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brandUNITY blog

eFAQs - October 2008


Today's Leading eFAQs HEADLINES . . .

SOCIAL NETWORKING: The New Marketing Mix

A "Gen Y": Perspective on Social Networking

Businesses are using popular online social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook to buy advertising space to reach their "online" audiences. Businesses are also creating individual profiles on these sites to market their brands and to seek out new customer bases.

Some sites use the profile page as a virtual business card to direct traffic back to their primary website/pages. This is simple to do and with a little maintenance can provide a new way to obtain hits on your business website.

Here are examples that can be used to reach a wider audience base:

USE COMMENTS PAGES: Every "spacer", (MySpace member) uses the Comments page. Erica Gabrielle, a multimedia artist, uses her Comments page as a virtual reference book. Past clients post comments, a profile picture and a link to their personal websites. Both parties "advertise" and network.

For example:

Falling for Tomorrow would like not only to thank Erica Gabrielle, but also recommend her to anyone who needs photos taken. We loved working with her. She's a load of fun to hang out with and does great work, very professional. All of our promotional pictures were taken by her. We love you Erica!

CREATE A SLIDESHOW: A smart business person knows the value of a first impression. Slideshows are available on both MySpace and Facebook. Slideshows start automatically and be easily paired with music.

POST BULLETINS: Bulletins are MySpace blogs. A great example of effective Bulletin use is from GreenDay-NRDC. The National Resource Defense Council linked up with the band GreenDay to launch their joint campaign Move America Beyond Oil on MySpace.

Lisa, the webmaster, creatively gets her audience involved in discussions by positing questions such as: "What is your favorite Hollywood movie that sparks environmental issues?" She uses GoogleMaps and users plot their favorite picnic spots. She then uses the feedback to keep the site updated.

Quote from a GEN Yer:

"To tell the truth, I'm not exactly happy with the idea that large businesses are using social networking sites for promoting their products, unless it's for a good cause, or, in MySpace's case, about music. Small businesses, sure, create buzz; that's great. I especially like the idea of budding photography businesses or photographers.

My women friends are all getting married and love to post their pics on MySpace and Facebook. I always check them out and judge "is this the kind of photographer I would like to use?" In some cases, I've loved the pics so much I've gone to their website, like a virtual business card.

Now, if photographers were smart, they'd give their clients incentive to give these pics a "tag" to their (the photographer's) own MySpace page or website. A tag shows up on both people's photo albums - instant advertising."


Thanks,

Hilary Beam
RPCV

DOES THE IDEA OF SOCIAL NETWORKING GIVE YOU A PANIC ATTACK?

Social networking for the Professional Services Firm

For the tech savvy, and in particularly for members of Gen Y (ages 13-34) having a personal and/or business page on MySpace and Facebook is a no-brainer. It’s the way the world interacts, communicates and finds anything and anyone. (readwriteweb)

But for the uninitiated, a recommendation that he/she join a social networking site can trigger a panic attack. It conjures up images of computer based-dating (which for some has wonderful results; for others not (yet) so good.) But placing one’s resume, email address and for many, the ultimate level of exposure, one’s photograph into cyberspace can be a terrifying prospect.


The thing is, in the world of social networking there’s a networking site for everyone and for every purpose. And it’s a lot more than MySpace, FaceBook and YouTube.

From a business perspective, participating in social networking can facilitate professional and commercial connections. These connections can translate into positions for job-seekers, new clients, and an expanded customer base and audience.

Special Interest Networking Sites

Many special interest or niche social networking sites with increasingly large memberships have capitalized on the popularity of MySpace and Facebook. These sites attract members with similar interests, queries or businesses. Patrice-Anne Rutledge, in her book, The Truth About Profiting from Social Networking, lists many popular sites and their demographics.

Linkedin, for example, claims it has 5.4 million members, between the ages 35 and 50, most of whom have advanced degrees and earn over 100k. A primary resource for professionals, job recruiters and job seekers, Linkedin can be an invaluable resource for exchanging business referrals and recommendations, commentary and resources.

Another career/business building website is 85 Broads, one of the largest global career networks for women. 85 Broads works with the best multinational companies to source extraordinary female talent from every corner of the world. 1 out of every 3 women who joins 85 Broads is from outside of the United States.

Business is now customer driven. (Think Angie’s List and epinions.com) With the vast number of ways potential customers/clients can investigate and communicate about products and services, business success depends upon effective use of internet communication resources. Perhaps the most powerful marketing tools are testimonials and endorsements from groups, friends and contacts. Even the mere existance of commentary can benefit a business/person. (often times without regard to whether we should “trust” the opinion maker.)

In the internet age, you no longer own the perception of your brand. Intrusive marketing is passé and relatively ineffective. Now your associates, your employees, customers and other stakeholders are the ones that can influence the perception of your identity.

Even if you are not actively engaging in social media, you should at least be aware of its influence on your business. (The Effects of Social Media on the Top 100 Brands - Beal )

Starting Out
In order to exploit the value of social networking websites, you need to explore. A good starting point is Linkedin. Linkedin does not claim to compete in the same social networking space of MySpace or Facebook. Linkedin has a different demographic.

Linkedin is for business networking where you "can find others who you should connect with, so that they can add value to you, or that you can add value to them.” I’m on LinkedIn, Now What by Jason Alba is an excellent "how to" manual for setting up your Linkedin account. It's also a good discussion of Linkedin’s promise and limitations.

First, you need to set up your “profile.” Your profile is similar to a glorified resume/CV. List your education, your past associations, employers; your personal and business interests; your business’ services or products.

For every one of these items, Linkedin will show you other Linkedin members who listed similar information on their profile pages.

This is just the starting point. (Just think, you’ll show up on Google and Yahoo search engines immediately.) Once “linked in” millions could conceivably make contact…but they don’t. It’s up to you who you wish to contact and who you want as a “connection.” Permission must first be granted before any direct email contact is made i.e. you approve an introduction/ referral before the person can connect with you.

Recommendations and Referrals

Going back to what we said before, testimonials and referrals are a prime marketing tool. Linkedin highlights the power of recommendations and the best way to get a recommendation is to offer legitimate ones to people in your network.

It is through maximizing recommendations that you communicate your brand, yourself and your business.

Using the expansive power of links, your “brand” can be reinforced 100-fold as your recommendation/referral network grows. And if your Linkedin page provides a link to your business website and other websites you recommend – the marketing value is immeasurable.

It’s up to you to determine whether the information or contact is authentic. There is netiquette and like anything else, most follow the rules. Since Linkedin is a networking site for “professionals” it’s reasonable to expect that its members will communicate in a “professional manner.” However, if not, Linkedin can suspend the account of a member found to have abused its User Agreement. If you disapprove/disagree with commentary you’ve received you make the determination whether or not to post it on your page.

You can decide how you want to use a social networking site like Linkedin. It may be useful just for locating former classmates or employees/ers.

But if you subscribe to the theory that the more channels you have open, the more likely it is that you will get in contact with people who “will add value to you or your business”, then you need to investigate social networking websites.

Open networking takes time and energy but the potential payoff to your business and your brand could be enormous.

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Why Twitter Matters: BusinessWeek

A mere 14 months old, Twitter has exploded with media attention and traffic in recent months. According to TwitterLocal, Seattle has the 9th largest tweeting population in the world (tweets from 24-hour period from 9/30/08 to 10/01/08):

Tokyo, Japan 102023
New York City, NY 48017
San Francisco, CA 41571
Los Angeles, CA 31010
London, UK 27946
Washington DC 26005
Osaka, Japan 19919
Chicago, IL 19342
Seattle, WA 18444

What's all this mean for your firm or organization? The answer:social networking sites can be used to supplement your website; helping you build your online presence. Take a look at the BusinessWeek slideshow, "CEOs' Take on Twitter." From Tim O'Reilly to Technorati, Chairman David Sifry, sees the most recent tweets of industry leaders, how many followers they have, and how they are using twitter to communicate.

Twitter Search: http://search.twitter.com/

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brandUNITY Article Archive: from Previous Issues of eFAQs

LinkedIn: http://brandunity.com/LinkedIn.html

Winning Search: http://brandunity.com/WinningSearch.html

Technorati: http://brandunity.com/technorati.html

IN THE NEWS:

brandUNITY Wins 2008 Creativity Award

The website for the international architectural firm, Lost Arts Achitecture LLC, designed and developed by brandUNITY, won a Silver Award at the annual international Creativity Awards competition.

Over 3,200 entries came from around the globe with submissions coming from over 38 states and 29 countries.Large advertising agencies as well as independent designers competed for the trophies.

brandUNITY's web entry will be published in the 400-page Creativity Awards Annual to be distributed worldwide by HarperCollins Publishers. Visit the winning website: LostArtsLLC.com

brandUNITY's Work Published in New Book

brandUNITY'S work will be featured in Market Smart Design, Great Design Examples: Created Specifically For Target Markets published by HarperCollins.

The annual is a compilation of advertising design that demonstrates visual communication by demographics including: Kids, ages 3-8; Tweens and Teens, ages 8-19; Generation X, ages 28-44; and Baby Boomers, ages 45-early 60's.

Market Smart will be published in Feb. 2009.

brandUNITY Exhibits at
WSTA's 7th Annual Technology Conference
Convergence: The Integrated Lifestyle

brandUNITY would like to thank the West Sound Technology Association (WSTA) for hosting the 7th Annual Technology Conference Convergence: The Integrated Lifestyle, on October 9,2008. This year's theme addressed the integration of multimedia, IP, telework and medical technologies - and their impact on home and business markets.

The event began with a technology showcase in which brandUNITY was an exhibitor.

 

HOW MYOB Conference
Austin Texas
September 25 - 28, 2008

HOW's Mind Your own Business (MYOB) Conference in September was a fabulous meetup of marketing communications firms across the country and from around the world. Present were some of brandUNITY's best vendors: Emma, Functionfox, The Creative Group, and Blair Enns from Win Without Pitching, to name a few. MYOB was opportunity to build valuable bonds with many colleagues and prospective business associates.

Thank you to HOW magazine for a conference well-done!

 

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SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT:

"It's stasis that kills you off in the end, not ambition."
--Bono

 

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WANTED: Your referrals!

Your referrals are appreciated. Send them our way and we'll send you a Starbucks gift card. info@brandUNITY.com

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Social Media: The New Marketing Mix

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