Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Internship Benefits for Employers

We’ve all heard of the cliche about interns grabbing coffee and making photocopies. But an internship program can be so much more than just that. In fact, there are many internship benefits for employers. Here are a few:

Find future employees
An internship program is a great way to “test drive” potential employees. Instead of learning about a job candidate through his or her resume, a reference, or even an interview, you get to see them in action first-hand. As an employer, you get to see how the interns operate. You learn their strengths and weaknesses. You will find out if they can follow directions, work in a team, and do their jobs well. And you will know whether they fit into your company’s culture or not. Many large corporations hire full-time employees from their internship program for these reasons.

Low-cost
Interns don’t cost much in terms of money. You can offer unpaid internships in exchange for college credit (there are six legal criteria that must be satisfied in order for an internship to be unpaid). Even paid interns typically receive a lower wage than full-time employees. And you don’t have to offer medical coverage or retirement benefits to your interns.

Increased productivity
You can reduce your own workload and focus on the most important work by delegating certain tasks and projects to interns. And since interns are low-cost compared to employees, you have the ability to hire multiple interns at the same time. This means higher productivity, the ability to work on more projects, and ultimately, better results.

Interns are teachable
Many interns participate in an internship program for the experience and are eager to learn. Since many interns have little prior experience, they are willing learn your company’s system and way of doing things. Less experience can mean fewer bad habits for interns to “unlearn.”

Fresh perspectives
Interns grew up in a world far different from the one many of today’s employers grew up in. They see and understand the world differently. Even within a group of interns, each has his or her own unique set of experiences.This allows them share perspectives and ideas you may not have considered.

Understanding of technology and web 2.0
Although they might not have much professional experience, interns do have an understanding of technology and web 2.0. Today’s college students grew up using Google, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and MySpace (back when it was more popular). They connect with others through the web on a daily basis. Many also have technical skills in photo or video editing, web design, or programming.

You can create an internship program that will leverage the technological skills your interns already have. For example, an internship focused on social-media can greatly benefit your business.

Conclusion
Regardless of the size of your business or company, having an internship program can be advantageous to your success. It might take a little bit of time to train interns, but ultimately, the benefits far outweigh the cost.

If you would like to learn more, please read AD Publishing’s white paper on how to create a win-win internship program [pdf].

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Social Media Listening – Why Is It Important?

When you are not listening, you are not learning; and learning or monitoring what costumers and competitors are saying about your business, service, or product is extremely important in defending your brand’s image.

Social media offers the ability for customers to have conversations and interact directly in discussing opinions about a brand’s service or product, may it be god or bad. Ideally, you find only positive messages about your brand everywhere! But rarely is that the case.

One negative message can spread like wildfire, especially in the hands of social media users where information spreads like a virus. You truly make your brand vulnerable to these negative messages if you do not serve as a source of defense and engage in online reputation management (ORM). Take the time to manage your brands reputation by listening, here is why:

1. Learn through research – researching the costumer feedback online, may it be good or bad, helps your business directly improve the services and products you provide. Social media provides information and saves you time in trying to get your customers to take surveys and fill out “how are we doing” cards. This is great a tool, so do some research, seek it out, and utilize it!

2. Crisis management – discover a potential communication crisis early on and work to engage in a marketing strategy to eliminate future damage or repair damage that has already been made. This is a great way to be proactive and act as your own online “virus protection.”

3. Protect your brand’s image – Engage in your own PR by defending your brand and presenting a positive image. If you listen to what others are saying, you can work to counter act the negative messages.

You heard it here; the best way to engage in online reputation management is by listening and monitoring what customers and competitors are saying about your brand. Now be proactive, and go listen to what others are saying about your business!

 The latest issue of  Webdify Magazine is finally out! This website magazine is your monthly source for WEB, SOCIAL, and MOBILE news. Get your copy now!

Why Use Social Media For Your Nonprofit Organization?

Is social media strictly for the use of business promotion… No! Non-profit organizations utilize social media for community engagement to obtain support from potential sponsors. They do this by primarily bringing awareness to their cause in order to gain support. There are a number of reasons why non-profits to go about employing social media tools in order to better connect to the community.

Here are 3 reasons why:

1. Reinforce strong relationships – Non-profits use social media to establish and reinforce fundamental relationships with its sponsors. Before the booming use of social media, this was carried out through telephone calls, sending regular newsletters, or sending cards; all to provide updated information and strengthen the relationship among the non-profit and supporter. Social media, since it is much more rapid then outdated means of communication, works great to keep in touch with supporters in a more consistent fashion and at a greater rate; allowing for more outreach, more often.

2. Location Based technologies – Some of the newer emerging technology in social media incorporates attention to the location of a social media user. This is extremely helpful when non-profits coordinate charity events or fundraising events; it brings exponential awareness and support. It’s cheap and easy advertising! Which is a double bonus, since fundraising is the foundation to any non-profit organization’s success.

3. Online videos bring awareness and credibility – A lot of small businesses use online video, through YouTube or Facebook, to get their name out there. Can non-profits use the same method to their advantage?  Definitely! Videos have the capability of spreading like wildfire. Think about it, if you create a video and tag people, then those people see the video along with any of their friends or followers. Plus, people love to be featured! So, get them on camera saying why they love your organization and how people can support your cause, or people sharing their successes with the organization. It’s a great way to bring awareness and establish a desired image to the public.

So there you have it, social media use can be just as be beneficial to non-profits as to businesses.

 The latest issue of  Webdify Magazine is finally out! This website magazine is your monthly source for WEB, SOCIAL, and MOBILE news. Get your copy now!

Optimizing Your Site For Mobile Devices

So you’re bored, sitting on the bus ride home and what do you catch yourself doing? Exploring the web on your mobile phone. But wait, so is everyone else around you.

Smartphones, like the iPhone or Google Android, are growing in popularity; consequently, mobile web usage has become an escalating trend. More and more people conduct research and buy products straight from their phone than ever before. So clearly, the best way to overcome the competition among businesses is to have the fastest, most accessible, and user friendly website for mobile phones.

Consider this, you are doing research on your phone and discover two sites selling the same product at the same price. One site however, is slow and difficult to navigate, and the other is fast, provides easily accessible information, and looks appealing. Which are you more likely to use?

Here are a few tips to help in mobile web development:

1. WebKit – There is no standard format for mobile web development, but more and more smartphone operating systems are following the iPhone’s lead in using WebKit to standardize the display of their webpage. In other words, using WebKit will make your webpage look more consistent on majority of the smartphones.

2. WPTouch – If the website you created runs on WordPress CMS, there’s a great plugin called WPTouch that can quickly optimize your website for the iPhone and Android devices. Did I mention it’s free?

3. Mobify Want to enhance the performance of your site? Who doesn’t! Mobify is a free service that assists in creating a mobile version of your already created website. It works great with WordPress, Drupal and ExpressionEngine.

If you want to get ahead of the business competition, invest some time in creating a fast, visually appealing, and user friendly mobile website.

New Years Social Media Resolutions

2012 is right around the corner and you are probably busy thinking of new years resolutions to make. But have you thought of setting new years resolutions for social media?

Bestselling author Robin Sharma once said, “Vague goals for your future promise vague results in your future.” So let’s set some clear and concrete goals for this new year:

X number of pageviews, followers, or likes. For example, you can set a goal for 1,000 more followers on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever other platform you use in 2012. This number is only a base objective – it should never be the ultimate or primary goal of your social media efforts.

If you have a 1 million followers, but only 0.01% take action (e.g. buy from you), then having 1 million followers isn’t very meaningful. You do need an audience, but the number is not a be-all, end-all.

Don’t fall into the trap of measuring the success of your social media efforts by this number.

Opt-ins, sign-ups and sales. These are much better metrics to set goals for. How many people signed up for your newsletter updates, bought your products and services, or became a new customer because of your social media efforts?

If you don’t know, then start creating custom landing pages and use tools like Google Analytics, which can tell you exactly where visitors to your website come from. If you already know the number of sign-ups that resulted from your social media use, increase that number in this new year. Challenge yourself and go beyond what you think is possible – don’t just settle for a safe number.

Become an expert in one area. Focus on one social media site, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or another site and know it inside out. Read and subscribe to blogs (like ours!), watch videos and pick up a few book relating to that site. If you’d like, you can even sign up for a social media marketing course. We have a free Internet Marketing Training course available. You can also follow other business pages and see what they do well and where they can improve.

Becoming knowledgeable about a certain social media site is fairly cheap in terms of price. But you will have to be intentional and spend a little time on it.  It will certainly be worth it for yourself and your business. And if it takes you less than a year to accomplish this goal, move on and learn more about another site!

Listen more. Social media is about conversations, which means you can’t just keep talking. Listen to what your clients and customers have to say. What are their comments (good or bad) and concerns? Act on them and fix any problems they mention. You can even explicitly ask people, “How can I (we) help you?” Software like Trackur and Social Mention allow you to keep track of what people are saying about you.

Listen first, only then will others listen to what you have to say.

Now that I have shared a few social media goals for the new year, what are some you have set for 2012?

Next Generation Fans Tweet, Check-in, Take Photos and Post to Facebook

Social media and Web 2.0 forever changed the way we consume products and services. Instead of simply buying and consuming, the next generation of fans buy, consume and then share their experiences on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare. The proliferation of smart phones and mobile apps has only increased the speed of this phenomenon, making social media for business a critical area to manage in 2012.

With the tap of a few buttons, people can “check-in” to places and let others know where they are. Some share photos of what they are doing. Others might Tweet or post a Facebook status about their experience.

In 2010 alone, popular check-in service Foursquare had over 380,000,000 check-ins. People even checked-in from locations such as Whole Foods Market – a place that might seem too insignificant or mundane to share.

What does that tell you?

People want to share.

As a business owner, you can take advantage of this…

Be on these popular social networks, especially Facebook.

One study showed that 51% of consumers said they are more likely to buy from a brand they are a fan of or “like” on Facebook. Radio Shack reported that Foursquare users spend 3.5 times more than its average customer. There is serious value to being on these social networks.

But if you must pick one social network to use, pick Facebook. Consumers interact with brands more on Facebook than they do on any other network.

Leverage these social networks for your marketing

You can reward customers for checking in. Foursquare allows merchants to “create a special.” For example, one local gym gives you and a friend a free one-day pass for checking in. And you get $25 off a phone for checking-in three times at the Verizon store.

But what’s the big deal about check-ins? Think of it as a form of social proof – seeing that your friend is at a certain restaurant has much more credibility than seeing an ad from that same restaurant. And every time someone check-in, hundreds of their friends could potentially see it.

Create a marketing campaign based on the fact that the new generation of fans often Tweet, check-in, post statuses and take pictures of the places they are at.

[How To: Start Marketing on Foursquare]

Social media as a listening and sharing tool

People are sharing, which means you should listen.

What are people saying about your business? Is there something people want that your business can provide?

Using social media for customer service is one part of listening. You can respond to complaints and answer questions. JetBlue and Wingstop are two great examples of this. Not only do they provide quick responses but they also show off a human side of their business.

You can also start conversations on social networks. Ask customers for their input. Take a look at this screenshot my friend shared:

When you demonstrate that you value your customers, they feel valued and love you more. And that leads to even more sharing about you. It’s a snowball effect.

What it means for you, the business owner

Social Media has revolutionized communications and the relationships consumers have with businesses. It also allows customers to share their experience with others like never before.

So be where your next-generation customers are: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and wherever else they may be.

 

After Christmas Sales… Don’t Make This Mistake!

So as a business owner, you have spent all this time preparing for the busiest season of holiday shopping using social media to establish the best marketing plan – now what? Most businesses take the time to prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping, but don’t take the time to prepare for the promotions and marketing of their after Christmas sales. Think about it, After Christmas sales are just as important to prepare for; and can put you above your competitors if you have an established plan.

Here are 2 common mistakes:

1. Not Being Known – Everyone wants to know where the best deals are. Make sure you take the time to advertise and share your promotions and sales using social media tools.

2. Timing – Be sure you advertise your after Christmas Sales about a week before Christmas, and continue to advertise a week after. This way people are more aware of the sales you offer prior and allows more time for your audience to share and spread the word of the sales to those they know. A week is a great amount of time too since it won’t take away from your actual Holiday sales campaign.

So, get ahead of the game! Be sure to establish an After Sales Marketing strategy using social media tools.

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