5 Powerful Ways to Connect With Sports Fans on Facebook

Sports FansSports fans are one of the most rabid and passionate groups on the planet. For zero monetary gain, they’ll follow every move of their favourite sports team, know the details of every player, memorize the scores of every game and just generally put their heart and soul into the game.

Marketing to these fans involves understanding and using a different kind of psychology. Fans can be unforgiving of marketers who don’t speak their language. Speak to them in the right way however and you’ll have earned yourself the most loyal followers in the world.

Here are five tips for marketing to sports fans on Facebook.

1. Host a DiscussionDiscussion

Sports fans love to talk. They love sharing notes about their teams, reliving highlights from the last game, bashing on opponents and even just plain chatter. They love sports and they love talking about sports.

Not everyone can make it to an in person sports game. Sports lovers want to feel like they’re part of the game experience, even if they’re not there. Hosting live discussions allows them to talk about the action as its happening even if they couldn’t make it to the game itself.

2. Talk About it All Week

24/7One big mistake marketers make is only marketing to sports fan when there’s a game on. However, sports fans are sports fans 24/7 – They want to talk about it all day, all night, whenever they can.

Before a game, there’s the leadup. They can talk about the players, the matchup, who they think will win, trash talk the opponent, get excited, etc.

After the game, they can discuss what happened and celebrate or commiserate the results.

Don’t just market to them during game time. Market to them all week. Every day.

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4 Fundamental Building Blocks of Successful Social Media Contests

A good social media contest can bring in tons of new visitors, build excitement among your existing user base and create buzz in the industry as a whole. Pulling one off successfully requires a lot of planning. Just one or two mistakes can not only bring down your whole contest, but even put your company in jeopardy.

Enter to Win

Here are four of the most important things to know before starting your social media contest.

#1 – The Legalities

Be careful about the legalitiesWhen you’re doing an online contest, you should almost definitely have a lawyer look over your legal disclaimers and the contest as a whole to make sure you’re fully compliant.

Different states have different laws about what you can and can’t do in a contest. Sweepstakes can never require a purchase. Contests that are based on skill or participation have special rules as well.

Your contest will need to have appropriate disclaimers. These should be written by a lawyer. It’s important to realize that you can actually get sued if you don’t have your legalities down.

#2 – Understand Cheating

Cheating is an often under looked aspect of online contests. If there’s real monetary value to the prizes you’re offering, there’s a very good chance you’ll attract people who won’t play by the rules. Understanding Cheating

Forms of cheating include using proxy servers to vote on their own submission, hiring out voting or other processes overseas or even downright hacking.

Start by studying how contest players game various different kinds of systems. Then implement basic protections, such as one vote per IP, cookies to track users, etc.

Finally, check your logs regularly to see if there’s any suspicious activity. For example, if you suddenly see 2,000 users an hour coming from Vietnam voting on one user, you might start to get a little suspicious.

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5 Killer Strategies for Using Social Media to Recruit Brand Ambassadors

Use Social Media to Recruit Brand AmbassadorsA brand ambassador is someone who’ll actively seek out others to help spread your brand. They’ll tell their friends, their co-workers and even their social media networks about you. Through a single brand ambassador, you could be exposed to as many as 500 people through tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Brand ambassadors can’t be “hired.” They can only be earned. Great companies turn many of their customers into brand ambassadors.

When someone has a great experience at a company, they tell their friends. People want to share stories about great service. People also want their friends to experience great service. If you really create a satisfied customer, you’ll naturally create brand ambassadors who help spread your brand.

On the flip side are people who actively seek to hurt your brand. It rarely happens, because in general people want to help rather than hurt. In order for someone to want to actively hurt your brand, you’ll need to have really mistreated them or underperformed their expectations.

According to IBM, customers will usually give you as many as ten warning signs before turning against you.

So how do you cultivate brand ambassadors rather than brand haters? How do you create a fanatic fanbase of users that try to evangelize your product wherever they go? Make sure you follow these five guiding principles.

1. Consistency

In a survey of restaurant customers, people were asked questions about why they regularly ate at a certain venue. Was it the service? Was it the food? Was it the price? Was it the location? Be consistent

When the results came in, researchers were surprised to find that the #1 thing customers looked for was consistency.

They wanted to know that they could go to a certain restaurant and have a certain experience. They knew what kind of service they’d get, what they’d have to pay and what kind of food they can expect.

Consistency is very important to customers. If you want to cultivate a long-term customer, it’s tantamount that they know what they can expect from you. Be consistent.

2. Be Product Centered

Be Product CenteredWhat is it that separates your brand from other people?

In the short run, marketing, branding, outreach and other such techniques can mask poor products. However, in the long run, the success or failure of a company really comes down to whether one product is better than the other.

Take the example of Google. Before Google, there was Yahoo, AltaVista and a number of other search engines. After Google, there were dozens of search engines to start as well.

Google had no marketing budget. They only had word of mouth. For a long time, they lagged behind their competitors. But slowly and surely, they gained market share, for one simple reason: Their product was better.

In the short run, it might seem like being product centered doesn’t pay. However, in the long run, creating a top notch product is what will put your company on the map.

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9 Tips & Tricks for Better Google+ Brand Pages

9 Tips & Tricks for Better Google+ Brand Pages

This article is a follow-up to our earlier post How to Use Google+ to Promote Your Product or Service.

In social media, Google+ brand pages are the way of the future. Using Google+ brand pages, you can create an informative, interactive profile for your fans on Google+ to connect with you. Few companies today are taking full advantage of what Google+ brand pages have to offer.

The easiest way to access your brand page is to go to your own Google+ page. Just click the drop down menu under your username to switch to your brand page’s view. Here you can edit the page, add people to circles and post status messages.

Here are top 9 tips & tricks for using Google+ brand pages to their full potential.

#1 – Creating an Easy to Reach URL

By default, Google+ gives you a custom URL that’s fairly difficult to read or remember. For example, your URL might be something like “plus.google.com/8723570370197390157.”

To make this easier for people, create a redirect on your own website to your Google+ brand page. For example, people should be able to reach this page by going to www.yourwebsite.com/googleplus/

You can also use Google+’s URL shortener to create a better URL on Google’s domain.

#2 – Add Buttons to Your Site

Want to make it easy for people to find your Google+ page on your site? Want to put live feeds of your status updates on your sites? Want to make it so people can re-post whatever you said with one click of a button?

It’s easy. Just add the respective Google+ buttons or widgets to your site. Access these under the “Get Started” menu in your brand page.

#3 – Don’t Share Your Visitor Count for the First Few Months

If you see that a page only has a handful of visitors, chances are you’re not going to want to visit that page. In other types of social media, like Facebook or Twitter for example, there’s not a whole lot that you can do about this.

However, with Google+, you can choose to hide your follower count. While this isn’t a good long term strategy, it can be very useful in the short term.

#4 – Give Great Resources

Google+ gives you the ability to add as many links as you want to your profile. The links can point back to content on your own website or to other people’s sites.

Make liberal use of this feature to point your users to the best possible resources for their problems.

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7 Effective Tips to Turn Your LinkedIn Profile into a Social Media Battle Winner

There’s one thing that separates LinkedIn from all the other social media networks out there: Everyone who comes to LinkedIn is there for a professional purpose. Your future employers, your future investors and your future business partners all likely have a profile on LinkedIn.

If you want to network professionally online, there is no better place than LinkedIn. Spending time to perfect your LinkedIn profile is therefore a high ROI activity.

Here are seven quick tips to help boost your LinkedIn profile.

Tip #1 – An Attention Catching Headline

An Attention Catching Headline

Your headline should be written so that anyone who sees your profile in the search results would want to click on your profile and learn more about you.

It should say something either unusual or incredible about you. It should stand out from all the other results. It should speak directly to your target audience.

Tip #2 – Have Someone Proofread Your Profile

Have Someone Proofread Your ProfileYour LinkedIn profile is your chance to make a professional impression. Having misspellings, grammar mistakes of factual inaccuracies on your LinkedIn profile is like going to a professional networking event with a mustard stain on your shirt.

Don’t blow the all-important first impression. Even one little mistake you miss could cost you a future job or client. Hire someone to proofread your profile before going live.

Tip #3 – Make Liberal Use of Recommendations

Recommendations are one of the most powerful things you could have on your profile. It’s the Make Liberal Use of Recommendationsone thing that people trust the most on a LinkedIn profile, because it involves other people recommending you.

Getting a few good recommendations can change your entire profile. Contact a few former employers, employees and co-workers to ask them to leave you a recommendation. Most of the tie they’ll be happy to do it.

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7 Creative & Effective Ways to Engage your Facebook Fans

How engaging is your Facebook page? When people land on your page, do they feel inspired to engage with you, or do they simply “like” your page and never return? Engaging your Facebook Fans

Getting someone to “like” your page is simply the first step in a long two-way relationship. It’s not the end goal. Once someone has identified themselves as a fan of your organization, that’s when the real work begins.

Here’s how to engage your Facebook fans.

Aim to be Interactive
Reader Interaction

The idea is to pull your users into engaging with you. The dialogue should be a two way street. Engaging users isn’t just about putting out great content, it’s also about pulling the user into interacting with you in meaningful ways.

A lot of brands make the mistake of just sending content at their user in a one-way street. Instead, aim to be interactive. Get your user base involved.

Ask QuestionsAsk Questions

One easy way to get your user base involved is to ask questions. Multiple choice questions as well as open ended questions both end well.

The questions can be related to your market or current events, they could be personal or they could just be random and off the cuff. Experiment with different kinds of questions to see what your user base responds best to.

Create Polls and Quizzes

Create PollsThere are many, many tools you can use online to create interesting polls and quizzes.

Polls and quizzes are a fast and easy way for people to interact with you and with one another. The quiz should ideally be very short, only about 10 to 15 questions long. It should feel like a fun and entertaining thing to do, rather than a survey. Read more

How to Use Google+ to Promote Your Product or Service

Google+ is the newest social network in town and the fastest growing social network in history. As more and more people come onto Google+, it’ll become more and more important for businesses to be well versed in Google+ marketing strategies. G+ for your business

By learning about Google+ today, you’ll put yourself ahead of the curve. Not only will you be seen as progressive, but you’ll be able to establish your brand long before others have even realized the importance of Google+.

Here’s how to use Google+ to promote your product or service.

Create Meaningful Circle Segments
Perhaps the most valuable thing Google+ offers that Facebook doesn’t is the ability to sort your market by different segments. Using Google+’s circles, you’ll be able to choose exactly who gets to see what messages.

Create Meaningful Circle SegmentsSo how should you segment your customers?

Ideally, you should create a different circle and therefore a different segment for each different kind of “mindset” of customer that you have.

For example, you might have one circle for people who’ve bought your product, one circle for people who haven’t bought yet, one circle for people who’re affiliates of your product and one circle for people who’ve entered into a contest but didn’t win.

Each of these people might respond to different messages. For example, offering customer-only discounts to your past buyers could be a stellar strategy to get repeat buys. On the other hand, with people who haven’t bought yet, you might want to provide primarily trust building content.

Take Advantage of Google+’s Posting Features

Google+’s Posting Features

One thing that’s inherently different about Google+ than Facebook is the length and style of your posts.

On Facebook, you can only post 420 characters in a status update. That really puts a limit on what you can post. Essentially, you can only post short thoughts, short content and links.

On Google+ however, the limit is well over 2,000 characters. (There’s no set limit yet.) In addition, you can link to several videos, links and pictures within your post.

That means that unlike Facebook, on Google+ you can post entire pieces of content for your network to see. You can use Google+ as a direct way to publish useful information to your circles without having to refer people to an outside link.

Use this feature liberally. If you want to build a brand as an expert, Google+ offers a much more suited style than Facebook does.

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What to Include In Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

A well planned and executed social media marketing (SMM) strategy takes you where your users and buyers are. It lets you share the voice of your organization, get real time feedback for your products, create an instant buzz for your new product offerings, build customer loyalty, and reach an informed target audience. The great thing about a well carried out SMM strategy is that it requires very little financial investment from your side.

I)     What to Include In Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

An effective SMM strategy will leverage all quality online social hubs where users and customers meet and converse. A good SMM portfolio includes a presence on diverse and multimedia social sites. Let’s take a look at the key elements of a good SMM strategy.

  • Social Networking Sites

Social Networking SitesThere are various social networking sites where you can create profiles to connect with your target audience directly. Create a Facebook fan page. Create tweets and retweets on Twitter. Create your organization’s profile on Linkedin. According to statistics released by Facebook, the social networking website has around 500 million active users, of which around 50% log in every day for commenting or browsing. A Facebook fan page thus makes a lot of sense to reach an active online audience. On the other hand, Twitter has real time updates and news-worthy tweets that even search engines show in their search results. The tweets about your products are quickly read and responded to by other users. A Twitter account to respond to and create a buzz about your product is therefore essential. Linkedin is accessed by a variety of professionals and businesses looking to connect and research for work and business. Hence, a Linkedin account for your organization is great for networking within the industry or with vendors.

  • Blogs, Microblogging

engadget_logoBlogs give you a wide platform to talk about key issues. Blogs are also a great way of bringing traffic to your main website. For an effective blog, you need to post fresh and relevant content frequently, monitor and respond to comments, create internal links, and build a community of loyal readers. Microblogging through sites like Twitter also lets you send short, crisp updates.
Some famous company blogs are www.engadget.com, googleblog.blogspot.com, blog.facebook.com & en.community.dell.com/dell-blogs/default.aspx. If you want blogs related to SEO, you can check out searchengineland.com, www.seomoz.org/blog or www.searchenginejournal.com.

  • Online Videos

Online VideosWebsites like Youtube have created a whole new arena for multimedia interaction. Sharing and viewing videos is now, not just an activity enjoyed by individuals for their own pleasure, but also a great way for an organization to share information about its products. Organizations have found sharing interesting and related videos on Youtube to be a great way of ensuring continual, sustained interest of the target audience. You can upload interviews of your top management, share presentations, or even share videos of social or business events in your organization. When Intel uploaded fun and digitally enhanced videos of its Consumer Electronics Show exhibit, it not only created a buzz but also ensured users got to know about its new Core Duo processor.

  • Photosharing, Slide Sharing

Photo Sharing Sites Like FlickrSharing relevant and interesting images with your user base also helps in creating pleasant, long-term associations. The images can be about widely anticipated events like a product launch, celebrity associations, or the organization’s internal events. Websites like Flickr have an active user base and can be leveraged for this purpose.

Slide sharing, on the other hand, directly appeals to the user’s needs by sharing information that they need and would use in their business. If your organization has conducted any good-to-know research, you can share the findings online. You can also share your presentations, slides, and reports through websites like Slideshare and Scribd.

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7 Awesomely Amazing Examples of Success through YouTube!

YouTube has become almost synonymous with online broadcasting. With millions of visitors per day, have you ever considered YouTube as a potential pool tool to build your brand and create customers?

Though a highly competitive medium, YouTube helps you reach your niche – whether you’re an aspiring film maker, makeup artist, politician or a comedian. Lately, we have seen many new ideas coming up in this medium and there is no limit to how creative or even eccentric you can get in grabbing attention.

Why It Works

When you see an interesting video on YouTube, you tend to post the link on Twitter, Facebook, or share it by emailing it to friends. They pass it on to their friends and the effect just multiplies and your message spreads rapidly, resulting in massive exposure. This approach, also known as viral marketing, doesn’t even have to be expensive. The reason we connect with these campaigns is because we understand the product better and the brand has a face. We identify the brand, making the whole experience personal.

Here, I have listed out some of the most innovative viral marketing hits on YouTube that you can learn from!

1. Will It Blend: The first campaign cost Blendtec, a company that produces blenders and mixers, less than $50. The team filmed a video featuring Blendtec’s co-founder Tom Dickson who said, “Will it blend? That is the question.” He made a smoothie of salsa, tortilla chips, Buffalo wings and Budweiser in the blender. Five days later, Blendtec’s marketing director excitedly told him that they hit 6 million views on YouTube. This was later followed by videos of blending golf balls, a crowbar, a video camera and iPod. My favorite is their latest, the iPad. Their online videos are still a rage and Blendtec’s online sales have grown by 500%.

2. America’s Got Talent: This is the latest one on the block. Their auditions are being done entirely on YouTube. You can record your performance even at home and upload it right away, giving an opportunity to many more. You can sit back at home while the judges and voters (viewers) decide whether you have it in you to take you to the next round. NBC and the producers of the show have partnered with YouTube to process the auditions online. Are we seeing the latest trend for reality shows here?

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5 Compelling Reasons To Make Your Site Mobile Friendly

Maybe it is a matter of convenience, or in this age of zero patience, it could be a matter of instant gratification even, but the number of people turning to mobile devices to access the web has been steadily increasing. Cell phone The increasing popularity of smartphones only underscores this emerging trend. Last year saw iPhone sales doubling while the worldwide sales of smartphones shot up by 24%, and by the end of 2011, they are expected to outsell PCs. So, you get the picture, we are smack in the middle of the smartphone boom, (in hindsight, this should have been foreseen the minute we learnt Google was venturing into the phone business). We will more than likely, see a paradigm shift of a kind in the way people access the web. As web-forecasters predicted earlier this year, mobile internet is inevitably taking center stage, and now is the time for you to remold your Internet marketing strategies to fit the mobile space.

If you don’t want to take my word for it, here are five compelling reasons to optimize and calibrate your site for mobile devices.

1.    Mobile Search is for Mobile Sites – That’s right, when one searches from a mobile device, the query accesses a separate index maintained for mobile content. And mobile search being still in its infancy, the indices are relatively smaller, and what that means is, way lesser sites to compete with. So, optimizing your site and building a mobile presence will certainly help you rank high now, and in the future too when the indices get bigger and the competition grows fiercer. You’ll still have a better chance of ranking high, thanks to the authority you would’ve built over the years.

Mobile Advertising

2.    Think of your Customers – Non-mobile sites or ‘full’ sites, to put it bluntly, are a pain to access from mobile devices, and greatly hamper usability. Full sites are often rich, usually include flash and video content, and do not render correctly on a mobile platform. By not making available a mobile version of your site, you are deliberately providing poor user experience to customers who may access your site through mobiles, and thereby risking customer dissatisfaction. And dissatisfied customers mean only one thing – lost sales leads.

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