Archive | 九月, 2011

What Does It Take To Be a Social Strategist?

25 九月

Looking to break into a social media career? Here’s pretty much everything you need to know about the job and the people who do it every day. Nearly 80% of corporations use social media, so there’s plenty of opportunity for aspiring strategists — especially as the other 20% get on board.

Step 1: Get a Twitter account — 100% of social media managers represented in the survey have one, and you have to know the lay of the land if you’re going to innovate and build a brand on said land.

Step 2: Be ready to wear many hats. When it comes to social media, there’s a lot to tackle, including crafting actual posts, analyzing metrics, training and managing a team, spearheading campaigns, working with agencies and managing a budget.

Want to know if you’re cut out for it? In the infographic below, you’ll see the personality traits, education, career paths and responsibilities of today’s successful social media strategists. Statistics were pulled from LinkedIn data, as well as job listings for positions in the field.



Infographic: How People Use QR Codes

4 九月

Ahh the ever lasting QR code debate… I used to have a poll here that tallied up thousands of votes around QR codes, with the overwhelming response that QR codes are completely over rated, because most people still don’t have a reader. It’s still a hot topic here in the office, so it was great to find this infographic on them, created by the guys at Lab42. (hit tip Alicia!)

Almost 60% of people say they are NOT familiar with QR codes at all. Meanwhile, 46% of people who use QR codes, scan them for discounts. And 42% of those people have used them as a Ticket, with 62% of those saying it was a concert ticket. Take a look for yourself below!


Infographic: The rise of QR codes

4 九月

QR Code Stats
Here is a great infographic from showing the growth of QR codes. They seem to be a pretty hot topic right now but, until QR code reader apps are added as standard with every mobile, there is still a huge debate around if they accessible enough?

Here are a few highlights from this infographic:

  • QR code uptake has increased 4589% from early 2010 to early 2011
  • 56% of QR codes appear on product packaging
  • The majority of users expect to receive a coupon or deal from scanning a QR code
  • 11 out of 50 Fortune companies are incorporating QR codes into their marketing strategy
  • 68% of QR codes are scanned via an iPhone

What are your thoughts on the future of QR codes?

7 Creative Ways to Get Customer Testimonials

4 九月

One of the most powerful pages on your website is your testimonials page. Great testimonials tell people that your product or service is not only legit, but awesome enough that other people are seeing great results from it.

The question is, how do you get believable testimonials? Let’s look at some of the sites you can collect reviews upon, as well as how to encourage reviews from your customers and how to gather them from all around the web.

1. Facebook Reviews

If you have a Facebook page and are setup as a local business, your page now comes with a Reviews tab.

facebook reviews tab

Simply slide this tab over into your visible tabs, and encourage your fans on your wall to go over and enter some reviews.

2. LinkedIn Recommendations

LinkedIn can be a great source of reviews, extracted from your recommendations. Of course, you can’t get reviews on your company profile – they are only available for individuals, which is great if you’re a freelancer, doctor, sole-proprietor, and so on.

linkedin company profiles

But what if you own a company with many employees? Why not encourage all of the employees to be active on LinkedIn? This might lead to individual employees receiving recommendations from customers they work with on behalf of your company, and with their permission, you can use these recommendations on your website, either on a testimonials page or a page dedicated to your employees’ bios.

LinkedIn Company Profile

Plus, it wouldn’t hurt for someone who is researching your company on LinkedIn to see that you have an employee with an exemplary record, like the LinkedIn member above.

3. YouTube Video Reviews

What is stronger than a text based review? How about a video of your customer talking about how your products or services have helped them? Encourage your fans to add videos to their own YouTube account and let you know the link – you can add these videos to your channel as Favorites and create a playlist of customer reviews.

You can also keep a Flip camera in your office / store and film reviews on the fly to add to your own YouTube channel. If you have a strong YouTube channel to begin with, people will be happy to be featured on it in exchange for their thoughts.

youtube customer reviews videos

A great example of a customer review video collection is the Experience LG channel above which has customer reviews for their home entertainment, home appliances, mobile phones, and computer products.

4. Local Search Directories

Local search directories such as Google Places, Yahoo Local, Yelp, Merchant Circle, and CitySearch allow members of their networks to write reviews about local businesses. If you have great reviews on these sites, you should share them on your testimonials page as well.

Why would you want to steer your customers to writing reviews on these sites as opposed to writing a testimonial directly for your site? Simple. If you are trying to get Google search traffic to your local business, you would want your business to come up in the search with the most reviews.

Google Places Reviews in Local Search Results

Many local search directories are interconnected as well. Google gets reviews from Google users, as well as pulling in reviews from other local search sites like Yelp. Merchant Circle allows member reviews and also pulls them in from Yahoo Local, CitySearch, and other sites as well.

So what does your business need to do to start getting reviews on these sites? Claim and update your listings on them, for starters, and promote your listing directly on your website so customers know where to go to send their reviews.

5. Niche Review Sites

Depending on your business’ industry, you may also want to focus getting reviews on niche review sites. Hotels, for example, would want great reviews on sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Trip Advisor, as many people get their first impression of a hotel off of these types of travel reservation site over the hotel’s main website.

6. Rewarding Customers Who Review

So, considering all of the above mentioned sites that you can get customers to share their opinions on, what can you do to encourage them to create these reviews?

Chances are, if you’ve been to a restaurant recently, you have seen an offer on your receipt for a chance to win a cash prize if you call in to do a review over the phone. This same strategy can be applied to online reviews as well.

Offer your customers incentives for creating reviews. Local search directories allow you to share coupons and discounts on their sites. Special coding on Facebook can allow you to share special offers for fans only. You can offer a giveaway for people who send in a video review. The possibilities are endless, and the better your offer, the more reviews you’re likely to receive.

7. Google Alerts and Social Mentions

Last, but not least, there are likely a ton of customer reviews that are written about your company on other sites, such as personal blogs, that are unsolicited. Setup daily notifications via email on Google Alerts and Social Mention for a variety of applicable terms in order to keep track of brand mentions, including your name, business name, brand, and specific product names plus the word review.

Social Mention Search

Use these alerts to find out about any reviews and ask the people who have mentioned your brand if you can feature their comment or story on your testimonials page. Usually people are happy to oblige, especially in exchange for a link from your site.

Compiling Your Testimonials Page

So now that you have collected all of these great reviews, you will want to add them to one page on your website that you can direct potential customers to so they can see what great things you have done for others. Be sure to credit the review to the site it came from (such as linking to your Yelp profile), as this may encourage people to continue on to your profile on that site and add more reviews. Also, if necessary, get permission from the person who wrote the review and confirm that it is alright if you add their review to your main site.

The Darkside of Reviews

There is one downside when it comes to opening the doors for reviews on your Facebook page, local search directories, and other sites that you can’t control, and that is the chance that all of the reviews will not be positive.

Whenever you come across a negative review about your business, it is essential that you respond to it. If someone comes across a negative review, but also sees that you have offered to help solve the problem in a public forum, then that potential customer will see that you do care about your customer’s happiness, which may lead to a positive impression after all.



4 Tools for Building a Business Mobile App

4 九月

In a world where there’s always “an app for that,” more small businesses see the value in creating their own mobile apps. The technical know-how necessary to develop an impressive app and the cost of hiring a professional developer, however, have discouraged the production of many would-be branded applications.

Affordable do-it-yourself alternatives give all companies — even those with minimal tech expertise — a way to create their own apps.

Even the code-illiterate can build passable apps using these four new platforms.

1. Bizness Apps

Bizness Apps focuses on industry-specific features. If you’re building an app for a restaurant, for instance, its builder might suggest that you add a menu and a specials feature. If you’re building an app for a gym, it might recommend a weekly workout planner.

It’s a difficult platform on which to customize beyond color choices, but it’s a tool that’s incredibly easy to use.

Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Android, HTML5

Price: $39 per month for the iPhone app plus $10 per month for an iPad, Android or HTML5 app.

2. Mobiflex

MobiFlex, while not the prettiest of the app creators, will integrate with back-end data sources and incorporates functions like the phone’s camera, speech recognition and GPS into its native apps.

There’s a better chance of creating and releasing a useful app with these features, but users also have a steeper learning curve than some of its competitors.

Platforms: Android and iOS

Price: A one-time setup fee of $99 plus a monthly fee of $25 for up to 50 users and two pages.

3. AppMakr

If your main objective for creating an app is to distribute content, AppMakr might be a good choice. Publishers such as The Atlantic and Harvard Business Review have made apps using the platform.

Other than adding content through multiple RSS feeds, uploading a photo gallery and sending push notifications, its code-free apps can’t do much. One appealing aspect for content creators, however, is the option to serve ads through several networks.

iSites, Swebapps and App Co offer similar approaches for content distribution apps.

Platforms: iOS

Price: Free

4. Red Foundry

Red Foundry offers options for the intermediate coder and newbie app builder alike. More advanced users can choose to design their apps with an xml-based coding system instead of using the startup’s template.

RSS feeds are the focus of the free version of the product’s point-and-click app builder, though it’s easy to add other extras like photo galleries, maps, social feed and commerce options like a Paypal donate button.

What’s most obviously distinct about the platform is its test-as-you go app,Viz. After you load the program onto your phone, you can use it to test your app as you build it.

The platform also makes widgets that show analytics, social activity and push notifications from your app that you can add to your desktop.

Platforms: iOS products

Price: Basic apps are free; more advanced options start at $39 per month.


7 Galleries Of Excellent E-Commerce Sites

1 九月

August 31, 2011

Have you ever contemplated the expansion of your small business through the launch of an online store? The first phase of any new venture, big or small, is to generate initial ideas and scope out what’s already out there. Having a good vision of your soon-to-be e-store at hand will help you communicate better with your designer. Knowing what’s possible will also allow you to determine your desired outcomes.

When it comes to website design, one of the best and easiest ways to get ideas and inspiration is to browse through Web design galleries, which are sites that aggregate and present beautiful websites.

Below, you will find seven Web design galleries that feature excellent, high-quality e-commerce website designs. At the end, I’ve also included a brief list of articles and papers about e-commerce design that you should read to equip yourself with some fundamental knowledge, should you choose to pursue the creation of your own online store.

1. ecommr

This website catalogs excellent e-commerce user interface designs. If you would like to see various interface components, such as designs of product pages and add-to-cart buttons, check out this top-notch gallery. There’s an index for website properties such as “banners" and “navigation" so you can quickly find inspiration for specific sections of your site.

2. CartFrenzy

CartFrenzy is a website gallery that only features first-class e-commerce Web designs. To help visitors navigate and browse through the site, designs are conveniently categorized into industries like Fashion/ClothingOffice Supplies and Travel. The site is maintained by top Web design blogger Steven Snell of Vandelay Design Blog.

3. Cart Craze

Cart Craze, a Web design gallery that’s been in existence for less than a year, is steadily building a big and beautiful collection. They regularly update their collection, posting 14 to 23 new designs a month. Look at the site’s top rated e-commerce sites, a gallery view of websites that have garnered the most user votes.

4. eCommerce Gallery

This site, which has been up since 2008 (a millennium in Internet time), presents top-quality e-commerce Web designs to help get your creative juices flowing. The website is managed and owned by James Paden, an e-commerce specialist with more than ten years of Web design and development experience.

5. Shop websites (siteInspire)

SiteInspire, a Web design gallery site, has a special section that features only beautiful and high-quality online stores. The site is operated by Kulor, a small Web design and development consultancy firm located in London.

On the right sidebar, you can select a category (greyscale, organic, etc.), type (corporate site, promotional, etc.), or theme (architecture, education, etc.) to locate e-commerce examples that will be most relevant to you.

6. eCommerce Collection (Pattern Tap)

Pattern Tap, an interface design gallery website, has a collection featuring e-commerce-related designs contributed by the site’s users. Inspirational items in the collection include specific e-commerce interface components, such as site navigation and buttons to full screenshots of excellently designed product pages.

7. E-Commerce CSS Gallery (StyleTheWeb)

This section on CSS Web design gallery site StyleTheWeb has a few wonderful e-commerce web designs. Online e-commerce websites that have made it into this design gallery range from Web hosting services to e-mail marketing Web apps.

Here are five articles and papers related to ecommerce design that could help you design and build an excellent e-commerce site:


7 Tips for Dealing With Upset Facebook Fans

1 九月

What do you do when you’ve just received a less-than-complimentary Facebook wall post from someone who likes your business (or used to, so it seems)?

The customer could have a simple complaint, or be so upset he’s gone on the offensive, making sure you and the rest of your community knows he’s angry.

Your next steps are key to retaining not only the business of the angry customer, but the business of other fans who like your page as well.

#1: Respond no matter what

It’s vitally important that the complaints and issues your fans pose on your wall are addressed. Inactivity on your part will appear as though you’re trying to ignore the issue and sweep it under the rug. Being unresponsive does nothing more than incite more anger and increase the chance the user will come back with even more angry wall posts.

Moreover, your community can see that angry post. If you don’t reply, it appears as though you are unconcerned with customer support, which can be detrimental to your reputation.

A response that illustrates respect and understanding for customers’ concerns will indicate your intention to rectify any problems. By addressing this upset fan, Newegg is demonstrating that they value their fans’ opinions—even the negative ones.


An upset fan who promises to shop Newegg less frequently still receives prompt, respectful customer service.

#2: Be patient and understanding

In dealing with upset fans, you must remember that you are closer to your industry, products and services than they are. What may seem like basic, common knowledge to you is often foreign to the end user.

Take a step back and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. This can go a long way in understanding why he or she is frustrated. It may not be your company’s fault that the customer is upset.

Whether or not the fault lies on your end, a simple apology will go a long way in keeping the customer’s business. Instead of trying to figure out where the blame lies, turn upset fans into loyal customers by making their experience better.

#3: Contact the Customer Privately

Sending a private message or email to the customer opens up more options for you to address his or her complaints. The goal here is to extend some sort of token letting the customer know you’re sorry he or she is dissatisfied with your company, and you’re willing to make it right. Whether that’s offering the number of the manager’s direct phone line or a discount off the next purchase, moving the conversation from public to private allows you to give the customer a personal touch that signals you care.

However, offering things like direct lines and special discounts publicly can lead to other people creating problems just to get that special treatment, so it’s best to keep these practices off the wall.

While Hayneedle’s customer shown below isn’t visibly upset about the damaged order, Hayneedle handles the situation perfectly, and contacts the customer privately to resolve the issue.


Hayneedle moves conversation with a customer from the Facebook wall to private messages to better help the customer.

#4: Consider asking the fan to remove the post

Say you’ve discussed the issue privately, any problems have been straightened out, and the faultfinder is, once again, your happy customer.

While your wall is an integral part of your web presence, the customer may be unaware of how important it really is to your reputation. If he or she is satisfied with the resolution you’ve reached and grateful for the time you’ve spent making things right, there’s nothing wrong with privately asking the person to remove the post. Most of the time, he or she will remove the angry wall post.

#5: Respond back to the original post

As a general rule, you, the Facebook page admin, should not remove negative posts. Not everyone is going to have a glowing review of your product or company. Social media users know this, and if they see nothing but positive comments, they’ll assume your company is deleting the bad comments.

If you don’t feel comfortable asking your customer to remove the post, you do have the option of publicly responding back to that post. Express happiness in the resolution you’ve reached and thankfulness for her business. Even a negative post can be a good thing, as long as the last comment is positive. Your reputation among your community will soar when they see how well you take care of your customers.

Zappos is shown below addressing a negative comment. The helpful attitude effectively nullifies any poor reflection on Zappos or their services.


Zappos responds quickly with understanding and a desire to create a better experience for their upset fan.

#6: Let your community respond

Letting your community respond for you is really the end result of all the earlier steps. It requires copious time, energy and patience with your fans, and a fantastic product. After you’ve engaged with your fans for a period of time by answering questions and offering support, you’ll notice that your fans will be more active on your page, even to the point of assisting each other.

What’s great about getting this community support is that there’s a genuine credibility when fans endorse your business for you. They become your eager virtual support agents, answering questions and solving problems before you have a chance to. But this is a level you can only achieve if you’ve nurtured and supported your community.

The Pampered Chef has built a fantastic online community of users who love the product so much, and who have been given such great support themselves, peers will answer each other’s questions before The Pampered Chef has to respond.

pampered chef

An outpouring of community support is the direct result of The Pampered Chef’s top-notch customer service.

#7: The Last Resort

If the offended party is unreceptive to your customer service attempts, blatantly hostile and only active in your community to start arguments, banning the individual is a last-resort option. And anyone leveling expletives or racial slurs against your staff or fans should be banned. Your staff and your fans don’t deserve to be subjected to the abuse, and in the end, they will respect you more because you took the initiative.