Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Ultimate Glossary - 120 Social Business Terms Explained

On the web today, things change fast. New applications launch every day, and existing applications continue to evolve and add new features. Just this year we witnessed the debut of Google+ and the introduction of Facebook Timeline. Even the Merriam-Webster Dictionary started adding a few to its collection!
Thus, while we're all learning about social media and inbound marketing as well as teaching others about it, having a resource that quickly and clearly explains all of the basic terms and applications is critically important.
I hope that you will pass this blog post along to others in your organization and maybe even print it out to have on hand when others have questions related to social media marketing. And for even more inbound marketing-related terms and definitions, check out The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Glossary.

Social Media Marketing Dictionary: 120 Terms to Know


AddThis - AddThis is a social bookmarking service that provides a code users can put on their websites so that when people visit that site, they have the option to share via Facebook, Twitter, etc. Its analytics service can show you which pages are trending, where people are interacting with your brand, and what they're saying about your content on Twitter.
Algorithm - An algorithm is a set of formulas developed for a computer to perform a certain function. This is important in the social sphere as the algorithms sites like Facebook and Google use are critical for developing content-sharing strategies.
Application Programing Interface (API) - An API is a documented interface that allows one software application to interact with another application. An example of this is the Twitter API.
Avatar - An avatar is an image or username that represents a person online within forums and social networks.


BackType - BackType is a social media analytics company that helps companies measure their social engagement. Previously, the service started as a blog comment search engine.
Bitly - Bitly is a free URL shortening service that provides statistics for the links users share online. Bitly is popularly used to condense long URLs to make them easier to share on social networks such as Twitter.
Blip.TV - Blip.TV is an online video sharing site that provides a free and paid platform for individuals and companies who host an online video show.
Blog - Blog is a word that was created from two words: “web log.” Blogs are usually maintained by an individual or a business with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
Blogger - Blogger is a free blogging platform owned by Google that allows individuals and companies to host and publish a blog typically on a subdomain. Example:
Blog Talk Radio - Blog Talk Radio is a free web application that allows users to host live online radio shows.
BoardReader - BoardReader is a free search engine that allows users to search for keywords only in posts and titles of online forums, a popular forum of social networking.
Boxee - Boxee is a social video application that allows users to watch online videos on their TVs and computers. Users can share and watch videos from a variety of online videos sources for free.
Bookmarking - Bookmarking online follows the same idea of placing a bookmark in a physical publication--you're simply marking something you found important, enjoyed, or where you left off to continue reading later. The only difference online is that it's happening through websites using one of the various bookmarking services available, such as Delicious.


Chat - Chat can refer to any kind of communication over the internet but traditionally refers to one-to-one communication through a text-based chat application commonly referred to as instant messaging applications.
Circles - Circles are clusters of a user's friends on Google+, meaning you can group certain people you choose to connect with on your Google+ into a certain Circle--such as colleagues, college connections, family, etc. When you want to share content with only these individuals, you include that specific Circle in your post's sharing options.
Collecta - Collecta is a real-time search engine that includes results from blogs, microblogs, news feeds, and photo sharing services as they are published.
Collective Intelligence - Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision-making in social networks.
Comment - A comment is a response that is often provided as an answer or reaction to a blog post or message on a social network. Comments are a primary form of two-way communication on the social web.
Compete - Compete is a web-based application that offers users and businesses web analytics and enables people to compare and contrast the statistics for different websites over time.
Connections - The LinkedIn equivalent of a Facebook 'friend' is a 'connection.' Because LinkedIn is a social networking site, the people you are connecting with are not necessarily people you are friends with, but rather you met in brief, heard speak, or know through another connection.
Craigslist - Craigslist is a popular online commerce site in which users sell a variety of goods and services to other users. The service has been credited for causing the reduction of classified advertising in newspapers across the United States.
Creative Commons - Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. It provides free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.


Delicious - Delicious is a free online bookmarking service that lets users save website addresses publicly and privately online so they can be accessed from any device connected to the internet and shared with friends.
Digg - Digg is a social news website that allows members to submit and vote for articles. Articles with the most votes appear on the homepage of the site and subsequently are seen by the largest portion of the site’s membership, as well as other visitors.
Disqus - Disqus is a comment system and moderation tool for your site. This service lets you add next-gen community management and social web integration to any site on any platform.


Ebook - An ebook is an electronic version of a printed book. However, most ebooks are not actually available in print (unless you print them). These are typically published in PDF form.
Eventbrite - Eventbrite is a provider of online event management and ticketing services. Eventbrite is free if your event is free. If you sell tickets to your event, Eventbrite collects a fee per ticket.


Facebook - Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study, and live around them. Facebook is the largest social network in the world with more than 800 million users.
Firefox - Firefox is an open-source web browser. It has emerged as one of the most popular web browsers on the internet and allows users to customize their browser through the use of third-party extensions.
Flash Mob - A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse. The term flash mob is generally applied only to gatherings organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails.
Flickr - Flickr is a social network based around online picture sharing. The service allows users to store photos online and then share them with others through profiles, groups, sets, and other methods.
Forums - Also known as a message board, a forum is an online discussion site. It originated as the modern equivalent of a traditional bulletin board, and a technological evolution of the dialup bulletin board system.
Follow Friday (#ff) - Follow friday is a trend via the hashtag #ff every Friday on Twitter. Users select other usernames and tweet them with #ff in their post, meaning they recommend following those Twitter users. People tweet at their favorite brands, colleagues, celebrities--you name it!
Foursquare - Foursquare is a social network in which friends share their locations and connect with others in close physical proximity to each other. The service uses a system of digital badges to reward players who “check in” to different types of locations.
Friends - No, not your pals you play poker with on the weekends. We're talking Facebook friends. These are individuals you consider to be friendly enough with you to see your Facebook profile and engage with you.


Google Chrome - Google Chrome is a free web browser produced by Google that fully integrates into its online search system as well as other applications.
Google Documents - Google Documents is a group of web-based office applications that includes tools for word processing, presentations, and spreadsheet analysis. All documents are stored and edited online and allow multiple people to collaborate on a document in real-time.
Google+ - Google+ is Google's new social network. It differs in that it promotes social sharing that is more similar to how people share in real life by providing features such as one that limits who you are talking to, creating 1-on-1 conversation.
Google Reader - Google Reader is an RSS reader that allows you to aggregate various blogs and sites and collect updates to new content in one location. You can log on whenever you choose, and the latest content from multiple blogs will be in one stream so you don't have to navigate to each site individually.
Gowalla - Gowalla is a social network in which friends share their locations and connect with others in close psychical proximity to each other.
Groundswell - A social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations. (Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, Groundswell, pg. 9)


Hangout - A Hangout is a video service on Google+ that allows you to video chat with up to 10 Google+ users are a time. You can name these chats, watch YouTube videos during them, open a Google Doc with colleagues, and much more.
Hashtag - A hashtag is a tag used on the social network Twitter as a way to annotate a message. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a “#.” Example: #yourhashtag. Hashtags are commonly used to show that a tweet, a Twitter message, is related to an event or conference, online or offline.
hi5 - hi5 is a social network focused on the youth market. It is a social entertainment destination, with a focus on delivering a fun and entertainment-driven social experience online to users around the world.
HootSuite - HootSuite is a web-based Twitter client. With HootSuite, you can manage multiple Twitter profiles, pre-schedule tweets, and view metrics.
HTML - HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a programing language for web pages. Think of HTML as the brick-and-mortar of pages on the web. It provides content and structure while CSS supplies style. HTML has changed over the years, and it is on the cusp of its next version: HTML5.


Inbound Marketing - Inbound marketing is a style of marketing that essentially focuses permission-based marketing techniques that businesses can use to get found by potential customers, convert those prospects into leads and customers, and analyze the process along the way. Inbound marketing leverages tactics such as SEO, blogging, social media, lead generation, email marketing, lead nurturing, and analytics. It is in direct contrast to outbound marketing, which utilizes traditional interruptive marketing tactics such as direct mail, trade shows, print and TV advertising, and cold calling.
Instagram - Instagram is a photo sharing application that lets users take photos, apply filters to their images, and share the photos instantly on the Instagram network and other social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare. The app is targeted toward mobile social sharing, and in just over one year, it has gained almost 15 million users. Currently, it is only available for iPhone devices.
Instant Messaging - Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time, direct text-based communication between two or more people. More advanced instant messaging software clients also allow enhanced modes of communication, such as live voice or video calling.


Joomla - Joomla is a content management system (CMS) that enables users to build websites and online applications.


Klout - Klout is a measure of social influence. The service allows users to connect various social accounts such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc., and then provides every user with his or her Klout score. The score is out of 100--the higher the score, the more inlfuence you have on the social world.


Lifecasting - Lifecasting is a continual broadcast of events in a person's life through digital media. Typically, lifecasting is transmitted through the internet and can involve wearable technology.
Like - A “Like” is an action that can be made by a Facebook user. Instead of writing a comment for a message or a status update, a Facebook user can click the "Like" button as a quick way to show approval and share the message.
Link Building - Link building is an aspect of search engine optimization in which website owners develop strategies to generate links to their site from other websites with the hopes of improving their search engine ranking. Blogging has emerged as a popular method of link building.
LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. As of June 2010, LinkedIn had more than 70 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
LinkedIn Today - LinkedIn Today is LinkedIn's own version of a social news service. Every industry on LinkedIn (marketing, journalism, technology, etc.) has its own LinkedIn Today. Stories are selected based off which ones are posted and shared the most by users of LinkedIn.
Lurker - A lurker online is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, social network, or other interactive system, but rarely or never participates in the discussion.


Mashup - A content mashup contains multiple types of media drawn from pre-existing sources to create a new work. Digital mashups allow individuals or businesses to create new pieces of content by combining multiple online content sources.
Meme - A meme on the internet is used to describe a thought, idea, joke, or concept to be shared online. It is typically an image with text above and below it, but can also come in video and link form. A popular example is the "I Can Has Cheezburger?" cat meme that turned into an entire site of memes.
MySpace - MySpace is a social networking website owned by News Corporation. MySpace became the most popular social networking site in the United States in June 2006 and was overtaken internationally by its main competitor, Facebook, in April 2008.
MyPunchbowl - is a social network that facilitates party planning and provides members with ideas, invitations, favors, gift registries, photo/video sharing, and more.


News Feed - A news feed is literally a feed full of news. On Facebook, the News Feed is the homepage of users' accounts where they can see all the latest updates from their friends. The news feed on Twitter is called Timeline (not to get confused with Facebook's new look, also called Timeline).


Opera - Opera is an open-source web browser. While not as popular as Firefox, Opera is used as the default browser on some gaming systems and mobile devices.
Orkut - Orkut is a social networking website that is owned and operated by Google. The website is named after its creator, Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten. Although Orkut is less popular in the United States than competitors Facebook and MySpace, it is one of the most visited websites in India and Brazil.


Pandora - Pandora is a social online radio station that allows users to create stations based on their favorite artists and types of music.
Permalink - A permalink is an address or URL of a particular post within a blog or website.
Podcast - A podcast, or non-streamed webcast, is a series of digital media files, either audio or video, that are released episodically and often downloaded through an RSS feed.
Posterous - Posterous is a blogging and content syndication platform that allows users to post content from any computer or mobile device by sending an e-mail.
PostRank - PostRank monitors and collects social engagement related to content around the web. Essentially it helps publishers understand which type of content promotes sharing on the social web.


Qik - Qik is an online video streaming service that lets users stream video live from their mobile phones to the web.
Quantcast - Quantcast provides website traffic and demographics for websites. The tool is primarily used by online advertisers looking to target specific demographics.


Real-Time Search - Real-time search is the method of indexing content being published online into search engine results with virtually no delay.
Reddit - Reddit is similar to Digg. It is a social news site that is built upon a community of users who share and comment on stories.
Retweet - A retweet is when someone on Twitter sees your message and decides to re-share it with his/her followers. A retweet button allows them to quickly resend the message with attribution to the original sharer's name.
RSS Feed - RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a family of  web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blogs and videos in a standardized format. Content publishers can syndicate a feed, which allows users to subscribe to the content and read it when they please, and from a location other than the website (such as reader services like Google Reader).
RSS Reader - An RSS reader allows users to aggregate articles from multiple websites into one place using RSS feeds. The purpose of these aggregators is to allow for a faster and more efficient consumption of information. An example of an RSS Reader is Google Reader.


Scribd - Scribd turns document formats such as PDF, Word, and PowerPoint into a web document for viewing and sharing online.
Search Engine Optimization - Search engine optimization is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a website from search engines via unpaid or organic search traffic.
Second Life - Second Life is an online virtual world developed by Linden Lab that was launched on June 23, 2003. Users are called "residents," and they interact with each other through avatars. Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade virtual property and services with one another, and travel throughout the world.
Seesmic - Seesmic is a popular desktop and mobile social application. Using APIs, Seesmic allows users to share content on social networks such as Twitter and Google Buzz from the same application.
Sentiment - Sentiment is normally referred to as the attitude of user comments related to a brand online. Some social media monitoring tools measure sentiment.
SlideShare - SlideShare is an online social network for sharing presentations and documents. Users can favorite and embed presentations as well as share them on other social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
Skype - Skype is a free program that allows for text, audio, and video chats between users. Additionally, users can purchase plans to receive phone calls through their Skype account.
Social Media - Social media is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques.
Social Media Monitoring - Social media monitoring is a process of monitoring and responding to mentions related to a business that occur in social media.
StumbleUpon - StumbleUpon is a free web-browser extension that acts as an intelligent browsing tool for discovering and sharing web sites.


Tag Cloud - A tag cloud is a visual depiction of user-generated tags, or simply the word content of a site, typically used to describe the content of web sites.
Technorati - Technorati is a popular blog search engine that also provides categories and authority rankings for blogs.
Timeline - Timeline is the new Facebook format for personal profiles. It is essentially a digital scrapbook of a user's life, displaying their profile in an actual timeline format so they can see at exactly what point in time something a story occurred.
Trend - A trend is seen on every social network. Facebook shows what is trending when multiple users are sharing the same link or discussing the same topic. Google+ highlights trending topic when a user conducts a search. Twitter has a section to the bottom right of its home feed which clearly shows what topics and hashtags are trending in tweets. And LinkedIn shows what industries (in LinkedIn Today) that a certain story is popular.
Tumblr - Tumblr lets users share content in the form of a blog. Users can post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, or email.
TweetDeck - TweetDeck is an application that connects users with contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and more.
Tweetup - A tweetup is an organized or impromptu gathering of people that use Twitter.
Twitter - Twitter is a platform that allows users to share 140-character-long messages publicly. User can “follow” each other as a way of subscribing to each others' messages. Additionally, users can use the @username command to direct a message toward another Twitter user.
Twitter Chat - A Twitter Chat is a chat or discussion that is held on Twitter and is open to all users. Questions are prompted from the user hosting the chat, while anyone else can respond using a particular hashtag. The hashtag is the marker for someone participating in the chat. HubSpot has its own chats hosted every other Tuesday via the hashtag #inboundchat.
Twitter Search - Twitter Search is a search engine operated by Twitter to search for Twitter messages and users in real time.
TypePad - TypePad is a free and paid blogging platform similar to Blogger. It allows users to host and publish their own blogs.


Unconference - An unconference is a facilitated, participant-driven conference centered on a theme or purpose. The term "unconference" has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as high fees and sponsored presentations.
USTREAM - USTREAM is a live interactive broadcast platform that enables anyone with an internet connection and a camera to engage and stream video online.
URL - A URL is most popularly known as the "address" of a web page on the web (e.g.


Video Blog - A video blog is a blog the produces regular video content often around the same theme on a daily or weekly basis. An example of a successful video blog is Wine Library TV.
Viddler - Viddler is a popular video sharing site similar to YouTube and Vimeo in which users can upload videos to be hosted online and shared and watched by others.
Vimeo - Vimeo is a popular video sharing service in which users can upload videos to be hosted online and shared and watched by others. Vimeo user videos are often more artistic, and the service does not allow commercial video content.
Viral Marketing - Viral marketing refers to marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives through self-replicating viral processes.


Web Analytics - Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of internet data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage.
Webinar - A webinar is used to conduct live meetings, training, or presentations via the internet.
Widget - A widget is an element of a graphical user interface that displays an information arrangement changeable by the user, such as a window or text box.
Wiki - A wiki is a website that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser, allowing for collaboration between users.
Wikipedia - Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its millions of articles have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world, and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site.
WordPress - WordPress is a content management system and contains blog publishing tools that allow users to host and publish blogs.


Yammer - Yammer is a business communication tool that operates as an internal Twitter-like messaging system for employees within an organization. It is used to provide real-time communication and reduce the need for e-mail.
Yelp - Yelp is a social network and local search website that provides users with a platform to review, rate, and discuss local businesses.
YouTube - YouTube is a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos. Three former PayPal employees created YouTube in February 2005. In November 2006, YouTube, LLC was bought by Google Inc. for $1.65 billion, and is now operated as a subsidiary of Google. YouTube is the largest video sharing site in the world.

Zoho - Zoho is a suite of online web applications geared toward business productivity and collaboration.
Zooomr - Zooomr is a online photo sharing service similar to Flickr.
What terms did I forget? What would you like to see added to this list?

Read more: - The Best in Social Business

Social media spur sales for independent retailers

Personal shopper Autumn Riggle, 33, of Ferndale positions merchandise at Tender in Birmingham on Thursday. The store used Twitter to promote a sale on tights and "We sold out thousands of pairs in a few days," co-owner Cheryl Daskas said. 

Cheryl and Karen Daskas, owners of the upscale Tender boutique in Birmingham, were trying to find a way to draw their social-media friends into the store this year.
So they created an offer. They would sell their private-label Tender tights for $15 a pair -- a bargain at a store that sells $1,500 messenger bags and $300 designer dresses.
"We sold out thousands of pairs in a few days," Cheryl Daskas said. "Blasting it on Twitter really drove it home. It was a lot of fun."
Using social media such as Twitter and Facebook to drive retail sales was a budding trend this year that is expected to grow exponentially in 2012. It is especially meaningful to independent retailers without large advertising budgets.
Other big retail trends on the horizon include continued momentum in shopping locally, increased use of smartphones by retailers and consumers, the growth of online sales and greater use of consumer data by retailers to boost sales.
The area, which will lose at least six Sears and Kmart stores in 2012 on top of the more than two dozen Borders stores that closed this year and some still-vacant Circuit City and other big box stores won't likely see a lot of new retail building, said Joan Primo, principal of Sylvan Lake-based Strategic Edge and retail real estate consultant.
"There is no single growth category. There is no big chain that is opening a lot of stores now that is an obvious candidate to take those locations," she said. "I think it will be treading water. The growth you will see is in the redevelopment area rather than big new developments. I think you are going to see retailers being cautious right now."
Ed Nakfoor, a Birmingham-based retail consultant who works with some independent retailers such as Tender, said he thinks we'll see more infill development in open retail spots.
"I think we will see stores tweaking their footprint to fit certain neighborhoods," he said.
Meanwhile, retailers will try to push growth in new areas. The rise of retailer applications or apps for smartphones also is expected to intensify in 2012, Primo said. Retailers can use the apps to distribute discounts to shoppers, let them know about a sale item and sell products.
"You see people doing a lot of comparison shopping with them," she said. "Somewhat because of smartphone apps, you've got a lot of fluidity between the customer and the store and the retailer's website."
According to ComScore data, 91.4 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in November, up 8% from the preceding three-month period. ComScore is a Reston, Va., digital analytics company.
Downloaded applications were used by 44.9% of subscribers, while browsers were used by 44.4%. Accessing of social networking sites or blogs increased 2.1% to 33% of mobile subscribers, ComScore said.
In a recent survey of holiday shoppers, Deloitte found that 21% of consumers said they planned to buy something for the holiday from their smartphones, said Mark Davidoff, managing partner for Deloitte's Michigan operations.
Add to that data analytics and retailers have new areas of potential growth despite a still sluggish economy that may not recover until well into 2012. Data analytics is a practice of taking a multitude of data such as demographics and where you click on the Web and analyzing it to predict behavior.
That approach could help convert sales at a time when disposable incomes for the average person are lower than a year ago.
Consumers are stuck in neutral and worried about gas prices, the national debt, European economic issues, the upcoming presidential election and job insecurity.
"I think that unless there is some extraordinary change, we will continue to see a guarded perspective on the economy and whole retail spectrum," Davidoff said
. - The Best in Social Business

Friday, 30 December 2011

4 Ways Small Businesses Can Get More Sales Through Their Website

We have featured a lot of "how to" guides and "simple steps" to achieving more of what you want on Social Business Today.  Many of you feedback saying how useful they have been so  here's our latest; a simple 4 step guide to make the most of your website (or 4 rules to consider when you're building one).

Keep Up To Date
If your business is about offering a service or goods, people will want to see recent activity to give them confidence to contact or purchase from you.  Nothing is worse than a blog that hasn't been updated for 3 months, social media channels that are ignored or just not utilised properly.  Don't start to a blog or any social networks if you don't have the time to commit or can offer consistant value to your potential customers or advocates through this activity.

Think About SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is often something that gets second spot (here is no different) but seriously, don't let it be something that gets ignored or left too late to do anything about.  

  • Identify your keywords. Start by building a list of the keywords that you think potential customers will use in searches to find your business. Once you have your list, use a keyword tool like Google AdWords. This will determine the frequency that those keywords are used and help you to identify other related keywords. With this information, you’ll be able to quickly reveal the most important keywords that will drive traffic through search engines and grow your business.
  • Use your keywords in your website. For each page on your website, figure out which keywords you want to target, then use those keywords in both the page content and the meta-data (the title, description and keywords of the page, will be the language used by the search engines to recognise the content of your website).  Then, create links on other pages of your site using the selected keywords in the link title.  Basically doing all you can to make it easier for your potential consumers to find you.
  • External link building. Despite being the most complicated part of your strategy external link building is the most important aspect of SEO. When other websites link to your site, it indicates to search engines that the content on your site has value, which in turn boosts your SEO.  A simple step to take to boost credibility but watch out as it can also be the most difficult, because you have limited control. With that in mind it's advisable to focus on the links that you are familiar with and have control of, such as your Facebook and Google+ pages, Twitter feed, blog, and other business listings sites (Yelp/Yell/TouchLocal etc).  Be sure to link to your website from all of these channels.
Integrate With Social Channels
Again, as detailed in point 1, it is essential to keep content up to date.  If you are not up to date, consumers will assume your service is not and look else where.

Then think about the best social channels for you to commit to.  Think about where your customers are and what they like doing.  This information will arm you with more detail on your potential consumer.  This will be the key to how you connect with them and what will be the hook that will get them to engage.  It sounds obvious but you would be amazed how often business's closeness to the project blinds them. Subsequently they skip this imperative 'getting to know' part of the planning.  An insight into their habits and web usage can provide some smart ideas to get to the right people.  For instance, lets say you sell photography equipment.  An obvious thing for you to do for your community would be to create a photography competition.  Obviously this will meet your primary objective of generating the interest, but what you need to be mindful of is how you sustain that engagement.   To do this you need to go further.  In this example you could do this by having the winner could appear on your website, blog or app for a period of time. This will increase the chances of loyalty, revisiting or importantly, sharing with their friends.

Make E-Commerce Easy
There are lots of rules about site design & user experience.  However in our opinion there are two basic rules; make the experience as 1. simple and 2. easy as possible. 

If you're asking people to fill in 15 fields of information to register for your site, offers, updates etc - think about why you need that data?  Would an email address and name be enough?  In some cases no, but in many, it would - just think about keeping registration  easy for people to complete.  This also applies to the payment path - integrate Paypal or Google checkout, but again only if you think it's right for your audience.

Think of your personal experiences with websites that are complicated. What did you do? Exactly, search for an easier option.

And the final advice. Knowledge is power. Nobody should know your target audience or potential new customer better than you.  Make sure you continue to take the time to learn about the every changing needs/wants of your (potential) consumers, then use those insights to drive your business to success.

Have an amazing 2012 from all the contributors at SocialBusinessToday! 

Article @JasonDigital - The Best in Social Business

The Best Social Media Idea of 2011

A marketing titan from the Web 1.0 era has a framework for bridging to the next
For me, the best social media idea of 2011 wasn’t even invented this year.  But like good wine, it’s come of age.  And the idea is actually bigger than social media.  Applied broadly, it encompasses all of social engagement, whether you’re looking at consumer engagement, employee engagement, or civic action, the area of social that truly lit up in the past year.
I’m talking about Geoffrey Moore’s concept of systems of recordversus systems of engagement. Developed over the course of five years — beginning with his 2005 book Dealing With Darwinand culminating in a 2010 study commissioned by AIIM (the Association for Information and Image Management), the concept lays out two distinct but complementary information systems that businesses need to think about in the current era.  First camesystems of record — enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, product lifecycle management, and all the other enterprise applications responsible for the productivity gains in the latter part of the last century.  Then, with so-called consumerization of IT, came systems of engagement,  a complex of communication and collaboration tools and platforms that will enable the next wave of productivity gains.  Sounds simple, correct?  Perhaps overly simple.  But there are at least three reasons why the concept is taking hold and influencing the way so many people think about social today:
Respect for the past
Too many people in the social business world are dismissive of the tools and platforms that paved the first wave of productivity gains.  The greatest evidence of this is the pejorative term Web 1.0 which is used to describe anything and everything that arrived before the social media revolution.  This is typical of revolutions, of course; they are designed to overthrow the incumbents.  But as anyone who has spent time consulting for the enterprise, the opportunity is not to help managers to replace systems, but rather to help them integrate systems where in fact integration makes sense.  There’s another reason why respect for the past works — as Moore shows, the widespread implementation of systems of record actually led to the conditions that make systems of engagement neccessary. The first wave made outsourcing increasingly attractive, which in turn forced companies to focus on core competencies, which in turn forced them to look for ways to better collaborate with others in their ecosystems.  There’s an historical if not cultural continuity to be mined here.  It’s not as though in 2004 suddenly the world blew up.  A healthy regard for this continuity helps in conversations with people who were around before and after.  And that’s a lot of people.  It hasn’t been that long.
Respect for the people
And who are these people?  Well, increasingly, a lot of the conversations that social business consultants are having today are with the folks in IT.  For some consultants, this has to be an alarming development.  Along with all the Web 1.0 bashing several years ago, there was quite a lot of IT bashing.  Why?  Because IT professionals were not seen not as agents for the change that was required but keepers of the older faith.  Not sure that was ever true, and it certainly isn’t true today.  Many IT leaders today are in fact agents of change.  They are not the only agents of change, but they have mandates, they have budgets, and they have ideas.  In the meantime, having a framework that enables a frank discussion about the systems you have versus the systems you need — and the relative worth of each — is a far better way to engage an important constituency.
Simplicity of Story
I noted that Moore’s concept is also simple — perhaps overly simple.  But that’s one of its virtues.  First, the simplicity of the systems of record versus systems of engagement dichotomy has enabled the concept to spread widely and quickly with little need for study and inspection; once someone grasps the basic concept, she can quickly get to work and address the knottier issues.  Second, the utter simplicity of the concept has allowed for more abstract but meaningful conversations, where “systems” can mean not just IT systems but any set of systems where the incumbents and the new breed need to operate side by side.  Take, for example, the world of civic engagement where the top-down approach of message creation now needs to live compatibly with the bottoms-up, collaboration-driven approach of leaderless movements (the defining organizational idea behind the Tea Party, the Arab Spring, Occupied, and other contemporary movements).  The old way was a system of record, the new way is a system of engagement, and their integration creates value.
But there’s also a simplicity in the story of the messenger who gets credit for the idea.  Moore first became famous in the Web 1.0 era with a simple framework that shows how products penetrate markets in the technology world.  The framework, “Crossing the Chasm,” is something that even young business students today can recite with little error.  That a marketing titan from the Web 1.0 era could have a framework for bridging to the next — well that’s part of the appeal.  When I mention systems of engagement today, and the CXO has already heard of it, more likely than not she will say, with a smile, “oh yeah, that’s Geoffrey Moore, the crossing the chasm guy.”  Crossing the chasm, indeed.  Respect for the past, respect for the man, for great ideas persist. - The Best in Social Business