Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's Official: I Moved to Posterous!

On August 13, 2009 I posted that I would be trying out Posterous to see if I wanted to switch. Well the answer is yes, Yes and YES!

So in order to do my part to keep the internet neat and tidy I will leave this blog up but I will no longer send what I am posting on Posterous to this site. No one needs duplicate content scattered all over the internet.

If you want to see what I am up to please pop on over to my personal blog or my business blog!

See you in the funny papers!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Firms still invest in social media - 94% plan to maintain or increase investment

Despite the recession, most companies are continuing to invest in social media tools and online communities, according to a new survey by Deloitte, Beeline Labs and the Society for New Communications Research.

The second annual survey of companies sponsoring online communities showed 94 percent of respondents plan to maintain or increase investment in their communities, while only 6 percent plan to decrease investment.

However, while businesses are using these tools to interact with customers, partners and employees, the survey also indicates that organizations continue to struggle with how to harness social media’s full potential.

Of the companies surveyed, a majority agreed that increasing word-of-mouth (38 percent), customer loyalty (34 percent) and brand awareness (30 percent) continue to be the top business objectives of online communities, followed by idea generation (29 percent) and improved customer support quality (23 percent).

The biggest obstacles to creating a successful community include getting people to join (24 percent), stay engaged (30 percent) and keep returning (21 percent).

The survey measured the responses of more than 400 companies, including Fortune 100 organizations, which have created and maintain online communities. The communities ranged from fewer than 100 members to more than 1 million members.

Posted via web from Diane Stein's posterous

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New #1 in SEC Power Rankings - Who Took Top Spot?

SEC power rankings

October 5, 2009 8:00 AM

Posted by's Chris Low

There wasn’t a lot of shakeup in the SEC power rankings this week, although Auburn continues its steady climb. Three teams in the Western Division remain unbeaten -- Alabama, Auburn and LSU. Here’s a look at the updated rankings:

Check out this website I found at

Posted via web from Diane Stein's posterous

High Court orders writ to be served via Twitter | Technology | Reuters

By Matthew Jones LONDON (Reuters) - The High Court ordered its first injunction via Twitter on Thursday, saying the social website and micro-blogging service was the best way to reach an anonymous Tweeter who had been impersonating someone. Solicitors Griffin Law sought the injunction against the micro-blog page arguing it was impersonating right-wing blogger Donal Blaney, the owner of Griffin Law. The legal first could have widespread implications for the blogosphere. "I think this is a landmark decision to issue a writ via Twitter," said Dr Konstantinos Komaitis of Strathclyde University's law faculty. "You are creating a precedent that people will be able to refer to. It only takes one litigant to open the path for others to follow," Komaitis, a lecturer in IT and Telecommunications told Reuters. "The law tends to be quite cumbersome and slow, so to have a court deliberate on something like Twitter -- so hot, so relevant -- it shows quite impressive engagement. Andre Walker at Griffin Law said the anonymous Tweeter targeted by the writ will get a message from the High Court the next time they open their online account. "Whoever they are, they will be told to stop posting, to remove previous posts and to identify themselves to the High Court via a web link form," he said. Matthew Richardson, the barrister who won the injunction, said the ruling was a huge step forward in preventing anonymous abuse of the Internet. Continued...


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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Even bad product reviews boost sales - Sep. 28, 2009

Article by Jennifer Alsever -

"Ultimately, says Hobart, reviews retain customers. The vast majority of AlpacaDirect's customers return, so it's crucial to snag first-timers. "Reviews help build that initial trust," he says. "They are key to the long-term success of our company."

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Mobile coupons and social networking have customers reaching out to businesses

Advertisers are always searching for new ways to reach customers, but one of the latest trends is for customers to reach to advertisers through choosing to receive promotions, offers, news and even coupons through personal technology including the internet and cellular phones.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Will Squidoo Kill Your Company's Shot at (Free) Feel-Good PR on Twitter? | TechWatch | Fast Company

Yesterday Squidoo founder Seth Godin announced that his company would begin launching websites for major companies that collect social buzz--good and bad--from around the Web. In his blog, Godin says that these "conversations" are already happening, so Squidoo is simply going to funnel them into one aggregate spot. That lets any customer or company see what the buzz is around Brand X. But for companies to get on the page and respond, it will cost them money. Is this fair to companies? More importantly, is it good for customers? (Above, one such page for In-and-Out Burger.)

At the end of this article, Chris Dannen, laments that by doing this we will move back to backward looking company-customer relationships. While I agree that this will occur I also see the potential for companies to simply use the Squidoo sites as a monitor and to then respond to customers through other avenues. It is super easy today to find someone on social media so my advice to a client would be to see what is being said and to then respond in a truly social manner.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

One company's ROI tally for social media

Computerworld - Reality Digital Inc., a San Francisco-based technology company that helps other businesses launch social media campaigns, is a big proponent of calculating ROI -- for its own uses of social media as well as for customers'.

CEO Cynthia Francis says calculating return on investment starts with understanding what you want to accomplish: Do you want to promote internal collaboration? Establish real-time connections with customers? Generate and track sales leads?

Then, you have to figure out what tools will help you achieve that goal, she says.

"The idea that everyone should have Facebook and Twitter is not true. You have to think about what people and customers want. Maybe all you need is a blog with three people in your company blogging. Bigger companies might want to be in all the public environments," Francis says.

In addition to a Web site and e-mail newsletters, Reality Digital uses Twitter and Facebook to interact with existing and potential customers.

Here's how the company's numbers break down:

  • Total investment for social media programs (including technology costs and PR agency hours): roughly $3,000 per month
  • Total sales leads generated in April, May and June: 72
  • Average sales leads per month: 24
  • Average cost per sales lead: $125
  • Lead conversion to sales opportunities: 11.1%
  • Lead conversion to closed deals: 1.4%

"Given the typical size of our deals, the annual cost of our social media programs is covered by revenue from one closed deal (annual contract)," marketing manager Lawrence Mak wrote in an e-mail about the figures.

He adds: "Because we started our social media program only three months ago, I consider it to still be in ramp-up phase. I expect cost per lead and conversion metrics to improve as the program matures over the next three to six months."

Main story: What's your Twitter ROI? How to measure social media payoff

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Top 5 Business Blogging Mistakes and How to Avoid Them : Technology : Idea Hub :: American Express OPEN Forum

Top 5 Business Blogging Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Top 5 Business Blogging Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Josh Catone (Mashable)

Sep 17, 2009 -

Business blogging can be exceptionally rewarding.  When done correctly, a successful blog can bring attention to your business, can attract new customers, and can turn your current customer base into the type of fans that companies like Apple, Netflix, and Ben and Jerry's have: people who will not only buy your product or service, but evangelize it to their peers.  Of course, like anything, there is a right way to go about starting a business blog and a wrong way.

Creating a blog for your small business isn't easy; it requires hard work and the ability to think creatively about your work.  But if you avoid the five big mistakes laid out in this post, your chances of building a successful business blog will be much better.

Mistake #1: Treating Your Blog Like a Press Center

The number one mistake that business bloggers make is to treat their blog as an extension of their current press center. Repeat after me: Your blog is not the place for press releases.  Blogging is a conversation and it offers a way for your customers to connect with your business on a completely new level.  Press releases, on the other hand, are the exact opposite.  They're impersonal, they're self promotional, and most readers don't trust them.  If you use your blog to republish press releases your customers will have no reason to keep reading and they'll also likely not trust your content.

How to Avoid: First, don't ever put out a press release on your blog.  You can use your blog to make product or other business announcements, but do so with original writing and in a more casual voice.  Second, do use your blog to write about things other than your core business.   Share your thoughts on your industry, share insights into the day-to-day work life and processes at your company, and provide tips and tricks you have learned during your time in business.

Mistake #2: Not Blogging Regularly

Think about the blogs you read on a regular basis -- how many of them publish only sporadically?  Most successful blogs put out new content at least a couple of times per week and try to stick to a regular schedule.  Consistently putting out quality content will keep readers returning and over time it will help you build a community and turn your customers into fans.

How to Avoid: Blogging regularly isn't easy, so to avoid burning out, brainstorm editorial ideas ahead of time.  If you plan to put out new posts every Tuesday and Friday, for example, try not to start writing Tuesday's post on Tuesday morning.  Get other people at your company involved so that one person isn't shouldering the entire blogging load, and even consider sourcing content from your customers.  Remember that anything can provide fodder for a good blog post, so pay attention to the things you read or see on other blogs, newspapers, magazines, or television.

Mistake #3: Not Enabling Conversation

As I already said, blogging is a conversation, and not allowing it to occur on your blog is a mistake. It's true that blog comments can open you up to criticism, but blogging is an unparalleled opportunity to connect with your customers.  You'll get a lot more out of blogging if you enable -- and even encourage -- your customers to respond to what you write.

How to Avoid: Obviously the first thing you need to do is enable commenting on your business blog.  But beyond that, you need to remember that the conversation is two-way.  Get in there and respond to the comments readers leave on your blog and you'll be more likely to develop a community around your writing that can help turn your customers into fans who will evangelize your products and services and provide you with quality feedback.  You should also participate in the conversation on other blogs in your industry by leaving comments on posts elsewhere around the blogosphere.  That will help you to establish your "blogging brand" and bring new readers your way.

Mistake #4: Making New Content Hard to Discover

Your blog won't be very helpful to readers if they aren't able to easily find new content.  You need to make your blog discoverable and you need to make sure that when you add new content, your regular readers will be able to find it.

How to Avoid: There are a few ways to make sure your blog content is more easily discovered.

  • Make your blog easy to find by linking to it prominently from your company's web site and including your blog's URL in your email signature, on your business cards, and in sales and marketing collateral. 

  • Use a full RSS feed (because the goal with most business blogs should be to get read, not boost page views) and make it easy for your readers to find and subscribe to.

  • Embrace social media technologies like Twitter and Facebook as a way to notify your fans and followers of new blog content, and make it easy for your readers to share content with each other through social media channels and via email. 

  • Optimize for search engines by putting relevant keywords in post titles and URL slugs and write about the things that your customers are most likely to be searching for -- but avoid sounding artificial simply so you can stuff some more keywords into a post.

Mistake #5: Expecting Too Much, Too Soon

Blogging isn't a sprint, it's a marathon.  Your blog won't be an overnight success, and for the first few months it might feel like you're writing for no one.  It can take time to build up your readership and have a regular community of people who participate on your blog.  Don't expect immediate returns from your blog and do expect to put in a lot of hard work.

How to Avoid: Set attainable goals and realize that you're in it for the long haul.  Don't cancel your blogging efforts after three months -- give it at least a year of regularly putting out quality, original content.  And make sure that your blog is easy to find, and that your readers are able to easily comment and share posts with others.

Image courtesy of
 iStockphoto, Franck-Boston

Five very good and very basic principles that any business should keep in mind if they want to use blogging.

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Recent Survey - 69% Report Their Companies Have Gained Measurable Benefits Including Higher Revenues

Check out this website I found at

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jive Tool Aims to Help Companies Track Social Media Chatter - Business Center - PC World

by Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service

With consumers venting opinions about vendors left and right on blogs, social networks, discussion forums and news sites, Jive Software has developed a tool to help companies monitor and analyze relevant online chatter.

Jive Market Engagement, announced on Tuesday, is designed to automate the tracking of specific topics and keywords on sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, so that companies don't have to set up myriad alerts and manually scan notifications and mentions.

For example, the product can monitor mentions of the name of a company and of its competitors in various social media sites and then aggregate and synthesize the findings in a central dashboard, where users can also drill down to details of specific "conversations."

"Companies know their brands are being talked about in the social Web, so they set up alerts to monitor terms and names. They get a ton of references which they have to manually read to understand the intent and whether the arrow is pointing up or down," said Ben Kiker, Jive's chief marketing officer.

"That's a very time-consuming model that you can't scale, and it doesn't work. With Jive Market Engagement, you can do that in a more automated fashion," he added.

The product also provides collaboration capabilities so that workgroups can discuss and analyze the findings, generate reports and decide what actions to take.

Jive Market Engagement, which will be generally available in October, can be used as a stand-alone product, although it also works in an integrated fashion with the vendor's Jive SBS (Social Business Software) enterprise collaboration suite.

The product, which uses monitoring technology from Radian6, is priced at US$25,000 and sold as an annual subscription.

That price includes the monitoring of a certain number of topics, the ability to share and collaborate on the findings with up to 50 end users, as well as consulting from Jive to configure the software.

WOW! While I am excited about the automation of tracking what is being said about a product, company, service, etc. online that is a hefty price tag. Good thing we believe in competition! Looking forward to see what other companies come up with for this same type of service.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

5 Ways Banks Are Using Social Media

5 Ways Banks Are Using Social Media is a great post by Lon S. Cohen. He is @obilon on Twitter.

As a PR who works with banks I know the potential value of social media in that industry and the examples that Cohen features show that potential.

I am also a USAA customer. They are a credit union that have been using social media very, very well. They have also put in place amazing online features such as check deposit via an iPhone app!

Used correctly and with a specific purpose in mind, social media can be a tool that makes business more profitable.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

16 Wicked Easy Word-of-Mouth Marketing Tactics

Sep 09, 2009 -

My friend Andy Sernovitz sent me a proof of the revised edition of his 2006 book, Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking . The revised edition has plenty of new stuff in it: New case studies, new worksheets, and new chapters about B2B word of mouth and how to deal with negative feedback.

But what struck me as a paged through the revised edition was how solid the original was, especially for small business trying to figure out how to generate good buzz. Andy’s book remains an easy-to-read, digestible primer: You can read it on a Saturday afternoon, and start implementing stuff on Monday.

So herewith is Andy’s list of 16 “Sure-Thing, Must-Do, Awfully Easy” word of mouth techniques. There’s tons more in the actual book, of course. But you knew that.

1. Search the web for people talking about you.
2. Assign someone to join those conversations.
3. Create a blog.
4. Make a new rule: Ask “Is this buzzworthy?” in every meeting.
5. Come up with one buzzworthy topic. Keep it simple.
6. Put something on your front door (if you have one) that reminds people to tell their friends about you.
7. Let your “talkers” sign up for a private newsletter.
8. Pick one easy way to track word of mouth.
9. Put a “tell-a-friend” form on every page of your website.
10. Put a special offer in easily forwardable mail.
11. Add a small gift and a word of mouth tool to every package you sell.
12. Hire a private sale for your talkers.
13. Apologize for mistakes and solve problems fast.
14. Partner with a charity.
15. Do something unexpected.
16. Be nice.

When Andy sent me (and other bloggers) the new edition of his book, by the way, he included a few packets of a picture of the book on Twitter, it was the Bacon Salt that got a few of us talking.

Which was, of course, the point.

What other ways would you add to Andy’s list?

Photo credit: D’Arcy Norman 

This is a good list of WOM tactics. By the way, item #12 should read "Have a private sale for your talkers."

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Facebook, Twitter integration comes to iTunes | Apple - CNET News

I just downloaded the new update and plan to play around with it later today when I am supposed to be working. :)

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Mining Social Media for Laughs

Mining Social Media for Laughs

Twitter and Facebook not just for narcissistic drivel anymore

Updated 1:27 AM PDT, Wed, Sep 9, 2009

Watch out for fake friends.
Getty Images

Who knew there was so much humor in social media?

Funny Facebook updates and tweets – some unintentionally hilarious or revealing – are being mined for laughs on the web, and even in old-fashioned print.

The website Oversharers mocks Facebook and Twitter users who give too much personal information in their status updates, prattling on about bodily functions and offering randy thoughts they wouldn’t want mom to read (warning: some entries NSFW).

“A tip: No matter how hot it is, never pull out sizzling chicken while topless,” is one of tamer and less gross of the entries.

Top Entertainment Photos

Top Entertainment Photos

Top Entertainment Photos

Twitter Heads: Celebrities Who Tweet

Twitter Heads: Celebrities Who Tweet

Twitter Heads: Celebrities Who Tweet

(Advice from President Obama, who told the nation’s children Tuesday to "be careful" when posting on Facebook – "Whatever you do, it will be pulled up later in your life," he warned – obviously came too late for serial oversharers.)

Meanwhile, a collection of clever tweets fill a new book called "Twitter Wit." The effort recently notched the official tweet of approval from Twitter co-creator Biz Stone, who wrote the forward for the book, which is filled with one-liners, in 140 characters or less.

"Whenever I see the word ‘Chicagoland’ I envision a cold theme park where everyone is eating sausages and looks like Mike Ditka,” one contributor observed.

Social media has been satirized quite a bit lately in other mass media, notably in Conan O'Brien's “Twitter Tracker” gag, and Ben Stiller's videos about his comically clueless forays into Facebook and Twitter. The attention is a sign of social media's growing prevalence, even if everybody isn't yet in on the joke.

The difference with ventures like Oversharers and "Twitter Wit," is that the humor is being generated from within the online world, rather than from the outside looking in. Internet users send ridiculous posts to Oversharers, while Nick Douglas, the compiler of "Twitter Wit," sought quips for the book via Twitter.

For all the narcissism social media has been accused of fostering, it’s refreshing to see that some folks are using Facebook, Twitter and the like, to poke fun and get some laughs. Now the trick is to heed the President’s advice, and avoid becoming someone else’s punchline…

Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.

Copyright NBC Local Media
First Published: Sep 8, 2009 2:37 PM PDT

This is just entertaining!

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Social media surging through county businesses | | The Tennessean

Social media surging through county businesses

By Josh Arntz • For The Times • September 9, 2009

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

MC Hammer hails use of social media platforms - The Boston Globe

It's Hammer Time! Everybody dance now! :) I just couldn't resist.

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Social networking sites grab big slice of Web ads | U.S. | Reuters

Social networking sites grab big slice of Web ads

Tue Sep 1, 2009 3:36pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - About one of every five Internet display ads in the United States is viewed on a social networking Web site like MySpace and Facebook, according to a new report.

The report by analytics firm comScore underscores the increasing prominence of social media sites in the Internet landscape and broadening acceptance of the sites by brand advertisers.

It also illustrates the increasing competition between social media sites and established Internet companies like Yahoo Inc and Time Warner Inc's AOL which have long billed themselves as the top online destinations for brand advertisers.

The study by comScore, released on Tuesday, said social media sites represented 21.1 percent of U.S. Internet display ads in July, with MySpace and Facebook accounting for more than 80 percent of those ads.

"Because the top social media sites can deliver high reach and frequency against target segments at a low cost, it appears that some advertisers are eager to use social networking sites as a new advertising delivery vehicle," said Jeff Hackett, senior vice president of comScore.

According to comScore, AT&T Inc, Experian Interactive and IAC/Interactive Corp's Ask Network were the top three advertisers on social networking sites in July.

While social media sites have enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years -- Facebook is now the world's fourth-most visited Web site -- some observers have questioned whether the sites can be effectively monetized.

Because the content on social media sites is created by users, and could therefore prove racy or offensive, some have questioned the willingness of marketers to place their brands alongside that content.

"They are sensitive to some extent, but nowhere near to the extent you might think," Sanford Bernstein analyst Jeff Lindsay said of advertisers.

The price of placing ads on social networking sites is significantly less than on a Web portal like Yahoo or AOL, said Lindsay. The vast amount of Web pages available on social networks means that advertisers can purchase a massive volume of ad impressions at bargain prices.

The strategy may not be ideally suited to smaller marketers, or advertisers seeking a direct response from their ads, said Lindsay.

"For big, national brands it works just fine, just like TV," said Lindsay. "It's a huge, huge volume game."

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic, editing by Matthew Lewis)

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

I am just a sucker for statistics! Checkout comScore, Inc. for more statistics including their press release on this story reported by Reuters.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Blogging: The Best SEO Tool for Small Businesses | Small Business Trends

Based on the follow Hub-Spot stats,

"Those who blog see:

55% more visitors to their website.

97% more links to their website which is a primary factor in where your website shows up in search results. (Want a higher ranking, get quality links to your site).

434% more indexed pages – this is the number of pages that show up in search engines. Just because you have a site doesn’t guarantee it is being indexed (findable). Just because some of your pages are in search engines doesn’t mean all of your pages are."

Janet Meiners Thaeler wrote an easy to read article on the potential return on investment from a blog for a small business.

I know from personal experience that having a blog can be very beneficial to a business or a cause and these statistics will help me better enlighten potential and existing clients on the benefits of blogging.

Additionally, like Janet I must agree that a business, cause or person must be suited for blogging for it to work. Nobody likes to go online looking for something and finding a bunch of stale, boring pages from people and companies jumping on the blog band wagon.

With that said, "Happy Blogging!"

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Friday, August 28, 2009

More marketers use social networking to reach customers

Marketers who closely follow social media can find some enticing statistics to justify their online strategies:

More than 10,000 websites use Facebook Connect, a service that lets Facebook users log in to affiliated sites using their Facebook account and share information from those sites with their Facebook friends.
About 30 million Facebook members access it through mobile devices.

Twitter users spend 66% more dollars on the Internet than non-Twitter users, says market researcher ComScore.

LinkedIn has more than 365,000 company profiles. More than 12 million small-business professionals are members of LinkedIn.

More than 1 million small businesses and individuals promote their goods and services on MySpace.

Smartphones power the trend
As smartphones such as iPhone and BlackBerry take off, more people are updating their Facebook and Twitter profiles while on the move.
Smartphone shipments are expected to surge to 164 million this year, up 13% from 2008, says market researcher Forward Concepts.
The mobile social-networking industry is expected to become a $3.3 billion market worldwide by 2013, ABI Research predicts.

By Jon Swartz

The article by Jon Swartz in USA Today is very well written and can be used to enlighten business owners, marketers, PRs and even your grandmother on the value of including social media in a PR and marketing campaign.

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