13
Nov
09

Social Media in Practice

I decided to practice what I preach, so I got a new online portfolio today – check it out:

Mimpi Designs Online Portfolio

This was courtesy of the lovely people at Carbonmade who specialise in online portfolios for creative types whilst connecting you to other designers and potential clients.

MZDVD72ZU7JH

13
Nov
09

Social Media Health Warning

Look and learn (then laugh)

Social Media at Work - Bad Idea

13
Nov
09

Net-iquette – It’s time to be on your best behaviour…

My mother once told me that manners are everything. It seems she might be right, especially when it comes to the P’s and Q’s of social media. Just because you are on a computer, doesn’t mean that manners go out the window – especially when you are trying to promote yourself or your business. The relationships you form using social media mimic real relationships so why act any different? After all, you would find it strange if somebody decided to call themselves your friend without saying hello first or if all they did was talk about themselves and their business? So save yourself a social media faux pas by brushing up on your net-iquette…

 

Introduce yourself
Be nice, say hello and introduce yourself using your real name – it will make all the difference. People like people – fact. By being more like a real person you will earn respect in online communities and be perceived less as a salesman, making people more receptive to your message. Don’t forget to pimp your profile by editing your bio and putting up your best mug shot.

Contribute
It’s all about giving back when it comes to social media so make sure you contribute and add value to the community. Get involved and start posting quality, relevant content that is useful to other users but also relates to your area of expertise or business. This could be:
•    Articles
•    Breaking news
•    Tutorials
•    Statistics
•    Photos and Videos
But keep it under control – remember quality over quantity. A few choice pieces of internet gold is better than an endless stream of barely related rubbish.

Listen
It’s not all about you. Remember this is a two-way street so keep your ear to the ground. Listen to other users and learn from what they have to say, whilst building quality relationships with potential customers. Not only do you make better friends by being a good listener, you also have the opportunity to identify trends within your customer base and find out what makes them tick. Remember social media is very different from the one-way messages of the press, TV and radio.

Stay away from spam
Nobody really liked Spam the first time it came around and Spam Version 2 is even worse – you can’t even put it in a sandwich. But seriously, avoid spamming people with endless mass messages about your products, latest sales and other general narcissistic chatter. The odd mass message is acceptable but use with caution and only when you have something really important to say. It is much more effective to communicate directly with users – answering queries, thanking people for sharing great content or just saying hello.

Numbers aren’t everything
It’s easy to get carried away with social media but it’s not a popularity contest. So rather than trying to add everyone under the sun, it’s better to have a smaller, more engaged following – again it’s a case of quality over quantity.

Share the love
It’s OK to promote but try helping someone else out sometimes….. By forming alliances with businesses who complement yours or by passing on a great blog post, you will be seen as an active part of the community. Cue applause.

 

So there you have it – some general net-iquette for you to gobble down, I hope it’s delicious. Don’t underestimate the importance of behaving well online – you and your business’ reputation are at stake.

Coming up next on Social Butterfly: I’ll be taking you through each different type of social media – I’ll be examining in detail how all the different social media flavours can help you and your business. We already know how much I like the beginning, so that’s where I’ll start – with the not-so-humble Blog.

13
Nov
09

Mixing it up – getting your social media mix just right

Sorry, I’m sneaking another mini post in before this afternoons update on social media etiquette but I couldn’t resist when I found this beauty:

Click here for a larger version

This little gem is called the Social Media Prism and I think it perfectly sums up the different types and uses of social media, perfectly linking together my last few posts. Looking at all the different flavours out there, you can see why it’s oh so important to choose your social media mix wisely unless you want to get totally lost in the jungle.

Anyway, I’ll leave you to ponder this until later on today…

Stay Tuned….

 

 

09
Nov
09

Design Goodness

Here are a few bits and pieces that I use for web design inspiration, featuring all kinds of design work which will make your eyes smile. The Internet is indeed a prettier place and these sites all showcase lots of design goodness and nutrition. Remember to have your 5 a day now.

Toxel

Toxel

Web Creme

Web Creme

Random Web Design Inspiration

Web Design Inspiration

Siiimple

Siiimple

A Site A Day

A Site A Day

Web Design Inspiration.co.uk

WD Inspiration.co.uk

Unmatched Style

Unmatched Style

Smashing Magazine

Smashing MagazineInspiration King

Inspiration King

D List
D Lists

So go and get some design nutrition by getting your teeth into this tasty array of sites…

Back next time with Social Media Etiquette

09
Nov
09

Social Media Marketing Madness – What a mouthful…

Welcome back for more of my musings with added visual loveliness this week – thanks for dropping by. Time to sit back, relax and possibly even put the kettle on to enjoy the latest edition of Social Butterfly.

Types of Social Media
It’s all very well all this social media malarkey but you’re probably still none the wiser on what this means for you and your business. But you’ve made your first step. You’ve joined up, learnt your way around and are now well on your way to becoming a social media mogul. Well, sort of. I’d love to hold your hand, tell you the worst is over and that it will all be plain sailing with wonderful sunsets from here on in but I don’t like to lie. The social media jungle gives the Amazon a run for its money and we have a long way to go.

Back onto the matter in hand – what exactly is social media marketing? The wonderful Wikipedia explains it as ‘the act of using social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other collaborative Internet form of media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service’ .

 

There’s a ton of benefits to be gained from using social media as part of your marketing strategy:

•    Global Reach with a wealth of opportunities to find new markets in the wonderful world of the Web, using some social media magic. Suddenly, the world is your oyster.
•    Lower Costs than traditional marketing avenues such as television, radio and print. However, there are no free lunches here – successful social media campaigns require planning, time and effort.
•    Measurable Results that are easier to track and measure – once you get the know how on the various platforms.
•    Customer Engagement that is unparalleled with participation and interaction being key ingredients to the social media pie. Audiences and potential customers are already actively engaged and comfortable with social media applications, making it easier to engage them in your brand or business.
•    24 hr Marketing as social media shops are always open and therefore your content is too – making it super convenient for potential customers to access it wherever, whenever. Just the way we like it.
•    Added Personal Touch combined with direct customer communication will make your business seem like it’s run by real people with real lives.

 

But what about achieving your marketing aims and objectives? The wonderfulness of social media can help in a number of different areas:

Sales
You can use social media to gain new business by driving traffic to your website, increasing potential sale conversions. It’s all about creating awareness of your site and making it accessible, so that a sale is never more than a few clicks away.

Marketing
Social media gives you the chance to promote your business to a more targeted and (hopefully) more receptive audience. Different audiences use different social media and by harnessing the power of different applications, you can create excellent awareness of your website and company.

PR
We all have a reputation to uphold and there is no better way to manage yours, whilst controlling your brand than by using social media. You can monitor online conversations about your company, respond quickly and provide excellent customer service in regards to any queries or problems.

Networking
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Good news is you can use social media as an excellent networking tool to build connections and relationships with key figures. Whether that is your client base, potential investors, would-be employees or just making some new friends – after all, you can never have too many of those.

Customer Engagement
In this day and age of pre-recorded messages and foreign call centres, it’s a rare thing to speak to someone who knows their stuff or is an actual human being. Social media provides many opportunities to engage in a two-way conversation with your clients – getting their opinion, building trust and increasing customer loyalty.

Market Research
Dipping your toe in a new market sector or planning to blow everyone away with your new product? Why not use social media as a market research tool to identify trends or niches within your customer base whilst also keeping an eye on what your competitors are doing. This way, you can make sure the world is ready for your next big idea.

 

Social media can be used extremely effectively to build awareness of your company, brand or website but this form of marketing takes a very different approach to traditional techniques. Participation is the key ingredient to social media and it is this audience engagement that makes it unique when compared to traditional media such as television, radio and newspapers. When wading into this world, it’s best to leave your hard sell techniques at the door because they just won’t cut it here (sorry).. Gone are the one to many messages of yonder year – it’s time to have a real conversation with your customers

Social media marketing is about establishing long-term relationships with clients and building your brand slowly– no magic fix here I’m afraid. This kind of marketing takes time, effort and above all planning. You need to choose the types of social media that will work best for you and it’s best to use these alongside any existing traditional marketing techniques you already use. But it is worth it, as people like people and they especially like being treated like people.

So how do you put all the above into practice? Stay tuned as I will be exploring each and every major social networking application plus how you can use it to get the results you need. But before this happens, it’s time to learn the rules of the jungle – Social Media Etiquette coming up next.

01
Nov
09

The Big Buzz

It’s the word (or words) with the biggest buzz of the moment – social media.

It seems everyone is jumping on the social media train these days but now there’s no reason to get left behind – after all there’s few things more frustrating than missing the train. Even your mum probably has a Facebook page, so it’s time to catch up, take a deep breath and jump right in.

I’m starting at square one, the beginning – a seemingly logical place to start any discussion but a place avoided by so many articles and blogs on social media. It’s not so bad here, so I’m gonna roll with it taking this social media thing one step at a time. And continuing in my love of the beginning, the obvious first question has to be – “What exactly is social media?”

The term social media can be used to describe the host of online technologies and practices used to share information, resources, opinions, content and insight.

Still confused? It’s the applications we use every day to share what’s most important to us – whether that be the photos of last nights antics, what your doing right now, your latest internet gold, the funniest video you’ve seen this year or catching up on yesterdays presentation slide show.

Social media comes in many flavours, so it can seem a little overwhelming to get a handle on them all, even this is not an exhaustible list – I don’t want to keep you here all night.

Blogs

The original social media and far from being tucked up in bed complete with slippers and pipe, the blog continues to explode with over 150 million happy bloggers worldwide. The blog is all about sharing your thoughts with the world; whether that is serious commentary or light-hearted observation. Start your own blog with Blogger or WordPress.

Social networks

Unless you’ve been living under a rock at the bottom of the garden, you’ll have heard of social networking. Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn – you know the craic. These online communities allow users to create profiles, communicate with others, create groups and share media such as photos, links, videos and audio.

Wikis

We’re better together and there is no better example of this than the Wiki. A wiki is a webpage that can be easily viewed and edited using any web browser combining a huge variety of media (text, audio, video, images), meaning the potential for collaborative projects is huge.

Forums

Another social media dinosaur but one that has survived the test of time for good reason – most websites worth their salt these days have associated communities – often a forum. Forums can be used to discuss anything under the sun but often unite niche communities of people from across the globe to share their thoughts, opinions and resources. You can easily add forums to your website using services such as vBulletin or phpBB

Content Sharing

If you can upload it, you can share it. There are a multitude of social sharing sites enabling users to share all kinds of media content – video, audio, documents, slideshow presentations – the list goes on and on. The great thing about content sharing sites is that any content uploaded can be shared easily using other social media.

PhotosFlickr, Photobucket

VideosYouTube, Vimeo

DocumentsScribd, Google Docs

PresentationsSlideshare

Micro Blogging

I need only say one word here – Twitter. The little blue bird who came and rocked the Internet with lovers of the Facebook status bar everywhere rejoicing. Microblogging involves short posts of around 140 characters combined with the ability to follow and communicate with other users – keeping you up to date with others lives, links, photos and videos.

Social Bookmarking

The Internet at times can seem like a black hole, so finding online goodies is a real treat so why not share the love? Using services such as Delicious and StumbleUpon you can beaver away your discoveries as well as sharing them with other users.

RSS Feeds

It can be hard to keep up with the pace sometimes and with so many people saying so many interesting things, it can be a nightmare to keep checking back. RSS feeds stand for Really Simple Syndication – a web feed format which keeps you up to date with updates to blogs, news headlines or changes to your favourite sites. All you need to do is use an online (Google Reader) or desktop RSS feed reader (FeedDemon), then subscribe to the sites you want to keep up to date with.

Social Reviews

We all want the know-how, the low-down, the local knowledge… Well now you can with local business reviews (Yelp), hotel and holiday reviews (Trip Advisor) plus user submitted reviews for a wide variety of products on larger sites like Amazon. Again the list is endless (there seems to be a theme developing here).

But how can all this help YOU apart from being a possibly disastrous distraction at work? Stay tuned for my next post where I dive into Social Media Marketing Madness.




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