Monthly Archives: October 2011

A New Social Network is Chiming In this Week

What do you get when you mix Twitter-like sharing with the detailed blogging similar to Reddit? You guessed it- a new social media network! Chime.in, Ubermedia’s take on a social network, debuted to the public on 10/18/2011. While the addition of “yet another social network” may have you rolling your eyes, Chime.in might be worth taking a look at.

Chime.in has a newsfeed, pages, and a system that allows users to follow other users. On this new social network, users can write short posts up to 4,000 characters. Chime.in lets users share content via “chimes” (Think facebook status + blog post).

A chime display will show a headline, the first few sentences of the post, multimedia such as a picture or video, interest tags, and options for liking, sharing and commenting. The chimes have a threaded style comment section that allows users to vote comments up or down so the most popular comments show on top.

One of the biggest selling points for Chime.in is the amount of control that users have over their pages, including the types of sponsors or advertising. Users can choose to include their own adds on their page and keep 100% of the profits, or they can elect to have Ubermedia sell the adds on their page and share the revenue 50-50.

With the online world already saturated with social networks, Ubermedia has their work cut out for them if they want to turn Chime.in into a top social network. However, Ubermedia CEO Bill Gross is confidant that Chime.in’s “interest network” focus and it’s offer to let users keep advertising revenue will make it a big success with users and businesses alike. Chime.in is definitely a network to keep your eye on as it may be a  valuable asset to your business’ social media marketing strategy.

Developing an Effective Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social Media can be a little daunting for any small business that doesn’t know where to start. Before jumping into the deep end, you should sit down and develop a detailed marketing strategy that is tailored to your business’ needs. Below are a few helpful steps to get you started.
1. Choose A Platform: The first step in any social media marketing plan is to choose the platform or platforms you are going to use. There are hundreds of social media sites,  so how do you choose which ones to use? To begin, do a little research. You want to select platforms that target your intended audience as well as allow you the ability to perform any desired functions (such as “like” buttons, check-ins, etc.). Check out this great infographic on Mashable that compares how the top five platforms stack up against each other.
2. Connect:After you have chosen your desired platform(s) you want to start connecting. Begin by creating your pages and then connecting with your friends, family, and business colleagues to expose your business to their network of friends. Also try searching out people and other business that are involved in your market and then like or follow them to expand your network. Remember to be patient- most likely your pages won’t explode overnight. With time, engaging content, and good consumer interaction, your presence will grow.

3. Create & Share Content: Now that you have decided what platforms are best for you business, created your pages, and started networking, you want to develop content to share with your audience. There’s no use in being present on social media platforms if your content is boring! Your target audience is likely to stop reading and interacting with your business if your content is not engaging. Try discussing interesting or funny topics or any promotions your business has going on. Essentially, have fun with it! Here are a few great Dos and Don’ts for Social Media Sharing.

4. Engage: If someone has taken the time to comment, like, retweet, etc. any of your posts, then take the time to do the same. Taking a look at the five most engaging brands on Facebook can help give your some ideas on how to best interact with your audience.

For more detailed information on how to create an effective social media marketing plan, check out: 5 Advanced Social Media Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses.

How Different Generations Use Social Media

A crucial component to any type of social media advertising is knowing the target audience. In order to successfully promote your product, you must be aware of who you are gearing the advertising towards (i.e. age, gender, etc.), what social media platforms your audience is most likely to use, and what time of day they are most active on those platforms.

MBA Online recently posted an interesting infographic that details the types of social media that several generations use throughout the day. The information from the infographic shown below can help you tailor your social media advertising so that you receive the greatest exposure to your targeted audience.

Should You Have Multiple Company Bloggers?

This is a question every growing small business should ask itself. When just starting out, it is often more cost effective and simpler to write the blog yourself, or someone else within the organization. However, as your business grows, so do your responsibilities, as well as your profit intake. With these increased responsibilities, you now have less time and energy to focus on and put effort into social media updates. With your increased profits, you now may have the resources to hire a full time social media/online coordinator. However, before you do anything, it is very important to develop a blogging strategy before taking your company’s blog online.  The following takes a look at the multiple advantages and disadvantages of both multiple and single bloggers.

The Multiple Blogger Strategy

Advantages:

  • This is the most common approach because it fits with most traditional organizational structures, so it is the most tried and true method
  • This strategy can also illuminate the many different voices and perspectives within your company (such as our wonderfully talented intern team here at Seidel Media!)
  • Having multiple bloggers can also distribute the workload, which then ensures a consistent and quality flow of content.
Disadvantages:
  • When you first start a blog, you ask who will make a commitment to blog and you will have a dozen or so people who raise their hands. However, when it actually comes down to it, you will have maybe about 3 or 4 (depending on your business’s size) who actually end up handling all of the blogging.
  • Managing many moving parts and content can be very complex and confusing.
  • Being chained to a schedule can make you inherently inflexible and responsive to external opportunities.
  • Rarely has a blog with mutliple bloggers been able to establish a real sense of community.
The Single Blogger Strategy
Advantages:
  • If you have a company executive who is a natural communicator and voice of authority, it may represent a unique opportunity to differentiate your brand/service. What customer wouldn’t love getting first hand knowledge and insight from a well-known executive?
  • If your goal is to humanize and personalize your business and create customer dialogue, your best bet is to have a dedicated company blogger. People want to connect and converse with a real person. It is difficult to ask a question or comment when the author is not even identified.
  • It is easier for a single person to develop a blogging voice and competency than an entire team.
  • Having a single point of responsibility is the most flexible and responsive situation that takes advantage of the rapid and real-time nature of the social web. It also ensures that the job is going to get done.
Disadvantages:
  • Remember your parents telling you “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket”? Well the same thing applies to blogging. What happens if your blogger gets fired, quits, or is out for a month with a terrible sickness? What will happen to your blog?
  • Funding a dedicated blogger can be an unnecessary cost expenditure for many small businesses.
  • It may limit the scope and variety of the content you deliver.
Hybrid Approaches
  • Multiple, single bloggers- IBM has over 50 blogs featuring individual well-known scientists and engineers. It features the best of both worlds since it features multiple voices while also creating emotional bonds with individuals.
  • Blogs segmented by market- An emerging effective practice is to have multiple company blogs aimed at different demographics. These may use a combination of individuals or teams depending on the market.
  • Turn the blog over to stakeholders- Patagonia, Starbucks, and Fiskars infamously uses their customers as their bloggers. They can create compelling content, external validation for your brand message, and an excellent opportunity for engagement.
So, as you can see from the points listed above, there are many valid approaches to blogging efforts for your small business. Taking the time to assess which approach is right for your business can be a determining factor between success or death for  your social media presence.