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...


Posted via web from Diane Stein's posterous

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."

Posted via web from Diane Stein's posterous

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.

Posted via web from Diane Stein's posterous

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.

Posted via web from Diane Stein's posterous

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

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

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.

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

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

Check out this website I found at

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

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.

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

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.

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

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."

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

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. :)

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

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!

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

Social media surging through county businesses | | The Tennessean

Social media surging through county businesses

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

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

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.

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

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.

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

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!"

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

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.

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Essential Plugins For Your Wordpress Blog | Small Business Trends

Wordpress pluginsOne of the reason so many bloggers flock to Wordpress has to do with the number of great plugins available to help them customize the experience for their readers. There are plugins to help make your blog more spiderable to the search engines, plugins that foster community building, those that make media integration and breeze and lots more.

Here are some of my personal favorite Wordpress plugins that I think bloggers and small business owners can benefit from.

Feel free to share some of your personal favorites below!


  • Akismet: If you’re using Wordpress, then you probably already know about Akismet. It does a pretty good job of detecting spam comments and holds them in a moderation cue for you to approve or delete on your own time. Also neat is that it’s designed to “learn” what is or is not spam based on what you’ve told it in the past. So, the more you use it, the more effective it becomes. Can’t ask for much more than that.

SEO/Techie Plugins

  • All-in-One SEO Pack – The Ultimate SEO Wordpress plugin, allowing you to easily set custom titles for posts, pages, categories, archives, tags and searches. You can also designate noindex for duplicate content areas like archives, tags and categories reducing potential canonical issues in the search engines.
  • Google XML Sitemaps –Creating an XML Sitemap can be very technical process, but with the Google XML Sitemaps plugin, you just activate it and customize the settings. Keep in mind that if you’ve signed up with Google Webmaster Central and Bing’s Webmaster Center tools, you can get notified of any crawl issues they’re experiencing.
  • Headspace2: Headspace makes tagging and managing your meta data much more streamlined. Once activated, you can use Headspace to “suggest” tags for a particular post, which are generated from the content of that post or through Yahoo suggestions (you decide). You can also mass edit meta data, as well.
  • Robots META: Use Robots META to prevent the search engines from indexing extraneous or duplicate content areas like your search results, feeds, login and admin pages, privacy pages, archives and more. You can also use this plugin to easily validate your account with Google Webmaster Central and Yahoo Site Explorer.
  • CformsII: Highly customizable form builder plugin that allows you to create custom contact forms for specific pages on your site. Setup auto-responders, tell-a-friend functionality, file attachments and comprehensive form tracking. It offers very simple customization and cloning.
  • WP Super Cache: Are you expecting a lot of people to visit your site? Use WP Super Cache to reduce potential problems with your host and survive a flood of traffic without the site going down! The plugin works by serving HTML versions of a page to visitors versus the heavier, PHP scripts. If you plan on being “social” this is a must-have.


  • All-in-One Video Pack – All-in-One Video Pack includes every functionality you might need for video and rich-media, including the ability to upload/ record/import videos directly to your post, edit and remix content with an online video editor, enable video responses, manage and track your video content, create playlists, etc.
  • Widget Locationize: Use Widget Locationize to define where your widgets should be displayed. Assign widgets by tag, category, single pages and exclusions of those.


  • WordPress Thread Comment: If your blog receives a lot of comments, it can be overwhelming for users to follow a conversation. With threaded comments, they can more easily see who responded to whom without having to sort through dozens of unrelated comments.
  • Comment Redirect: This plugin gives your first time visitors a unique experience by redirecting them to a page on your site (maybe a newsletter sign-up, upcoming events or even a custom page designed just for your first time visitors). Make them feel welcome and they’re more likely to visit in the future.
  • Sociable: Sociable is the power plugin for social media integration. Use it to add social buttons to the bottom of your posts making it easier for users to share or bookmark your content. Select which social networks your users are most likely to be a member of and embed it at the bottom of your posts or in the template of your site,
  • Related Posts: It’s important to cross-link related content on your site for both users and the search engines. Use related posts to generate a list of similar posts based on the content of that specific post. This will be automatically generated each time you publish a new post and you choose the number of posts to display.
  • Subscribe to Comments: Allows commenters on your blog to subscribe to comments via email so that they’re notified that the conversation is continuing.
  • What Would Seth Godin Do: Allows you to welcome new visitors to your site and encourage them to sign up for your RSS feed or newsletter. A nice way to personalize your site for new eyes. (One of my personal favorites for community building.)

There are a TON of great plugins for the WordPress platform, but these are some that I’ve found to be extremely valuable. Definitely check out the plugin directory for additional ones or share your own personal favs in the comments.

Email This Post

 Email This Post | Print This Post

 Print This Post | ShareThis

I started following Lisa Barone on social media this year and find her insights to be well very insightful.

This article is no exception. Lisa lists out some of her favorite plugins for Wordpress and does so in her usual clear cut fashion. Thanks Lisa!

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Who’s Driving Twitter’s Popularity? Not Teenagers

Kristen Nagy, an 18-year-old from Sparta, N.J., sends and receives 500 text messages a day. But she never uses Twitter, even though it publishes similar snippets of conversations and observations.

Skip to next paragraph

Tim Shaffer for The New York Times

Kristen Nagy, 18, sends many text messages, but never on Twitter.

Tim Shaffer for The New York Times

Teenagers, it seems, would rather chat with close friends than tweet to the masses.

Readers' Comments

“I just think it’s weird and I don’t feel like everyone needs to know what I’m doing every second of my life,” she said.

Her reluctance to use Twitter, a feeling shared by others in her age group, has not doomed the microblogging service. Just 11 percent of its users are aged 12 to 17, according to comScore. Instead, Twitter’s unparalleled explosion in popularity has been driven by a decidedly older group. That success has shattered a widely held belief that young people lead the way to popularizing innovations.

“The traditional early-adopter model would say that teenagers or college students are really important to adoption,” said Andrew Lipsman, director of industry analysis at comScore. Teenagers, after all, drove the early growth of the social networks Facebook, MySpace and Friendster.

Twitter, however, has proved that “a site can take off in a different demographic than you expect and become very popular,” he said. “Twitter is defying the traditional model.”

In fact, though teenagers fueled the early growth of social networks, today they account for 14 percent of MySpace’s users and only 9 percent of Facebook’s. As the Web grows up, so do its users, and for many analysts, Twitter’s success represents a new model for Internet success. The notion that children are essential to a new technology’s success has proved to be largely a myth.

Adults have driven the growth of many perennially popular Web services. YouTube attracted young adults and then senior citizens before teenagers piled on. Blogger’s early user base was adults and LinkedIn has built a successful social network with professionals as its target.

The same goes for gadgets. Though video games were originally marketed for children, Nintendo Wiis quickly found their way into nursing homes. Kindle from Amazon caught on first with adults and many gadgets, like iPhones and GPS devices, are largely adult-only.

Similarly, Twitter did not attract the young trendsetters at the outset. Its growth has instead come from adults who might not have used other social sites before Twitter, said Jeremiah Owyang, an industry analyst studying social media. “Adults are just catching up to what teens have been doing for years,” he said.

Many young people, who have used Facebook since they began using the Internet and for whom text messaging is their primary method of communication, say they simply do not have a need for Twitter.

Almost everyone under 35 uses social networks, but the growth of these networks over the last year has come from older adults, according to a report from Forrester Research issued Tuesday. Use of social networking by people aged 35 to 54 grew 60 percent in the last year.

Another reason that teenagers do not use Twitter may be that their lives tend to revolve around their friends. Though Twitter’s founders originally conceived of the site as a way to stay in touch with acquaintances, it turns out that it is better for broadcasting ideas or questions and answers to the outside world or for marketing a product. It is also useful for marketing the person doing the tweeting, a need few teenagers are attuned to.

“Many people use it for professional purposes — keeping connected with industry contacts and following news,” said Evan Williams, Twitter’s co-founder and chief executive. “Because it’s a one-to-many network and most of the content is public, it works for this better than a social network that’s optimized for friend communication.”

Wendy Grazier, a mother in Arkansas, said her two teenaged daughters thought Twitter was “lame,” yet they asked her to follow teenage pop stars like Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift on Twitter so she could report back on what the celebrities wrote. Why won’t they deign to do it themselves? “It seems more, like, professional, and not something that a teenager would do,” said 16-year-old Miranda Grazier. “I think I might join when I’m older.”

The public nature of Twitter is particularly sensitive for the under-18 set, whether because they want to hide what they are doing from their parents or, more often, because their parents restrict their interaction with strangers on the Web.

Georgia Marentis, a 14-year-old in Great Falls, Va., uses Facebook instead of Twitter because she can choose who sees her updates. “My parents wouldn’t want me to have everything going on in my life displayed for the entire world,” she said. (Of course, because of the public nature of social networks and the ease of creating a fake identity on the Web, even sites with more privacy settings have proved dangerous for young people in some cases.)

Many young people use the Web not to keep up with the issues of the day but to form and express their identities, said Andrea Forte, who studied how high school students use social media for her dissertation. (She will be an assistant professor at Drexel University in the spring.)

“Your identity on Twitter is more your ability to take an interesting conversational turn, throw an interesting bit of conversation out there. Your identity isn’t so much identified by the music you listen to and the quizzes you take,” as it is on Facebook, she said. She called Twitter “a comparatively adult kind of interaction.”

For Twitter’s future, young people’s ambivalence could be a good thing. Teenagers may be more comfortable using new technologies, but they are also notoriously fickle. Although they drove the growth of Friendster and MySpace, they then moved on from those sites to Facebook.

Perhaps Twitter’s experience will encourage Web start-ups to take a more realistic view of who uses the Web and go after a broader audience, Ms. Forte said. “Older populations are a smart thing to be thinking about, as opposed to eternally going after the 15- through 19-year-olds,” she said.

Sign in to Recommend Next Article in Technology (1 of 15) » A version of this article appeared in print on August 26, 2009, on page B1 of the New York edition.

This article does a god job of clarifying the evolution of social media and the demographics involved. Anyone who is attempting to harness the power of social media for business purposes needs to constantly work to stay abreast of the trends and articles like this by Tim Shaffer are quite helpful.

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Customer Service and Social Media: A Marriage Made in Heaven or Hell?

I just finished reading Frank Reed's article Social Media Gives Execs the Willies and was glad to see that more executives are seeing the value of social media in the area of customer service - 64% to be exact.

Today a customer can communicate their love or their hate for a company, service or product in the blink of an eye so today's business owners need to be prepared to respond just as fast.

For the company that can see the potential value of pro-actively establishing social media for customer service they may very well end up with a marriage made in heaven. For those that are continuing to stick their heads in the sand on the subject of user generated content well the future looks bleak. Mighty bleak.

Monday, August 24, 2009

How Did You Make Your Customers Feel?

In today's market place how you handle your customer is more important than ever. The five questions to ask yourself in this article are great and really make you think about how you handle a customer from the first moment to the last.

Posted via web from dianestein's posterous

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Twitter versus Hollywood: Social Media Can Make or Break a Movie

I love movies of all kinds - action, comedy, drama, suspense, chick flicks and even horror.  They provide a much needed escape into another world where I can laugh, cry and shout for joy.  Since I also love social media it was a no brainer that I would post what I thought about a movie the instant the credits rolled.  

Michael Sragow’s article in the Baltimore Sun this week on how movie studios are trying to gauge the impact of tweets was pretty interesting to me.  His article Twitter Effect rattle Hollywood was a good read.  

Posted via email from dianestein's posterous

Simple Things to Do When Your Online Image Stinks!

I have worked in the area of crisis management since 1989 so when I came across this article by Celine Rogue of course I had to take a minute and read it.  It was worth the minute.  This article Fix Your Track Record: What to Do About Embarrassing Projects from Your Past has great advice for anyone looking to improve their image online.

It is vital that businesses and individuals understand that with the introduction of the internet, and then social media, the rules of engagement have completely changed and you need to change with them.

Since 84% of people will search online before they try, buy, go see or do something it is imperative that people and companies take control of their online presence. 

So take a minute and read this article.

Posted via email from dianestein's posterous

Big Companies Making Big Money on Social Media

I just finished reading "Live From eTail: Dell Does $3 Million in Sales on Twitter" When asked the secret to their success Dell simply states that they use people on Twitter who are not corporate figures but who are real people and that they post as themselves. I would have to agree that this simple plan is a good one since it follows the basic underlying principle of social media - it is social!

Posted via email from dianestein's posterous

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why the "Name Random Thoughts..."?

I guess the answer is that I like a lot things, some of them more than others, and I like to share them with, well, everyone. So when I started blogging I would try to stick to one subject but I found it to be very, very hard so I created Random Thoughts. RT, for short, is a simple blog about social media, online PR, public relations and a collection of stuff that I just think is fun!

 I hope you enjoy...

Posted via email from dianestein's posterous

Switching to Posterous or Am I?

So I have decided, on a whim, to try out Posterous

I was reading "The New Influencers" by Paul Gillin(again) and came across Steve Rubel's name (again) and decided to pop online to see what he was doing today. When I Googled him I found him on Posterous and after a quick spin around I decided that I would switch over to see how it handles and if I like it or not.

If I like it then I will permanently switch over - if not then Random Thoughts will remain on Blogger.

Posted via email from dianestein's posterous

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Business Mistakes in Social Media

I just finished reading an article in the Houston Chronicle by Mary Tuma called "Companies in new age of networking". The article is an interview with the president of the International Association of Business Communicators, Julie Freeman. This article and the interview gave very safe suggestions for businesses looking to add social media to their PR and marketing campaigns. However, the reason I am linking this article to my blog is the comments that were posted in response to the story. While there were only three comments they are very vocal opinions on the potential commercialization of social media.

goofyguy77 wrote, "I sense a corporate 'follow the leader' frenzy here that will blow out in a few months when the failure of these schemes becomes way to obvious to spin anymore (and some ad budgets run dry)"

As someone who works with business owners looking to engage in social media, I am consistently disappointed to find shell profiles, boring blogs and pointless status updates. These are the most common business mistakes in social media.

If business owners took a moment to understand what social media is all about and how it can be used to engage their target public then they would find themselves participating in a means of communication that is both powerful and rewarding.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Top 20 Business Reasons To Use Social Media Marketing

I just finished reading The Top 20 Business Reasons To Use Social Media Marketing by David Carelton. This article does indeed list 20 reasons for businesses to use social media marketing and all of them are great reasons. So great that I am listing them out here:

The Top 20 Business Reasons to Use Social Media Marketing

Improve customer and prospect relationships

Conduct inexpensive yet effective market research

Build brand awareness, authority and credibility

Drive traffic to your website

Ability to obtain insight into targeted niche markets

Find new distribution channels

Improve search engine rankings through link building

Find and research targeted decision makers, prospects, customers and contacts

Monitor reputation - what are people saying about you or your company

Attain expert status for you, your company or your brand

An effective form of communicating with past, present and future clients

Share information used to educate prospects

Spy on your competition

Provides increased visibility for you, your products or your brand

Generate more leads

Get more referrals

Find joint venture partners

A new vehicle to post PR, events and articles

Provide better customer service

And of course - INCREASE SALES!

More importantly however, this article stresses a very vital component to using social media successfully and that component is simply that the skill set used in traditional marketing is not the same skill set used in social media marketing. In order to succeed in today's market place PRs and marketers are going to have to constantly strive to stay on top on the many new tools available to them AND learn how each of these tools can be used to obtain the products that they used to obtain through traditional channels.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Using Video in PR Campaigns

With YouTube touted as the #2 search engine behind Google, video content is already an important part of any comprehensive PR and marketing campaign.

I just finished reading Online Video: Why We Advertisers Have It All Wrong and the author, Kevin J. Nalty lists out some very valid points on using videos. Whether you are interested in using video for branding or simply want to know what mistakes to avoid, this article is a good read for both the beginner and the person who has already cannon balled into the deep end of the pool.

The ways in which video can be used to make a person, business or product well known and well thought of are varied and numerous, but in order to be as effective and efficient as possible in a world of ever shrinking PR and marketing budgets it is a must that you understand how to use this tool to create the biggest effect possible.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

How to Create a Winning PR Campaign

I love public relations. I consider it to be a scientific art form because it is both a precise technology with definite laws and specific results as well as a means of communicating ideas, beliefs and feelings as if it were a fine painting or a beautiful concerto.

A professional well trained in the tools of PR can weave a tapestry of such fine and delicate communication that the fate of a person, a group or a nation can be changed for the better.

So why do some people smirk when PR is mentioned as if it leaves a bad taste in their mouths?

My guess is that at some point in their life they were the victim of or witness to the misuse of the technology of public relations. PR is essentially communication. The communication is delivered through a vast array of tools. These tools include the old standbys or press releases and events as well as the new Internet darlings such as social media, Twitter, Facebook and countless others. However in order to truly communicate the message must be based on fact.

A fundamental law in PR is that what is communicated must be true. Now that I have the Internet to get out my client’s messages I am even more aware of the need for campaigns to be based on accurate and factual information. Campaigns based on fact win and those that don’t leave a lot of people smirking.

So before you send out the next press release, Twitter the next tweet or simply update a status on Facebook, remember that you have one chance to create a true work of art.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Quick Tips for Effective Search Engine Marketing

First, Google is the top search engine by far and controls over 70% of the Internet market. The second largest search engine behind Google is Youtube and 1 in 5 searches currently being done are for images. Youtube and image entries are also now showing up in straight Google searches so they are key to page ranking. The Internet is a fast paced and ever changing world so you must stay on top of the latest trends in order to put together a campaign that gets good results quickly and efficiently. To do otherwise can mean a lot of wasted time and effort.

Second, the Internet is becoming more and more important to a business. Currently, over 70% of American adults are online and when they want to know something 80% of them go to the Internet BEFORE they buy, try, go to, etc. With that said the average person never even makes it off the first page of a search and unless you are in the top five entries you may very well miss out. This is one reason why your online reputation must be constantly tracked to ensure that what is being said about you and your business is what you want your target audience to know.

Finally, it is imperative that you have a complete PR and marketing campaign laid out before you start. This is the biggest mistake I see made on any attempt to raise page ranking or handle online reputation issues. Without a campaign you are simply engaged in a hit or miss game of creating endless profiles, joining countless networks, groups and directories and keeping your fingers crossed that what you have done will keep you ranked highly on the search engines.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why You Need an Online PR and Marketing Campaign

I was talking with a potential client the other day about the use of online PR, social media branding and search engine marketing for a business and she was quick to pipe in that she had just hired someone to handle this for her company. She hired a freelancer and gladly told me that she was very happy with the results as she had moved up on a page on a Yahoo search but since she did not really understand the use of the Internet in PR, marketing and branding that was all she could tell me. I was confused and told her so as prior to this conversation I had done a search engine marketing analysis on her and her business and found that the only entries I could easily find for her were negative. She assured me that I needed to look again as that had changed. Afterwards I popped online and did a quick search for her and her company. The results were bad, really bad. Not only is she and her company still hard to find, especially on Google, but the reputation damaging entries are still scattered across the first page of Google, Yahoo and MSN. The person she hired to build her brand online is not getting the job done and she did not even know it – in fact she thought he was doing a good job.

How did this happen? Usually this happens because a business owner tries to handle the online PR, marketing and branding themselves by joining every social media and networking site they can find. Simply joining Facebook, Myspace or one of the numerous other sites does not in itself guarantee any page rank results as that is not what they are designed to do. They are a great vehicle for capturing and cultivating an audience that you can share ideas with and promote to and used correctly this can increase website traffic.

I suspect though that this happened to the business owner because the professional she hired did not have a campaign. Instead this person seemed to operate on a shotgun approach of joining and linking to as many online groups and social media networking sites as possible knowing that some change had to eventually occur for the better.

Without a well planned PR and marketing campaign even a professional can come up short in the results department.

A true campaign must take into consideration the target public for what is being promoted, where this public hangs out online, the best online tools for use and must know which social media, online networking, blogs, newsgroups, etc. get the best result for the campaign being created. The person putting together the campaign must be well versed in both the standard tools of PR and marketing as well as the Internet itself and how it works. This is what an online PR and marketing specialist brings to the table – the knowledge to take all of these tools and put them together in a campaign that gets results. And that is why you need an online PR and marketing campaign – to ensure you get results.