Using RSS As Part Of Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

What’s your strategy when it comes to inserting social media marketing into the mix of your overall internet marketing strategy? Do you plan on using Twitter? Facebook? Myspace? LinkedIn? Or Ning? No matter what your strategy is, you need a way to monetize these different services, and use your time wisely on these social networking sites.

But one form of social marketing that a lot of business owners don’t use is something called “RSS marketing”. This is a Web 2.0 strategy, and it’s very simple to use. RSS stands for “really simple syndication”, and it’s a great way to get your content and articles on other peoples’ website in a hurry.

One of the fastest ways to get an RSS feed is to start off with a blog. Now there is a very technical way to create your own RSS feed from scratch, but I’m willing to bet that you don’t want to learn about this technique – especially if you’re not a computer wizard. Luckily, there’s a free service that can create your RSS feed for you.

This site is called Feedburner.com. And it’s free to use, just like a popular blogging platform called Blogger.com. Both of these easy services can help you to get into a niche, make a name for yourself, distribute content all over the internet, and get tons of traffic in return for no cost whatsoever.

I like Blogger because they’re easy to work with. But not only that, they can become quite possible. I know a guy who makes over $100,000 with his simple, plain looking blogger blog, but his information is incredible and he has a lot of subscribers. I’m willing to bet that RSS marketing played a hand in the role in having him make so much money also.

When getting your RSS feed from Feedburner, you have to make the decision if you want to use the default “Atom” RSS feed from Blogger, or use the one from Feedburner. I personally think you should use the one from Feedburner because it’s simple, effective, attractive, and very easy to use.

Some people feel that RSS marketing will replace email marketing, but I don’t agree with this notion. Email marketing has its place in the world, and so does RSS marketing. But to think that one will cancel the other one out is just ridiculous. Both of these techniques still work, and will work into the definite future.

If you want your subscribers to get fresh new content, start using RSS in collaboration with your blog everyday. It’s the smart thing to do, and you don’t have to spend a dime when it comes to setting this up and promoting your site or blog. I like RSS, and I think it’s something that you should look more into.

The more you study about RSS marketing, the more likely it is that you will use it, and use it effectively for your business. Get started on it right now before you forget about it.

Where to Begin With Social Media Marketing

Many people need help in finding some direction in Social Media. Most people have dabbled around a bit and setup some accounts buy aren’t sure what to do next. Others are intimidated because they think Social Media Marketing will consume loads if their valuable time. The honest truth is that social media is huge and it’s FREE. Nearly all businesses can benefit from Social Media Marketing, and there really is no excuse as to why you shouldn’t be taking advantage of it.

This post is to educate you about where to start, what to do next and how to build a good platform so your Social Media networks update themselves, saving you time. Don’t look at this post as a lengthy read that you’ll put off. Start with one social network, then approach another; But really, stop procrastinating and jump on the bandwagon already. You’ve got nothing to lose.

Network #1: Facebook

EVERY business should have a Facebook fan page. Period. Facebook is the most visited website on the Internet; Yes, more traffic than Google. Potential customers spend many hours each day clicking around on Facebook. Your business page needs to be here so they can come across it.

First, create a fan page on Facebook. Go through your pages biography information and fill out all of the fields. None of this information is personal, it’s all pertaining to your business, so fill it all out. Don’t forget to upload a profile photo; This could be your logo, a product, or a photo of another element of the business. If you’re not sure which to use, then use your logo.

Once your page has 25 fans you can obtain a vanity URL such as facebook.com/CaffeineKeyboard. The first way to get fans is to suggest the page to your friends so they can like it. Suggest by clicking on “Invite Friends” on the top left corner of your page. Only page administrators can suggest pages.

The next step can both increase fans and also shape your company brand. Switch over to use Facebook as your page, rather than you as a person. Do this by clicking Account, Use Facebook as Page, then select your page. Next, browse around to other pages and “like” them. Like pages that you want to be associated with, other companies you do business with, network with, share a community with, customers or mentors. The pages you like will be displayed on your fan page as pages you like.

Now that you have more than 25 fans, create your vanity URL at facebook.com/username/

Enable your blog posts to automatically post to your Facebook fan page (if you want to). Here’s how: Go to the Networked Blogs Facebook fanpage app. Click “register a blog” in the top right corner and follow the steps. That’s it!

Network #2: Twitter

Many people I speak with who are new to the social media world are terrified of Twitter. The terms used to describe networking on Twitter intimidate them: tweet, hashtag, follow, list, URL shortener, etc. The truth is that if you can give Twitter a few minutes a day, you will pick it up in no time. A tweet is simply a micro-blog post, limited to 140 characters. When a link is used it is shrunk so it is less characters in length (URL shortener). Twitter is an extremely easy way to keep tabs on many different types of things.

Start out by creating a twitter account at Twitter.com. Upload a profile photo, keep in mind these are pretty small and even smaller in a twitter stream. Next add your description – this field is very short so choose your words wisely; Select words that clearly define what you do. You should also change your profile colors to reflect your brand.

You will now “follow” other twitter users. The people you follow create the content that fills up your tweet stream. You can search for specific people, companies, or brands, or you can see who Twitter suggests for you to follow.

Next are lists, you put people in lists, that you create, this is not following them. You can have someone in a list and not be following them, or follow them but not have them in a list. You can also choose to make your lists private (only viewable by you) or public, which is viewed by anyone. Think carefully about your public lists, what you title them and who you include in them.

There are many WordPress plugins and website codes to automatically tweet your most recent blog posts.

Network #3: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a little less social media and a little more social networking. Each persons page is similar to a resume on a Red Bull (you can also export your profile to print as a resume). This Is a great professional reference and networking site.

Start filling out your profile, which is guided. The network will point out areas you should fill out, try to fill them all out as it opens up more networking opportunities. Add all of your job descriptions and past work experience – show off your attributes; Potential clients may research you!

Now it’s time to add people to your professional network. LinkedIn will suggest some people, but you should search for other connections directly. Think of past and current co-workers, supervisors, mentors, people from school and even people you’ve met on other social networks and send them an invitation to your network.

One great feature about LinkedIn is their groups. Click the groups tab up top and search for some of your interests. There are groups for nearly any interest for every person. Once you join some groups browse through the posts, comment or “like” them or even create your own. There is a ton of things to learn in these groups!

Have continuous activity on LinkedIn by using their add ons in your profile. A few add ons include your tweets and blog updates. These appear in your profile and also on the LinkedIn activity feed, which makes you appear consistently active.

The last tip is to get recommendations. These are somewhat like testimonials of your work for others to read. On the right side of your dashboard go to “ask for recommendations”. You can select who you’d like to ask; However, you can also receive unsolicited recommendations. All recommendations can be reviewed and approved or declined prior to being seen by others.

Network #4: Google+

You’ve made it this far, one more won’t hurt! Google+ is the newest social network and obtained 20 million users faster than any other social media network. This network is different than the other three and is very forward thinking and user friendly. Google+ is currently only allowing profiles of people, not businesses.

Your friends here you put into “circles”. You choose to name the circles whatever you want (ex: friends, family, work, prospects, news, etc.) and add people to the applicable circle. When you add a person to a circle they receive a notification that you’ve added them, but they are not told which circle you’ve put them in. When you browse through your news feed you get to sort by circle, choosing to only read family posts or news posts, etc. You also get to choose who sees what you post, you determine which circle of people can see what you type.

Cross market your social media profiles – very important!

Help people find you and all of your social media profiles by providing them with a direct link. Here are just a few places to include profile links:

Email signature: include links to your social media profile in your email signature with either little icons or text links.

Website: most websites have their social media profile icons in a top corner of the site, on the side bar or the contact page, or all three! If you choose to list your profiles in more than one area, use different mediums: icons for one, text links for another, and a widget for another. This will reduce the appearance of duplication.

Blog: this is essentially the same principle as the website profile listings, except you can also add a link to your profiles at the bottom of each blog post.

Social media profiles: yes, really. Sometimes people end up on your profile, yet it is not their preferred social network to be on. By listing your other profiles, the visitor can easily get to your profile on their preferred network. Twitter is an exception, the bio section is simply too small to include this and is better served for your profile information.

Your business and/or you as a professional should be utilizing the exposure from FREE social media networks. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or need any help, about these or any other social media networks.

21st Century Marketing Is Social Media Marketing

21st Century Word of Mouth Advertising is Social Media Marketing

With numerous online businesses, it is necessary that you make an extra effort in marketing your product and use all the possible tools that you can to advertise a business. Since plenty of people are getting hooked on social media or social networking, more and more businesses are seeing this as an opportunity to advertise their product. Some small businesses whether they have websites or not, use social media for their business marketing and branding. Some sell their products in social networking sites while others advertise their products or services in these networks. Either way, the social media market medium is the latest digital version of word of mouth advertising; for example, companies with Facebook pages rely on their followers to “like” and recommend their post, product, or offer to their social media friends, colleagues and never-in-their-life-met online associates.

Tell A Friend Marketing

Almost the second the information superhighway was open to civilian traffic, commercial entities were constructing avenues to their online storefront properties. To help attract other visitors to their commercial tourism places, many relied on “tell a friend” or TAF, applications as the modern method to word of mouth advertising. While modernity seems to excel at an exponential rate in the digital age, new tell-a-friend methods to evolve word of mouth advertising to keep up with this crazy pace and be responsive to the ever-changing Internet market and sources of traffic leading to potential consumers – social media websites have become the latest battleground for consumers and their peer powered endorsements to persuade others. As Social media is a fast way for your business to gain popularity and credibility, especially if your business offers good service or your product is effective and has high quality. By using social media, you are letting other people do the advertising for you. If people are satisfied with your service or product, chances are they are going to spread the word to their colleagues, family and friends, making social media the 21st century’s word of mouth advertising market!

Social Media Network Essentials

As it is, social media has a wide scope. There are many social networks and they are subdivided into smaller groups that are according to location, and group settings for online communities that exist within many social media network groups. To be able to use social media networks to your business’s advantage, there are three basic things that you should have; these are: product or service, objective and learning plan.

Products or Services

This may be obvious because when you start a business, you should have a product or service to offer your customers or clients. But when you get hooked up in social media, you might forget about your business, that’s why it is important that you focus your attention to your product or service and advertise in the social networks.

Company Objective

Having an objective helps you in making a good marketing strategy. You have to set goals and you should be able to know what you want your business to achieve in the future. You should know how the different social networks operate so that you can use them as tools in marketing your product or service. In doing so, you can also plan your next step in marketing, improving and expanding your business.

Outline Your Company Plan

If you are new to online marketing, then you should know more about the strategies and techniques. You can’t advertise your product or service properly if you don’t know what you’re doing. You should set aside some time to study and read books or find some credible online sites that can help you in gaining knowledge. You can also learn from the experiences of other people.

Social media can be a very important tool in marketing and advertising your product or service if you know what you’re doing and if you do it right. Your business can grow if you have enough knowledge, a good marketing plan and strategy, and most of all, if you have a good product that can compete in the market.

Get an SEO Review

If you need to see how you stack up against your competition then an SEO Review by L5DG will make sure you know where you stand and how to move forward with confidence.

Social Media Marketing Tips

Incorporate social media into everything that you do. When you are out and about speaking with people ask if they are on Twitter, or suggest following each other or becoming friends on Facebook. Have your social media links in your auto signature on your email. Be sure to include them when you go to forums. Make sure that people know how to find you. I have a associate who has made t-shirts asking “Do You Follow Me on Twitter?” Get creative. Do what works well for your niche.

Plan your projects and content – Sit down in advance and think about the results you want. What social media platform will give you those results? What do you need to be saying and how are you saying it? When you have a plan it is much easier to keep your focus. You will be able to accomplish things much more easily. You need to get your strategy house in order. This can be as simple as planning out your next series of articles or posts. I had a client ask a question about mastermind groups, as a result I planned a little campaign around that very topic.

And now, I would like to invite you to get your Free Instant Access to 30 Social Media Marketing Tips & Techniques to build your home business using Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube.

Social Media Marketing – 3 Tips on How to Use Social Media Marketing Throughout Your Business

Many times I hear people talking about using social marketing for their business; but when I ask them why they are using it and what results they are expecting I get that “deer in headlights” look. What went through your mind when you read the question?

When you “jump right in” to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc without knowing where you are going, you will end up nowhere. It is very important to have a strategy and a plan that you can measure so that you can determine whether or not all of your efforts are paying off. AND you do want your social media efforts to pay off in more clients and customers, right?

If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. Jim Rohn

The same concept applies to your social media marketing. Here are 3 tips to incorporate social media into all aspects of your business.

Integration is critical or you will burn yourself out. When you create content do not use it for just one purpose, use it on different sites. YouTube has an option where you can post what you do over on your Facebook wall. Take advantage of that option. Check out the programs that you use, look for the option of sharing it is on many sites.

Incorporate social media into everything that you do. When you are out and about speaking with people ask if they are on Twitter, or suggest following each other or becoming friends on Facebook. Have your social media links in your auto signature on your email. Be sure to include them when you go to forums. Make sure that people know how to find you. I have a associate who has made t-shirts asking “Do You Follow Me on Twitter?” Get creative. Do what works well for your niche.

Article Linkbaiting Strategy – Deceptive Social Media Marketing In Action?

It is a fact that some people tend to misuse good opportunities in any field of human endeavor. On the subconscious level, the name “linkbaiting” may sound sneaky to some people or connote the use of “deceptive” tactics to quicky get web traffic to a marketing blog site, etc.. But then, it’s all a play on words or semantics because if you look at this definition in its purest form (the big picture), the objective is to provide long-term quality content to a niche audience.

I’ve brought up this issue because some Web users have this perceived image of “someone with a fishing rod and a fish bait at the end of a hook” trying to force-feed (or catch) and arm-twist
another person into accepting rehashed information or something for the purpose of getting backlinks. I’ve seen sentiments similar to these expressed on the Web and that’s why some so-called linkbait pieces never see the light of day or the originators of the linkbaits get banned (for real or perceived infractions) from forums or Web 2.0/Digg-style social media story submission sites!

Here in this article are just some of the red hot strategies or laser-guided tips you can easily use to enhance – and ensure that your linkbait article piece does not insult the sensibilities
of your discerning readers and potential readers, but takes you to the next business level. So, let’s get started, Right Here – Right Now! 🙂

Article Linkbaiting Strategy #1: “Strike Force Content” – Longer-Term Outlook!

The primary theme of your article(s) should not be dependent on time or become stale in 1, 2 or 3 months – but should serve as main reference guides for many years down the road for the
existing and future readers of your Web sites, blogs or other related blogs that have linked to your article(s). The longer-term outlook here has to project a powerful effect!

My use of the term “Strike Force” simply refers to the “delivery system” for breaking down industry jargons or techie language in order to simplify topical issues for beginner and intermediate
online niche marketers – and also give experienced online entrepreneurs new perspectives on industry-related issues.

So, the linkbait piece will subsequently spur appreciative readers from a targeted niche audience to visit your Web sites and/or blogs to build up a relationship – leading to sales of
front-end and back-end products and services. This also has the ability of ensuring a buzz situation or rapid spread of your unique articles or content in the blogosphere, on the Internet and in offline publications. Like Michel Fortin will say “Narrow your focus to broaden your sales.”

Article Linkbaiting Strategy #2: Article Titles Or Headlines

The title or main headline is the first thing your reading audience will come across, and you have to deliver your messages in simple but effective ways. You have to ensure that your copywriting skills are well-honed with reference to the AIDA (attention, interest, desire and action) formula. Use trigger words or positive action words such as “New,” “Free,” “authentic,” “discount,” “unleashed” – and much more, to gain attention!

Your title has to progressively match the first few sentences of the introductory section of your article, otherwise the reader could get confused as a result of the short attention span that is encountered especially among Web surfers or the online reading audience if there’s a deviation from the real topic to off topic issues.

You’ve got to present unique observations – which could even be controversial in nature, give some current or freshly released research data that is not yet in the public domain – and which sheds more light on industry-related issues, and, much more creative ways exist that you can use to create unlimited unique content.

You can read more of my thoughts on the issues raised in Linkbaiting Strategy #2 in a series of articles on Article Marketing – entitled:

Article Marketing Surge Tactics – Top 6 Tips For Writing Persuasive Articles! Parts 1 and 2

Article Linkbaiting Strategy #3: Article Subtitles For Readibility

Subtitles help to focus the attention of your readers. Just like the reference I made in Article Linkbaiting Strategy #2, titles are crucial for drawing your audience into the introductory section of your article. I’ve seen very good articles posted on some blogs, forums, article directories and Web 2.0 or social news sites like Digg with the intention of providing resources for the reading audience. These had no subtitles – just paragraphs. Imagine the endless opportunities you can derive by just simply crafting 5, 6 or more subtitles, and then choosing the best one that will strike a cord with you and your potential readers.

The inference here is that your “strike force content articles” or linkbait piece(s) have to be sincere, while meeting the immediate, near/long-term needs and solutions of your niche market audience. The linkbait content should be the main drivers of a consistent Web site or blog traffic – consisting of unique visitors who will then generate a buzz by linking to your articles from their blogs or Web
sites – and you’ll get more page views per unique visitor on your online business sites as well.

Article Linkbaiting Strategy #4: Images And Online Video Presentations

It is a fact that most people are visual creatures – especially men. But many of us also respond to what we hear and feel! It is based on this well-known fact (based on researches going back to many decades ago), that the use of pictures, images and interactive online multimedia presentations can further enhance the quality of your linkbait article – but the images must tell a story as well. Having a high-resolution digital camera will come in handy here.

You can also get also images from Web sites like Flickr and have your free interactive Web or blog video presentation which is meant to engage all the human senses – to complement your unique linkbait content or articles. These have the added benefit of boosting your SEO strategies along with the profitable, high traffic niche keywords and keyword phrases in your articles.

Just A QUICK Note: Knowing full well that some images you’ll be using will not belong to you, YOU have to make sure that attributions are made or indicate the source(s) of the free photo images you’ll be using on your blogs for instance, since this is the standard global practice – just like published online and offline niche articles/books that have copyrights. I believe you may have also heard or read about well-crafted “Cease and Desist” emails or letters. 🙂

Article Linkbaiting Strategy #5: Call Into Action – Right Now!

It’s a fact that if you don’t tell or let people know what to do NEXT after taking the initiative to digest the unique contents of your articles, then all you’ve done will lead to a pathetic result. It’s just like a man who winks at a stunningly beautiful lady he likes (or loves), engages in a two-way conversation withher (with all the visible body language communication) – then fails to make a follow-up or signify his real intentions to her. This would leave her hanging in the air with regards to his true intentions, until an “alpha male” who easily does the right thing comes along to pull the rug from under his feet! 🙂 What a wasted opportunity this would be for the “winking” man.

That’s the way it is in online business and real-world business situations when readers of your linkbait content do not get a specific call into action in your articles, report summaries or “authors bio sections.” Another savvy online entrepreneur will simply appear on the scene like the “alpha male” in the short story above – and then take action by urging readers to use a plan or idea presented and make it work for themselves! This is a win-win situation ACTION plan!

Closing Thoughts

Whether you call it linkbaiting, pillar article, flagship content or “strike force content delivery system,” all online content publishers and article writers MUST keep in mind the guiding principles – that is the provision of good resources on your blogs and Web sites to ultimately build your credibility and brand in your target marketplace – as opposed to the hit-and-run writer of just one or two crappy articles who’s looking for quick inbound links to a site. This eventually insults the intelligence of the reading audience.

If you are an affiliate and Internet marketer, online publisher of eZines or newsletters, small business blogger, weight loss expert, health and fitness professional, provide information technology training and/or small Internet business consulting services – or belong to fields of human endeavour that require YOU to be in the frontline position of your niche market, then these 5 article linkbaiting strategies will come in handy in providing your readers with great resources – that are also entertaining – while building your reputation, boosting Search Engine position, higher PageRanks, strong backlinks from authoritative sites, creating spontaneous buzz in the online communities, and MUCH MORE. Literally your sales and profits will explode, at a lower cost – in record time.

Social Made Simple Increases Effectiveness of Social Media Marketing for Real Estate Agents

I regularly talk with real estate agents about the importance of social media. Many are eager to get started but have three major road blocks standing in their way.

They do not know where to obtain articles and other content to post.
They do not have time to be active on social media everyday.
They do not know how to determine whether or not their marketing efforts are effective.

I’ve been searching for tools that would help real estate agents better manage their time and effort spent on social media, as well as increase their effectiveness and ROI. After testing a few different tools, the one I’m most impressed with is Social Made Simple. Social Made Simple is an online tool that helps real estate agents, as well as other small business owners, overcome the most common road blocks and create engaging, effective campaigns with minimal time investment.

Easily find content to share with your followers.

In my opinion, the content generator is the coolest feature of Social Made Simple. When you set up your account, you’ll be asked to identify which industry you are working in (they have one specifically for real estate.) From then on you are provided with a long list of online articles relevant to your industry. With a few simple button clicks you can find an article, add your own commentary and post it to all your social networks. Of course, if you find an article somewhere else that you want to share you can easily paste the link into the dashboard and publish that as well.

Schedule posts to save time.

Most real estate agents don’t have time to log into their social sites every day and make a post. Social Made Simple allows agents to schedule a weeks worth (or more) of posts at one time. You can schedule different posts to your different social media sites, or you can save even more time and schedule the same posts to all your sites. Instead of logging in every day, you can log in 1-2 times a week and get everything done at once.

Determine effectiveness with a weekly report card.

Many real estate agents are afraid that they will spend time on social media marketing and see no results in terms of engagement, brand awareness or lead generation. Social Made Simple has a variety of easy to understand analytics that tell you the effectiveness of your social media presence.

The weekly report card gives you a letter grade based on how many posts you did, how much engagement each post got, and how your posts measure up to others in the industry. This gives you a quick, overall view of how you’re doing and then you can drill down and see more specific analytics.

The Pitfalls

Of course, every product has it’s faults. I found Social Made Simple’s Twitter interface to be slightly frustrating. You can view your Twitterfeed within the Social Made Simple platform and see who has started following you. You can’t, however, view anyone’s profiles. You can retweet in real time, but you cannot easily schedule retweets which is a feature other tools offer. I often schedule my tweets with this tool, but then sign into my actual Twitter account to engage with followers.

Lastly, Social Made Simple is limited in the industries it provides articles for. This is not a problem for real estate agents, but if you work in another industry not found on the dashboard, you may not find this tool to be worth the money.

Here are some additional facts you should know before getting started with Social Made Simple:

Social Made Simple allows you to post to your Facebook profile, Facebook pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ pages and your blog.
This service costs $19/month or $178/year. However they offer a free 30 day trial for new customers which I highly recommend using before committing to pay.
If you have no time or interest in managing your own social media, I suggest looking into Social’s Concierge Service. With this service, social media experts will optomize your accounts, give one-on-one coaching and post content for you.

Social Entrepreneurship & Social Media Marketing Go Together, Like Peanut Butter & Jelly

Why have so many people risked everything to undertake new ventures, when over half of all new businesses fail within five years? Until the late 20th Century, the answer was simple–the lure of riches and being your own boss. However, a new breed of social entrepreneur is combining societal and environment concerns with wealth creation. Today, more and more people are finding innovative ways to make capitalism work for them, their communities, and the environment.

Essential Features Of Social Media Optimization Service

One of the integral part of social media marketing, social media optimization includes a set of methods that are implemented to generate considerable web traffic to a website through an array of social media promotional campaign. With the aid of social networking websites, business networking sites, online communities and blogs, social media optimization service helps to enhance the visibility in the online domain and reach out to prospective customer base.

Social media optimization service or SMO service is an effective way that can increase the volume of traffic for a website, but sustained effort and proper planning is the key requirement herein. Today, SMO is considered as an important part of Search Engine Ranking Management. In actuality, SMO services initiate the thread of developing interpersonal communication with potential clients. With the help of the SMO services, customer’s feedback can be easily assessed which help the business houses to formulate newer strategies or re-formulate the existing ones.

Social Media Optimization service utilizes the social networking forums to drive visitors and generate website traffic. A SMO specialist in a SMO firm utilizes social networking sites to promote the services or products of their clients. These networking sites have millions of registered users and hence lay a solid platform for the business houses to market their products and services. Through a Wall post in Facebook of through regular ‘Tweets’, a business house can not only enjoy a superb online presence but will also have the opportunity to interact with the targeted set of audience.

There are many SMO companies in USA, but a professional company offering SMO services USA aim to formulate special SMM policies, with set of research tools and seek to deliver astounding brand visibility to the clients.

Social Media Optimization service ensures higher linkability and online visibility and involves a host of techniques such as Social Bookmarking, RSS feed, blogging and micro-blogging, article submission, classified and press release distribution, video marketing and more.

Social Bookmarking is not shared only within a specific network, with the advantages of social bookmarking is that a bookmarked site can be viewed by all the online users. With the help of social bookmarking, broader segment of audience can be reached and thus companies offering SMO services USA consider social bookmarking as a useful SMM tool.

Blogging is another key part in social media optimization service. Blogging activities help create desirable brand awareness. Blogs attract visitors where they can put in their comments. Blog interactions and discussions thus help create a distinct awareness.

A company offering SMO services USA also undertakes article marketing and press release distribution to gain substantial backlinks. The video promotions, PPT submissions and classified ad distribution are some other measures that are utilized to create better online presence.

Social Media Optimization service is one of the most effective formulae which do not demand huge investments. However, proper strategy formulation, planning and right kind of approach within the targeted online network are some of the prime necessities that determine the success of a SMO campaign.

Impact of Social Media on Society

“Do you have Facebook?”
“Yes, of course. But I don’t think you can find me, as there are too many people who have the same name as me. Try searching with my surname as well.”
“Hey, you celebrated your birthday in K-Box, right? I saw the photos in your Facebook.”
“Bro, I saw your comments about the YouTube video that I’ve posted in my blog. I’m happy that you are also deeply moved by the ‘Dancing Peacock Man’ as well.”

Social media or “social networking” has almost become part of our daily lives and being tossed around over the past few years. It is like any other media such as newspaper, radio and television but it is far more than just about sharing information and ideas. Social networking tools like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Blogs have facilitated creation and exchange of ideas so quickly and widely than the conventional media. The power of define and control a brand is shifting from corporations and institutions to individuals and communities. It is no longer on the 5Cs (e.g. condominium, credit cards and car) that Singaporeans once talked about. Today, it is about the brand new Cs: creativity, communication, connection, creation (of new ideas and products), community (of shared interests), collaboration and (changing the game of) competition.

In January 2010, InSites Consulting has conducted an online survey with 2,884 consumers from over 14 countries between the ages of 18 to 55 years old on social networking. More than 90% of participants know at least 1 social networking site and 72% of participants are members of at least 1 social networking site. On the average, people have about 195 friends and they log in twice a day to social networking sites. However, 55% of the users cannot access their social network websites at work. In the past, not many adults were able to make more than 500 friends, but with social media, even a child or teenager can get to know more than 500 people in a few days by just clicking the mouse. Social media has devalued the traditional definition of “friend” where it means trust, support, compatible values, etc. Although we get to know more people, we are not able to build strong bond with all the people whom we met as our available time is limited. Hence, there is an upcoming social trend of people with wider social circles, but weaker ties (people we don’t know very well but who provide us with useful information and ideas).

Social media also influences people’s buying behaviours. Digital Influence Group reported that 91% of the people say consumer reviews are the #1 aid to buying decisions and 87% trust a friend’s recommendation over critic’s review. It is thrice more likely to trust peer opinions over advertising for purchasing decisions. 1 word-of-mouth conversation has an impact of 200 TV ads. With the prevalence use of social media, there is numerous news related to it from the most viewed YouTube video on “Armless pianist wins ‘China’s Got Talent'” to Web-assisted suicide cases (e.g. New Jersey college student who killed himself after video of him in a sexual encounter with another man was posted online). Thus, does social networking make us better or worse off as a society?

Positive Effects of Social Media

Besides having opportunity to know a lot of people in a fast and easy way, social media also helped teenagers who have social or physical mobility restrictions to build and maintain relationships with their friends and families. Children who go overseas to study can still stay in meaningful contact with their parents. To a greater extend, there is anecdotal evidence of positive outcomes from these technologies.

In 2008, President-elected Obama won the election through the effective use of social media to reach millions of audience or voters. The Obama campaign had generated and distributed huge amount of contents and messages across email, SMS, social media platforms and their websites. Obama and his campaign team fully understood the fundamental social need that everyone shares – the need of being “who we are”. Therefore, the campaign sent the message as “Because It’s about YOU” and chose the right form of media to connect with individuals, call for actions and create community for a social movement. They encouraged citizens to share their voices, hold discussion parties in houses and run their own campaign meetings. It truly changed the delivery of political message.

Obama campaign had made 5 million “friends” on more than 15 social networking sites (3 million friends on Facebook itself) and posted nearly 2,000 YouTube videos which were watched over 80 million times. At its peak, their website, MyBarackObama.com, had 8.5 million monthly visitors and produced 400,000 blog posts. In order to ensure that their contents were found by people, the Obama campaign spent $3.5 million on Google search in October alone, $600,000 on Advertising.com, $467,000 on Facebook in 2008, etc. Currently, Obama’s Twitter account has close to 6 million followers.

In 2010, after the earthquake happened in Haiti, many of the official communication lines were down. The rest of the world was not able to grasp the full picture of the situation there. To facilitate the sharing of information and make up for the lack of information, social media came in very handy to report the news about the affected area on what happened and what help was needed. Tweets from many people provided an impressive overview of the ongoing events from the earthquake. BBC covered the event by combining tweets from the work of its reporter Matthew Price in Port-au-Prince at the ground. Guardian’s live blog also used social media together with the information from other news organisations to report about the rescue mission.

It has been two years since CNN officially launched iReport as a section of its website where people can upload video material, with contact information. During the Haiti crisis, CNN had published a range of social media material but not all the materials were verified. The editorial staff would vet the reports from the citizen journalists and labeled them differently compared to unverified contents. On Facebook, a group, named “Earthquake Haiti”, was formed to show support and share updates and news. It had more than 14,000 members and some users even pleaded for assistance to the injured Haitians in the group. Using email, Twitter and social networking sites like Facebook, thousands of volunteers as part of Project Ushahidi were able to map reports sent by people from Haiti.

The most impressive part of the social media’s impact on Haiti is the charity text-message donations that soared to over $10 million for the victims in Haiti. People interested in helping the victims are encouraged to text, tweet and publicize their support using various social networking sites. The Global Philanthropy Group had also started a campaign to ask wealthy people and celebrities, like Ben Stiller and John Legend to use Twitter and Facebook to encourage others to give to UNICEF. An aid worker, Saundra Schimmelpfennig, allowed the advice from other aid workers and donors to post on her blog regarding to choosing which charitable organisations to support. In the meantime, donors were asking questions in Twitter, Facebook and blogs about their donations and endorsements of their favourite charities. After every crisis, the social media for social cause becomes a more effective medium to spread the word.

Negative Effects of Social Media

There are always two sides of every coin. Social media is just a tool or mean for people to use. It is still up to the users on how to use this tool (just like a knife, can help you to cut food or hurt others). Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center conducted a study on “The Future of Online Socializing” from the highly engaged, diverse set of respondents to an online, opt-in survey consisted of 895 technology stakeholders and critics. The negative effects presented by the respondents included time spent online robs time from important face-to-face relationships; the internet fosters mostly shallow relationships; the act of leveraging the internet to engage in social connection exposes private information; the internet allows people to silo themselves, limiting their exposure to new ideas; and the internet is being used to engender intolerance.

Some respondents also highlighted that there will be development of some new psychological and medical syndromes that will be “variations of depression caused by the lack of meaningful quality relationships”, and a “new world society”. The term, “Social Networking”, has begun to deceive the users to believe they are social creatures. For instance, spending a couple of hours using Farmville and chatting with friends concurrently does not convert into social skills. People become dependent on the technology and forget how to socialise in face-to-face context. The online personality of a person might be totally different from his/her offline character, causing chaos when the two personalities meet. It is apparent in online dating when the couple gets together in face-to-face for the first time. Their written profiles do not clearly represent their real-life characters. It is more enticing for people to type something that others want to hear than saying the truth.

Besides the “friendship”, creators of social networking sites and users redefine the term, “privacy” in the Internet as well. The challenge in data privacy is to share data while protecting personally identifiable information. Almost any information posted on social networking sites is permanent. Whenever someone posts pictures or videos on the web, it becomes viral. When the user deletes a video from his/her social network, someone might have kept it and then posted it onto other sites like YouTube already. People post photographs and video files on social networking sites without thinking and the files can reappear at the worst possible time. In 2008, a video of a group of ACJC students hazing a female student in school on her birthday was circulated and another video of a SCDF recruit being “welcomed” (was hosed with water and tarred with shoe polish) to a local fire station made its way online.

Much news has been reported about online privacy breach in Facebook and Facebook is constantly revising their privacy policy and changing their privacy controls for the users. Interestingly, even when users delete their personal information and deactivate their Facebook account, Facebook will still keep that information and will continue to use it for data mining. A reporter asked whether the data will at least be anonymized. The Facebook representative declined to comment.

In the corporate world, human resource managers can access Facebook or MySpace to get to know about a candidate’s true colours, especially when job seekers do not set their profiles to private. Research has found that almost half of employers have rejected a potential worker after finding incriminating material on their Facebook pages. Some employers have also checked the candidates’ online details in Facebook pages to see if they are lying about their qualifications. Nowadays, younger generations have a complete disregard for their own