he burgeoning social media landscape is studded with success stories. Take Dell, for example. By the end of last year, the company had racked up $6.5 million in sales—direct from its Twitter accounts.

You can bet Dell can calculate the ROI of this effort. It knows exactly what it’s investing in the initiative: 100 employees are tweeting in 35 different channels to customers in over 12 countries. Brazil alone brought in an average $100,000 in sales per month in 2009.

Calculating the ROI of direct sales from social media is easy, but only so long as you remember that while many social media tools, such as Facebook and Twitter are free, time is money regardless of channel. Yet, many marketers have social media goals that are far softer than moving product. These can include increasing traffic, awareness, PR, customer relations and support, lead-building, conversions, SEO and even product development. In fact, most marketers admit to having no real defined social media goals.

How do you measure the ROI of that? A recent Econsultancy study, “The Value of Social Media,” asked marketers how well their organizations are at measuring ROI from social media activity. Over half (51 percent) admit to being “poor” or “very poor” at measuring social media ROI. A scant 15 percent rate themselves as “good” or “excellent.” Nearly all of them—94 percent—would like to know their social media ROI. They just don’t know how to get a handle on it. Despite that, 90 percent say social media activity will consume more of their time next year.

ROI Calculations Made Easier
Thanks to improved tracking technology, other digital marketing channels such as SEO are much easier to assign ROI to, as well as to compare to other marketing channels. Social media, still very much in its infancy, still lacks those technological and cross-channel underpinnings.

The ROI of search advertising campaigns is relatively easy to calculate. Almost by definition, search ad bids must be calculated on a break-even or cost-positive basis. Otherwise, why advertise?

Social media campaign ROI is more analogous to organic search engine optimization. Goals must be defined and measured against concrete benchmarks, e.g., cost per lead, average customer lifetime value, the conversion rate of a desired action, organic traffic and conversion sources.

Unless your social media campaign is based on direct sales—and many good ones aren’t—establishing and valuing key performance indicators (KPIs) is the first step toward calculating ROI, and determine where to go from here.

Bear in mind that the old saw, “everything online can be measured,” is true. Except when it isn’t. Just as every direct conversion from SEO will never be precisely measured, the same holds true for social media, even when the tools do improve. That’s still no excuse for not setting goals and constantly measuring and monitoring efforts against those benchmarks.

Article by: Rebecca Lieb vice president of Econsultancy’s U.S. operations.

So you want more Facebook fans? Spending a short length of time doing the right things could greatly help get your fan page off the ground. Here are some great tips for getting more fans.

Suggest your page to all your friends using the Suggest to Friends button. This is the 1st thing you should do and is the fastest way to quickly grow your page

Use Facebook ads to target the people most likely to become a fan. You can setup ads with very little cash and pay a price per click or pay for a set number of impressions. Test out various ads and see what works best. The ads are easy to setup regardless of your technical skills. The great thing about a Facebook ad for a fan page is that the ad displays a “become a fan” button which makes it really easy for anyone just to click and join!

On all your emails mail-outs and press releases include your Facebook page. You should also secure your unique Facebook URL. It looks more professional & further puts across your brand. To do this go to facebook.com/username and get your name.

Constantly provide exciting content. Stuff they would not want to miss. You can even announce news on Facebook first – before putting it anywhere else.

Add a fanbox to your website or blog. Click the “Add a Fan Box” link below your fan page’s profile picture & create the widget following the instructions. You could also use this widget in your newsletter.

Use the Notes application with an RSS Feed from a Blog to provide constant quality content. You can easily import a blog from your website. Use the Notes page, click the Import a blog link (on the right side of the page). Enter the URL of your blog into the text box, and agree to Terms of Use. Complete the process by clicking on “Save Settings.” Watch your posts automatically arrive in Facebook!

Use the share button to post your page to your profile or email it to friends. Encourage current fans to do the same!

Find out what your fans like by looking at your insights – if they like video give them more video!

Customize your landing page using FBML There are specialists who can do this for you and make landing pages that encourage users to become fans by offering them something. Coding is required for this as the page needs to be coded. There are companies that can do this such as spiderhousepr.

Fans don’t come instantly but by using the tips above will increase numbers faster than relying on search alone. Providing content that fans will share is imperative to the viral growth of your page. Remember that every time someone interacts with your page that interaction shows on their news-feed to their friends giving you viral growth.

Your first port of call is to use the “suggest to friends” button. If you have loads of friends this will have the biggest impact in the least amount of time so go get more friends!

By Carley Morrow

  • September 15th, 2008 | Written By: Jay Baer

As part of my panel on social media at the Worldcom PR conference in Montreal recently, I created these “7 Deadly Sins of Social Media.”

Are you willing to admit your sins ?

1. Deafness

Actively listening to what’s being said about your brand is at the core of social media.

2. Slowness

Social media is a NOW environment, not a “we’re working on the December issue in July” industry.

If it takes you too long to react, the opportunity can vanish.

3. Caution

Companies have to empower their agencies to facilitate social media conversations. Agencies have to empower their employees to handle social media on behalf of clients.

If you’re afraid, you’re not in the game.

4. Phoniness

Social media users – especially social network members – are cagey. They can smell b.s. three clicks away.

Resist the temptation to create your own reviews and other falsehoods. It doesn’t work.

5. Greed

The whole point of social media is for people to let other people know what’s good and righteous.

If you refuse to link to other sites or don’t create and distribute good content, etc. you are not being a good social media citizen – and it will get noticed.

6. Inflexibility

Think of social media as its own world with its own rules.

Don’t try to “social media-ize” your existing marketing and message. It doesn’t work.

7. Seriousness

Much of the social media’s appeal is based on humor and satire.

If you or your company can’t handle getting made fun of on occasion, you may want to rethink your social media plans.

Since social media arrived, it is quickly becoming one of the fastest ways for businesses to get a fast return in sales by marketing through these channels. But as with anything, there are pros and cons so read on and find out how social media management can help you.
Pros:
Social media marketing is cutting edge and still fairly new which means saturation levels are low
91% of people now spend time online, with networks like Facebook and Twitter, which means that if you are advertising your business or service where they hang out, you are reaching them. If you are only sticking to traditional methods like TV or print you are missing out nearly all of your customers by not being in their world and interacting with them.
You save masses amount of money on advertising. A traditional newspaper and television can cost anything so much money for a small ad which might not even get seen. Then you have the trouble of tracking these ads and knowing if you are getting a good ROI. Social media marketing is trackable and will not cost you thousands to see massive results.
You can create a stand out brand in a very short space of time. Traditional advertising takes time and money to establish. With the amount of social media sites out there, it is possible to brand you or your company within weeks rather than years and do it in exactly the way you want to be seen and heard
You get picked up in the search engines like Google. Once you have a website or blog with content and relevant keywords to you, your service or business the search engines notice this and it will do wonders for your sales and growth. The more times you or your business name shows up online, the more you are seen and the more people you will see coming to you!
Cons:
It can be very time consuming. Setting up blogs, websites, profiles, joining networks, replying to emails and then socializing on top can be a very timely process. There is also a certain ettiquette that needs to be adhered to so that the search engines and social media networks don’t ban you for doing something against their rules.
You may get bad press. If there is anything wrong with your business or people are not happy with something you have done, social media will only magnify the problem and it can spread like wild fire, very quickly; Potentially damaging your brand within days for a simple problem or mistake. That is why reputation management is important, so these areas are watched closely and managed in a way that it can be resolved quickly and efficiently.
Most people would find it difficult to spot these types of conversations if they are not savvy within the networks.
The good news is that there is an answer. Social media managers are there to handle all of these issues. We will create your profiles, go through the comments and emails. Alert you to important information coming in, keep your reputation in tact and at the same time get rid of the spam and non-important elements.

Uploading video to YouTube is easy but what can we do to generate traffic to our blog from this?

Here are important ideas and steps which helps to bring traffic from YouTube.

First I will list three basic steps and then will discuss each step in detail.

1) Creating your own video

2) Registering with YouTube and Uploading your video with correct title.

3) Incorporating and mentioning your blog url.

Steps in detail:-

1) Now we will look at first step as what kind of video can be prepared?

You need something related to your blog subject. Website owners use YouTube for marketing and selling their products with sales video but I am not talking of that.

We need video related to our blog subject. In general humorous, how to guide, some catchy dance and music, amazing and interesting facts, educational videos etc. will catch attention and will get many views.

e.g. I can prepare video related to some of the posts on this blog as How to shift to custom domain, How to get blog traffic or How to make money from blog.

Many bloggers have personal blogs so they can have video on making some recipe, how to swim or some kitchen tips and tricks, funny video of their animal or pet or of the places they have visited or sports they play or teaching or giving tips on some sports or of party they have organized etc.

You can capture video using web cam, cellphone or handy cam or whichever is most suitable. Video file size also increases with resolution and the time so as far as possible keep the length not more than 5 minutes (for few subjects it can be longer). Picture and sound quality should be clear and if you know little of editing it helps you to edit the video.

2) If you are not already registered, you need to register at YouTube.com. After login you will find a yellow color Upload button on right hand corner. Then click on Upload video file. Then clicking on Upload video gives you a browse window to choose video from your computer hard disk and upload it. You also have to enter title, description,tags and category. And then click save. It takes some time for your video to go live. Since your video will appear in YouTube search result based on title and description, it is very important to choose correct title and description. Hence do some research on YouTube by searching related videos and enter appropriate keywords in your title and description. Also enter your blog url in description.

3) Now you need to add your blog url. Go to my video and then Annotations then click on Add note, it gives you a window on the video asking “Enter your text here”. Type your blog URL here then you can change color if required, then holding mouse cursor you can drag it from center to one of the corner so that it does not come in the way of watching video.

Now you have to choose time period for which this will appear on video so you can select full time starting from 0.0 to the full length. Now you have to click on save and publish.

Check your blog URL is appearing while playing or not.

You also need to enter your blog URL in your profile. You need to go to Account > Profile setup > website.

Now logout and search YouTube with keyword you have mentioned in video title and see where you can find it in search results and watch the video. You can fine tune the title and description if required for better ranking. Send emails to your friends mentioning URL and asking them to watch the video and rate it. Getting few higher ratings creates good impression on visitors.

Your account at YouTube also has insight and statistics option under My account where you can come to know from where visitors has come to watch your video.

So what are you waiting for? Shoot a video and fire!

By Umesh Thakkar

Social Media 101

August 31, 2010

Social Media 101
Chris Brogan helps you navigate the World Wide ‘Interwebs.’

If you still call the Internet the “Information Superhighway,” you need to read this. Since the World Wide Web changed the way we work, play and socialize, a whole industry categorized as “social media” has emerged that didn’t exist 10 years ago. Social media expert and best-selling author Chris Brogan built a career on observing how the latest trends and tools in Web networking are changing the nature of business and entrepreneurship.
In his 2009 New York Times Best-Seller, Trust Agents, Brogan explains how business owners can convey their message more powerfully than any public relations firm or big corporate relations department. He is president of New Marketing Labs LLC, a social media marketing agency, and co-founder of PodCamp, a nonprofit community that hosts free PodCamps across the country and internationally for social media enthusiasts, professionals and novices
alike.
Brogan says social media tools such as Twitter enable businesses and brands to listen to their customers’ realtime word-of-mouth and uncensored product opinions like never before. That means anyone, from the Fortune 500 giants to the neighborhood mom-and-pop shop, can benefit from social media tools.
Don’t really grasp Twitter? Most of us don’t; that’s why Brogan’s bite-sized tips for joining Twitter, promoting yourself, finding followers and creating interesting content have gained favor with so many of his loyal readers. Going beyond the “Twitter is cool” hype, Brogan gives the nuts and bolts of making Twitter work for your business marketing strategy and helps you avoid the time trap of wallowing in the Twittersphere.
Since launching his blog in 1998—when it was still called journaling, or later, a web log—Brogan has built an impressive following of blog readers daily. Confessing that he’s not a marketer or a journalist, he became a trusted social media expert with compelling, helpful content that earned him a top-five spot on the Advertising Age Power 150 rank of marketing blogs, and a ranking by Technorati (a search engine for blogs) as one of the world’s top 100 business bloggers.
When you began blogging in 1998, what did you write about?
Chris Brogan: I wrote mostly fiction back then. I wanted to get short stories published and I was having trouble getting them accepted. So, I started a blog and then, suddenly, I had readers. From there, I learned that what people really wanted was stuff about them. That’s how life evolved, and how I learned where the value was.
Being named by Technorati and Advertising Age magazine as one of the world’s most influential bloggers is a feat that doesn’t happen overnight. How did you achieve your blog’s following?
CB: My blog following came when I learned how to be helpful to others. Service. It’s something we hear about all the time in other walks of life. I did the same with my media. My writing helps others find value and delivers success to them. It’s a lot better writing for others than writing about me.
Let’s talk about traffic stats. How many unique visitors daily do you have, how long on average do your visitors stay on your site, and how did you build that consistently over the years?
CB: I don’t know my daily uniques, but I get around 365,000 a month right now (according to Compete.com). They don’t stick around very long, but then, I only want them there long enough to read my post and leave a comment. Remember that my site is more about learning something than it is about buying something, so the stats about sticking around aren’t as important.
How should an entrepreneur make the best use of a blog, and what purpose does it serve?
CB: Blogs have the magical ability to let people get a peek inside your head. It’s magic. You can share with the world how you see the problem that your reader might be facing, and then share insights into how you might solve it, or how you might equip your reader to solve it. An entrepreneur can share his or her journey, can find talent, can talk about the exciting parts of the new project. It’s the best.
How can we make our Facebook pages more efficient as a branding device?
CB: Facebook pages aren’t always recommended. It’s more like a “community” place. You don’t have to serve your community via Facebook, if you’ve got a good platform elsewhere. To me, Facebook hasn’t yielded as many results as other platforms.
Why do you think Twitter has taken so many people a little longer to figure out? I mean, it has millions of users, but you still hear people say, “I don’t quite understand what Twitter is.” Why do you think that is?
CB: Twitter is a bit insular. It’s restrictive (140 characters). It’s a bit more niche. It’s a lot more “you say something and then listen to others say something,” where Facebook has more ways to interact. And that said, Twitter has so much more business value to me because it fosters serendipity in a way that Facebook doesn’t, due to the “you have to be a friend to see what I’m saying” limitation.
Of the lesser-known social media sites such as LinkedIn, Digg, Google Buzz, Delicious and others, which do you think have the most relevance
and why?
CB: I think that Google Buzz might turn into something. It really pulls a lot of the Web together into one space, but I’m not so sure. I think we’re heading toward more private social spaces, spaces where like-minded folks congregate instead of at big commons-like spaces.
What else can readers expect of your upcoming guest blog series, and why should they stay tuned, so to speak?
CB: Readers will learn how to do human business—sustainable, relationship-minded businesses—and they’ll learn how to use these social tools to build relevant, successful online presences that bring out the best of who they are offline.

So, what kind of blog content can a real estate agent find that will get quality links? That is the ultimate question, because the goal should not be to win over the world overnight – it should just be to slowly gain quality links one at a time and build the authority of your site. This will ultimately better your rankings in the search engines which is what will get you the additional business that you are looking for.

But what if you aren’t a Pulitzer-prize winning writer or a professional photographer? This is ok. Just find relevant topics for your area and the local real estate market (even if it’s just remotely related) that visitors to your site would find interesting, and even compelling.

Don’t worry about writing an article or finding a picture with the goal of gaining 100 new links to your site or getting so many hits that it crashes your server.

If you get one great link from a local college (.edu sites are great) to your site because you wrote a great article about how the market is affecting home prices in your city and recent college grads are unable to afford homes in the area, then you have achieved your goal.

Or what if your photos and write-up about how a local fire halted construction of a much needed infrastructure system to a densely populated subdivision and shut down schools for days – if a local news media links to your site, then you have achieved your goal.

So… here it is. 106 ideas for blog content to get links and traffic to your site. This is certainly not a complete list – feel free to add your own, fresh ideas. This list may also spark some new ideas that would work well in your market.

1. Home prices in local market

2. Local subdivisions/ farm area prices, solds, actives, pendings, etc.

3. New construction plans in area

4. New businesses coming to area

5. Job market in local area

6. Local weather and how it affects lifestyles & local market (for example, in Phoenix, no natural disasters, so many companies put their data centers here because of low risk of physical destructions to computer and data equipment)

7. Create a helpful checklist for buyers and sellers

8. Create an ebook. Example: “(Your name)’s Guide to Buying Real Estate in (your area). Make it a step by step guide to let your clients know exactly what it’s going to be like to buy real estate in your state.

9. Mortgage rate updates

10. Dangers of certain types of loans (such as interest only, certain ARMS, etc.), and why they are not for everyone – be careful not to buy more house than you can afford

11. Advantages of going through a mortgage broker for your next loan as opposed to your local bank (i.e., more options for finding a lender to say yes, potential for better rates, competing lenders so can find the best program for your needs)

12. Buying your first investment property

13. Dos and don’ts of buying investment properties

14. Should you rent it or flip it?

15. What you should know about home inspections

16. What to do about mold- is it really a problem?

17. Do I need to worry about radon?

18. The importance of safety around swimming pools

19. Simple repairs to help your home show better and sell faster

20. How do I choose the right real estate agent for my needs

21. How do I price my home right to sell without giving it away?

22. Landscaping can make a difference

23. What is curb appeal?

24. Is a neighborhood with an HOA for me?

25. Local school report cards and ratings

26. Child Care Guide (write a resource guide for parents on locations, costs, and services of local child care, day care,
preschool, and after-school facilities)

27. Local shopping and attractions in the area

28. Guide to dining out – rank all the restaurants in your area (let the restaurants know about your ranking guide and see
if you can get a link from them)

29. Upcoming sporting events, concerts, shows, etc

30. Anything newsworthy in your area (fires, road construction, crime reports, job markets, etc.)

31. Anything controversial in your area such as upcoming elections, debate about a subway/rail system, problems at a local nightclub, road noise from new freeway, new housing development with controversial architecture, etc. (be to take a somewhat neutral stance by posing questions to the reader rather than just stating your opinion – you don’t want to offend anyone, but people do like a good debate)

32. Average energy prices for your subdivision / farm area / local market

33. What homeowners can do to save on energy costs

34. Remodeling ideas to instantly increase the value of your home

35. Resources and tips for hiring contractors and actually having a good experience (a lot of folks have bad experiences with contractors either not showing up, not finishing the job, not doing work they were already paid for, etc. – you could provide a list of tips and resources, such as your local or state contractors association, referral services, etc.)

36. What are the Top 5 Scams of building contractors and how to avoid them?

37. What you need to know about buying foreclosures

38. What you need to know about buying tax liens in the county of _______

39. Buying a second home or vacation home/condo

40. The pros and cons of buying and owing a timeshare

41. Buying a resale home versus a new construction home (or completed spec home)

42. How to hire a great property management company

43. Is it better to buy or lease commercial space for my business

44. The new craze in buying Office Condos

45. Things you must know to successfully sell your home on your own (great bait for FSBOs – overwhelm them with so
much powerful info so that after reading it, they will WANT to hire you to sell their home)

46. Getting involved in local charities (write about what you have done, and what residents can do to get involved in local organizations)

47. Organizing a neighborhood clean-up day or garage sale

48. Plan a neighborhood block party or kid’s parade and then write about it, send flyers out, take photos, etc to get the word out – see if the HOA or local chamber or other organization will link to your site for more info

49. Travel tips for visitors to your area (great for out-of-town buyers)

50. Weekend getaways at local resorts for residents (often in the off-season, local resorts and attractions have huge discounts – take photos and write about some of these deals and amenities and get the hotels/resorts to link to your site)

51. Cost of Living Comparison (for different cities or neighborhoods in your local market). Put in a side by side comparison for average price of homes, gas, utilities, etc. Provide proof to your buyers of what they get for their money in one city versus another.

52. Top Ten Reasons why Babyboomers should buy their next home in [this town]

53. 7 Reasons Why you Should Sell your Home during the holiday season (most agents would say this is a bad time to sell and the market slows down – you could be different and show them why to list with you now instead of waiting and possibly losing the business to another agent)

54. Every week or month, go visit a new subdivision . Prepare a write up and photos on all the details: # of lots for sale, square footage, floor plans, spec homes available, builder warranties, locations, nearby shopping, amenities, future plans, etc.

55. Advantages of a Home Warranty

56. Fire Safety Tips for your home (also discuss 2 story homes, condos/high-rises, small children, the elderly, etc.)

57. Research the history of your city or local area – if something significant happened, such as a major fire, plane crash, storm, etc., write about it, get photos if you can (with permission) and post all the info about it you can find on your site.

58. Have webcam feeds from local points of interests such as ski resorts, traffic monitors, etc.

59. Create a quarterly crime report – gather the data from local law enforcement offices and break it down by city, area, subdivision, etc.

60. Get involved in your local Community or Neighborhood Watch program – post articles about the program, how residents can get involved, what activities are going on, etc.

61. Volunteer to coach a local little league or sports team – be sure to post your “coach” photo with all the kids on your website, write a short blurb about how the season is going, and send the photo, article, and url to all the parents along with your business card or brochure

62. What’s the difference in hiring a REALTOR versus a real estate agent? (use this one if you are a REALTOR – show potential clients the advantages of membership, education, code of ethics, etc.)

63. Moving resource guide (resources for buyers moving in from out of the area, for local moves, and for sellers moving out – all are potential client bases for you)

64. What should I offer for earnest money and down payment when buying a home?

65. Need to sell your home quickly? Ask about our guarantee. (or quick-sell program, or any other marketing technique you may use in your market)

66. How does the close of escrow process work? (talk about the general closing process and then things that are specific to your market or state/local laws)

67. Three Biggest Seller Mistakes (typically, these are Price, Condition, and Marketing – they must price it right, have it in good condition, and market it well – this is where you can talk up how your marketing program beats the competition)

68. Avoid Legal Battles when Buying or Selling a Home (a great place to talk about the importance of hiring a professional – You! – and to talk about the protections and responsibilities built in to your state/local real estate contracts)

69. Subdivision Reports (you could have one page for each of the popular subdivisions in your area or more specific to your farm area – title the page with the name of the subdivision and talk about the amenities, location, local shopping, attractions, home prices, architecture, HOA info if any, builders info, types of housing such as single vs. 2-story, homes with pools, etc.)

70. Reviews on books relevant to real estate or anything of importance to your area

71. Reviews on local businesses/vendors of interest to homeowners (for example, call pool vendors and get them to give you details, articles, referrals, and a link to your site, then call homeowners in the area and get reviews on their service)

72. Bargain Hunter’s Guide (Where to eat for under $20, How to find Furniture Bargains, etc.)

73. 25 Things to do in (Your Town) on the Weekend for under $40
74. Current Events (subscribe to local business journals and expand on any articles of interest to potential clients/visitors to your site, add photos, comments, etc.) The goal is for you to Become a Reporter!

75. Attend local zoning commission meetings, council meetings, school board meetings, etc. and write recaps of the meetings

76. Conduct community surveys and post results on your site (invite readers to participate because this makes people feel important – if your survey is relevant to your community or local real estate market, others will link to your site to spread the word about your findings)

77. Make donations to local organizations and then put photos and a write-up about it in your blog (very effective to have a matching gift offer – such as you’ll match $1 up to $1000 for every $1 your readers donate to this organization) This can get you write-ups in local newspapers and be sure you always mention your website when talking to reporters.

78. Have a contest (one that involves kids is very effective because kids will typically bug mom and dad to check your website to see if they’ve won) The prize doesn’t have to break the bank; dinner for two, tickets to a local theme park, movie passes, etc. are very popular and inexpensive.

79. Offer a scholarship for a local community college or university student (make sure the application links to your website and just like that, you have a much sought-after .edu link)

80. Volunteer to give a lecture at a university or local college (be sure to have the professor/administrator put a link to your website on the school’s website – there’s that .edu link again – so that students can either sign up or get more info). Giving a lecture or seminar not only gets you a link, but also puts your name & business out to all the attendees (you never know what potential buyers or sellers may be in the audience).

81. Offer your services for incoming students to local colleges/universities looking for housing. This can get you a .edu link and also direct access to advertise to potential clients.

82. Keep a camera with you at all times. Photos are great link bait. You never know what you’ll find in rush hour traffic. Once you capture the puppy dog running across the freeway on film, submit the photo to sites like Flickr and gain links from people looking at the photo in disbelief. You can also build out a story on your site to go with the photo.

83. Capture great photographs of a sunset or lightning storm – another great photo idea. Submit them to Flickr as well – if it’s local, you can also get links from local media and other interested parties.

84. Recount historical events on their anniversary date and write a blog post about it. Can be local events, national events, or international.

85. Write a themed article for each holiday of importance. For example, on Veteran’s Day, write an article thanking and remembering our veterans for their service to our country, find out about any local events or parades in your area, etc.

86. Interview three of your best local home inspectors. Come up with a common list of the 25 Most Important Things a Homebuyer should watch out for when buying a home. You could also come up with a list of the 10 Most Common Code Violations found by local inspectors.

87. Give your readers a space of their own to ask you questions. Post the questions and answers on your site. This allows reader interaction and avoids the one-way conversation. It can also get you links from both the reader and others who like your answers and want to reference your information.

88. Keep a Toolbox on your site. These are tools that your readers may want to use on a daily basis, and thus link to your site for easy access. (Some examples are a calendar, scheduler/planner, link to mapquest, local yellow pages, local & national news sites, weather sites, local newspaper, reliable online dictionary/thesaurus, computer troubleshooting site, local sports teams, movie reviews/local theaters, community newsletter,…)

89. Cheap Gas Spots (link to sites that show where you readers can buy the cheapest gas in the area where they live or work). Some examples might be your local AAA website, local radio and news media sites, Gas Buddy, and Gas Price Watch.

90. Expose a scam (what fun!) Alert residents in your community about a scam that is taking place in their neighborhood. Inform them what to look for, how to avoid it, and how to report it. Examples might be a telemarketing scam, identity theft ring, etc.

91. How to secure your wireless internet connection (many homeowners become victims of identity theft or other crimes simply because they use an unsecured internet connection – give them the steps to take to protect themselves and possibly get some local ISPs to provide input and/or link to your site)

92. Compare services of local phone, internet, cable, and satellite providers. Ask your readers for feedback; ask the companies for their pricing and customer satisfaction ratings; and find out what services are offered at which prices. Do a comparison chart and allow readers to comment on their experiences.

93. Local directory of doctors, dentists, hospitals, chiropractors, etc. (also, get these providers to link to your site and add a blurb about their facility and the services they offer)

94. Publicity Stunts – Do something funny or outrageous (be careful here – this is something you’ll want to be remembered for).

95. Participate in and/or Post photos and a write-up about local marathons, triathlons, fundraisers, etc. (local charity fun runs, breast cancer runs, diabetes walks, fitness challenges, etc.)

96. Provide details about the local Christmas light shows and attractions – post directions, times, prices, & features. Go to them, take photos, and write reviews on each on your site. You may soon rank for this search term and become people’s future source to find Christmas lights.

97. Take photos and write a short blurb about the Christmas lights and decorations in your own neighborhood or farm area. Post this on your website and incorporate it in any direct mailings or newsletters. If readers find their house or street on your site, you’ll get links and traffic.

98. Have a contest (complete with photos, of course) in your neighborhood for the best Halloween costume and best-decorated house.

99. Follow King Tut. When there is a traveling museum or exhibit that comes to your city, go see it. Take photos and write all about it. Post the hours, location, and parking tips – even where guests can eat lunch/dinner while there.

100. Interview local church leaders and pastors on what they have to say about the local housing market. Ask what challenges their members may face such as traffic issues or housing costs. Ask what the church does in the local community (i.e, church recently held a local clean-up and tree planting day in partnership with the city).

101. Go build a house with Habitat for Humanity or similar charity. Be sure to get a photo of yourself with your hard hat on and write about your experience. Also, let readers know how they could get involved if they desire.

102. Write a voting guide – don’t tell them your opinion or how to vote; just provide both sides of the issue for all the propositions on the ballot. Interview local candidates and post their views on the hot issues as well.

103. Visit local schools and interview teachers or principals about the challenges and opportunities in their school. Get a synopsis of the school’s enrollment, future plans, budget concerns, political issues, and other matters of importance. You may even get a link from the school or district websites.

104. In addition to talking to local school staff, talk to the parent-teacher group (sometimes called the PTA or PTO). Ask them what projects and activities they have going on, what they do to get parents involved in school, what the local community can do to help, etc.

105. Comment on other blogs. Once those blog owners notice you when trolling through their referral logs, they will likely return the favor. (This, by the way, is a legitimate reciprocal link.)

106. Conduct an “Annual Profile of Homebuyers/Sellers” in your market. Here’s how it could work: Interview 100 folks who have recently or are currently buying or selling a home. Offer them a gift certificate or dinner for two for their time. Ask all kinds of questions such as how they ultimately found their home, how they chose their REALTOR, what other homes or areas did they consider, what was most important in selling their home, etc. Then, write a nice article about your findings and post the results (use photos, charts, graphs, etc.).

Some of you already have the light bulb going off about this last one. This is a biggie – just think about how you could use this same technique as a prospecting tool for FSBOs and Expireds. And about how many news stations or local universities may stumble across your report. Then, you’ve got interviews, links to your website, reprints or quotes from your article, and more. This is a key stealth marketing technique that could land more traffic to your website and numerous buyers and sellers lining up to do business to you.

On some of the unique and local ideas above such as the Christmas light show directory, this can help you rank immediately for some of the long tail searches because they are not as competitive. So, whenever someone searches for “Your Town Christmas Light Shows,” you now come up in the top of the search. Not only does this bring potential clients to your site, but it increases your name recognition and the authority of your site. You become a trusted source for valuable information – this is easily incorporated into your long-term strategy of becoming an authority in your marketplace (both on the web and in the neighborhoods you work). It is also very likely that various news media outlets will stumble on your website and want to quote you or interview you – another great way to get famous and get links.

Think of your website as the canvas and your expertise as the paintbrush. Pick up your brush, open your mind, and create a link-worthy masterpiece.

The discussion of the value of Facebook for many B2B companies is a valid one. The truth is that it is not the best engagement platform for all B2B companies. However, it is a great fit for some. The problem is that most B2B companies are only using Facebook for a small fraction of what it can really do. Today I wanted to share three lead generation tips for Facebook that many companies seem to be ignoring

1. Generate Leads through E-mail subscriptions – Blue Sky Factory does a great job of this, granted they should since they are an e-mail marketing company. However, most B2B companies simply settle for out of the box options that Facebook provides instead of thinking about how they can best maximize their network on Facebook. By including an e-mail subscription form in the side bar of their Facebook page Blue Sky Factory creates another possible way to build its e-mail newsletter distribution and leverage that newsletter to generate sales.

2. Provide a Special Offer or Link to Customer Support – Sure conversations happen on Facebook, but if someone is checking out the fan page for your business odds are they are interested in your product or at worst interested in the knowledge that you are sharing. Give them a reason to find out more about your product. Make a special offer or a free trail (see Hubspot example above) or make it very easy for them to start a live chat or call with a customer service representative that is able to answer their questions. Both of these levels of customer contacts can help generate quality leads that could potential transition into sales.

3. Mix Paid Content with Free Content – Forrester Research publishes over 20 blogs and many of the posts are linked or republished on their Facebook Fan Page. This consolidation of free content draws fans’ attention to Forrester’s thought leadership on a variety of topics. Forrester is in the business of selling research reports, planning a variety of real world and online events, and consulting with clients. By mixing sales offers for full research reports and paid event listings with loads of free content, which by the way demonstrates the value of their research, Forrester primes fans to take that first step to make a purchase. While those purchases, or event registrations, generate income, they have more value as leads to develop new client business. So Forrester is actually using the freemium model, giving something away and knowing that some people will pay to upgrade or get more, as a lead generation tool for a much large business relationship.

So these are three simple examples of B2B companies generating real leads with their Facebook fan pages. All three of these companies are engaging with their fans and providing value over the Facebook platform, but it is also driving business.

If your wanting to bring your company or product into the social media arena, you understand that social media offers much more than additional channels for marketing your message, but you may not know how or have the time to take advantage of those opportunities.

A Social Media Manager/Assistant will help relieve you of many of the struggles that you will come in contact with, help create a smoother running business by assisting in building your brand and reputation in the social media world.

A social media strategist can help you zero in on your objectives and recommend the platforms that will best suit your needs. In this phase, you will also determine if you will personally be “listening”, responding, writing, and engaging online or if you plan to empower your social media assistant to do this on your behalf. Either way, you will scope out the tone and style of the online “you”.

Once you’ve determined the platforms that best suit your business needs, you will create your online identities. A few examples include: signing up for Twitter and building a following, creating a Facebook page and/or company page on LinkedIn, starting a blog…  Once your identities are established, you or your social media assistant will link them together. You can set up your twitter status to automatically update your Facebook status; sign up for Twitterfeed and link your blog to it. Join groups and networks related to your business and begin contributing content and connecting with others.

Your online identities are established and linked, you’ve joined groups and networks, and have followers and other connections – now what? The key to ongoing success is participating routinely to maintain relevance, listening, and being responsive. A social media assistant can work with you to engage on a consistent basis. Engagement may include posting blogs, tweets, and other comments regularly—being a brand evangelist—and it also includes listening to what’s being said about your company and responding to customer inquiries and comments. If someone has taken the time to write something about your product or service, taking the time to write back will enhance your company’s reputation. Studies show that when customers have an issue and you respond quickly, they can be even more loyal to your brand than individuals that never had an issue in the first place. A social media assistant who really understands your product can be invaluable in deepening these affinities and this helps reduce other customer service costs.

Are you ready to dive in? With the right social media strategy, your social media presence can quickly become a greater return on investment than your offline strategies. Remember, you don’t have to do it alone. The right social media assistant/manager can mean all the difference in your strategies to start building relationships and helping people buy.

There seem to be a lot of people, up start businesses, small business and others that really don’t think of the hazards of using a new technology or communications tool and then thinking that mastering its use or even using it, is all you need to know and do for your business.  A Blog, twitter, facebook and all the other social media resources are not a business plan.  They ARE a fantastic tool in implementing a business plan, but just jumping on those sites and blogging and tweeting away will not bring what you may want, and there is nothing strategic about updating all of your sites, especially, since the time involved in incorporating them into your business can be more than you realize.   There are many that have found the excitement of social media, however, they have also found that the time that you sometimes need to invest along with somewhat of a learning curve, can hinder your “plan”, which can turn into frustration.

Enter the Social Media Marketing Plan (SMMP), which are more effective when they are part of an overall marketing plan for your company.  If you already have a marketing plan, you may want to just integrate the Social Media piece of the pie.  Unfortunately, there seem to be very few organizations thinking about the integration of social media into what they have been doing, which at this point of the game could be a big mistake.

Here are some fundamental questions that you may want to ask:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
  • Why are you trying to do this?
  • Whom are your trying to reach?
  • Where can you most effectively reach them?
  • How are you going to reach out to them?
  • What are you trying to get them to do?

Here are some ideas to go through that may help with your SMMP.

  • Who is your audience? Know where they are online.
  • What are your assets? People, stories, video, audio, images, ect.
  • What are your measurable objectives?
  • Re-Examine over time what works and what doesn’t and what can you improve upon.
  • What will your tactics be?
  • Think about your BIG and creative ideas that will attract attention and give value.

Social Media is a commitment, not a campaign

Also, you may need to be reminded that Social Media is very effective in Building a Brand and Brand Loyalty and it can really turbo charge word of mouth marketing and the feed back loop…priceless 🙂