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Social Media, The 500 lb Gorilla In The Room

Social Media is the 500 lb gorilla in the room that nobody knows what to do with. Ignore it,  feed it, befriend it,  fear it, or understand it. Ultimately they will embrace it and accept it, and not worry about the ROI. Business is about connecting with people and people drive business and referrals. – Web Success Team

Source: Inc. 500

Inc. 500 CEOs Use Social Media for Business

By Tamara Schweitzer

A new study shows that the use of social media is particularly prevalent among Inc. 500 companies and provides new insight on the role social media plays in running a business.

For the third consecutive year, the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, has conducted a study on social media usage among Inc. 500 companies. The 2009 results confirm the upward trend of social media adoption rates among some of the fastest growing private companies, and provide a useful comparison of social media trends from 2007 on.

This year’s study, which was conducted by researchers Nora Ganim Barnes and Eric Mattson, included 148 of the 2009 Inc. 500 companies. As with the past two years, respondents were asked about their usage and familiarity with six types of social media tools, including blogging, podcasting, online video, social networking, message boards, and wikis. In the past year, social media usage by the Inc. 500 has grown, with 91 percent of companies reporting that they use at least one social media tool, compared to 77 percent in the 2008 survey. And, of the six social media categories, the one that continues to be the most familiar to Inc. 500 companies is social networking, with 75 percent saying that they are “very familiar with it.” Read more

Filed under: Business Networking, Drive Traffic, Online Advertising and Marketing, Online Business, Social Marketing, Social Media, Social Profiling, Web Success, , , , , ,

Beware of Coming On Too Strong On LinkedIn

People are people not objects. Social media is about relationship building and trust in whose delivering the information. Be sincere and helpful, be active and participate, give more than you get and you will develop a following and be in a better position to benefit from others needs. – Web Success Team

How NOT to network in LinkedIn

By Doron Gez

We wrote here about LinkedIn’s groups, and how to network through them. An associate of mine told me that it didn’t work for him. When I asked him why, I understood his that he came in too strong by putting a link immediately after joining. This was considered spamming, and he paid the price. Here’s a lesson for all of us.

Joining a LinkedIn group gives you the opportunity to communicate with other members of the group and also to post your content there. My associate was thrilled to find another place to put links to his site.

While this can indeed be a nice platform for receiving quality traffic, from a well targeted group of professionals, this approach doesn’t always satisfy the group administrators. Read more

Source: Social Media Today

Filed under: Business Networking, Social Marketing, Social Media, , , , , ,

Join Us to #BeatCancer with Social Media

Please help Beat Cancer by Tweeting, Blogging or Posting on Facebook with the hashtag: #beatcancer.  eBay/Paypal and MillerCoors are donating a cent per hashtag. The campaign is aiming for a Guinness World Record “for the distribution of the largest mass message through social media” in one day.

So please RT and post away! – Web Success Team. Read more

All About #BeatCancer

In a 24-hour period of time starting Friday, October 16th at 9 am (PDT) and lasting until Saturday, October 17th at 9am (PDT) people all over the internet stratosphere will be asked to send tweets and Facebook status updates and to blog using #BeatCancer in their posts. Ebay/Paypal and MillerCoors Brewing Company will donate a penny ($0.01)* for every Twitter message, Facebook update or blog post that includes the phrase #BeatCancer. All money will be donated to non-profit cancer organizations including SU2C (Stand Up to Cancer), Alex’s Lemonade, Bright Pink, and Spirit Jump. All of the non-profits are 501 (c)(3) organizations and accredited by The American Cancer Society. A listing of all organizations and a live stream of postings can be found at www.beatcancereverywhere.com.

Join Us to #BeatCancer with Social Media: About

Filed under: Blogging, Business Networking, Facebook, , ,

Women Bloggers and Their Influence on Online Marketing

Mommy Blogger

Mommy Blogger

There was once a time when women were somewhat marginalized in a society that was heavily slanted towards men’s needs and concerns. While incidences of discrimination against women remain fairly commonplace, there have been a few strides made in the quest to have women more heavily involved in various aspects of society. This is particularly noticeable in the online world, where the democratization of the collective online experience has given women a more prominent role than they have previously enjoyed otherwise.

Blogging is one specific area wherein women are finally able to stand toe-to-toe with men. There are literally thousands of blogs online at any given moment, and they are comprised of countless thousands of potential customers. As prevalent an Internet phenomenon as blogging is, it is made even richer by the greater involvement of women.

Source; Web Success Team Blog

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The Web Success Team’s Solopreneur Package includes a 5-page custom direct response website fully branded and optimized for Search Engines with 6-months of online marketing, social networking, blogging, article marketing and much more. Lock in your special pricing now before the rate goes up! Contact the Web Success Team at 818-222-5643 or email bob@websuccessteam.com. To your web success!

Filed under: Blogging, Business Networking, , , ,

Marketing Tips to Help Legal Professionals Build Their Brands

All too often we get comfortable in our jobs or companies doing what we do best. But periodically these good habits need to be re-examined. In recessionary times you need to constantly reinvent yourself and try new avenues to increase your market share or profitability.

Times are a-changing. The Internet is a dynamic environment and you need to become more active in social media, online networking groups, and good old fashion hand pressing. It’s also a good idea to reassess your website by freshening it up with new content, promotions and calls to action.

Another excellent way to reach out is to actively maintain a blog and blog at least once a week on topical issues of interest for your potential customers. – Bob Speyer, Web Success Team.

Strategic Branding Firm Provides Advice on Effective Legal Marketing Tactics

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 /PRNewswire/ — Following a trying period with little-to-no-growth and industry layoffs and pay cuts, legal professionals are turning to proven business development efforts to freshen their brands and generate business.

Working with law firms to help them dig out of this smoking crater, Moire Marketing Partners, a strategic branding and communications agency specializing in professional services firms, is offering some tips on how firms can position themselves for growth in the post-recession economy:

  1. Incorporate social media into your business development efforts. Your clients, prospects and their suppliers are using it; you should strategically use it too. Leverage tools including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to connect with prospective clients and other professionals to build your network and demonstrate your expertise.
  2. Be a brand ambassador. Remember, you are the face of your company’s brand. Use your interactions to communicate your firm’s brand promise and support that continuously in your efforts.
  3. Network. Relationships matter. Social media is a great way to start a conversation with a client or prospect – but don’t let it stop there. Offer to meet new and old colleagues at an upcoming industry or bar association meeting, civic event, non-profit activity or social mixer – or host your own hospitality function at your firm.
  4. Seize the podium. Apply to be a speaker at upcoming events. If you aren’t accepted, attend anyway to get a better handle on what topics are creating buzz.
  5. Learn from other professionals. Invest in consultants to sharpen your brand. An outside perspective can help you assess the effectiveness of your business development efforts and offer insight into what strategies would work best for your personality type.
  6. Be active in your home and business communities. Dust off those memberships in the local chamber of commerce and non-profit organization. Get involved in industry related activities and slowly increase your profile. Read more

Source: PR NewsWire

Filed under: Business Networking, Facebook, Online Advertising and Marketing, Online Branding, Online Business, Online Marketing, SEO, SEM, Keywords, Direct Response W, Social Marketing, Social Media, Social Profiling, , , , , , , , ,

Facebook or Just Face-Look? Are People 55 And Older Really Using Social Networking Websites?

It’s true, older generations are logging on to Facebook and signing up. Although, the 55 and over group isn’t  as active as the younger groups, they are starting to recognize the value of social media and marketing. When I first started online marketing, I was the old guy. Now I see my generation recognizing the value of the Internet and how effective it can be for driving traffic and sales to businesses. It starts with social media. – WST

By: Glenn Gabe

Facebook is estimated to have 70.2 million unique visitors per month in the United States according to comScore.  Social networking is booming, everyone is friending, following, tweeting, tagging, and grandma and grandpa are getting involved too.  Wait a minute, did I just say grandma and grandpa?  That’s what some recent Facebook research has shown.  It seems the fastest growing demographic on the social networking giant is women 55 and older.  That segment grew by 175% in February 2009, while men 55 and older grew by 137%.

I was definitely excited to see the data.  I’m a big believer in social networking and love to see people in that age group join a site like Facebook.  That said, reality set in a few days later.  I ended up speaking with someone 66 years old who needed my assistance with their email account.  Like many of you reading this post, I usually end up being the point person for technology-related questions for friends and family.  I had an interesting few minutes on a phone call with her.  Here’s a quick transcript:

Her: I can’t seem to find some emails I’ve written.
Me: Did you check your sent items?
Her: I’m in my email already. Where are my sent items?
Me: It’s the folder labeled “Sent Items” in Microsoft Outlook.
Her: I don’t think I’m using Outlook…
Me: What are you using to check your email?
Her: The e with a circle around it (AKA: Internet Explorer)
Me: OK, so it’s web-based mail.
Her: No, it’s on my computer.
Me: Yes, but you are accessing your email on the web.  I can help you.  What’s your email address so I can send you some instructions?
Her: I’m not sure, hold on.
Me: Jumping off roof now. 🙂

That conversation reminded me that not everyone is tech savvy.  We come with computer chips built into our brains.  Our kids instinctively know how to text and have built in wi-fi.  But, we also grew up using computers on a regular basis.  People that are 55 and older didn’t…  We were typically the ones introducing computers and explaining how to use them. Needless to say, there’s a big difference between the various age groups and how they utilize new technology.

My 3 Degrees of 55 and Older

After the phone call, I started thinking about people 55 and older and the data I saw about Facebook.  I’ll be honest, I started having doubts that many people 55 and older are jamming on Facebook, tagging photos, using apps, providing status updates, and grabbing their vanity URL’s.  So, why was I skeptical?  My parents are in that age group, and all of their friends.  My in-laws are in that age group, and all of their friends.  In addition, all of my friends’ parents are in that age group, so on and so forth.  So, I like to think I have a pretty good feel for that demographic, based on interactions I’ve had with them over the past few years.

They Are Signing Up, But Not Coming Back…

The initial data I read showed that people 55 and older was a fast growing segment for Facebook (with women over 55 being the fastest growing).  But, recent data revealed that although they were signing up, they were not returning to Facebook.  Unfortunately, that did make a lot of sense to me.  I can only imagine someone 65 years old hearing about Facebook from their children or grandchildren, signing up, and looking at their blank profile thinking, “What the heck is this??”

Getting My Own Data

Although reading all of this data about people 55 and older was great, it wasn’t sufficient for me.  I wanted to know more. So I decided to collect some of my own data!  I reached out to my network of friends and family with a quick Facebook questionnaire.  I came up with five simple questions to try and understand how people 55 and older were using Facebook.  I sent an email to my network and waited patiently for the data to come in.  It didn’t take long to start receiving responses.  Some of the emails cracked me up, others surprised me, and most reinforced what I thought.  Here are the five questions I sent out:

1. Are you currently on Facebook?
2. If yes, what do you use it for?
3. How often do you visit Facebook per day, week, and month?
4. Do you enjoy Facebook? Why or why not?
5. Do you plan to join other social networks like Facebook in the near future (over the next 6 months to year?)

I ended up receiving 57 responses from people 55 and older.

A quick disclaimer before I reveal the data. This is obviously not a scientific study, nor was it meant to be.  I just wanted to receive feedback from a trusted group of people that were 55 and older to see if and how they use Facebook.  Let’s see what they had to say.

Lots of No’s, But There is Hope

As I started receiving responses, I saw a quick trend.  NO.  That’s the overwhelming response I received to question one (Are you currently on Facebook?)  It ends up that 80% of the respondents were not on Facebook.  When someone did choose to elaborate, I received some funny responses.  For example, I found out about one man who isn’t on Facebook and also refuses to upgrade to broadband.  I think the exact quote was, “Dial-up is fast enough!”  I laughed out loud and couldn’t help but think that his response was something right out of an episode of Seinfeld. 🙂  Another comment that cracked me up was, “I think I was there once.”  Wow, Facebook made such a big impression on her that she didn’t even know if she was on the site!  Although I was hoping to see more people from this group on Facebook, I had a feeling this would be the case.  Then I opened a few emails that gave me hope…

Wait, Facebook Can Be Helpful!

Sprinkled in with the no’s were some great responses supporting Facebook.  These enthusiastic responses made me think there is hope.  The first one that struck me was from a friend’s mother-in-law.  Her enthusiasm about Facebook jumped off the page. Literally, if she could friend me, tag my photo, challenge me to a trivia game, and become a fan of my Facebook page, I think she would.   She explained how much she loves Facebook, how she keeps up with her children and grandchildren, and loves seeing everyone’s status updates, photos, video, etc.  She logs in a few times per day.  Yes, she was the exception, but she got it (big time).

After reading her story, I received a few more no’s and then another great response came in.  This time from a friend’s father, who logs in a few times per week to see what his kids are doing, he searches for people he went to college with, connected with some of them online and offline, etc.  It was another great example of someone using Facebook in smart ways.  He seemed to really like it.

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The Web Success TeanSPECIAL: Solopreneur Package – Jump Start Your Business
The Web Success Team’s Solopreneur Package includes a 5-page custom direct response website fully branded and optimized for Search Engines with 6-months of online marketing, social networking, blogging, article marketing and much more. Lock in your special pricing now before the rate goes up! Contact the Web Success Team at 818-222-5643 or email bob@websuccessteam.com. To your web success!

Filed under: Business Networking, Facebook, Social Marketing, Social Media, Social Profiling, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Reducing the Risks of User-Generated Content

Understanding user-generated content and how it can both help and hurt you is a great asset to your business. Social media is a method of connecting with people, meaning providing your own user-generated content to communicate interest, link content and even share business ideas. This article explains the types of risks involved as well as how to protect yourself against negative content. This is important for every successful business online. – WST

By: Jeremy Gislason

User-generated content (or “Participatory Media” as some call it) can be a great way to boost the value of your website, and the traffic that’s driven to it. Many website owners have already found that developing online communities greatly increases their financial bottom lines. Sometimes, as has been the case with YouTube, user-generated content can even be a great business model in itself.

But user-generated content can also be a great source of risk and exposure. Again, there’s probably no better example of this than YouTube. YouTube was sued by the Viacom studio in 2007 for $1 billion in damages, for allegedly distributing Viacom’s copyrighted materials without permission.

If you understand the risks associated with user-generated content, you can take steps to reduce your exposure and protect your online assets, while at the same time increasing the value of your website.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content is a broad term that includes any material that a website user posts on the website for others to see. This can include not only blog comments, but also pictures, videos, articles, or anything else that a user might post in a forum or bulletin board section of your website, or as part of their own personal profile on the website.

What are the Risks with User-Generated Content, and How Can I Address Them?

There are a number of legal issues that you will need to become familiar with if you permit or promote user-generated content on your website.

a. Intellectual property infringement. There are two primary types of intellectual property infringement issues that you should be aware of. The first is copyright infringement. Key elements of liability include knowledge of the infringing activity, inducing or contributing the improper conduct, and attaining a direct financial benefit in the infringing activity when you have the ability to supervise the direct infringer.

Copyright holders generally try to enforce their rights by means of “takedown notices” that are sent in accordance with the requirements a particular Federal law (the Digital Millennium Copyright Act). You’ll have to decide what position to take once you receive takedown notices. Do you evaluate each and respond notice as you feel appropriate? Or do you simply honor all takedown notices immediately? It’s a balance between avoiding legal risk of a lawsuit by those who claim to hold a copyright to the material that someone else posted, versus possibly alienating your users if you aren’t giving any consideration to their “fair use” rights in that content.

Trademark law prevents the use of trademarks of others in a manner that creates a likelihood of confusion about the source of goods or services or in a manner that dilutes the value of the trademark. User-generated content sometimes falls afoul of trademark law.

b. Defamation. You should also be aware that there is potential liability for allowing users to post defamatory statements about others on your website. There is a Federal law (The Communications Decency Act) which can provide some protection against defamation claims based on what your users do on your website, but the scope of the protection is still somewhat uncertain, so you should not ignore the possibility of claims against you based on user generated content.

c. Obscenity and Child Pornography. The Federal laws that provide protections to website owners generally exclude protections for obscene materials that appear on such websites, even if the materials are posted by users themselves.

How Can I Reduce My Risks?

One common technique for a website operator to reduce their risks of legal liability for user generated content is to not actively monitor the user activities on the website. While this may seem counter-intuitive, the relevant Federal laws provide a greater degree of protection (through a so-called “safe harbor”) for passive web services that do not actively manage or supervise user content.

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The Web Success TeanSPECIAL: Solopreneur Package – Jump Start Your Business
The Web Success Team’s Solopreneur Package includes a 5-page custom direct response website fully branded and optimized for Search Engines with 6-months of online marketing, social networking, blogging, article marketing and much more. Lock in your special pricing now before the rate goes up! Contact the Web Success Team at 818-222-5643 or email bob@websuccessteam.com. To your web success!

Filed under: Business Networking, Online Business, Social Media, Uncategorized, Web Content, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Online Reputation Management

For many long-term business owners, tackling the web can be an intimidating and difficult task.  It is important not to be discouraged by negative reviews by disgruntled customers, but rather to rise above and move forward in your marketing efforts.  There are a few basic things to keep in mind when taking the step into the modern business world.  Here are a few good tips that will keep your head on straight and your business making money. –  WST

By: Jeremy Martin

The day you open your business you become vulnerable to the good and bad publicity you can get from either satisfied or dissatisfied customers. That is the price you pay to run a business. It happens to everyone regardless of what you do. Hopefully you are doing your best to please your customers and following through with the expectations you have given them. But when the unthinkable happens and you find a negative remark, blog post or complaint online there are steps you want to take.

Here are some of the “Do’s and Don’ts” of Managing Your Business’ Reputation Online.

Lets start with the Don’ts:

  • Don’t Panic. I know that is easier said that done but the last thing you want to do is lose your cool and try to retaliate. There is no reason for that. It often causes more damage than good.
  • Don’t immediately focus all your attention to the negative information you have found. It is important for you to have a plan or strategy. If you focus all of your time, money and effort on clearing your name then the rest of your business will go down the tube.
  • Don’t admit anywhere that you are wrong. Admitting any wrongdoing is not going to get your complaint removed from search results, blogs or forums. It can also cause further trust issues with existing or potential customers.
  • Don’t take your first negative publicity as a sign that your business is a failure. People that feel that have been wronged in any way are more likely to post the negative information about your company but chances are you have got 100 happy and satisfied customers for every one unhappy customer. Remember, you can’t always please everyone.

Now the Do’s:

  • Create a plan of action. If you notice a couple of negative reports or complaints listed on the first page of search results you have got to find a way to push them off the first page and get them as far down the results as you can. A few really great ways you can do this are by submitting a Press Release to various PR distribution sites such as PRWeb.comm, PR.com and PRnewswir.com.. You can start a new blog that is about your company’s products or services. Make sure you share the good information about your business such as favorable stats or testimonials. Join forums related to your niche and contribute useful, relevant information.
  • Use social networking as a way to build a bigger and better network. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, StumbleUpon and Digg are great because they such a deep user base. If you can get some buzz going about your business it will go a long way. People love to refer sites that are useful to them so make sure you have information that appeals to your target audience.
  • Do your best to resolve the issue with the dissatisfied customer. Sometimes it can be tough if they make the comments anonymously but do your best to find out who they are so you can take care of their concerns. If you try to reach out to them and resolve the issue publicly it shows that you are persistent and take your customer’s satisfaction seriously.
  • If your business is in the position to get certified through agencies like the BBB it can be beneficial to your credibility to potential customers.

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The Web Success TeanSPECIAL: Solopreneur Package – Jump Start Your Business
The Web Success Team’s Solopreneur Package includes a 5-page custom direct response website fully branded and optimized for Search Engines with 6-months of online marketing, social networking, blogging, article marketing and much more. Lock in your special pricing now before the rate goes up! Contact the Web Success Team at 818-222-5643 or email bob@websuccessteam.com. To your web success!

Filed under: Business Networking, Online Advertising and Marketing, Online Business, Web Success, , , , , , , , , ,

New York Times Article: 10 Things to Be Clear About Before You Start a Company

In tough economic times and unemployment at a record high, people are taking the initiative and creating their own jobs or companies. The question is, are you prepared to become an entrepreneur? This is the million dollar question. Here is an excellent article from the NY Times, “10 Things to Be Clear About Before you Start a Company,” that should make anyone stop and think before starting their own business.

Owning your own business is not for the fainthearted. It can be done with a well engineered business plan. As a successful entrepreneur, I would add a final point to this list: “Is your business idea simple and easy to achieve? It is always better to start a business with a single concept and a great deal of perseverance.

”Here is an excerpt of the article:

1. Is this your first venture?
2. Are you really an entrepreneur?
3. Does your venture involve something you understand really well?
4. Can your mother understand the value proposition?
5. Can you see the right wave?
6. What does your startup want to be when it grows up?
7. Starting a company is hard and uncertain.
8. Get a partner or fly solo?
9. Would you refuse a well-paying job to do this?
10. Can you raise appropriate financing?”

To read more: New York Times Copyright 2009 ReadWriteWeb. All Rights Reserved.

For further can’t miss marketing thoughts, download the Web Success Team’s latest Ten Steps to Web Success. And for a complete direct response marketing solution, discover our Solopreneur Marketing Package. It’s available for a limited time and for a select few. If you read this paragraph, I did my direct response job. Don’t forget to click the links!

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Filed under: Business Networking, Online Business, Online Marketing, SEO, SEM, Keywords, Direct Response W, , , ,

100 Tools and Tips to Tap the Facebook Customer Base

In the last couple of years, Facebook has gone from a college photo-sharing site to a burgeoning business- networking platform for self-promotion, advertising and multimedia interaction. With new apps and add-ons, Facebook users can send each other a virtual drink, create and host events, advertise their businesses through social ads, and more. Whe

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Filed under: Business Networking, Facebook, Social Profiling

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