Friday, 31 December 2010

Top Marketing Resources

Listed below are some marketing resources that I have found helpful. I have also included links to them
From the fundamentals of Twitter branding, to the importance of blogging, to getting work done with some great online tools, small businesses face many challenges when trying to understand how to use social media. However, taking the time to learn how to leverage social media and technology to benefit your business will pay big dividends in the long run.
These are specific, practical questions and answers about optimizing both blogs and feeds for better search performance from some of the smartest blog and Feed SEO experts on the web.
This is a slideshare presentation from Tod Defren on how to market cost effectively during the recession
A Webinar link from Hubspot that covers using twitter for your business
A new study finds blogging to be the most important lead-generation source among social media options, followed by StumbleUpon, YouTube, Facebook, De.lic.ious and Digg.” This HubSpot survey of 167 executives and business owners found that the relatively prosaic blog is in fact a key element in company communications, in part because blogs perform so well on search engines. The findings differ with recent Forrester Research data that indicates that blogs have low credibility. HubSpot attributed the disparity to its survey’s large representation of small businesses, which tend to have more credible blogs.
This is a link to a blog at Hubspot that provides a presentation on how to present to your management or CEO on how to use the internet instead of traditional marketing
This is a link to a webinar from hubspot .com that shows you how to use facebook for business so welcome to a world of conversations and relationships. Facebook is not an evil time-waster, a community just for college students, or something scary or irrelevant for marketers – even you B2B folks. Facebook is a tool (a social utility, as they would say) for connecting people with those around them. And, as with any social media tool, marketers have an opportunity to use Facebook to expand their online footprint and engage with customers directly. Join this free webinar to learn how to get started using Facebook to market your business.
Topics include:
  • Why social media and Facebook are important
  • Tips for increasing your business presence & engaging with prospects directly on Facebook
  • What to measure and how to track the success of your Facebook programs - The Best in Social Business

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

How To Select A Facebook Community Manager

The key to a successful Facebook page is to make sure you have a plan. Specifically, it’s crucial that you have a strategy to build your fan base, experiment with promotional opportunities (including Facebook advertising) and customize your page to build brand awareness.
Although there’s a lot to consider when growing a successful Facebook page, the rewards of brand exposure, loyal fans and increased revenue are well worth your time and effort!
One way to streamline the time and resources that you put into your Facebook page is to assign a community manager. A community manager is an admin of your page who is responsible for managing the page and making sure it’s running smoothly. If you have multiple admins on your page, the community manager is ultimately responsible for managing them as well.
Most small to large businesses that have a Facebook page should consider assigning a community manager. The community manager should be aware of the company’s Facebook marketing plan and be well-qualified to execute that plan on a daily basis on your page.
A good community manager is key to building a strong community.
To help you find the right fit for your page, below are three tips to guide your decision.

Tip #1: Personality Counts

When looking for the right community manager for your page, you want to make sure his/her personality is a good fit for your audience. Here are six personality traits of a superstar community manager:
  • Natural communicator
  • Problem solver
  • Enjoys people
  • Good listener
  • Professional
  • Positive attitude and enthusiastic

Tip #2: Know Your Audience

You need a community manager who can connect with your audience.
Also consider your ideal audience and make sure your community manager is comfortable connecting with your audience and is able to build rapport with them easily.
Remember, Facebook marketing is about connecting and building relationships with real people, not brands. Choose a community manager who is a great representative for your company’s mission.

Tip #3: Evaluate Skill Set

skill set
You need a community manager with the right skill set.
In addition to personality traits, there are also some necessary skills that you want to make sure your community manager possesses. They are:
  • Solid understanding of social networking
  • Social media savvy
  • Infallibly committed to helping people in social channels
  • Ability to multi-task and think quickly
  • Understands online marketing
  • Ability to grasp how social media activity aligns with business goals

Questions to Ask Before Assigning a Community Manager

To help you make the right decision, here are some important questions you want toask before you make your final hiring decision for a community manager:
  • Does this person show the ability to be social online?
  • Does this person show a genuine interest in connecting with our clients/customers?
  • Can I trust this person to be professional and respectful at all times?
  • Do people naturally gravitate toward this person?
  • Will this person actively contribute new ideas to grow the page and make it better each day?
Because your community manager will be interacting with your fans daily, it’s paramount that you take the time to choose this person wisely. More often than not, you’ll find this person already on your internal team because they know your brand and your clients better than an outside source. However, this is not always possible and if you do need to hire an outside source make sure you train him or her well and monitor activity closely, especially in the first few months.

Expanding Your Facebook Marketing Team

In addition to assigning a community manager, it’s also wise to assign multiple admins to your page. Having a few admins manage your page is one way to optimize time and effort. Putting together an admin team is a smart strategy because your admins can divide and conquer.
With multiple admins, your community manager can assign roles and responsibilities that are aligned with the admins’ skills and strengths and your page will be more consistently managed with multiple people watching over the day-to-day activity. For the Social Media Examiner Facebook page, we have three admins. This allows us to keep engagement high and support our fans impeccably by responding to their posts and answering their questions.
To add an admin to your page, just go to the “Edit Page” link under your profile image on your Facebook wall. Once inside your Facebook page dashboard, click “Manage Admins” and you can type a name or email to add an admin to your page.

Once you're inside your Facebook page dashboard, you'll have the option to add (or remove) admins.

Any admins of your page have the ability to do the following:
  • Admins can post status updates on your wall as the page’s identity, not the admins’ profile identity. What this means is that when you’re an admin of a page, you can only post as that page, and never as your own profile. To post on the company’s Facebook page as your own personal profile, you would need to remove yourself as an admin first.
  • All admins can edit the page. This means that admins can add photos and videos, change out the profile image, remove posts, and add new tabs.
  • Any admin of your page can add or delete admins. Due to this function, it is essential that you can trust all admins of your page to act respectfully and with integrity.
There is no way to limit the admins’ access and functionality on your page.This means that when you add an admin, it’s all or nothing. Make sure to choose your admins wisely!
Your community manager will want to make sure to assign each admin clear tasks so there’s no overlap or confusion on your page. The best way to do this is to create a set of rules and guidelines for your page to make sure everyone is clear on the expectations.
Here are some guidelines to consider as you coordinate posts and strategies:

#1: Decide how you want your admins to post on your page

Here are some questions you want to ask about your status updates and posts on your wall:
  • How often will you post updates to your page?
  • What will you post about?
  • When will you use text-only versus links?
  • Will you use third-party content to add value?
  • Will you mix up the media and use video, audio, photos?

#2: Determine a communication strategy

There’s a fine balance between monitoring your page and allowing your fans to interact with each other and come to their own conclusions with questions or feedback you might ask from your posts. Decide how your admins should manage this important balance.

#3: Assign roles and document them

One admin might be responsible for posting one third-party article a day while another admin may be assigned the task of uploading company videos throughout the week. Other tasks might include posting questions, uploading company photos to a photo album, monitoring and responding to all fan posts or posting on fans’ pages to increase overall engagement. Whatever the task, make sure your admins are clear on their duties so there’s no confusion as you get going.

#4: Create guidelines

Every Facebook page should have a “dos and don’ts” list. Make it very clear what’s allowed and what you won’t tolerate on your page. Include what can and can’t be discussed, including company-related content and personal content. Decide how often you’ll promote your programs and services and what acceptable promotion looks like.
Think about your company, your mission and your goals and carefully craft your guidelines around all three. The time spent here will save you a lot of headache in the future!
Facebook continues to grow quickly and smart marketers are continually finding ways to use this platform as a new way to engage with their prospects and create stronger relationships. Consider putting together a Facebook team to optimize your Facebook marketing strategy.
Now it’s your turn! I would love to hear your thoughts on how your company manages your Facebook page, so feel free to share your ideas or add a comment in the box below.

From Social Media Explorer - The Best in Social Business

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Mobile banking to overtake internet, says Monitise

Global mobile payments have grown 50% in a year, Monitise chief reveals
Mobile banking will be even bigger than internet or telephone banking before the end of the decade, according to Monitise.
The mobile money group, which last week launched a Mobile Money Network with Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse founder Charles Dunstone, is predicting a mobile payment and banking revolution over the next few years.
Speaking to Mobile, Monitise chief marketing officer Peter Simpson said mobile payments and money transactions had grown globally by 50% in the past 12 months.
He added: ‘I see absolutely phenomenal growth in the UK over the next 12 months not only in mobile banking but also in retail and services, with even faster growth in Asia and developing countries, which often don’t have developed traditional banking systems.’
He said mobile banking was set to overtake telephone and internet banking. ‘Mobile banking and mobile payments will be even bigger than both of these revolutions, and it is already happening. We are not so much reaching a tipping point as already in the middle of that tipping point. This is not a future thing. We are more than half way through the revolution, at a similar point to where the internet banking and shopping revolution was ten years ago,’ he said.
However, Simpson warned that retailers and service providers are lagging behind consumer demand for mobile money services.
‘Consumers are ahead of providers in terms of mobile money. They have taken to every mobile innovation, such as texting and mobile apps, like ducks to water. It’s the same with mobile money transactions.’
He added: ‘Quite a lot of service and goods providers are behind the curve and need to catch up with consumers.’
Simpson said operators and handset manufacturers recognise the importance of mobile money. Monitise has signed deals with all five operators in the UK and Simpson said the group is in talks with a number of smartphone manufacturers keen to develop mobile money-enabled handsets. - The Best in Social Business

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

How Branson's New iPad-Only Magazine Beat Murdoch [Video]

Today, British tycoon and Virgin chairman Richard Branson sky dives into a new venture: an iPad-only magazine called Project. Sources say the magazine is expected to hit the iTunes store Tuesday, and will thus take the first swing at a novel digital-news platform that has already seen heavy investment from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Video of Project's front cover leaked today, and features Jeff Bridges and a Wired-meets-GQlook. The magazine will focus on technology, entertainment, entrepreneurship, and promises to be "within shouting distance of the cutting edge."
Will Project help revolutionize the way we consume media? Or is it just another haphazard attempt by Branson to get his foot in the door of a new industry?
A blog post published last week on the magazine's website suggests the company at least knows what it's up against. Under the humble heading "welcome to the future," a Projectwriter calls the venture "a blind pitch into a potentially humiliating void." The post focuses on the promise of the iPad: "Apple’s tablet will, in no particular order, a) singlehandedly save print media, b) revolutionise book publishing, c) force a re-examination of news consumption and d) get you laid."
But the Project writer is also wary of  competitors. Last week, rumors surfaced of a joint development between Apple and News Corp. for the Daily, an iPad-only newspaper that will cost just 99 cents per week. Though pricing and other details have not been revealed, Projectsays it welcomes the competion:
Reports emerged that Rupert Murdoch will soon launch an iPad-only newspaper called The Daily, after it came to him in a dream or something. Which, like all Murdoch products, shall doubtless enrich humankind with its impartial political analysis and rolling coverage of shit exploding. Also: hi-def nudity, fingers crossed. But the point stands: the irascible Aussie despot doesn’t throw his corked hat into the cyber ring until he’s sure of a market. - The Best in Social Business

Hackers Defend WikiLeaks by Attacking PayPal and PostFinance

A group of hackers connected to the online imageboard 4chan, often referred to as Anonymous, have retaliated against several sites which have denied service to WikiLeaks shortly after the site started leaking secret embassy cables.
The site of Swiss bank PostFinance, which has closed the account of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has been taken down and is still unavailable at the time of this writing. Hackers have also attacked PayPal but have only managed to take down the site’s blog, while the service remained operational.
A spokesman for the group behind the attacks on PayPal and PostFinance said they will target any website that’s “bowing down to government pressure.” The same group is allegedly behind the series of attacks collectively called “Operation: Payback,” which targeted anti-piracy organizations such as RIAA and MPAA.
Among other companies that have denied service to WikiLeaks are DNS service provider and Amazon. Most of these sites claim they haven’t shut down WikiLeaks’ account due to political pressure, instead naming technical or procedural reasons for denying the service to the WikiLeaks.
Update: Mastercard, which has also denied service to WikiLeaks, has had its site taken down by hackers, too. - The Best in Social Business

UK Mobile Virtual Network Operators

This is an updated and fairly comprehensive listing of MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) and mobile SPs in UK today.
I have listed most known and Active UK MVNO companies (where possible). If you have updated information about the companies listed below, or are not listed then please send an email to:mvnolist (at) prepaidmvno (dot) com.
Access this sites Category: United Kingdom and see related posts
Abica Mobile
A business mobile and telecommunications MVNO
Networks: Orange, T-Mobile; services: unknown; status: Active
ASDA Mobile
MVNO (post & prepaid) service offered by ASDA Supermarkets
BT Mobile
BT Mobile originally was a full Mobile network, that has been sold off, and rebranded as O2, however BT has kept some aspects of the network up, and is selling USB Dongle’s with SIM cards for Data (Mobile Broadband)
Desi Mobile
Networks: Vodafone; Services: Pre+Postpaid; status: Pre-Launch
Created the first pan-European MVNO focused at the business segment. Launched in November 2004 but encountered trouble securing further financing. Founders now at
Easy Mobile
MVNO, an easyGroup Ltd. and TDC joint-venture. The product was a Post Paid and prepaid service, but was withdrawn from the Market. Today, Easy Mobile resell’s other networks hardware, and SIMs to consumers.
Prepaid Specialised (MVNO) Service
Networks: T-Mobile; services: Pre+Postpaid; status: Non Active
Epian Mobile
Mvno offering a complete white lable service for the ethnic and imigrant/ university students.
Networks: ; services: pre + postpaid; status: Active
Extreme I ExtremeMob
A combination of stylish handsets, value for money tariffs and a 24/7 customer call centre will make ExtremeMob stand out in the mobile sector.” but unfortunately the product was never launched
Networks: Vodafone; services: unknown; status: unknown
Family Mobile
MVNO offers services for families in the UK. Family Mobile is brought by Mobile Partners Group in partnership with IKEA FAMILY.
Networks: ; services: prepaid; status: Active
Fresh Mobile
Pre-paid MVNO venture for Value Telecom which is owned and operated by the Carphone Warehouse Group. Fresh Mobile has now closed, and Carphone Warehouse is focusing on their new MVNO, Talk Mobile corporate operations overview that includes it’s international SP and MVNO ventures.
Networks: T-Mobile; services: prepaid; status: unknown
Gamma Mobile
Gamma Telecom
MVNO for business users
Networks: 3; services: unknown; status: Active
GifGaf has been in pilot mode for a few months now, and will be a prepaid MVNO Service.
The Network is 02 and has certain USPs.
Global Cell
Prepaid MVNO focusing on the Eastern European Market
Status: Active
Gradwell Mobile
A New 3G Mobile MVNO Service that started on the 4th of October, 2010
Gtek Mobile
The UK’s Gteq has launched a MVNO called Intelligent Mobile on the 3 UK network. The service is offered to resellers as a white-label product with both geographic and non-geographic numbers and features such as call recording and fixed-line access.
GT Mobile
GT Mobile was launched in August, 2010 in the UK. The service is aimed for the ethnic market and offers competitive international rates. GT Mobile also operates in The Netherlands, Norway and Swedish markets under the same brand. GT Mobile is using o2 as its underlying MNO.
IDT Mobile 
Prepaid Specialised (MVNO) Service for this large calling card distribution and telecommunications company.
Recent Headlines, that IDT Mobile, has been sold to Econet Wireless
Networks: Orange; services: prepaid; status: Active
Intercity Mobile Communications
Service provider, Merrem Intercity.
Networks: ; services: unknown; status: Active
MVNO launched in 2000.
Networks: O2 ; services: unknown; status: unknown
Lebara Mobile
Lebara Mobile’s vision is to give the consumer a hassle-free, high quality, low-cost international call(s) direct from their mobile. Lebara Mobile Pay-As-You-Go SIM is a non-contract, ethnically targeted International Service for customers wishing to make International prepaid; status: Active
Lyca Mobile
Lycamobile is the UK’s favourite international SIM card. We help over 1million people in the UK stay in touch with their friends, family and business contacts overseas with our low mobile call rates to destinations throughout the world. services: prepaid; status: Active
Mobile World (rebranded to Talk Mobile)
Pre-paid MVNO venture of Carphone Warehouse launched in April 2005. See Carphone Warehouse’s corporate operations overview that includes it’s international SP and MVNO ventures.
Networks: T-Mobile; services: prepaid; status: Active
Now Mobile
Prepaid Specialised (MVNO) Service for this large calling card distribution and telecommunications company.
Networks: Orange UK ; service; prepaid ; Active
Nutshell Mobile
A New 3G Mobile MVNO Service that started on the 8th of March, 2010
With Nomi-mobile you can chat-as-you-go for as long as you like; forgetting about time zones and call costs. You will benefit from domestic and International calls anywhere, anytime and a simple flat prepaid; status: Active
Carphone Warehouse has recently announced that they will be launching an MVNO through Vodafone.
The Product will launch late Autumn, 2010
Tesco Mobile
Tesco Ireland is launching a MVNO with the aim of securing 5 percent of the Irish market over the next four years.
Networks: O2 ; services: unknown; status: Active
Touchan Mobile
Postpaid MVNO for Toucan, telecoms company IDT Europe’s consumer telephony brand – launching later in 2005 MVNO; networks: T-Mobile; services: postpaid; status: Active – Acquired by Pipex
Transcomm Uk (RAM Mobile Data)
Service provider.
Networks: O2 ; services: unknown; status: Active until 1st June 2010
Truphone launched its MVNO offering in 2010, focusing on Apps, and prepaid market
Truphone has signed an exculsive deal with Vodafone
Uni-tel Mobile
Enabled by XMobility using 3 Network
Utility Warehouse Discount Club
Service provider selling aggregated services (mobile, fixed phone, internet, utilities, etc.).
Networks: T-Mobile; Services: Prepaid; status: unknown
Vectone Mobile
Vectone Mobile is perfect for anyone who wants the best value mobile network, and wants to reduce their mobile costs.Whether you call local, national or international, Vectone Mobile offers you some of the best available call prepaid; status: Active
Virgin Mobile
Full MVNO launched in October 2000, a joint-venture between Optus and The Virgin Group. Virgin Mobile Australia owns and manages it’s own switching infrastructure and boasts over 500.000 customers.
MVNO; networks: OrangeT-Mobile; services: unknown; status: Active
Yes Telecom
Dutch ESP initiative, based on the company’s UK success, focusing on business customers.
MVNO; networks: Vodafone; services: unknown; status: Active
Continued United Kingdom Telecommunications Report (in Brief)
Figure 1: Daily media consumption in the UK, based on research carried out for Ofcom in April/May 2010 [Source: Ofcom, Analysys Mason, 2010]
Figure 1: Daily media consumption in the UK, based on research carried out for Ofcom in April/May 2010 [Source: Ofcom, Analysys Mason, 2010]
Smartphones have evolved to incorporate multiple functions, such as high-resolution cameras and GPS – so much so that their original purpose has been relegated to a secondary role, particularly by young people. Ofcom’s research revealed that less than a quarter of the time spent by 16 to 24 year olds on their mobiles is for voice calls, while Internet access, social networking, audio and video consumption account for more than a quarter of their time, andtext messaging for half of it. Whereas smartphone ownership used to be limited to high-end contract users, these devices are now increasingly affordable to the majority, because they are available on monthly contracts as low as GBP10 (EUR12.13) per month or even on a pay-as-you go basis for less than GBP70 (EUR84.92).
Other key factors behind the strong growth of mobile media and applications usage include:
  • Increasing speed of mobile data services. As mobile operators increasingly roll out 3.5G and, in some cases, even 4G infrastructure, the mobile Internet user experience has vastly improved, with speeds approaching those of fixed broadband services, subject to optimum conditions.
  • Flat-rate mobile data services. A few years ago, using mobile data would lead to ‘bill shock’, but most mobile operators now offer flat-rate data bundles, which are adequate for most users, at a relatively low additional fixed cost or sometimes even bundle them within relatively low-end subscriptions. Orange UK, for example, includes mobile Internet browsing within its GBP15 (EUR18.20) per month Dolphin subscription. By making costs more predictable, operators have removed one of the key barriers to consumer usage of mobile data services.
  • Increasing number of application stores. Mobile application stores give consumers easier access to a wider range of applications. As of August 2010, Apple’s App Store had over 200 000 applications, while Google’s Android Market had over 100 000.
  • ‘Digital natives’ coming of age. As ‘digital natives’, or those who grew up surrounded by twenty-first century digital technologies, displace the ‘digital immigrants’ who were brought up in an analogue world, the change in consumption patterns will accelerate, and service providers will need to satisfy emerging needs among consumers.

The Communications Market Report: UK 2010

UK consumers are spending almost half of their waking hours watching TV, using their smartphones and other communications devices, according to Ofcom’s annual Communications Report into the UK’s TV, radiotelecoms and internet industries.
At the same time consumers are media multi-tasking more than ever before. Media multi-tasking where, for example, a phone call is made while surfing the internet now accounts for 35 per cent of all media consumed throughout the day and the younger the person, the more media activity is done at the same time.
Among 16-24s, over half (52 per cent) of their media activity is simultaneous, compared to just over one fifth (22 per cent) for people aged over 55. The growing popularity of smartphones and the changing way they use their mobiles is increasing their overall use of communications, and helping them do much more simultaneously.
But while they are doing more, it is costing them less. For the fifth year in a row spending on communications services has decreased. Real household monthly spend on communication services fell 1.7 per cent over the past year to 91.24, as more people choose to buy their services in discounted bundles.
Half of all UK households now buy a bundle of two or more services from a single provider compared to 29 per cent in 2005. Seventy per cent of people with a bundle said that the main reason for taking a bundle was because it was cheaper. Ttraditional media is far from dead, with TV retaining a central part in their lives, particularly in the evening. And its not just scheduled live television which continues to be popular – the number of people watching catch up TV services also increased by more than a third over the past 12 months.

Download the Report: OFCOM-CMR-2010-FINAL (pdf)

Content Courtesy of - The Best in Social Business