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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Social Media (Tool 7)

Cluster of new sort of online media, which shares the following characteristics, is known as social media:

PARTICIPATION: users are encouraged to contribute and share feedback, which hazes the line between the concept of media and audience.

OPENNESS: most of the social media services are set to openness with a freedom of providing your feedback or conveying your message to everyone. Such services also encourage voting, comments and sharing of information too. There are hardly any sort of barriers to accessing and making use of content.

CONVERSATION: social media is a conversational, two-way communication medium, whereas traditional media is about “broadcast”, content transmitted or distributed to an audience.

COMMUNITY: it allows users to form a community for effective communication around common interests such as business opportunities, favorite shows etc.

CONNECTEDNESS: Most kinds of social media flourish on their connectedness, via links and unite different types of media in one place.


Why Social Networking?

It is very entertaining form of networking where you meet people of similar interests, and can be very effective medium for entrepreneurs, small or start up businesses, writers, musicians or artists.

Everyone has some type of hobbies or things in which they are keenly interested such as movies, cars, games, business tips or technology innovations, social media allows all to reach out to each other who share similar interests.

However, Simultaneously You Need To Ask Yourself, “Which Is The Right Social Network For You?”

Questions you must ask yourself in order to pick a right social network for yourself:

1.What do you want out of a social network?
2.Are you choosing social network for business reasons?

If yes, then you must check the presence of your target audience first or else you can choose a general interest sharing social network such as facebook, MySpace, Bebo for an advertising face or business oriented networks such as Linkedin, WeCanDo.Biz for making good business contacts.

It is suggested that you should pick a niche social network with specific theme because it matches your interest, where you will be more likely to get involved in the community after all that what social networking is all about.

Regrettably, there are plenty of social networks that cater different interest, but still there isn't a social network for each and every interest. But, almost all social networks allow users to created groups to share their interest through which usually people are connected to each other.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Online Advertising (Tool 6)

The main purpose behind online advertising is parallel to the regular marketing methods that are to market messages, in such a way that it should attract customers. Similarly, there are different types of online advertising methods depending upon how the advertising is done.

The most common and popular advertising methods followed online are:



Pay Per Click Ads also known as PPC ads in which search engine place your website on their front page and you need to pay a set amount per click-through. The pay rate for advertisements depends upon the competition in the industry and the more you bid the higher your site appears on the first page of the search results.

Usually PPC campaigns helps in bringing a lot of traffic to your website but you need to make sure whether you are getting the targeted traffic, if not then you might be losing money through this campaign.



Banner Ads, it is one of the oldest ways of advertising online. Banners highlight your product/services or other offerings and by clicking on them, the users are redirected to the advertiser’s website, where they can create a suitable landing page to provide further information related to the advertisements. Such spots where banner ads are placed usually is sold by impressions, banner views or even through the click rate, where the advertiser only pays when the user clicks the banner.

Banner ads are usually placed at such blogs, websites, forums or social networks where advertisers can easily find their targeted prospects.

Such advertising is also promoted by exchanging banner where advertisers whose services compliment each other’s exchange their banners or pay a banner network to post the ad on a numerous site of publisher.



Skyscraper Ads are almost similar to the banner ads, the only difference between them is that the banner ads are placed on the top, where as skyscrapers are placed vertically either on left or right sidebar of the site.

Skyscraper ads are comparatively more expensive than banner ads due to two reasons:

• They stay visible to the user even if they scroll down the page,
• The other reason is its large size.


Contextual Ads are commonly used for content-based websites with contextual advertising, where a targeted ad appears based on the pages actual content. In contextual advertising system scan the content of the webpage for keywords and keyword phrases and then return specific targeted ads accordingly.

This way of advertising has become one of the most popular ways of targeting as it is based on the user’s interest.



Takeover Ad appears when the visitors initially enter the website and then continuity of the same message is continued in the form of banners, skyscrapers and buttons. The approach of this ad has been observed to be very successful, as the brand remains visible to the viewers throughout the site and usually, click through rates are high.




Pop-ups and Pop-downs sometimes become very annoying and appears when you first get onto a website. Pop-ups appear as a full screen ad whereas pop down appears at the bottom on the bar of your screen, where you need to open them in order to get rid of them.

This is not a permission-based marketing and according to the different researches conducted, it has been concluded that usually users get intrusive and annoyed by such advertising methods.




Floating Ads appears as a user logons to the web page, ads float usually for couple of seconds while users are on the screen. These ads makes the page murky and even block mouse input, such ads are popular for several reason, which includes:

• Animated
• Grab’s viewers attention & cannot be ignored
• Audio / visual content
• Up to 3% higher rate of click-through comparatively

On the other hand, users get highly irritated due to the ads, as this is also non-permission based marketing which is highly discouraged by the audience.



Interstitial Ads are pages, which appears on the web between the web pages with an option of skipping the page. While user’s requested page loads on the background, this could be an ideal way of delivering ads that contain large graphics, applets or streaming media.



Unicast Ads are basically rich media audio / visual ads, which runs in the browser window. The ads are usually based on 20-30 seconds and have a similar branding power as of TV. But as we know new media offers something, which traditional media does not i.e. the ability to click on the ad for further information. These ads have been proved to have an average click-through rate of 5%.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Search Engine Marketing aka SEM (Tool 5)

In the previous tool of online marketing i.e. Search Engine Optimization, we learned that the process of optimizing a site is based on:

Content:
Image and media, widgets and tool, resource lists, testimonials, translations, comments, RSS feeds, articles, blogs and titles.

Links:
Directory submission, partners / suppliers, reciprocal links, press release, memberships, social media, advertising, comments, contests and news.

Site Architecture:
Hosting, DNS, geo-location, domain, URL structure, web design and standards, usability and analytics.

However, if you are intending to take part in in the online marketing arena, it is important to that you must be aware of how to bring search engine marketing into play too for domino effect. As today, we are living in such a world where we use internet on daily basis to find things of our desire and prefer to do a research online rather than going to a store and having a dialogue with pushy sellers.

If you are a merchant then probably, SEM is one of the best ways for you to target your market online. However, a question arises here, how search engine marketing vary from search engine optimization. The important factors of search engine marketing are:

Creativity in Ads:
Ads are useless if there is no creativity in them no matter whether it is contextual advertising, banner ads or a video ad, in order to generate sales the ad must be creative enough that it grabs the attention of a visitor at a glance and make them click on it.

We use contextual advertising, text links, banners ads, rich media and buzz marketing is search engine marketing, which are keywords optimized and based on seasonality and segmentation.

Placement of Ads:
Placement of an ad is the most important factor in the search engine marketing. Mostly, ads are placed in the Meta search engines, second tier search, search engines, directories, websites, affiliates, and blogs. However, before placing an ad you must carry out a price comparison of the sites.

If you are a small business owner, it is necessary for you to allocate a budget for your online marketing activities through measuring the ROI with the help of analytics but make sure that your customer support infrastructure should be strong enough to serve each customer at the best level of satisfaction.

Keep proper checks on conversion rate of the traffic you are receiving through your search engine marketing campaign because if there is traffic but it is not converting then probably there is some problem that you need to figure out real fast in order to generate good results.

In a word, search engine marketing is a key skill for all online marketers to learn. On the other hand, this is for sure that once you have well-read all the rules of the game, your business will never be the same.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Search Engine Optimization aka SEO (Tool 4)

The art of making a website friendly enough so that it ranks higher in Search Engine Result Pages is known as search engine optimization. It is considered more technical part of internet marketing, which is true. SEO requires some technical knowledge related to HTML, CSS etc. along with copy writing as most of the techniques used to promote site in the search engine deals with the text.

The whole process of search engine optimization is broken and carried out in two phases, which are known as on page and off page optimization.

On Page Factors                                                       Off Page Factors

• Keyword mining                                                       • Free / paid directory submission
• Keyword density checks                                          • Article and news submission
• Credible copy writing                                               • Press release distribution
• Meta tags scripting                                                   • Reciprocal link marketing
• Clean and valid mark-up (HTML)                            • Inbound link building
• Link management                                                     • Digital signatures


15 Biggest and Frequent Mistakes of SEO made by Web Masters

The below listed are the most biggest and frequently made mistakes by web masters, which could cost you both money and time.

1. Duplicate Content: it is the worst enemy of your website and might just keep your site from not being found in the search engines. Search engines love well-written, original content and penalize such sites, which contains plagiarized contents. Therefore, if you think that you are not good at writing content, I suggest you should hire a writer, it may be worth hiring one to take care of this aspect of your site for you.

2. Using Auto generated content: High quality, original content is King. Auto generated content is neither.

3. Cloaking - avoid use of doorway pages.

4. Over submission of site to the Search Engines.

5. Less or no keywords in H1 headings.

6. Use of unrelated keywords/ no use of keyword phrases (long tail keywords).

7. Bad selection of Anchor text links: make sure that the anchor text link you are getting should be targeting high quality long tail keywords, well researched and target high search volume with low competition in order to get your website rank higher.

8. Links from irrelevant sites: If you get back links too fast through link farming or other methods, your rankings may decrease. So, avoid paid links especially from irrelevant sites.

9. Keyword stuffing: Over usage of keywords within your content can also hurt your site badly. The best practice is to use your main keyword once per eighty to hundred words.

10. Do not provide Irrelevant Outbound Links. Always keep your outgoing links relevant and use strong, keyword based anchor text whenever it is possible.

11. Poor Page Title: create a keyword based unique title of every individual page on your site.

12. Bad code Programming: Be sure your code is clean, easy to read, and optimized for SEO wherever possible.

13. Hidden Text: Do not use hidden keywords on your website as if your keywords are hard to find, then they are more likely hard to recognize and read too. Make them apparent and a strong part of your website for finest results.

14. Deficiency of focusing on a niche in a website: the reason is that if your website is not targeting a specific niche then it will become difficult for a search engine to group your site and to know which niche you suit best.

15. No or less focus on visitors as compared to search engines: Always keep your focus on visitors while creating a content as they are the one who will be reading and linking to your, distributing it or purchasing your product or services.

Try to avoid the above mentioned mistakes while optimizing your site or else it could harm you by means of cost and time both. We will cover some more tips on search engine optimization within the next tool.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Email Marketing (Tool 3)

It is one of the most effective tool of direct marketing, which uses electronic mail for communicating commercial message to an audience. Every email sent to a current or potential customer could be considered as email marketing in its approach.

The purpose behind sending email to the customers is to enhance the relationship between the merchant and customers, as well to gain the customer's loyalty by adding some special discounts within the email convincing customer to buy something immediately.

Sending email messages based on the points, could help you in maximizing your investments:

• Introduce new products,
• Customized emails with their particulars,
• Share free tips with them based on your area of expertise,
• Announcement of events such as conferences etc.
• Offer discount coupons,
• Promote contests,
• Send out reminders regarding offers or contests etc.,
• Breaking News in your industry,
• Broadcast urgent issues and provide advises over them,
• Create a contact form and email newsletter sign up form on your website
• Send newsletters to customers and contacts based on their interests or demographics
• Start a fee-based or advertising-sponsored newsletter

What usually happens after sending the messages?

If you think that after sending the email messages you are done with your email marketing campaign, you are wrong. There are a lot of things you need to monitor and take action accordingly, such as:

• Email messages bounce, due to technical issues e.g. address no longer exist or the mailbox of the user was full or maybe the server was down at that moment.

• Some recipients, opens your message, read the content and click on the offers or link given inside whereas the rest delete it or leave it unopened.

• The recipients could ask you to remove them from your emailing list and by law if such thing happens, you must unsubscribe them within 10 days of their request. Mostly this doesn’t happen as the people who don’t wish to receive the emails in future, gets unsubscribed by clicking on the unsubscribe link included at the bottom of your message, provided by your email service provider.

How often are you sending this audience any type of messages?

There is no limit of sending messages, it could be as often or as infrequently as you would like but be careful of the consequences of your messages frequency:

Avoid sending any content which is not relevant because when people get emails which are not of their interest or irrelevant they get conditioned to automatically delete such messages. This practice could also lead them to put your email in to a spam folder and unsubscribe.

If you send messages few times a year, the bounce rate will be much higher due to the reason that many of the addresses would no longer exist, people might forget you and delete your message without opening or marking a spam.

It is good to send frequent messages such as twice or thrice a week, but with relevant content only. Irrelevant contents are mostly annoying to the subscriber and if they get annoyed by your messages result will be increase in your list attrition rate.

Tips on improving your Email Campaign

The fundamental and most important factor of email marketing is never trade, borrow or purchase an email list because the people who have not requested for receiving your email messages are most likely to mark it as spam.

If you are making signing up visible for newsletter then you should make unsubscribing easy and visible too. While unsubscribing you may ask the subscriber for their email address, first and last name interests or demographics.

Try to use double opt-in registration, with single opt-in, a subscriber enters his or her email address and is then automatically registered. Whereas double opt-in is the preferred method for email newsletter subscriptions because it requires confirmation, usually a verification code or link is send to your email address.

Always place link to privacy policy near the sign up form on your website. The policy should illustrate that how will you be handling the information and how people can contact you in case of any concerns. Subscribers always wants to be assured that the information they are providing you will kept secret and will not use for selling or trading purpose.

Remember! Don’t forget to send a welcome message to the subscriber as they sign up for the email newsletter. Tell them that how often they will receive the email, what they will receive and how they can unsubscribe with the service.

In order to avoid spam complaints, you should keep a proper record of your subscribers, such as website address from which they signup, the date etc. keeping record can help you in making the recall about their action of subscribing for your email messages.

If you think that you have not sent a mailing to your subscribers in a while, you may need to ask them that if they wish to continue receiving the message they need to provide acceptance by clicking a URL provided within the mail or by visiting a web page. Asking your subscriber to opt-in will help you in identifying the subscribers interested in your mailing messages.

Including a reminder that you have subscribed with our email messages works quiet well such as “Thank you for subscribing with us - Latest Issue:” it recalls the subscribers that the messages they are receiving are not spam and they have requested for it.

Avoid using such words which sounds spam or misleading within your email subject line. Send your messages regularly; insert your contact number and postal address too. This will help you in building credibility; the readers will get another method of contacting you as well it is compulsory now according to the new federal legislation.

Last and the most important factor of email marketing is interaction with your subscribers, so don’t forget to reply promptly the inquiries or spam complaints you receive from your readers. If you receive spam complaints, include person’s subscription details with your response.

I hope you will find this tool of online marketing every effective for your business and stay tuned for the next tool # 4

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Article Marketing (Tool 2)

I regret upon a delay as I've been very busy last few weeks but here is the tool 2 for online marketing.

Online your potential success solely depends on traffic, if there is no traffic neither you can generate sales nor you can earn revenue through advertisements. Keep in mind people are always hungry for the information and here article marketing comes in, which helps you a lot in attracting visitors, the more popular the articles are, the more visitors there will be.

Creating and distributing valuable content attracts the attention of visitors who are searching information related to particular field. Through article marketing you can target the audience who are readers of e-news, brief leavers, blogs, e-books and magazines etc.

Provide valuable information in your article related to your products or services and explain briefly about its benefits to your targeted industry such as “The Importance of Logo Design for Small Business”. The article explains the importance of logo design in terms of creating brand awareness and its benefits for small businesses for marketing of their products or services.

Once you are done with creating a good article publish it on your own site and create re-write versions of the content in order to submit it to the article directories, which will benefit your site in terms of search engine rankings.

Try to search and insert long tail keywords within the body of the content, which are mostly searched by your targeted audience through Google keywords search tool. It will help you in optimizing your site on the keywords, entered by your target audience as well search engines also loves to see keyword optimized articles on the site, which helps them to identify and index the site accordingly.

Almost all article directories allow you to create a hyperlink on a keyword, through which you can have an anchor text link on your targeted keywords. Using long tail keywords in the content published on your site  and anchor text links through the article directories can let your site rank higher on those keywords, which means more leads to your site.

Remember if your articles are well written and informative they will gain popularity and helps you in creating fans for your content, who links back to your site; even few of them provide a small review about your content too on their blogs or suggest further reading to their readers for the related content written by them.

Though article marketing is comparatively cheap then other advertising and marketing methods, hence it is much more powerful tool as compared to the other tools used for marketing your business online. It has been proved that article marketing helps in bringing a huge number of traffic at very minimal expense if compared to sponsored ads or pay per click advertisements.

I’ve found an interesting document on article marketing written by Mr. Matt Callen, "The Article Marketing  Blueprint". Read more

I’ve gathered and created a list of 238 Article Directories for my readers. Click here

Stay tuned for the tool # 3

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Top 10 Online Marketing Tools: Blog Marketing (Tool 1)

Online Marketing is one of the farthest reaching, yet least expensive method of promoting your business. In fact, on few channels you don’t even have to pay a cent for your marketing and is effective because the opportunity for success is unlimited.

Based on my learning and experience, I will be providing a series of articles based on tips, suggestions and examples for marketing your business online. The posts will be up in ten parts and first we start with:

Blog Marketing

Blogging, in a conservational manner, could make your industry interesting to people, which gives them a glimpse into a world they don’t know.

It becomes easy to gather and develop a community from all over the globe, sharing similar interests through blogs, and it has also been proved that the blogs act as good PR vehicle for their companies. But it doesn’t mean that you can sell products or services through blogs.

Mostly bloggers who believe that they can sell through musings subscriptions, there is a bad news for them. Blogs should not be used for selling; rather they can be used for promotional and advertising activities.

Now-a-days, most of the companies are using new media marketing tactics along with the traditional media for the PR purpose. Such as the PR department of General Motors loaned the new model of Corvette for one day to Guy Kawasaki, that resulted in a form of post with few nice pictures of the car on his blog How to Change the World to showcase the new model of Corvette 2009 to his readers.



Similarly, Jeremy Schoemaker the author of Shoemoney.com wears a t-shirt every Friday received by different organizations with their logo on it, along with few more complimentary things. Jeremy gives a snap shot of him while wearing the t-shirt and provides a small brief about the business and its products or services.



If you look at the scenario, both Guy and Jeremy have more than 50 thousand subscribers, and when they click “publish”, their posts go to every single subscriber in a nick of time. Now you can see how blog can serve as a powerful tool for marketers in terms of advertising and building public relations.

Stay tuned for the Tool # 2

Monday, July 13, 2009

Why Business should be Marketed using New Media Tools?

The term media refer to the channels through which companies reach to the customers in terms of advertising the products or services. Let’s have a quick look at the traditional media marketing, which was based on radio, television and print advertising, outdoor or media known as billboards and direct mailing.

In actual fact the aim of traditional media is to make consumer recall the brand at the time of purchase through developing brand awareness and loyalty.

New media has replaced old media with internet driven technology which generally refers to website, online advertising, blogs, podcasts, e-mail and social networking sites to market products and services.

The traditional media has an advantage of reaching all types of audiences regardless of the term media or tech savvy but cons of traditional media are observed that the consumers were spending more time online due to the better interaction opportunities by New Media. Although it has been proven that the businesses are gaining success by integrating new media with traditional media a good example here could be billboards or posters where the audience can SMS for more details. Although it is a con for small business in terms of expense, traditional media particularly television advertising isn’t cheap.

Whereas if we talk about the pros and cons of new media the pros includes cheaper cost of targeting customers, higher engagement and interactivity, capturing customer in buying mode, faster ways of delivering the information required for buying and the ability to track leads on ROI though measuring clicks on PPC banners (online advertising).

The cons of new media includes non internet and media savvy audience, not well tested methods of marketing, difficulty of controlling the message such as blogs, could be ineffective without a website.

So, Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses should keep in mind:

What are their objectives?
Whom they are targeting?
Where they can find their customers?
How the message could be delivered to them? 

Small businesses can get high ROI through considering free online media such as blogs, networking sites and listings. Remember! Having a good website is an essential part of successful marketing strategy particularly in New Media, it should be simple clear and relevant to your audience not necessarily biggest or expensive one.

Friday, July 10, 2009

How you can use Social Media for Online Business Branding?

Today, online branding is a buzz word in the market. Online business branding requires the development of unique, strapping, and favorable associations in the minds of the people over the internet. Business having excellent website and a well designed logo has greater advantage to differentiate itself from competition and earn more profit in less marketing spending. However, online branding is lot more than just having a logo and a website. It involves extensive internet marketing strategy to stand your brand out of the crowd.

Blogging can do a lot for your business branding. With your blog, you provide tangible evidence of your expertise and achievements. Things you should do while setting-up your blog is to first get simple, easy-to-spell, content appropriate domain name. Secondly, nice theme design suitable to your business market then set everything necessary like about us page, comments, RSS etc. Make sure to update your blog regularly with quality content related to your area of expertise or industry to keep your readers engaged.

Subsequently, you need to increase your online presence. Therefore, get listed with blog search engines like Technorati and Google Blog Search, comment frequently on other blogs that write about the same industry, use Google reader to store your searches, and check regularly that who is linking back to you through Yahoo! Site Explorer.

At the same time, to further extend your business branding, creating accounts on other social media and networking website would work. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace etc. are very useful to build your online presence. Also creating accounts on Flickr for photo sharing, YouTube for video uploading, Stumble Upon and Dig for voting, del.icio.us for social bookmarking, LinkedIn for professional networking, and Gmail for docs, reader, calendar etc. would definitely help to enhance your online visibility.

After all the aforesaid efforts, it’s time to start networking with the people around. Make your site and your efforts heavily about other people, ultimately it comes back. Allow people to reach you easily, thank them for their time and attention, and often ask questions in your community about your area of interest. Let people think that you care them a lot. Doing your efforts in building community grows out your brand as a natural extension.

Online business branding is still a new concept with considerable scope for further research. Social media is one very effective way to position your business and get your brand recognized online. Furthermore, it’s up to you how you use your brain over social media for brand visibility that would eventually return in a shape of business growth and brand identification.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Brief Guide to Personal Branding using Social Media

Becoming a thought leader in an industry requires expert level knowledge and vision, accompanied with the ability to communicate and align with relevant people. Social media provides that platform and power to reach out to people online and create a powerful and long lasting personal brand. Personal branding is no different than product branding, but this time it’s you who needs to be differentiated.

Developing a brand over social media is a step-by-step non-linier process, and it will take some time before you start seeing the results. Remember, creating a personal brand is directly proportional to creating value for other people.
Here we will discuss how you can use social media to make yourself a brand over the internet.

The power of blogging:


Let’s first start with blogging. Blogging do it consistently and add value. Blogging provides tangible evidence of your expertise and achievements. Before starting a blog, setup all the on-page stuff. Firstly, buy user-friendly, easy-to remember, and content appropriate domain name, and then create a blog theme according to your area of expertise and target audience. Meanwhile, set everything else like “About us” page with your personal and professional information, easy to use comments box, RSS subscription etc.

After on page setup it is important to analyze your blog with website like Website.grader.com, to make sure that your blog is well-build for search engines. If you find anything missing, add it before moving further.

Don’t forget to update your blog with quality and relevant content regularly to make your readers keep coming back. A strong, well written content can be the headstone of a great online identity, which in turn is a key element of a great personal brand.

Increase your online presence:


Now, it’s time to increase your online presence. Therefore, first submit your blog to top blog and web directories. When you submit your blog to any blog or web directory, your blog get listed in a category relevant to your area of expertise. Since many internet users have the same interest as yours, they would often search for that through the search engines, and these search engines would crawl over different blog directories every day. Therefore your blog can have a possibility to show up and read by thousands of readers online. This can generate your blog a great deal of traffic.

Claim your blog with Technorati.com. Claiming blog allows you to add keywords and description about your blog to make people find you easily through searches. Learn how to claim blog on Technorati (Read more).

Get listed with Google Blog Search. It is a specialized Google’s search engine that indexes blogs only. Thousands of people search blogs of their interest daily with Google Blog Search, and if your blog is listed with Google Blog search, they can find you easily. (Read more)

Check regularly who is linking back to you through Yahoo! Site Explorer. Backlinks tell you how much your blog or website is popular over the internet. The more the backlinks, the more you are popular, but depending on the quality of links. (Read more)

Commenting on other blogs within your area of expertise would certainly help you to build awareness and to build connections with experts. The more valuable your comments, the more it will reflect your ability. (Read more)


Brand extension with social media:

Besides blogging, to further extend you personal brand, creating accounts on other social networks and media platforms help a lot. (Read more)
Twitter.com allows you to share your latest projects and promotional ideas, and also helps you to interact with fellow tweets and social media practitioners. (Read more)

Facebook and MySpace could be used for outpost and to stay in touch with old friends, and find new ones. You can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. Both are the great platform for having some different experience. Profiles on them give you an opportunity to show yourself in your own way. (Read more)

LinkedIn is a professional network that helps you to explore business opportunities and to get advices from experts no matter where you are. (Read more)

Flickr is more than just photo sharing. It can be used to spread the words about yourself. (Read more) 

Digg and StumbleUpon are more of a digital media democracy that emphasis more on technology and science articles. When an article is submitted to them, other people read the submission and vote what they like the best. Once the article receives enough votes, it appears on the front page of the website. (Read more)

Moreover, get Upcoming.yahoo.com account for promoting events, and Gmail account for docs, readers and more. Creating accounts on all these social media websites would certainly give you jump recognition on social media.

In addition, creating groups on social networking platforms give you an easy mechanism for communicating with lot of people in one go.


Time to build connections:

After all the efforts, it’s time to start networking and build connections. Interact with people, allow them to reach you easily, thank community often for their time and attention, ask questions for expert advices, share knowledge based articles with your contacts and if you have mistakenly done something wrong, apologize immediately. Doing all these community building efforts grow you out as a natural extension. (Read more)

Conclusion:


The concept of personal branding is closely associated to that of leadership and at the heart of its passion. There is much more you can do to standout and become a brand. Remember, Online personal branding using social media is depended on creating quality relationships. Try to look for ways to help those who are best placed to help you, they'll be more inclined to help you, and if you need to call on them they'll remember who you are.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Introduction to Vodcasting / Video Blogging

“The combination of video files posted to the internet with a method of updating the content quickly and combining the usability of blogs with video files is known as Video blog or Vodcasts” Zen (2005). Video blogs are not just the videos, which could be found widely on internet, but video blogs carry some of these features along, Meng (2005):
  • Video blogs are downloadable files,
  • A regular updated blog format,
  • A RSS Feed with enclosure.
The video blogs are downloadable files, if it is not downloadable; it usually does not count as it is a video blog because the concept behind it is that the user can download the file and can access it even without the internet anywhere and anytime. Most of the video blogs use standard blog format, which give an ease of updating it so that it can come on ranking of search engines and the viewers can find it, and with RSS enabled on it, people can subscribe to the feed and can download videos wherever it is convenient for them. RSS reader is check feeds on schedule automatically, every time any new video blog is added it would be sent automatically to the subscribers.

Creating a vodcast is as easy as 1-2-3,

Source: Meng (2005), “Podcasting and Vodcasting – A white paper”

The videos or pictures uploaded from the cell phones having camera and access to the internet are known as Moblog.


Saturday, May 30, 2009

How to Become a Podcaster a.k.a Audio Blogger

Podcasts are also known as audio blogging. Meng (2005) defined pod casting as “the process of capturing an audio event, song, speech, or mix of sounds and then posting that digital sound object to a Web site or “blog” in a data structure called an RSS (Real Simple Syndication) envelope (or feed)”.

Many of the marketers, trainers and consultants are now a days using podcasts for providing tutorials to their subscribers clients and students. There are four good reasons why companies should podcasts:
  • To gain first mover advantage,
  • To develop customer loyalty,
  • To give the company a more human voice,
  • To exploit the PR value of a new technology.
These audio files automatically gets downloaded onto the users’ computers, who are subscribed with the feeds of the service provider, which directly goes into the management programs onto the users’ computer such as Music Match, iTunes or Windows Media Player. These programs further transfer these audio files to the subscribers audio devices as they are synchronized with the computers and could be listened anywhere anytime as desired.

After uploading the content, it requires to be tagged via XML in a format known as RSS 2.0 so that it could be delivered to the people subscribed to editor’s RSS newsreader. As the content is delivered to the subscribed people it automatically, download to their portable audio devices as they synchronize it and will be able to listen it anywhere any time they intend to.

Curious about creating a Podcast of yours, just follow the steps given in the image below:


If you are having any difficulties in viewing the image try clicking on it.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Contemporary Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

Technology has blessed small businesses to market themselves online in very effective manner through social networking to blogs to search engine optimization and plenty of new and useful marketing tactics.

Most probably these new ways to market small business online will not be effective for every business but if you know the options available to you it can help putting your business on the fast track to achieve success through online marketing.

So here are the three most expeditious and intense ways to market your small business online:

Marketing Maneuver #1: Usage of Blog

Chum relationship with customers is the key to success for small businesses. The matter of fact is that the personal element is what makes a small business work better than a big business. This gives competitive advantage to small businesses by adding value to a product or service that big businesses cannot do. A blogs is the most effective way of identifying and getting connected with the potential customers for a small business owner. Blog writing and commenting on other blogs helps you in creating clients rather than the customers. One lifetime client is worthy than ten customers.

Marketing Maneuver #2: Usage of Social Media

Internet provides numerous ways of getting connected with other people all over the globe. People get connected with each other through chat rooms, forums and other social networking mediums. New tools of social media marketing such as Twitter took this marketing approach to a new level, where it has given an immense contingency to market small business online. It gives you an opportunity of connecting with people where as blogging helps you in making that connection personal. It was not possible to get connected with your clients by using traditional marketing techniques, thanks to social media!

Marketing Maneuver #3: Usage of Search Engine

The most common way of marketing your small business online is creating and populating your blog or a web site with a good content on it so as one types in the keyword your site appears in the search engine results. However, search engine marketing combines few tactics and rely on natural (organic) or (white hat) techniques to market your site. Now a day search engine’s algorithm is entirely different of what it was five years ago. An entire new audience could be brought by mastering in the latest search engine marketing techniques.
Small businesses could be marketed online with many more ways but some degree of success could be found by using these three maneuvers.

Friday, May 22, 2009

A Brief Introduction to Blogging


Most of us are obliviously familiar with blog, podcasts vodcasts but still there are a lot of people who are not familiar with these terms. I would like to give a brief introduction about these terms to my readers before I get started with the ways of getting benifits out of it as a marketer or an entrepreneur.

According to Meeker, Pitz and Fitzgerald (2006), ‘the word “blog” is an abbreviation of “Web log.” A blog is a Web site where users can post their thoughts, typically about specific topics. New postings are at the top, while old postings appear below. Users can set up free blogs at sites like Blogger.com (owned by Google), MovableType.com, and TypePad.com’. Whereas Weber(2007), explains that blogs are online journals where people can post ideas, images, and links to other web pages or sites. It allows non-technical people to post information about their life, hobbies, politics, believes, business, interest etc. it is frequently updated and links to articles posted on other websites too. It is a place where visitors actually give comments on one’s blogs too.


Since 2003 the growth of blogs gets doubled every six months according to Technorati from March, 2003 till March, 2007 over 70 million weblogs were tracked and almost 120k blogs are being created everyday.

Now a days after understanding the power of blogs and blogging, even organizations started use of it in their businesses. As according to Sifry (2006), the number of personal and organizational blogs has increased dramatically in recent years, e.g. General Motor has a website for their corporate blogs.
“Blogs allows people to have conversation and give rapid feedback not only on the same blog but also in other blogs. Newspaper and journals are not able to print the comments from the readers rapidly and reply instantaneously” (Mercado 2006). According to Leonsis (2007), “empowering a generation to believe that what they have to say, what they see with their own eyes, how they interpret that, is very, very important”. ‘“Information needs to be free” said by a distant education librarian named Meredith in her blog at Norwich University’ Katherine Holvoet (2006). Through blogs, bloggers got the ability to associate anywhere everywhere throughout the world. Blog combines the functions of an editor and author.

The new blogs mostly can be found through the links in comments, as well the benefit of commenting is to generate back links to your own blogs.


“Most blog platforms will propose an auto-ping option. Ping is when our blog sends a mail to feed providers to alert them about our new post. With this option enabled, our blog platform will alert blog services, like Technorati or Google blog search, to send a spider to our blog so they can update their content and link to us. A useful service for pinging is Ping-O-Matic (www.pingomatic.com), a service that pings freely to other blog services” (Gyger, 2007).
Blogs are in text form, containing the company or product’s name and that makes search engines easy to index.

Blogs are updated frequently and search engines put those websites on top ranking, which are recently updated. This gives a chance to the company to bring their websites on top rankings so that their customers can easily find them. Blogs are cheap and even free to create it does not requires any installation of software for producing it. Producing a blog does not require to be specialist in computer skills as well the content can be disseminated as well as updated very easily and the readers will be sent an instantaneous alert of update through RSS (Real Simple Syndication).


From marketer’s point of view, blogs are one of the good ways of marketing. As always blogs are linked to some other blogs, (the more blogs are linked to a blog, the higher the page rank will be). The cream of the crop in blogosphere (Blogosphere is a collective term encompassing all blogs and their interconnections), Wikipedia, when writes regarding the products or services, they produce large amount of visitors. It is good for marketers as the visitors read the blogs about the products and leaves their comments about it, which is marketing for them as well as sort of feedbacks. For the consumers it is good in the way that the other consumers share their experiences about the usage of the product.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What's New Media?

New media is an abstract concept with a general meaning. According to Martin Lister (2003), new media is defined as media established with a sense of interactive communication, whereas the conventional media refers to established institutions and organizations such as the press, broadcasting, publishing, and so forth. In late 1980s when the media and communications looked quiet, different the idea of new media has been emerged. New media refers to the techno-culture, which is entailed of technological, cultural and social change. It is called new media as the term “new” in it carries the ideological implication of “the most recent” or “the cutting edge,” derived from a modernist belief in social progress arising through technology. New media is classified as websites, blogs, vod-casts, social networking, rich multimedia, virtual reality such as virtual shopping malls, video conferencing, mobile TV, podcast, and so on (Lister, Dovery, Giddings, Grant, & Kelly, 2003, p. 9-13).



The characteristic of new media employs technology based on interactivity, hyper-textuality, digitalism, dispersal and virtuality. New media makes the communication interactive and the information more accessible in the digital age. The traditional media tools use to be only one-way communication, which includes TV, radio, and newspapers. Traditional media walls have been broken down by the new technology; it provides the interactive communication tools. The convergence of new and old media is an emerging phenomenon in the whole world, with an accelerated movement toward the use of new media among businesses.

Lister, Martin, Dovery, Jon, Giddings, Seth, Grant, Iain, & Kelly, Kieran. (2003).
New Media: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge.