer (6/1 through 8/28), Mashable launched the first large scale online charitable campaign called “Summer of Social Good.”  The goal was to raise funds strictly online through the power of Social Media and the Internet.  Throughout the previous weeks, this program had made some major progress by featuring inspiring tales from real people, encouraging people to participate in this program by offering incentives.  Mashable also listed examples on how some charities use social media to raise money.

Another example involves a site called “Make The Difference Network”  founded by Actress Jessica Biel and her family.  As social media continues to evolve, more and more websites and blogs will feature this type of content.

6.  Social Bookmarking for Better Efficiency

Social bookmarking sites allow Internet users to organize and manage bookmarks of web pages by tags.  Sites like DiggStumbleUpon, and Delicious have become more and more popular because it allows better user efficiency.  Take Digg for example, the Digg voting system allows people to vote for submitted stories.  The functions are called digging and burying .

With social bookmarking websites, I could simply browse through the category I am interested in, and sort stories by popularity.  Now, I am not saying that those popular stories are exactly the ones you are looking for.  But social bookmarking sites do provide a viable reference point.  In general, this type of service can save tremendous amount of time for its users.  Therefore, it fulfills our “social good” purpose.

7.  The revolution continues….

Social media is taking on a major role of leading the trend of our society. Facebook was launched by Mark Zuckerberg in his college dorm on February 4th, 2004.  Then there is Twitter, which was publicly launched into a full version in July 2006.  What’s next?

For every trend, there are early adopters, the majority and the laggards.  Luckily, social media has the awesome power to lead our thinking as human beings.  This, in a large scale, is good for our society, because the society is jumping curves.  Instead of evolving on the same curve, the society revolutionizes with the most popular social media trends.   Eventually, this phenomenon can lead to frequent update of newer technology that allows for better effectiveness/efficiency and change the world.

So how do you use social media for social good in your daily life?  You can let us know by commenting this post.

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Children’s TV show Sesame Street have a nice line in spoofs – from Mad Men to err, the iPod advert.

Maybe they’re trying to teach kids to be advertising-savvy, or maybe they just liked the colours and bouncy music. Anyway this is Big Bird with a “D” a music device that resembles the Apple product in more ways than one.

Watch it! It’s pretty cute.

The only danger is getting sucked into the Sesame Street Youtube Channel – the Elmo and Michelle Obama clip is a bit of a winner and don’t get me started on the Happy/Sad cookie episode..

I’m guessing Apple doesn’t mind – they’d look pretty bad taking issue with the company behind that towel-haired cutie Elmo. And it’s hardly Apple’s most recent advertising campaign.

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