New Horizons 123

has been moved to new address

Sorry for inconvenience...

Small Business Internet Marketing: December 2009

This page has moved to a new address.

Small Business Internet Marketing

Small Business Internet Marketing: December 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Social Media Marketing: A Necessity or a Necessary Evil?

To use social media marketing (SMM) or not, that is the question. But what is the answer? This is a hot topic these days. There is definitely validity to all the arguments for and against using social media marketing. Some arguments against SMM are:

• Social media doesn’t sell
• Social media is all hype
• The ROI on social media marketing can take months
• ROI is impossible to determine
• Social media doesn’t generate profit
• No one is searching for a product or service on social sites like Facebook
• It is very difficult to monetize social media
• Social media marketing can be unpredictable
• SMM takes up too much time
• It is too easy to become addicted and wastes time
• Much of the information is duplicated
• Most social media marketing does not lead directly to sales

Some pro-social media points are:

• Social media isn’t supposed to sell, it is supposed to influence
• SMM increases your brand and product visibility
• Social media marketing increases website traffic
• Social media is about conversations, not conversions
• Social media marketing is about marketing – not selling
• Social media is a relationship building function, not a PPC program.
• Social media monitoring can enable companies to identify potential crisis situations and respond   appropriately
• Social networking is both free and entertaining
• Social media marketing is cost-effective
• Social marketing compliments other marketing efforts
• SMM gets the message out faster to a huge audience

The answer lies in ones' understanding of what social media marketing actually is. "Social" means a "friendly gathering," "media" means "a form of communication," and "marketing" means "an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer."

As a phrase and in context, social media marketing can be explained as an online gathering (or platform) for communications that are part of a process designed to move goods from producer to consumer. The problem some people have with social media marketing is in their understanding of what it is supposed to do. Would you hire a plumber to paint your house? I doubt it. But you might ask your plumber to recommend a good painter, especially if the plumber has a good reputation and you trust his or her opinion. This is an example of offline social networking.

Anyone who expects to engage in social media marketing and see an immediate, direct impact on their bottom line sales will be in for a disappointment. A tweet will not make your phone ring, make a customer walk through your door, or fill out an order form on your website (of course, there are those lucky ones who might have this happen, but it is not the norm). If someone becomes a fan of your business fan page on Facebook today, it doesn’t mean they are going to buy your product or service tomorrow. Having a website doesn’t mean people will automatically visit it.

The key is in the understanding and analysis of your specific needs, your available resources, and your overall marketing strategy. There is no doubt that social media marketing has merit. This is one situation where it would benefit a business owner to engage in some aspect of social media marketing because "everyone else is." If your competitor is maintaining an online presence and you are not, you lose. However, how much merit and how much time you are willing and able to commit depends entirely on what works best for each business owner.

It is important to manage your understanding and expectations of social media marketing. Determine what your available resources are, which marketing methods are currently working and which aren’t (this includes traditional offline marketing), investigate where your competitors are hanging out online and join them, and develop an overall marketing strategy that integrates the most effective initiatives for your particular niche and situation. People have a tendency to lean towards all or nothing. In the case of social media marketing, it is most definitely advantageous to find that middle ground.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Top 25 Article Directories and Free Content Sites Ranked by Alexa and PageRank

Top 25 Article Directories and Free Content Sites Ranked by Alexa and PageRank

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

What Does Google Social Search Want to Find

What Does Google Social Search Want to Find

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Interview with Julie Weishaar [jweishaar] on Whohub

Interview with Julie Weishaar [jweishaar] on Whohub


Monday, December 21, 2009

The fastest way to get indexed in search Engines – Within 24 hrs !

The fastest way to get indexed in search Engines – Within 24 hrs !

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Internet Marketing? Is it Right for My Business?

If it feels like your online business is lagging in last year’s dust, keep in mind that it’s normal to fall behind in the race. With all this talk about Facebook, Twitter and the plethora of other Social Media Marketing tools it sure is easy to be confused if not down right overwhelmed. However, it’s absolutely possible and critical to pick up the pace of your marketing strategies and increase your chances of of bringing in new business with Internet Marketing. Read full article here.

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How Brent D Payne increased Tribune sites’ monthly visits by a cool 20 million

by Rachelle Money, 27 August 2009

Brent D Payne, as the Tribune Company’s in-house Director of Search Engine Optimization (and bald SEO legend), has managed a 20 million increase in monthly visits to its websites, including the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times. Payne tells Rachelle Money how these spectacular results have been achieved, including using keyword research to help give readers “the news we know they want”. Read full story here.

Labels: ,

WordStream Launches Two Free Niche Marketing Tools for SEO and PPC

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - 12/16/09) - WordStream, Inc., a provider of keyword tools for pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts involving large numbers of keywords, today launched a pair of tools designed to help businesses identify and optimize highly profitable keyword niches.

WordStream's new tools, The Keyword Niche Finder and The Free Keyword Grouper, are designed to help businesses and marketers solve specific problems. Read full article here.

Labels: ,

Study: Social Media Usage In The Inc. 500

"Now that the year’s coming to a close, it’s time to look back and identify the tools, trends and social media sites that hit it big with businesses over the past year. With that in mind, the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth recently conducted an in-depth study to analyze the usage of social media in fast-growing corporations (PDF). The study compared 3 years of social media adoption (2006-2009) by the fastest-growing private companies in the US, as compiled by Inc. Magazine." Read full article here.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

SEO Vs. SMO: Which Is More Important?

Part of Caroline Melberg's marketing strategies Small Business Internet Marketing

You’re a small business owner trying to build yourself an internet presence. Should you focus on SEO or social media? Which is more important?

Well, first, you need to understand the benefits of each. SEO – search engine optimization – offers you free search engine marketing. Today, still today, the search engines are the No. 1 source of website traffic so it’s difficult to ignore them. If you don’t do any SEO on your website then you are going to have a difficult time attracting visitors and converting them to customers. Read full post here.

Labels: , , ,

SEO and social media 'beat banner ads'

30/11/2009 Social media and search engine tactics are better at engaging customers than banner advertising, experts have advised (Andy Carter)

Engaging potential customers through social networking sites is far more effective than simply waiting for them to click through on a banner advertisement, it has been claimed.

Citing the results of several recent studies, PR agency Punch Communications has concluded that online marketers are now broadening their efforts as traditional click through advertising becomes less effective.

In particular, the more savvy online companies are making use of the potential of social networking sites to both improve customer relations and to provide consumers with relevant information they may be interested in and which may boost sales. Read full article here.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Website Visibility can be achieved via a number of Internet Marketing Strategies

A list detailing the most effective online PR strategies for the past year has been revealed by an American company, with social media and organic search engine optimisation (SEO) ranking at the top.

'' found that the growth of social media has been strong over the course of the year and returns are beginning to be seen on campaigns that have been conducted over pages similar to Twitter and Facebook, such as the viral message set forth by Ikea on the latter, 'Direct Traffic Media' reports.

This may be down to the fact that such strategies are cheap to produce and use online communities to promote merchandise on behalf of brands.

Read full article here.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Twitter Comic Strips

Twitter comic strips that will definitely make your day a better one.

Most of them have depicted Twitter and our everyday lifestyle pretty well!

Catch them here.


Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blogging: “Are you Human”?

I am all for advanced technology when it helps to enrich our lives or make some tasks easier. However, when this same technology starts to replace humans, I think it has gone a bit too far. As an Internet Marketing Consultant, I obviously spend a lot to time on the Internet and spend way too much time having to “prove” that I am a “human”. Is it just me or do others find this a bit odd? With the use of Captcha’s on so many blogging sites, bookmarking sites, etc. I find myself wondering why and when being “human” became something we had to offer proof for.

A Captcha is defined as “a type of challenge-response test used in computing to ensure that the response is not generated by a computer”. In other words, unless we can prove otherwise, we are assumed to NOT be human. This is a rather peculiar twist on the “innocent until proven guilty” premise. The phrase “challenge-response test” in the definition of a Captcha is in many cases, extremely accurate. However, when the “test question” is a simple addition problem such as “what is 1 + 1”, I have no problem passing and have a bit of resentment that this type of question is referred to as a “challenge”. Granted, many of us have lost our ability to do simple math because of the calculator, but “1 + 1”? Even the mathematically-challenged adult can handle that one. But then there are those Captcha’s that cannot possibly be interpreted by a “human”. It sometimes takes me upwards of 5 tries before a non-human presents me with a Captcha I can still barely identify.

This brings me to the new concept in Internet Marketing called “auto blogging” ( This is a neat concept that makes it possible for bloggers to blog automatically. In other words, there is no need for a human to sort through the vast amount of information on the Internet that bombards us on a daily basis. There is a program that can do that for us. Personally, I don’t subscribe to this kind of system because I like to assure that the content on my blog is valuable and also like to know what I am posting. But I would like to thank those Internet Marketing Professional bloggers who do use automatic blogging and posted my press release announcing the launching of my new Internet Marketing website on their blog site. I can’t help but wonder if a “human” would intentionally post the announcement of a competitor’s website.

Labels: , ,

Keywords Basics: What are they and what do I do with them?

You’ll hear the term “keywords” used a lot on this site. If you don’t understand the meaning then you could spend a lot of time feeling like you’ve missed something important.

Because your keywords are the basis of everything you’ll do online.

This part is worth repeating: Your keywords are the basis of everything you’ll do online. Once you know what keywords bring you the most (and best) site visitors, you’ll create ads around those keywords, send out emails on topics related to those keywords, write blog posts and articles that discuss those keywords, and create videos, special reports, and books centered around those keywords.

Quite simply, they are the words that describe your web site so customers can find you. To put it another way, key words are the words that your potential customers would use to describe what they need from you.

Read full blog post here.


Labels: , ,

10 Ways Blogging Will Simplify Your Marketing Program (Guest Post)

"When marketers and small business owners consider blogging, they typically worry about added complexity. For a small team already managing many different channels and campaigns, content development can be a daunting undertaking." Read full blog here.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 14, 2009

Introduction to Online Branding

"It’s now recognized that online branding is more than banners ads to raise awareness. As marketers looks for ways to stretch advertising dollars, the web has become mainstream for branding online, but with little information on just how create an Internet branding strategy, this post hopefully provides its readers a place to start for the vast opportunities of online branding. Read full article here.

Labels: ,

Increase Website Traffic in Plain English

"Increase Website Traffic through Search Engines. Millions of people use search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN to find information, products, and services. Somebody right now is searching for what you offer and, if you know how, you can get your site to pop up at the top of the list of web sites they find.

It doesn’t have to be technical…

Here’s how to get to the top of the search engines (in very non-geek terms)."

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Sony played this at their executive meeting. It is amazing...!

Watch it here.

Labels: ,

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Creating Your Social Media Plan

Great article by Lisa Barone, the Chief Branding Officer of Outspoken Media.  The first sentence says it all: "If you enter into social media without a plan, you will fail. Period.".  Read full article here.

Labels: ,

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Butterfly Effect

You might be wondering what on earth this has to do with Internet Marketing? Well, it epitomizes the chain effect of social media marketing. And, in and of itself, the "Butterfly Effect" is interesting and motivational. If you haven't seen the 2004 movie called "The Butterfly Effect" with Ashton Kutcher, I highly recommend it.  But, stay away from the sequel :)

Check it out here. Check out another version of "The Butterfly Effect" here with an excerpt from Andy Andrews motivational speech. Enjoy!.

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Local Small Businesses and Social Media Marketing

Liana Evan in her post, points to the fact that social media marketing might even be considered more advantageous to small businesses than larger ones.  The reason for this is that social networking is no different than face-to-face networking from the traditional marketing realm, except that it is done on the Internet.  For small, local businesses, it is highly likely that some of the people you market to socially are also people you have met or will meet in person.  Read full article here.

Labels: , , ,

What to Ask Your Public Relations Agency About Social Media?

A very thought-provoking post by Social Media Explorer prompted an interesting discussion yesterday about social media and public relations agencies. An executive from Chicago sought me out to ask, “When I submit social media RFPs to PR agencies, how can I tell if they actually know what they’re doing?” As Facebook reaches new heights and Twitter continues to see explosive growth, reputable PR agencies are increasingly stepping into the social media game. Of course, there are no college degrees offered in social media, there are no certification programs, and the field is evolving at such a rapid rate that it’s very hard for anybody to keep up with it all, let alone be able to competently test other people on their social media skills. In the last month, employees of at least two different PR agencies candidly admitted to me that their social media capabilities were not what they needed to be. At the same time, you have thousands of people claiming to be “social media experts.” (DISCLAIMER: I, too, am a self-proclaimed “social media expert.”) So what you’re left with is a lot of reputable PR agencies with track records – that are not in social media – and a lot of free-floating social media experts with knowledge but no track record. How do we separate the wheat from the chaff.  Read full article here.

Labels: , ,

T.M.I. (Too Much Information.)

Lindsay Berger wrote about what is common sense to some, but unfortunately, not to many, in a well-written, witty post.

"I’m just going to come straight out and say it: social media is good for business. It’s a chance to connect, develop and nurture relationships, cultivate “expert status,” and grow a successful enterprise.

There’s just one [HUGE] problem. Propriety has been thrown out the window." Read full article here.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

10 Most Viral Videos For November 2009 Get Feed

"This month’s collection, as always, is awesome and provides marketers and entrepreneurs ideas to maximize their social media campaigns."

The power of video in marketing.  Click here.

Labels: ,

Blogging: Why Aren’t They Playing in My Sandbox?

We have all heard the hoopla around the value of writing a blog for our business. Blogs create a focal point in a community of potential customers, provide a hub for social networking, invite participation and interaction, build relationships, help increase SEO, boost traffic to your blog site (and web site) and help establish you and your company as an industry expert.

So you decide you will jump on the bandwagon and start writing a blog. You take great pains in creating interesting and valuable content but you can’t understand why no one is visiting your blog. Why? The answer is simple. In order for someone to visit your blog, they first have to know it is there.

Do you know how large the internet is? I read somewhere that it would take 57,000 years to read the entire internet. Certainly more time than I have. Now picture your blog in such an immense arena. How can you expect someone to find you? Well, that is where social media marketing comes into play.

There are many ways to drive traffic to your blog but the first and foremost step is to visit and comment on others’ blogs. If you play in their sandbox first and make relevant and constructive comments, eventually they will come and play in your sandbox.

The “eventually” part is the stickler here. Society today doesn’t like that word. The concept of delayed gratification is not universally accepted or held in high regard by most. We don’t like to wait. We want things now!

• Gone are the days of going to the music store, sifting through the various music selections on whatever media was relevant at the time. Why should anyone have to wait? They can download any music they want immediately from various different Internet music sites – some even for free.

• Cell phones are no longer just for talking. You can play games, surf the net, take pictures, record videos, etc. and most cell phones have literally become an extension of our bodies. Teenagers have become incredibly adept at carrying on a conversation with many people at the same time and have become extremely proficient typists as they text faster than I can even see the letters on my cell phone.

• There are gadgets that can record your favorite TV program from anywhere when you forget to set up the recording before you leave the house.

• How about those “smart houses” that have highly advanced automatic systems for lighting, temperature control, multi-media, security, window and door operations, and many other functions?

• A New Digital Storefront Partnership was recently announced as a consortium of publishers including Time Inc., Hearst, Condé Nast, Meredith, and News Corp. The group is being overseen by Time Inc. executive vice president John Squires who said “The lesson that we've taken from smartphones—the iPhones in particular—is users want to read in digital form."  (

It is amazing what society can do these days at the touch of a button or the flick of a switch. So why does social media marketing, including blogging, take so long to see results? First of all, it doesn’t have to take as long as one might think if carried out correctly. If you focus your energies in your industry niche, are proactive as well as reactive, and if you are consistent with your efforts, it will take you less time than someone who doesn’t apply the aforementioned tactics.

But, even if you do everything right, seeing results will still take more time than it takes to flick a switch. Why? Because blogging and other social marketing techniques are about relationships and building relationships takes time no matter how you slice it. Would you agree to marry someone you met for the first time? I doubt it. You would want to get to know them through many interactions, learn about who they are, what they do, see if you share the same values, decide if you trust them or not, see if you have anything in common with them, determine if your needs match theirs, etc. The same principle applies to blogging. You have to earn your reputation, play in others’ sandboxes, provide helpful, relevant content and develop relationships in order to see a return on the investment of your time.

Facts, Do’s and Don’ts of Blogging


1) Blogs are active while websites are passive

2) Blogs are a powerful medium that tap into the power of social media

3) Blogs allow us to reach our targeted marketing niche

4) Blog are akin to meeting others for a cup of coffee to exchange ideas

5) Blogs are now the most trusted media source for useful information according to a Blogads survey of over 35,000 readers. Value was compared against newspaper, radio, television, direct mail and magazines. It is estimated that in the US 27% of the people read blogs on a regular basis. (

6) Blogging has potential access to a large audience

7) Blogs provide instantaneous updates via RSS feeds

8) Blogs encourage participation and interaction

9) Blogs offer the opportunity for bloggers to respond to negative comments or concerns of customers and/or potential customers in a controlled environment.

10) Blogs are far more cost effective than most traditional marketing campaigns like direct mailers


1) Encourage contribution rather than just comments like “nice article”

2) Humanize your blog. Make it personality-driven. Use your own voice and your own style; show the person behind the posts

3) Use your blog to improve your customer service. Listen to what your customers and potential customers are saying and asking. Remember, it is their needs that you need to focus on. It is their perception of you and your company that matters which might not necessarily be the same message you think you think are you relaying

4) Provide valuable content to your target market.

5) Write posts that improve your reputation, give you credibility, and prove you are an expert in your industry

6) Drive traffic to your website: you should have a link to your website and can also offer special deals or discount programs using a link back to your website. Of course, using effective keywords in your blog posts and your website will improve search engine rankings for both sites.

7) Be sure to post relevant and timely information on your blog to keep your visitors interested enough to come back and to build a following of loyal readers

8) Consistently and regularly create new posts

9) Be honest and straightforward in responses to comments. Remember, it is literally your reputation on the line


1) Don’t preach about how wonderful your product or service is or use your blog for self/company promotion only. This is a great way to turn your readers and potential customers away from your blog

2) Don’t rely solely on blogging in your marketing efforts. Be sure to use an integrated approach including other Internet/social techniques as well as traditional marketing initiatives such as attending trade shows and other industry events.

3) Don’t write posts just for the sake of writing. Be sure you have something relevant, interesting and/or important to write about. Content is king!

4) Don’t only respond to positive comments. Read, listen, and understand the negative comments as well. Respond in a respectful manner with facts and substance to support your response.

5) Don’t publish someone else’s work and call it your own. If you find a post you would like to share with your audience, be sure to give the credit where it is due – to the writer of the blog post.

6) Don’t make commenting a difficult task

7) Don’t not answer the comments on your blog

8) Underestimate the time you will need to dedicate to your blog; don’t expect too much too soon

9) Don’t forget about the relationship you are establishing with your readers

10) Don’t treat your blog like a press center

11) Don’t blog about something you don’t know anything about

12) Don’t take comments personally, get insulted and post your retorts in a nasty tone

Happy blogging!

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The top 3 reasons small businesses shouldn't use social media for marketing

This blog post by Teicko Huber is a a great read - pointing out the obvious with supported by facts with a twist of humor. Read and watch it here.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Social Media Marketing: Top Ten Mistakes Companies are Making!

Social Media Marketing: Top Ten Mistakes Companies are Making!

Labels: , ,

Keeping up with Technology

Below is a witty story written by someone very close to me - that would be my dad - about trying to keep up with technology. Very appropriate as it relates to newbies in the Internet/social media marketing arena. Enjoy!

By David L. Sahud

Our friends and family called us pioneers because we bit the bullet and bought the first TV set just in time for the first Louis/Walcott fight in 1947. It was a massive three foot high Philco console with a barely detectable ten inch viewing surface, centered, and about five inches from the top. It looked like a postage stamp pasted on the Great Wall of China. The instruction book, written in hieroglyphics, was particularly intimidating because no one in the family believed that pictures could fly through the air. It took a long time for us to accept the miracle of travelling sound waves, but this was too much to swallow.

The mystery box only had three knobs, ON/OFF/VOLUME, CHANNEL SELECTION and PICTURE ADJUSTMENT. There were two expandable metal rods aligned in the shape of a V, which could be widened and swivelled, known as a “Rabbit-ears antenna.” It sat on top of the console and bore no resemblance to the ears of a rabbit, unless the rabbit had auditory nerves in the center of his head. The first two knobs were self-evident, but the last one, in conjunction with the antenna, showed an infinite number of variations which didn’t seem to be reproducible. To maximize clarity, one had to match the 10,000 or more antenna positions with a numberless knob setting. I was able to maximize Channel 5 clarity by holding the antenna at a 24 degree angle, while dangling my left leg at 47 degrees over the right armrest of the couch, unless it was raining. In that case, if I turned the knob one turn to the right and straddled the left side of the easy chair, the picture improved, on Thursdays only. By the time I optimized Channel 5, the program was over. However I did enjoy the midnight prayer.

And dear old Grandma, who was too petrified to touch a knob or the antenna, spent most of her time watching test patterns. When not watching test patterns, she loved seeing Bishop Fulton J. Sheen because he wore a yarmulke and she didn’t understand English very well,

Though still in denial of flying pictures, electronic innovations came at me too fast to absorb. I now learned that these non-existent pictures could also be recorded on a piece of plastic. So I ventured into the world of VCRs. Unfortunately having never even trusted my alarm clock, I forced myself to watch every taping. The machine had a sneaky look on its face and could not be trusted when I turned my back. So now I have a massive collection of operas, ballets, shows and videotapes which I don’t watch any more. And all it cost me was an angry wife, kids who grew up without a father and friends who gave up on me. Now of course tapes are becoming obsolete and they have been replaced by men’s underwear- DVDs.

Another inkling that the world was passing me by came with my introduction to computers. I knew that the abacus was born over 2000 years ago. But I still couldn’t fathom how a bamboo frame with beads sliding on wires could solve arithmetic problems. It seemed more appropriate to play music on it. I had seen similar structures on baby cribs and didn’t know how to use them either.

Thus, bursting with ignorance, I stumbled on to an industrial computer which used 10,000 vacuum tubes, 1800 square feet of floor space and consumed 180,000 watts of electrical power. It seemed even more intimidating than the crib, but I studied it with uncharacteristic patience. Had I had a choice, I would have preferred hearing lectures in baby talk instead of “computer speak.” They explained that the monster had punch card 1/0, 1 multiplier, 1 divider/square rooter and 20 adders using decimal ring counters. I found no room for disagreement, although I would have loved to disembowel the instructor

I tried to look intelligent and didn’t express my opinion that the computer would make a good center island for an oval running track. Reading the brochure introduced even more confusing terms to add to my useless collection. Actually my only previous exposure to punch cards was on a weaving loom. I waited for hours hoping that a blue worsted fabric would emerge from the other end of the ENIAC.

The evolution progressed to Random Access Memory (or RAM), Magnetic Core (hence the company name “Apple”) Memory and the Transistor Circuit Element. This increased the RAM capacities from 8,000 to 64,000 words (damn my limited vocabulary!) with access times of 2 to 3 milliseconds. (I’m retired. What’s my hurry? My sight is so bad that I can’t even read the millisecond hand on my watch). Downsizing of circuitry, photo printing of circuit boards and vacuum deposition of transistors became the norm and entire assemblies became available on tiny “Chips.” What the hell is a chip? I only know them as bone fragments, poker equipment, pieces of chocolate, etc.etc. and never associated any of them with information storage. Yet, by some miracle, this led to the introduction of personal computers (PCs).

I stoically avoided PCs for many years, until my employer provided me with a laptop and commanded me to use it. I initially felt like Grandma, only I stared at a monitor with funny looking little icons instead of test patterns, afraid to touch the keyboard. I was told that my unit could process about four million instructions per second. Panic attacks betrayed my inability to issue more than 300,000 instructions per second, despite my superior leadership skills. While I dawdled in panic, advances like networking, E mail and electronic publishing shot past me. When I succumbed to pressures and tried word processing, my first epic was WWWWWWWWWWW 197 times. I guess I held the key down too long. My old Remington typewriter never abused me like that.

But I am learning. After chasing the mouse all over the walls, I almost have it under control. All I have to do is hold my right hand steady with a C clamp. I understand that my computer “talks” to my printer on my request. I never hear the conversation, but they tell me it takes place. I wonder what would happen if the printer refused the instruction and told the computer to shove it up its telephone jack. Would the screen now be littered with invectives? I would gladly picket for the first amendment rights of the printer to speak its mind. My latest foray into the world of technology involves the cell phone. How complex could a telephone be? You just punch out the number you want. But no; we also have call waiting, caller ID, address book, rings that play Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C Sharp Minor, timers and screens that tell us we are “roaming,” when we know exactly where we are. It gets even more threatening with the advent of picture phones, etc.etc. You can be awakened with a picture of your Mother-in-law, pants pressed, your coffee ready, your shower started and your car waiting in front of the house. As soon as computer science learns to perform a few more human tasks, I expect to be arrested for bigamy. Emotions will probably become programmable, but the thought of a passionate hunk of metal licking my ear turns me off.

Scientists say that I am 63% water and the balance of subatomic particles like electrons, protons and neutrons. Since we know that electrons do most of the work, why are my electrons so hostile to electrons in the new technologies? Why can’t we electrons just get along?

copyright 2009

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 4, 2009

21 Chicago Small to Medium Sized Businesses That Are Effectively Using Social Media

Written by The Ocean Agency

It is pretty clear that social media works for big brands. Just to name a few, we all admire the utilization of SM by Southwest, Jet Blue, Comcast, and Dell among a myriad of others.

But what about smaller companies? What about small and medium sized businesses that don’t have the brand awareness of a large corporation? Does it work for them?

I spend a lot of time convincing businesses that social media marketing is real and here to stay. But I’m pretty sure you all wouldn’t appreciate a sales pitch in a blog post, so instead I’m going to give 21 examples of small to medium sized Chicago businesses that are using social media effectively. Read full post here.

Labels: , , , ,

Social Media ROI?

Take a look at this incredibly information and witty commentary on Social Media by Chris Voss. Enjoy it here.

Labels: ,

The Importance of Branding in the Digital Age

Many believe that brands will become less important as digital technology marches onward. They will surely be disappointed.
In fact, it is likely that branding will become more important in the digital age. With more media and more brands, consumers have to more to filter out. In order to cut through the clutter, marketers will have to work harder to build brands that inspire loyalty. Read full post here.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Spin Your Social Media Marketing Flywheel

By Thomas M. Schmitz on December 2, 2009 4:57 PM

I’m going to tell you a secret that people in social media marketing and social media optimization don’t like to talk about. Fame begets fame. If you’re a celebrity or popular brand then social media will be particularly easy for you.

For those of us who are celebrities only in our own minds, you and I will have to work a bit harder to succeed with all this social media stuff. That’s okay. Social media marketing is eminently doable. You just have to smash a few popular preconceptions then roll-up your sleeves.

Social media is not new. Facebook and Twitter opened to public registrations in 2006. StumbleUpon was created in 2001, MySpace in 2003, Digg in 2004.

It’s not too late either. People, brands and companies that nobody ever heard of are making names for themselves all the time. Social media marketing and social media optimization are about creating original, compelling and link-bait worthy content and about networking with others. If you can do that you can become an Internet success story. Read full article here.

Labels: , , ,

Tell Me Again Why I Should Use Social Media Marketing?

Everyone is familiar with the term “branding” but it has different meanings to different people. From a consumer prospective, the term branding brings to mind companies like Nike, Apple, Google and Xerox. Google and Xerox have even become verbs – now this is taking the concept of branding to the nth degree! Naturally, we can’t all be giants like Google and Xerox, but we can apply the same branding concepts in a much smaller niche.

Branding is defined as “a distinguishing name and/or symbol intended to identify a product or producer”. What this means from a marketing perspective is, what is it about your product or service that makes you stand out from the crowd? The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines branding as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers”. “Differentiate” and “distinguish” are the keys here.

In order to be successful in branding, you first need to understand the needs and wants of your target market. Like anything else in life, there can be a huge difference between what message is intended to be communicated and the perception of that message. The reality is the perception – the intention is not. How can a company know what the consumers’ perception is? That is where social media marketing comes into play. The world has changed. Let’s face it folks. The Internet is a force to be reckoned with and if you, as a business owner, are not taking full advantage of what the Internet has to offer, you are doing you and your company a huge disservice. Blogs, forums, social networking sites, to name a few, are platforms for sharing and communicating. If consumers have had a bad experience with a company, there is a good chance they will share their experience with the world on some social media platform. Unfortunately, it is easier to find negative comments than positive comments – but that is human nature. How often do our friends, family, children call us just to say “Hey, things are going great”? More often than not, they will call to talk when there is something that is not right – when they are having a problem. And how often, once that problem is resolved, do they call to let us know that everything is now ok? We have all been guilty of these same behaviors – thanks to my mom for pointing out when I do it. As a business owner, it would behoove you to know what your customers and potential customers are saying about you and defend yourself when/if necessary.

Social media marketing is about being social, communicating, establishing relationships, educating, learning, listening, and being both proactive and reactive. In today’s hyper-competitive economy, in order to stay alive and on top of your competition, you have to embrace the Internet and social media marketing.

Often people resist change because they fear the unknown or are afraid of trying something they may not be familiar with. But, the economy, the consumer and the way to market has changed. The economy is super-competitive. The consumer is more educated, more informed, has a whole lot of information at their fingertips, and is no longer satisfied with one way communication channels. They want to know what you can do for them. They want to be involved, don’t want to hear about how wonderful you and your company are from you; they want to hear about you and your company from others, they want you to prove to them that you are an industry-expert and that they need or want what you are selling. Social marketing tools empower customers and those business owners who don’t jump in are going to get stepped on or over, directly or indirectly.

When you are ready to take the plunge, remember some very important points. Be sure to contribute quality content that adds value to people’s lives. When participating in online conversations, remember to converse and not preach. Remember that the customer wants what is good for them, they want it their way. Think of Burger King’s early recognition of this concept: “Have it your way”. Think about Apple’s suite of “I” products. Business owners need to earn their reputation and customer loyalty. Toyota Scion’s VP of Marketing, Jim Farley, illustrates this concept with his quote: “I think the most important thing for us is to be credible, he says. “Just talking to consumers, they don’t believe a damn thing we say anymore. And I mean that in a positive way. They’re really, really smart.” ( Connect with your target audience in the online communities and social networks they belong to. Communicate with them in an authentic and straightforward manner to build your credibility, reputation and to increase your brand awareness. Successful companies will be those who surround themselves with communities of potential customers, think outside of the box by finding innovative messages, and those who nurture social relationships.

Everyone needs a starting point. Your company’s website can be your starting point. But remember, building a website is not the end of your Internet marketing, it is the beginning. In an earlier post, I referred to Nigel Peck’s example of a phone ringing just because you bought it ( Consider the concept of window shopping. If you pass by a store but don’t go in, has the store owner earned any money from you? Of course not! Same thing with a website; just because you have one doesn’t mean anyone is going to visit it. So what can you do to get visitors to your website? The answer is Social Media Marketing.

Does anyone need any more convincing?

Labels: , , ,

16 Social Media Guidelines Used by Real Companies

A take a look at some real world social media policies and guidelines as used by companies. Zappos does a great job of summing it up in seven words, but the detail is also important and there are some fine suggestions - read full article here.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The 7 Harsh Realities of Social Media Marketing

Written by by Sonia Simone, this post is well worth reading. Enjoy it here.

Labels: , ,

Small Business Branding in time for the Holiday Season

With all the talk in the media in regard to retailers deep discounting their wares, where does this leave small independent retailers?

For one thing it provides an opportunity to step up the customer relationship. Large corporations cannot turn on a dime due to their size and complexity.

SME’s (small to medium enterprises) on the other hand are much flatter and can provide superior experiences. If you’ve been diligent at building your email database, you can start providing exceptional information for your customers

Read full article here.

Labels: , ,