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Protecting Your Internet Identity

Students today face many challenges. In a brutal economy, jobs are difficult to come by, and the last thing new graduates need is to have their Facebook profiles deny them a job.

 

 

Social networking has brought the world together, but it has also exposed people to outlets they might not want to be exposed to.

 

 

According to a 2009 study done by careerbuilder.com, more employers are using social networking profiles as part of background checks. The study conducted by the job search website found that 45 percent of employers that were surveyed reviewed the contents of social networking profiles to make a decision to hire a staff member.

 

 

A 2008 study by careerbuilder.com revealed that 33 percent of employers decided not to make job offers to potential candidates based on their social networking profiles, and said that postings of “inappropriate” or “provocative” photos were the top reasons that they retracted their offers.

 

 

That should be considered a potential red flag not just for new college students, but also for everyone that has a profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other of sort of online activity.

 

 

Although this new movement of profile monitoring has caused some to lose job offers, there is a silver lining to the phenomenon.

 

 

A new industry was born: online reputation management.

 

 

Online reputation management, the industry that has developed from the need for a positive image, has become a hit among people that have posted an inappropriate party picture or have used a little too much profanity.

 

 

 

Using a technique called “inoculation,” reputation management companies can help users track down negative posts and articles about them on social networking websites, online marketplaces, review sites, forums and blogs.

 

 

The main focus is search engine results, as most basic background searches start with a Google search. If an employer keyword searches a potential hire, and the candidate has a negative listing on the first page or two, his or her chances of landing that job are reduced.

 

 

Most reputation management companies offer a multitude of services that are able to mold the search results and online content to their preferences.

 

 

 

Other services include a personal profile adviser to answer questions and guide users’ profile movement and trend reporting, which analyzes changes in online profiles.

 

 

Though many think of reputation management as a safety net to land a job, there are many other positions and organizations that expect a positive online reputation from their members.

 

 

When Collin Huerter, sophomore in political science and international studies, got elected as the Central Region Chief of the Boy Scouts of America, one of his responsibilities was to stay clean online.

 

 

“It’s very important to maintain an image that upholds the high standards of scouting,” Huerter said.

 

 

Huerter, who has thousands of scouts around the nation reporting to him, said it is his responsibility to remain professional.

 

 

“I try to promote and instill our ideals into people that I work with, and even the simplest thing of setting the example online can go a long way.”

 

 

Though online reputation management websites offer a variety of services to remove negative comments and records from the Internet, they can also increase positive results by increasing the amount of positive social media or creating a unique website that shows the user in a favorable light.

 

 

Social networking sites can also make a positive difference in a job search. Using Facebook, job candidates can search for different employers, view and like their Facebook pages and connect themselves with people who are already within the organization.

 

 

Using social networking to form relationships is considered the new way of connecting to a rapidly shrinking world, and just might be able to get thousands of people the jobs of their dreams.

 

 For those who want to maintain a positive image in cyberspace, online reputation management can help build a favorable reputation, and just might be able to get thousands of people the jobs of their dreams.

 

By Andy Rao

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Andy Rao

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Do’s and Don’ts of Mobile Marketing

A smartphone user searches for “tires.” A moment later, your automated service sends his cell phone a discount offer, enticing him to come visit your tire store now.

 

 

Or another example: A brick-and-mortar fashion retailer texts a flash sale alert to loyal customers in its Insiders Club: “Five hours only. Come in before 5 p.m. today.”

 

 

Small-business owners are just as capable of leveraging the power of mobile marketing as the Coca-Colas of the world.

 

 

Although in the second example, the alert was readable even on older cell phones, smartphones are changing the game. Most new cell phones going forward will be capable of accessing the web, according to research by Gartner Inc.1 When your customers use their mobile phones more often than they use laptops or PCs to find businesses and products like yours, that’s a watershed moment in marketing.

 

 

Interactivity will be assumed and required. Are you up on the do’s and don’ts of mobile marketing? Here are four things to think about if you are new to the mobile marketing arena.

 

 

1. Set a clear purpose. Mobile marketing has two primary objectives: Engage customers and build relationships. That’s what it’s all about. If your customer is using a smartphone, you can reach her when she is most likely to be responsive. She’s out and about and types in a search looking for your service. So engage her. But even if she is using a traditional cell phone, you can remind her you have unique products that she likes. Make the reminder friendly, not intrusive. Maybe she’s sitting in Starbucks, having a break. Turn her passive behavior into interactive behavior. Think of your advertising as an ongoing conversation.

 

 

2. Strategize. Your mobile marketing is part of your overall marketing strategy, but you’ll need different thinking on it. Every marketing discussion and decision affects those customers who are primarily reachable by mobile promotions. So make your assigned staff member who “understands” Twitter part of your marketing team. Don’t exclude him from the big meetings because he’s young and in your opinion doesn’t need to get the whole picture.

 

 

Pitch your campaign to the widest possible array of devices: Androids and iPhones and RIM’s BlackBerrys, plus what are called feature phones (the standard mobile phones). That’s the advice of the Mobile Marketing Association.2

 

 

The world of mobile advertising is growing most dramatically outside of the United States. If you have dreams of expanding beyond the 50 states, mobile marketing may well be the way to go. According to the Mobile Marketing Association, advertising costs are often much lower in relatively undeveloped markets.

 

 

For statistics on the types of devices that are most prominent in various world markets, visit mobiThinking.3

 

 

3. Keep messages short. The Mobile Marketing Association’s first rule for making your message effective is to remember that mobile phone screens are much smaller than computer screens, so whatever you say and whatever banner you use must be short, small, concise. If you want the customer to fill out a form, make it short. If you want the customer to send contact information, limit it to a phone number.

 

 

4. Jump-start interaction. You want interactivity, but how are you going to get it? Two ways (a don’t and a do): Don’t send your customers the same generic messages that you use in email marketing, and do always include a call to action. That’s the advice of Alex Speirs of TXT2GET, a mobile marketing company that helps companies with SMS (short message service) marketing.

 

 

“Effective advertising is advertising that not only engages consumers initially but then allows them to interact with your advertising in order to move them on to becoming actual consumers,” he wrote in the article, “Common SMS Marketing Mistakes.”4

 

 

About that call to action: That means asking users to text a certain phrase and number (“Text the word PETS to 54321”) or show their phones at the register for savings. Realize, though, that your customers may be just as new to this as you are, and they may be concerned that they’ll run up high message charges on their phones if they respond to—or even read—your offer. They may also be concerned about privacy. Moto Message, a company that specializes in mobile marketing, suggests using a disclaimer and offers two examples in an article on its website.5

Want to know more?

 

 

For some mobile marketing case studies, visit the Mobile Marketer website,6 or check out a flashier presentation by Google.7
If you are serious about becoming a mobile marketer, check out the Mobile Marketing Association’s website for the association’s “U.S. Consumer Best Practices”8 guidelines.

 

 

For more information, visit:
1. “Gartner Outlines 10 Mobile Technologies to Watch in 2010 and 2011
2. Mobile Marketing Association
3. mobiThinking
4. “Common SMS Marketing Mistakes
5. “What Details to Include in a Mobile Marketing Call to Action
6. Mobile Marketer: Case Studies
7. “Mobile Right Now
8. “U.S. Consumer Best Practices” guidelines

 By: The Small Business Authority

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QR Codes Or SMS – The Mobile Marketing Battle Heats Up

 

 

A major television network says SMS is more valuable than QR Codes, but not so fast says a CEO who defended QR codes during what was described as a heated CEO panel at Mobile Marketer’s recent Mobile Marketing Summit.

 

It is surely no surprise to anyone who knows me that I am a HUGE believer in Mobile Marketing, Mobile Advertising and the future thereof… The Rapid Rise Of Mobile Advertising And mCommerce, Another Reason Why Marketers Need To Be Mobile, and Mobile Marketing Spending To Have The Biggest Increase Over Next Five Years are just three of the posts I’ve written that revolve around Mobile Marketing and Mobile Advertising.

 

So far as I’m concerned, Mobile Marketing and Mobile Advertising are exploding and will continue to explode. How the advertising and marketing message is delivered, however, will be the question.

 

Text, Scan Or Tap?

On one hand there is Text or SMS. And if CBS, the aforementioned major television network is any indication, SMS could lead the way. In an article appearing on MobileMarketer.com, Philippe Browning, vice president of advertising and operations at CBS Mobile, New York said of SMS and QR Codes…

 

“Everyone has phones that support SMS… (whereas) QR codes have an added barrier with a download and although we are interested in it and have experimented with the technology, it doesn’t have the same value of a text.”

 

That apparently was their (CBS) justification for making the decision to use SMS rather than QR Codes in print advertisements which will tout their forthcoming new fall lineup. The ads are designed to bridge mobile, video and print. Each ad will have a call to action which will prompt you to text a specific keyword to a short code which will ultimately lead to a video clip with a teaser of the show.

 

Also consider the fact that with 82% of all American cell phone users now using text messaging compared to only 40% who own a smartphone, it’s obvious SMS will reach more consumers.

 

On the other hand there are QR Codes. And if Mike Wehrs, the aforementioned CEO and defender of QR Codes, has any say in it, QR Codes will lead the way. As CEO of Scanbuy, a global provider of mobile barcode solutions, he sees first hand the power of QR Codes… “We are seeing increasing rates [for bar code scanning],” Mr. Wehrs said. “We’re seeing through our own networks 3 to 5 million scans a month – those are numbers that start to matter. For the holiday season this year, you are going to see growth rates equivalent to what you saw in 2010,” he said. “There is still tremendous opportunity here.”

OK so do you as a marketer, retailer, business, and so on go with SMS or QR Code as part of your Mobile Marketing strategy?

 

But Wait, What About NFC?

Looks like we’re going to need another hand for Near Field Communication or NFC, is rapidly growing in usage and popularity. NFC, according to Wikipedia “allows for simplified transactions, data exchange, and wireless connections between two devices in close proximity to each other, usually by no more than a few centimeters.”

 

And there are many out there who agree with this headline, which appeared on an article on uxmag.com: Near Field Communication Will Make Our Daily Lives Better. In the article the writer tells of the buzz that is going on in the blogosphere re: NFC with the Big 3 in mobile platforms, Anrdoid, iOS and Windows Phone 7 all rumored to be working on platforms to support NFC. It’s not surprising the Big 3 are working on supporting NFC, especially when you consider that according to analysis from Juniper Research, NFC mobile payments will top $75 billion worldwide by the year 2013. Also factor in another study which indicated one third of iPhone users who said they were “likely” or “very likely” to use mobile payments.

 

One  more thing on NFC…  (from an article on gsmarena.com) “At a recent presentation in Hong Kong, Nokia announced that from now on, NFC functionality will feature on all Nokia devices, a move that would subsequently boost uptake and implementation of the technology, especially when you consider that Nokia sell around 100 million smartphones a year.”

 

And here’s a quick, neat video Nokia put out re: NFC…

So How Do You Decide?

Well in actuality you don’t really need to decide as you can use more than one of these applications for any given integrated marketing campaign. The most important thing to do will be to test. Yes, that simple four-letter word that all marketers learn in day one of Marketing 101 class… TEST. Kick the tires on SMS, QR Codes and NFC. And then kick them again. See what works best for what audience for what product and on and on… TEST.

 

Of course, the market, not marketers, will ultimately decide which format wins, just as it has in the past with VHS/Beta and DVD/Laser Disc. Interestingly, as the VHS/Beta decision shows, the best technology won’t always win, so it’s best to familiarize yourself with all the options to be ready for anything.

Sources: MobileMarketer.com, uxmag.com, Wikipedia, gsmarena.com,

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Varied social media content helps businesses foster consistent contact with fans on social media platforms, CrowdControlHQ said in a release on Thursday.

 

 

CrowdControlHQ found businesses struggle to grow when regularly posting the same things to their pages. The web has made it easier to produce and manage content in every form. Failing to take advantage of options can make content marketing and social media marketing campaigns less compelling for potential prospects.

 

 

The number of companies turning to social media and other web channels to improve marketing has made the competition for prospects’ attention even greater.

 

 

“Varying content is one of the most important aspects of any social media campaign,” James Leavesley, co-founder of CrowdControlHQ, said in a release. “Continuously using the same content will have a negative impact on fan growth and engagement, eventually leading to fewer fans viewing and engaging with a brand’s posts. Fans want to feel like they’re playing a role in an organization’s growth and outreach, so continued interaction with them is essential in bringing them back again and again.”

 

 

Engagement that leads to conversion is the goal of social media and content marketing. Missing these opportunities will make it difficult for businesses to see any real ROI from their investment.

 

 

Social media websites have raised the stakes for marketers publishing social content in recent weeks by implementing features that allow users to customize and filter the posts they see. Brafton reported on Thursday that Facebook launched its Subscribe button to allow people to control which posts they see, and Google+ users can ignore friends – and perhaps ultimately brands – to limit the content updates they see from “ignored” account holders.

 

From: www.Brafton News.com

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5 Ways for B2B Companies to Engage on Facebook

 

 

Facebook has more than 500 million reasons for B2B companies to create and foster an interactive, informative community for employees, partners, customers, retailers and distributors. Here’s a starter kit for B2B companies to better engage on Facebook:

 

1. Original Content and Industry Content
The design principle “Keep it simple, stupid” also applies to content you’re already spending time to create. Have a newsletter, magazine, newsroom or blog? Repurpose that information on Facebook, making sure it’s relevant and interesting to this particular community. Take advantage of the Facebook status update’s 420-character limit, but keep your Twitter hat on and be concise.
Consider these types of posts reflections of your blog and Twitter editorial calendars, and find them in similar ways: Make sure your feed reader is full of relevant industry blogs and sites, and curate helpful Twitter lists and hashtag/keyword searches.

 

2. Questions
Sometimes, all you have to do is ask. There’s a reason many Social Media B2B blog posts end with a question – a call to action is a simple thing that often goes forgotten. Make it a habit to end status updates by asking your followers what think about a particular article, industry trend or new product.
On the lighter side, use questions as a conversation starter. Fun topics such as company or industry “Did you know…?” trivia or even a simple “Good morning! What did you do this weekend?” can go a long way to making your Facebook page a community destination instead of a promotional content dump. People enjoy talking about themselves and their experiences – let them do it on your page and learn from what they tell you.
If you’re asking your Facebook followers for feedback, remember it’s a two-way street. Be sure to check back often to reply to others’ questions and be part of the conversation yourself.

 

3. Photos and Videos
There are many applications such as TwitPic and TwitVid that facilitate the addition of photos and videos on Twitter updates. Facebook, however, gets a leg up on those tools’ shortened URLs by putting photos and videos straight into Facebook users’ news feeds. Photos and videos are welcome breaks from text-heavy status updates, and let businesses tell their stories with images and sound.
Take advantage of the provided status update space to give background on these types of media, and start dialogue by asking followers their thoughts, reactions and favorites.

 

4. Behind-the-scenes and VIP Info
People “Like” Facebook pages to have another way to track their favorites brands, products, people and places. Make your company’s Facebook updates stand out by offering up valuable information and interactions they won’t find anywhere else, such as behind-the-scenes photos, sneak-peek product announcements and Facebook-only contests.
Be careful with Facebook promotions, however. Facebook updated its promotions guidelines at the end of 2009 to better regulate contests held and promoted on its site. Here are a few things to keep in mind: You can’t make contest entrants perform any other action on Facebook other than “Liking” your page; be mindful how you frame Facebook and its images in the contest; and, as always, pay attention to local and national promotion rules. See the full guidelines straight from Facebook here, or check out this post on the Inside Facebook blog.

 

5. Tagging
Similar to Twitter’s “@ mention,” Facebook allows fan pages to tag other people and pages in status updates. This comes in handy when status updates touch on key partners and demographics such as trade media, associations and trade shows. For example, if you post an interview Trade Magazine Weekly did with your company’s CEO, include a short status update intro above the link that mentions the media outlet. This will show up on the outlet’s Facebook page Wall and will be visible to everyone who visits its page.
Similarly, when other people and pages tag your business, it will appear on your page’s wall. These posts break up your page’s usual stream of content, and show that others find your Facebook page (and company) worthy of a mention. Boost these types of mentions by regularly tagging others yourself, and asking employees, partners and followers to tag you in their posts.

 

How is your B2B company engaging with your Facebook community?
by:  Karlie Justus
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