Discussion Boards – Marketing

3d people - human character , person and speech bubbles . 3d render illustration

Discussion boards go by other names you might have also heard, such as discussion groups, discussion forums, message board, and online forums. It is basically an online “bulletin board.” These boards are generally found on websites and are a discussion space for website members to post, read, and respond to posts by other forum members. A feeling of virtual community often develops between the forum members. These posts are archived for a period of time, and any member reading after the time of conversation, can read and post to it. 

Discussion Boards and Digital Marketing:

It won’t be hard to find forum that contains the audience you would like to reach. They might even already br talking about your product or company.When you are looking for online forums, you will only want to join the ones where the level of conversation is one that you and your company can be associated with. When you plan on using discussion boards for your business, it is a good idea to just observe for a while. Discussion boards have their own tone and community, in order to relate to your audience, you will want to get a feel for who they are and what they are talking about. Another good idea is to remember that this isn’t a place to shove your product or company at people, you want to put yourself out there and gain their trust. These forums are a great way to put a face to your company, and become more human to your consumers. This will leave you more likely to succeed. 

All forums have specific guidelines, be sure to check those before you engage in the conversations. If the guidelines allow you to have a signature, you should create one in the interests of full disclosure. It is important for members to know who you are. 

Check out  5 of the Best Internet Marketing and Online Forums

– Kelsey xox


Microblogging – Marketing

What is mircroblogging and how is it different than regular blogging:

As with traditional blogging, microbloggers post about topics ranging from the simple, such as “what I’m doing right now,” to the thematic, such as “sports cars.” Commercial microblogs also exist to promote websites, services and products, and to promote collaboration within an organization.

Some microblogging services offer features such as privacy settings, which allow users to control who can read their microblogs, or alternative ways of publishing entries besides the web-based interface. These may include text messaging, instant messaging, E-mail, digital audio or digital video.

The biggest difference is the “mirco” in microblogging – you have a limited amount of characters you can use in order to post your blog. For example, Twitter allows you 140 characters per post.

Microblogging offers a portable communication mode that feels organic and spontaneous to many and has captured the public imagination. Friends use it to keep in touch, business associates use it to coordinate meetings or share useful resources, and celebrities and politicians (or their publicists) microblog about concert dates, lectures, book releases, or tour schedules.

Types of microblogging sites:

  1. Twitter – The key player in microblogging 
  2. Pownce
  3. Tumblr
  4. Jaiku – Twitters closest competitor
  5. MySay – Users actually say how they are feeling
  6. Hictu – Video microbloggers
  7. Moodmill – Express your mood or current state of being
  8. Frazr – Closer to Twitter but primarily German and French markets
  9. IRateMyDay – You rate your day from “Worst” to “Great” along with text
  10. Emotionr – Gauge your happiness on a scale of 1-10

For more information on these sites, check out Readwrite

Mircroblogging and Digital Marketing:

The Social Media Hat  has great information on this subject.

First, business owners can use a microblog to quickly share short pieces of information with clients. These might include tips, links, news updates or video commentaries.

Due to the vary nature of a microblog, individual posts are generated quickly, giving businesses another way to post content to their site and share information with their customers, without having to devote as much time as a regular blog post might require.

Because posts can be easy and quick to accomplish, businesses can quickly generate a lot of actual website content and information in a microblog.

Businesses can also use microblogging internally. According to the Harvard Business Review, micoblogging can enhance productivity by allowing employees to rapidly exchange information and drive solutions which would otherwise take much longer — and be far more expensive to achieve.

In addition to providing customers with a nice, steady stream of information, businesses who utilize a microblog on their site will also be generating great content which will help with their search engine optimization (SEO), marketing (SEM) and ranking.

 Microblog posts can be automatically or manually directed to social media platforms, depending on the nature of the microblog. A good marketer might also use microblog posts to fuel ongoing social media posts.

Microblogging is a great way to spread word about your company. You can post pictures of your employees in action, events, and products. You can post events and offer discounts to fellow users. Microblogging is a great way to put your business out there.

Video Sharing – Marketing

We live in an age where listening is turning into digital listening. People are a lot more likely to watch a video on a subject, rather than talk face-to-face or ask for advice. Video sharing has enabled us to share our thoughts, ideas, and advice in a way that shows who we are. We can put our own personal flair out there in the world. We can choose to share videos publicly or only to our invited friends. 

We can also search videos. You can find reviews on products, tutorials on how to use products, and watch funny commercials. When you market on a video sharing site, the public will market for you. If you post good content, people will search for it, and share it with their friends and family. 

The top 7 video sharing sites other than YouTube to spread your video across the web are:

1) Vimeo  – Fastest growing platform with serious traffic. There is a free basic account with limitations, and a premium account for $59.99/year with advanced options and bigger space. However, on Vimeo, it’s not likely that you will get as many views as you would on YouTube.

2) Vevo – The perfect place for all music artists and music lovers. The videos are high quality, so you can watch them on your TV. One draw back is that the site blocks some regions from watching certain videos.

3) Dailymotion – A french video sharing site.  the length of the video files is limited to 2 GB and 60 minutes. Also the upload quality to regular users is limited to 1280*720p. However, these restrictions don’t seem to be a real trouble, and Dailymotion can be a good competitor to YouTube.

4) Veoh – An Internet television service that hosts studio content, independent productions and user-generated material.  You can upload videos of any length and embed them on your site or blog. Veoh accepts hundreds of different formats and has an extensive community to participate in.  You may get in touch with other people, rate your favorite videos, leave comments and discuss the videos in channels and forums.

5) Metacafe – A video-sharing website with more than 40 million viewers every month. You can find short videos in the categories of video games, sports, music, movies and TV. The website features a special ranking algorithm that ensures that the uploaded videos are of high quality. Unlike YouTube, Metacafe doesn’t host duplicate videos. Each video can be uploaded only once. One more advantage of Metacafe is that it pays people for posting videos. If your content is popular among users and your video hit 20.000 views, Metacafe will pay you $5 for every 1,000 views.

6) Flickr – Suprise! Flickr isn’t only for sharing images! The site does, offer and provide video hosting. There are also two types of account: a free and a paid one.  A free Flickr account allows you to upload 2 videos per month with restrictions of 90 seconds max, and 150MB size each. A paid account lets upload as much videos as you want, but the same restrictions take place.

7) Break – A highly popular website mainly known for funny videos, movie clips and funny pics. Break accepts major video formats, such as AVI,  WMV, MPG and MOV.  All videos must be no bigger than 60MB. Break provides its users with three ways to upload videos: right from the site page, from your cellphone or you may send a video to Break via email. It’s also possible to add a photo album in JPG, BMP or PNG formats as an addition to your video.

Source: http://www.freemake.com/blog/top-7-free-video-sharing-sites/

I think that video sharing is a great way to market. You can give the public a sense of your corporate culture and values.  The following YouTube video talks about why you should market with YouTube. 

Here is a video that my husband and his brother made. Enjoy.

In the life of a super villain, you must think of new and interesting ways to get answers from your foe. Sit back and learn from Mr. Maniacal, in Times a Thousand!

– Kelsey xox

Social Networking – Marketing

Can you believe that only 10 years ago, there were no such thing as Facebook and Twitter? Even 15 years ago people actually waited to hear from each other because even email wasn’t that popular. 

Believe it or not, social networking has been around since 40, 000 years before the internet! (give or take a few months) Some refer to it as “Neanderthal Networking” – drawing on cave walls. Cave wall drawing were used to communicate stories and warnings to other people. In 146 BC through to the 18th Century there was text messaging with legs – town criers. Town criers ran from place to place spreading the news of the day, and the newest orders from the King. 

In the 17th Century we had newspapers, before the internet it was the only way to hear the news, and do a cross word puzzle. By 1870 there were over 5,000 newspapers in the U.S. alone. In 1938 people had pen pals – one-on-one networking by exchanging letters with people in far off lands. In 1979, the first internet service was created to allow the exchange of emails. by the end of the 1990’s, social network sites have been created. Such as Linkedin, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pintrest etc. 

Since the beginning of time, people have craved social interaction with each other, and we have come a long way in that area. When we sit in front of our computer, and now our cellphones, we are no longer separated by the boarders of the world. We can communicate and share with any one (with the help translation).  Not to mention that it is free, unlike making a phone call across the ocean.

When it comes to marketing, social networking is an amazing concept. As I have just mentioned, people crave social interaction. We went from sharing our life experiences occasionally to sharing everything we do and experience in a day. With the click of a button, we can share, review, post, and comment on almost anything online. As a society we are becoming very reliant on the internet to answer our questions and give us solutions to our problems. Social media has paved the way between businesses and consumers. Now consumers can tell the businesses exactly what they want, and the businesses can tailor their products to meet our needs.  A HUGE amount of the population already exist on social media sites, and this will grow in time.  From a business perspective this is amazing news. Your target audience is sitting online, in a reachable and approachable place. Why not tap into that?

The following video discusses how social media marketing affects your business.

For another good read check out Social Media and Society: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

E- Books – Marketing

An e-book is an electronic version of a traditional paper cover book. A lot of people think that you need to purchase an “E-Reader” in order to enjoy an e-book, this is not the case. You can view e-books from your cell-phone, tablet, or computer with ease. 

There are e-reader apps that you can download from the Google Play Store for your Android tablet or phone for free. The e-reader apps give you more options such as bookmarking pages, highlighting and saving portions, and make notes like you would be able to with traditional paper books.  Although these options are available, you still do not need to download an app in order to view e-books via PDF files. You just won’t have the options you would have with the e-reader apps. 

When it comes to the cost of e-books, you can get some free or discounted books, but most of them cost the same as paper copies. e-books can occasionally be more expensive than traditional books. 

The following material comes from the book Social Media Marketing – A Strategic Approach

Creating an E-Book:

Step #1 – Assess needs – It is necessary to have a clear vision of the goals you wish to achieve. After you define your goals, you should define your audience, having a clear idea of the audience will help you later determine what material to add or keep out.

Step #2 – Plan – After or during the first step, start planning how the book will be constructed. Consult with a sales department to see how your book will be integrated into the sales process, and how it will be distributed. Next decide responsibilities, and estimate costs. A polished e-book will require research, writing, illustration, editing, and review. Calculate your out-of-pocket expenses as well as labor costs to provide a rough figure for time and resources needed. 

Step #3 – Acquire Information – Relevant knowledge can be obtained from reading and research or through interviews. Interviews are especially important for uncovering information that may not yet be broadly available. After gathering facts, analyze how they can support your goals from step #1. 

Step #4 – Organize Content – It wouldn’t be surprising if step #3 has uncovered an unimaginable amount of information. Now comes time to organize. Determine the most important, and it would be helpful to create a simple outline with groups and subgroups to represent different themes or strands of information. *Too many subgroups can complicate things later on* Hopefully after you have created an outline, you will have a road map for the final case study.

Step #5 – Design the Look and Feel – Different audiences may have varying expectations for presentation and formatting. Think about what your model reader would prefer. If you have help with graphic illustration, they will be able to create the “look” after being given general guidelines. If no help is available, try using a preconstructed page template. They come with most word processing software. 

Step #6 – Write – Now comes time to start the writing process. Fill in the content that was outlined earlier using details gathered through research. Keep in mind that your audience will most likely be educated, but don’t get bogged down with too many technical details. Prevent miscommunication with readers by explaining all acronyms, and by using consistent wording. Keep your writing style direct and uncomplicated. For the first draft, focus on explaining your material well. 

Step #7 – Illustrate – Good e-books contain visual as well as textual elements. This keeps your readers engaged. It is especially useful when you have complicated material. Visual aids are essential in keeping the focus of your audience. You should create your illustrations at the same time as the writing process, so they go well together. Ensure that your illustrations convey the primary content and selling points of your e-book.

Step #8 – Review, Revise, and Approve – In the first viewing, your e-book should be evaluated by experts in the field, or ideally by some of the people interviewed during step #3. This will help catch factual errors in your material. The final copy should also be reviewed by senior management of the company who is sponsoring your e-book. Some examples of improvements to the final draft include: writing style revision, improved flow of text/images, grammar check, spelling, and so on. Before sending to publication, make sure you check with legal and accounting departments to avoid later conflicts. 

Step #9 – Publish!! – Always check the final output to ensure that it correctly transferred from final draft, to a final product version. This nine-step process may seem exhaustive. However, it reflects an industry standard. 

Marketing with E-Books:

Generally, e-books are used for identifying a problem, and supplying an answer to the problem. In most cases, the ultimate goal for e-book marketing will be the same: draw attention and develop a company’s reputation for thought leadership and then use that expertise to generate sales. In order for this to be successful, the audience must not perceive the content to be overt marketing material. It is important to keep a distinction between overt and convert goals. An e-book will require more subtle framing than with a standard advertising pitch. Do not include the product name or description in the title of the e-book. Instead, describe a problem, some common solution, and then finally discuss what special benefit the product being marketing has in solving this problem. You need to develop a clear case, and need for this product. Do not miss the larger opportunity to advance a brand’s image and reputation by making the mistake of treating these publications as purely a marketing platform. 

Happy e-booking!

– Kelsey xox

Webinars – Marketing

In a society of instantaneous feedback – texting, phone calls, messaging, as so on, it only seems right that we can all connect in one space together, no matter where we are. Webinars take the place of face-to-face meetings, which can be a good thing, especially when you don’t have to sit beside the guy with the stinky feet. Webinars have many advantages, such as flexibility, cost-effectiveness, ease of training employees, ease of meeting with clients, and being able to meet with your boss in your pajamas. What could be better?

Before you get your hopes up I should tell you about the disadvantages of Webinars… Oh technology, don’t you love it? Well it doesn’t always love us back, which can definitely be a down fall.  Each computer that is being used, runs the risk of technical difficulties, which always seem to pop up at the worst of times.  I think the most obvious disadvantage, come from the purpose of Webinars – removing face-to-face interactions. Like I previously mentioned, that can be a good thing, but it takes away that personal connection we sometimes need to understand the people around us. When you are meeting with people you may not know well, or may not know you well, body language is important. Your client may not know whether you are screaming irrationally, or just split coffee on your crotch. Nothing beats a face-to-face interaction but I definitely think Webinars are a great use of technology to save costs, and manage everyone’s busy schedules.

Webinars and Marketing:
In the world of marketing, Webinars can be very useful, they are a great tool for learning and collaboration. You have the ability to gather a large audience – in some cases over 500 people. You are in a virtual room with an audience of your choosing, you can give them information, they ask questions, and get immediate feedback. Clever social media marketers have used Webinars to gather information on potential clients. Just like any other meeting, you have to be sure that everybody can attend at the same time, as it is a live event.