How to Create Facebook Events Without Annoying Your Friends

It’s always nice to be included. That is, unless it’s a Facebook Event for a 20-piece recorder recital playing Nickleback’s greatest hits.

Since Facebook added the ability to plan events and invite your friends a few years ago, it’s become one of the post popular online ways to organize get-togethers. It’s also a feature that pisses people off.

Are you part of the problem? Click here to look at our tips to learn how to be a more conscientious Facebook host.

Fighting Recession With Social Media – Part 2

Ramp up your marketing

Companies ranging small and large are increasingly turning to outside blogs, viral videos and websites such as Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed and Digg — and their tens of millions of users — to reach consumers. Instead of cringing at the idea of relinquishing control to social media outlets, smart executives realize that there is more benefit in joining the conversation than fighting it. Instead of controlling information about your brand, your social media strategy should be about engagement.

Advertising as we know it is expensive; social media is cheap. For this reason, the recession is bad news for traditional marketers, while the same environment is full of opportunities for social media marketers. Setting up a company blog or a Facebook page is significantly less expensive than traditional marketing. Even creating your own community web site can be significantly cheaper than traditional advertising campaigns.

Social media marketing is not without risk. While every company wants to generate buzz, online backlash can be vicious. Recently a Motrin commercial aimed at moms created quite a stir. You can view the ad on YouTube as did another 210,000 people. The ad makes the apparently condescending claim that carrying babies in a sling is a painful experience for moms. According to moms, the ad was wrong and they made it loud and clear through social media applications such as Twitter. Some moms found the Motrin ad outright offensive, and they were quite vocal about it. You can catch them on YouTube. Of course, the disaster doesn’t end there. It continues on a myriad of blogs, and carries on in a Facebook page dedicated to boycotting Motrin. The backlash ad on YouTube can be viewed.

What to do when your target rejects your ad? Turn to social media. Instead of rejecting the market reaction Johnson & Johnson could have used social media applications to learn about their market prior to creating and publishing the controversial ad. There could have been a Facebook page created to learn about young moms and pain. There could have been a blog inviting moms to provide video testimonials on YouTube. The lesson learned in this case is to use social media to learn about your market, or be prepared to be taught very quickly and painfully.

Reduce your expenses

Save time and money on travel and use LinkedIn to network. Instead of driving to the other end of town fighting your way through traffic use the largest business social network to build new connections and to nurture existing ones. Only attend your most valuable networking events, and transfer as much of your networking as you can to the web. LinkedIn, Plaxo, and Facebook are some of the best social networking applications.

Reduce your legal fees through a fairly new social media site called Docstoc. It is a place to find and share professional documents such as contracts, confidentiality agreements, intellectual property documents and more. Docstoc is a social community resource that enables anyone to find and share professional documents. The site provides an opportunity for individuals and organizations to share their professional documents. Documents available on Docstoc can be easily searched, previewed and downloaded for free.

Decrease your recruiting costs as you hire your employees though Craigslist, which has quietly become one of the most visited websites in cyberspace. It offers a much cheaper way to recruit online, and your company can expect excellent response rates for your job posts.

Putting it all together

Are more companies turning to social media in this economy? They should if they want to improve their marketing efficiencies, enhance their customer service experience, or develop their research techniques. Social media allows companies to engage with the customers instead of shouting about their own wonderfulness. It offers ways to business to partner with the community in an effort to develop a better product. In the end everybody wins because both the company and the consumer end up with a better product.

Virtually all companies can benefit from using social media not just to create awareness, but also to become part of the conversation. Managing your corporate reputation is impossible without social media, and ignoring it can be outright devastating. Instead if fighting against it, embrace it as it rockets your business forward as it deepens your relationship with the only reason you are in business for, your customer.

George Meszaros

Role of SEO in Online Marketing

Online marketing, also known as Internet marketing, is simply the marketing of products and service offerings via the Internet. With the explosion of Internet onto the scene, almost every home is connected to your product or service through online marketing. You may have a great service or the perfect product and a fantastic website but that will not ensure visitors to your site. So it’s important to get the Internet marketing right.

Online marketing comes in various forms – banner ads, email marketing, paid inclusions, pay per click, affiliate advertising and search engine optimization (SEO). The growth of online marketing has been fueled largely by the expansion of the Internet audience and the convenience a customer can be offered in terms of purchasing online. With the large audience out there, you will want to get as many visitors as possible to your site. This brings us into the realm of SEO, since this is becoming one of the main avenues for an online business to try to increase virtual footfalls to the site.

Let’s first talk about SEO – what is it? Put simply, it is the use of an algorithm to improve a sites search engine rankings or hits. This is done by an Internet marketer to try to improve the quantity as well as the quality of visitors to their website. The concept of improved quality is also important here – it is essential to direct the right traffic, people searching for the product or service that you offer or something similar, rather than simply a random selection of people looking for something else. Ideally, your SEO strategy should work with your target market in mind and work towards attracting this target market to the site. Relevance is key, since people looking for a web-hosted tax planning software will not buy wedding invitations, even if driven to the website and will be disappointed.

SEO is important because it covers most of the key areas that marketers need to address while selling and advertising online – it generates awareness, it leads to acquisition of customers and conversion of visitors to customers, and optimizes the marketing efforts to target buyers.

The value of increased, relevant traffic to the site will most likely guarantee increased sales. SEO marketing offers information about your product offering when the interest from visitors is high and, once directed to your site, the visitor can be converted to a buyer immediately. Most companies build out their online marketing strategies keeping SEO in mind. This is essential to the success of a marketing plan, since a good SEO plan can be supported by a pertinent emailing marketing campaign and other PR programs.

Thus, the role of SEO is so vital to a successful online marketing campaign that it can be considered a separate tactic in itself but it is best to make it a well-planned segment of an organized strategy. Consider this: an inappropriately planned SEO may result in wasted resources, optimizing factors that do not link back to the correct target audience in the midst of a highly competitive and growing online marketplace. While many SEO experts and marketers may dispute the process to successful SEO (some say page linking, some keyword basics, others copywriting and so on), one thing most people agree on is constructing an SEO that is closely connected with your marketing strategy so that each supports the other.

William King

The Promise of Advertising in Social Media

In a Web 2.0 world, advertising exists in an interactive environment characterized by user control, freedom, and dialogue. In this context, advertising means inviting the consumption of branded experience, ideas, and knowledge, engaging consumers, and inspiring interaction. It is no longer appropriate to serve up advertising as an interruption in the lives of consumers but, rather, to position brands as contributing members of vibrant, social communities.

Social brands contribute to communities by developing opportunities for interactivity, emphasizing the brand’s relevance to individual members and the community at large, monitoring branded community assets (like profiles in social networks and facilities in virtual worlds) for needed maintenance, responding to feedback, providing new content over time, and always finding ways to show the community that the brand values the relationship. No matter the range of social-media outlets used in a social campaign, whether social news and bookmarking sites, virtual worlds, social networks, or blogs and wikis, brands must remember the community exists for the sake of community-not for the sake of branding.

People do not join a community to interact with a brand. They join to be a part of something. They join to make friends, share stories, have fun, publish creative work, have a voice, and to take part in the relational activities that make life interesting and enjoyable. They join for social support and to feel the comfort of contact. They join to get to know others and to let others know them. For a brand to succeed in a social community, the brand must be part of the community.

How can brands benefit from the social context of online communities? For brands to benefit from this phenomenon, they must invite consumer participation and encourage consumers to engage. Brand democratization is the invitation to consumers to participate in creating and then experiencing a brand’s meaning, particularly within a social context. What happens when brands develop a reputation for embracing a social culture characterized by an appreciation for authenticity, transparency, participation, infectiousness, and advocacy? What happens when brands enter online social communities — social networks, virtual worlds, social news sites, community review sites, and communities of gamers — as contributing members, as sponsors, and as friends? Consumers embrace roles. They become content creators, storytellers, advocates, and communication vehicles. They seek out opportunities to immerse themselves in imaginary worlds, social fiction, and games, which are fortified, sponsored, and enhanced by brands. This is the promise of advertising in social media.

Starbucks Converts Consumers to New Coffee Blend via Mobile

Starbucks is enticing consumers to try its Blonde Roast coffee via a new marketing effort that centers around mobile and social.

The company is running the mobile campaign within Pandora’s iPhone application. Starbucks has used mobile advertising and social media heavily throughout the past few years as a way to reach consumers no matter where they are.

“Starbucks has always been a leader and star in the mobile advertising market- Starbucks is a pioneer in mobile advertising in 2012 and over the past few years,” said Isabella Lin, content director at Appitalism.

“The new Starbucks campaign about its Blonde Roast blend is different from any other campaign,” she said. “It’s literally and actually does drive consumers into Starbucks stores.

“Starbucks’ new campaign successfully uses the mobile platform to generate store sales.”

Ms. Lin is not affiliated with Starbucks. She commented based on her expertise on the subject.

Starbucks did not respond to press inquiries.

Mobile blend

The Starbucks mobile ad reads “Blonde Roast. Converts Wanted.”

When consumers tap on the mobile ad, they are redirected to the company’s mobile-optimized site where they can learn more about the Blonde Roast blend.

At the landing page, users are met with a message that reads “Make someone smile. Send them a light note. Due to popular demand all of our free cups of easy-drinking Starbucks Blonde Roast have been claimed, but you can still share a “Light Note” with a friend to brighten his or her day. Get started.”

From there, Starbucks aims to build a social relationship with consumers by re-routing them to its Facebook page.

By doing so, the coffee giant is building a presence on a variety of channels.

Starbucks is also advertising on Twitter to further get consumers amped up about its Blonde Roast.

Past efforts

Starbucks has been making mobile a critical part of its overall strategy.

The company has been using different channels such as augmented reality, mobile advertising, SMS and QR codes to promote its products.

Last year, Starbucks used SMS to encourage consumers to sign up for its My Starbucks Rewards program via an in-store calls to action.

The company also used mobile and social media to increase in-store traffic and drive awareness through a partnership with foursquare.

Most recently, Starbucks continued to make a name for itself in the mobile space with an initiative within People’s mobile site.

“With this Starbucks campaign, users may click ‘shopping online,’ providing consumers with an extremely convenient option,” Ms. Lin said. “Starbucks’ new campaign not only provides convenience for consumers but at the same time this it is well designed.

“The giant font occupies the entire screen as well as those cute images by the side,” she said. “Those cute images skillfully and naturally integrate with the giant advertising words ‘make someone smile, send them a light note.'”

Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York