Sun, 05 Jan 2014 23:49:42 +0000 en hourly 1 Harnessing the Social Media Revolution Thu, 01 Mar 2012 02:48:53 +0000 Anthony Chiaravallo Social media has overturned everything we know about marketing and has ushered in a new media paradigm seemingly overnight. Many businesses have been born or even died because of Facebook, and it is now more important than ever to harness the power of social media to have an effective, relevant and successful overall marketing strategy – both personally and professionally.

With the current generation raised on Facebook as an integral part of life, it is crucial that we as individuals and businesses learn to utilize this new medium to its fullest potential. To do this, we must remember that social media is very different than traditional media in that it is a two-way street. Traditional marketing, like a TV commercial for instance, talks at your potential customers while social media engages them in a real-time discussion. And if your social marketing strategy is not executed properly, it can be very detrimental to your businesses. Social media has now made it essential for businesses to practice a greater degree of integrity and transparency because of the increased level of accountability brought about by sites like Facebook.

Social media for business will not drive leads like an effective website, but it will turn satisfied customers into loyal brand advocates who will in turn promote your business on your behalf. Word of mouth and referrals are still one of the most powerful marketing tools, and social media has amplified this effect exponentially. At the same time, it has also amplified any negative experiences your clients may have and post online to share with their social circle. This is why it is more important than ever to maintain a strong relationship with your customers by understanding their needs, communicating with them often, and providing solutions that offer real value. This is the foundation to success in business and life.

Social entrepreneur and Forbes contributor, Naveen Jain, has said that success is not measured by how much money we have in the bank, but rather how many people’s lives we have impacted through it. If we focus on relationship building and providing our partners with win-win solutions to problems, then sustainable success and financial security will follow. Social media allows us to develop these business relationships beyond what is possible offline and tremendously magnify their influence. Social media knows no boundaries – geographical or otherwise – and affords us the opportunity to communicate with our customers like never before. To stay relevant, your business social media pages should be updated often and share important facts, ideas and expert insights from your industry that offer unique value to your target audience.

On an individual level, we must also learn to use social media to promote our own personal brand. By engaging others through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, we can begin to create a following, and more importantly, a community/network online. To do this, commit to posting on social media several times a day in which you engage others or ask their opinions on something. We all are experts in something, so also look into starting a blog or contributing to one devoted to your industry or passions.

Reach out to thought leaders in your space and research/report on various best practices of your industry. Use your new connections to network and attend conferences that interest you and are relevant to your business. Send emails to famous people and business leaders who inspire you and be sure to follow/like their pages too. Begin building your life around an industry or movement that you’re passionate about.

Our ability to use this new form of media to become social entrepreneurs is also crucial to address the myriad of problems facing our world today. We must learn to listen to our own passions and make use of the new media to create a sphere of influence and enact meaningful change in the world. Social media is creating a new globally connected subjective reality, and for the first time in history, a space for us to collectively envision a new way forward. Harness the power of social media today to use your gifts to their fullest potential!

Originally posted 2012-01-16 21:01:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Anthony Chiaravallo is an Internet Marketing Consultant for Single Throw and specializes in website design/optimization, social media marketing and growing his clients businesses online. He has been a Marketing Consultant for Fortune 500 companies, contributes for several business blogs, and is also a motivational speaker on topics such as social entrepreneurship, new media marketing and business/sales strategy. His work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Washington Post. Follow Anthony on Twitter or email him at
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Ducks in a Row: How Marketing Wins Sales Thu, 01 Mar 2012 02:48:52 +0000 admin Marketing can only be effective if you have the skills to close the sale. These resources and articles can help you become better educated so you close more sales without high pressure techniques.  

Buyer Persona Profiles

Buyer Personality Types (And How to Handle Each of Them)

Value-Based Selling (B2B Sales)

Sales Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Writing Winning Proposals

Aligning Sales and Marketing

Industry Benchmarking/Best Practices Resources

Resources and Thought Leaders

Must-Have Sales Books


Originally posted 2012-02-13 02:01:25. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Local Search: When Your Business Needs Targeted Visitors Thu, 01 Mar 2012 02:48:52 +0000 admin Local search, such as Google Places, helps people find you easier if you own a geo-targeted business like a computer repair shop, restaurant, gift store, car repair, etc. 

Local Search Infographics and Stats

Local Search Basics

Local Search Directories

Social Media and Local Search

Who to Follow/Blogs and more on Local Search

Articles on Local Search
The article below is actually a list of a bunch of articles.  All of them are great!

Free Ebooks on Local Search


Originally posted 2012-01-19 03:47:09. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Timeline for Brand Pages: How the New Timeline Will Impact Your Facebook Branding Thu, 01 Mar 2012 02:48:51 +0000 admin Overview

Facebook is growing up…and fast.  If you haven’t figured out by now to survive on social media you need to be clear about two things:  your audience and your strategy. This becomes even more important with the Facebook announcement and of its preview of Timeline for branding pages which is scheduled to officially launch at the end of March.

While this new format mirrors that of the profile Timeline, there are some major changes that will impact branding.  These new changes may be worrisome to some businesses, but they offer significant advantages to organizations who want to brand themselves using the new (and in my opinion better) Timeline format.

The biggest change with the Timeline for pages is that admins now have more control over what content is showcased (by using Pin This Post Option under Pencil Icon on each post), making you more in charge of what you really want visitors and fans to see.  The new Timeline is now an opportunity for businesses to use Facebook as a true portal for communication with their audience and to showcase what makes them so special.

While Facebook is designed to engage in discussions, sharing, etc. it’s important to realize that Facebook is a marketing tool, not a destination.  What this means is that while there are more options available for branding and marketing, it also means that companies need to be strategic about how they will use the Timeline for building a following and creating dialogue rather than making Facebook a replacement to a standard website (and web presence.)

 Take a Quick Tour

If you want to get a quick overview of the Timeline (and understand the basics about “how to” use the new Timeline and set it up), start here.   If you’ve been using the Timeline in your Facebook profile, much of it is review so you can skip the tour. 

The High Points

If you want to know how the new Timeline will impact businesses at a glance, here are the highlights:


  • A much bigger and prominent area to advertise deals for fans versus the current set up of pushing all the deal tabs to the bottom left of the page.  While fan deal tabs already becomes the most or 2nd most popular area of a fan page, this shift should produce even higher click through rates (and logically more printing and redeeming of deals).
  • There’s a much larger area for app functionality and awesome graphics.  This will help showcase products or services and provides more space within the app to create appealing calls to action for fans to actually print off and use a deal.
  • The cover photo provides the opportunity to create an even more positive image in the fan’s mind before we ask them to do anything.
  • Opportunity for more traffic.  By having deals tabs and the new Facebook OFFERS functionality, for example, there is a better opportunity to increase traffic and getting more LIKES than the old format.
  • Better Info page.  The layout of the new info page allows for a lot more useful information for admins to include.  No longer are we as constrained by the “More Info…” cutoff and the layout is much easier to read.
  • More prominent Friend interaction.  Interactions of a fan’s friends are now highlighted at the top of the page; immediate social proof of a page’s popularity.
  • More powerful Admin Panel.  The admin panel is far easier to interact with and see critical insights on a page immediately.  In addition, it supports tracking messages to the page and encourages new levels of interaction.
  • Integration beyond Facebook.  With the ability to add information into the Timeline, businesses can now include major events and milestones without having to use a clunky post.


  • Default landing tabs (including reveals or “LIKEgates”) are now gone.  Instead there are more prominent, button-like apps below the image which makes the page feel more like a website.  (This is clearly a “plus”!)
  • No calls to action or contact information allowed in the cover image.  While this might generate some push-back, it ultimately may lead to better use of apps and more focus on engagement rather than peddling sales with “buy now” options.
  • The photo strip is now gone entirely.  Replacing it is a cleaner and more simplistic “navigation” structure below the cover image.
  • Fewer visible tabs.  The number icons that replace tabs are limited based upon the information in the “About” section, the highest seems to be only 4 (1 of which you cannot reorder).  The rest are hidden under a down arrow to the right.
  • Wall Threads gone.  No longer can your visitor simply scan down a single column to view the latest post.


The New Rules of Cover Designs

With the new roll out of the Timeline, the option for a larger profile image is now removed.  It is now replaced with a much larger, more prominent (and better) masthead.

While this new design clearly allows companies to showcase compelling images, there are some strict guidelines about what can and can’t be included in images.  The highlights:

  1. No promotional content.  This means that discounts (e.g. take 20% off) or coupons can’t be included in your cover image.1)
  2. No calls to action.  No longer can you ask someone to “like” your page (or share, comment, etc.) in your cover image.  You also can’t suggest to “buy now” or “subscribe” or other types of calls to action.
  3. No contact information or alternate methods to interface with you.  You can’t include any information about your phone number, email or street address, website, etc. This information is now to be exclusively limited to the “about” area within your Facebook page details. 3)
  4. No flexibility in your cover image size.  Cover image formats are limited to jpg/jpeg or png and should have the ideal dimensions of 851 x 315.  Images which do not match these dimensions will be scaled to fit within these specifications.


The Cover Photo:  What You Need to Know

Consider Usability:  The Cover Image is not Clickable

With the rules and restrictions (see above) imposed by Facebook, there are many limitations on the cover design.  However, from a purely usability standard, avoid using images that look like clickable buttons because this will confuse and frustrate your fans.  Keep in mind that there is no replacement for simplicity and elegance.

Treat the Cover Photo Like a Billboard

Cover photos should be creative, engaging and interesting.  Make the design memorable and intriguing– something that will get people to talk about it.  You can also change it to keep it fresh and show you are updating periodically.

Profile Image Overlays On the Cover Photo

Just as with Facebook profiles, the profile image will overlap the cover image.  Make sure that you allow the space for your profile image in your design, as well as build it in to your design to make it look seamless. **Remember, this image will also be the image associated with all your posts as the old thumbnail was before.

Using the Timeline to Tell Your Story

If you want to see an excellent example about how you can use a Timeline to showcase your company story, this video shows how Apple enthusiasts created a Timeline about the life of Steve Jobs.  Notice how pictures paint an overall history.

Now, translate this concept to your company.  What’s your story?  What do you want people to know about you to build your credibility, history and establish trust?

Can you see the potential here?

  • Tell your company history
  • Show how your non-profit started, what activities you’ve worked on over the years, showcase events and fundraisers, etc.
  • Highlight the “high points” that would most interest your audience when they are trying to understand who you are, what you do and where you are going!
  • Highlight with videos or photos testimonials about your product or service.

Pinning Posts

One of the great features about the Facebook Timeline is the ability to pin posts.  You can only pin one post at a time.  This pinned post will stay at the top of the Timeline for approximately 7 days.  Pinned posts are a great way to highlight something important, such as an upcoming policy change, a hot topic, etc. or showcase a video, upcoming event, an ebook (or other promotional link where you want people to sign up, etc.)  or a special promotion so it will sit at the top of your wall and be seen.  You can’t get better than that kind of real estate for advertising and promotion!



Using the star icon next to a post will allow you to expand a post to create a milestone in your Timeline.  Milestone posts will display at 843 by 403 pixels wide, so again this is real estate in your page that naturally lends itself to promotional items you want to highlight in your Timeline such as a large banner.  (Remember that like the cover image, these milestone posts do not have “clickable” images.  You’ll still need to include a link to a landing or sales page, etc.)

Milestones are a great way to highlight a major moment in your Timeline such as introducing a new product, being quoted in a major publication, etc.

As with other posts, as you add more content into your Timeline, expect that these milestones will not be “timeless.”  You’ll still need to update with new milestones, which is one way that Facebook can ensure that the user experience always includes fresh content, discussions and engagement!

Optimizing Your About Section

With the old Facebook layout, pages displayed limited information about the page itself.  Now the new Timeline allows you to include a 1-2 sentence description.  To take full advantage of this space, be sure to include a hyperlink to your website.

Views and Apps

In the old layout, tabs (or navigation options within pages to special apps such as stores or discussions) appeared below the profile image on the left side.  The new Timeline layout has positioned these tabs to display horizontally across the top, just below the cover image.

What’s improved is that you can now upload your own custom image to your app which calls attention to a specific part of your Facebook page, such as highlighting a Facebook store, discussion group, etc. The default view will display up to 4 apps, the first will always be used for photos.  You can add up to 12 apps (which can be arranged in any order you want), however only the first three will be displayed below the cover image, so you should make sure that these are your most important ones.

This improved appearance greatly helps visitors to navigate in your Facebook page and find the information they need quickly such as “deals” or “discussions” if you use a discussion app for customer service (for example.)

A cool trick I discovered was that if you create a photo album you can also click and drag to re-arrange the order of your albums. What’s great about this is that Facebook will pull the images it will rotate in the “photos” box from ONLY the first album. It’s a great way to really get a call to action, encourage someone to LIKE the page, etc.

Friend Activity

One of the great improvements with the new Timeline which can help build credibility and trust is the addition of friend activity to pages.  With the friend activity, friends can see what interaction other friends have had with a specific page/brand.  Not only does this help visitors to feel more connected, but leveraging super fans here will help “sell” your product or service when friends of super fans visit your page.


Visitors can now “instant message” you with private messages.  This chat feature has been long overdue and will provide a great way for visitors to connect with you and get answers to questions they have right away, and without the need for the entire world to see their message to you.

Excellent Examples of Pages Using the New Timeline Features

The New (and Super Improved) Admin Panel

I’m absolutely in love with the admin panel.  Instead of having to navigate to a thousand different places to view notifications, messages, analytics, etc. everything is consolidated in one spot.  This more simplified format makes your conversations and interactions that much more meaningful!


Contributors to this article…


In an effort to get this article about the Facebook timeline for pages out to subscribers as quickly as possible it hasn’t been proofread.  Many apologies!  We’ll eventually get to that later.  – The CaptureHits Team

Originally posted 2012-03-01 02:37:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Design Like a Pro: Graphic Design Tools & Resources Thu, 01 Mar 2012 02:48:50 +0000 admin Some of my favorite design and font tools!  

  • Aviary
    This is by far the best and most valuable to anyone who wants to create images, audio, etc. and look like a pro!
  • WhatTheFont!
    Have you seen a font on a website, publication, etc. and want to know what it is?  Just submit an image to the WhatTheFont database and it will find the closest match in their database.
  • Free Fonts
    Over 1000 fonts to choose from to give the average design an extraordinary pop!
  • Designers Toolbox
    Great sizing templates for pretty much any printable design from envelopes to annual reports.  Also a great “greeking” tool to fill in where text would appear in mock up designs.
  • Professional lorem ipsum Generator
    Creating a website or other marketing collateral but still don’t have the text finalized?  This handy tool creates “greeking” text to fill in where text will appear in your design!
  • eCoverCreator – One Click 3D Cover Graphics
    Easy to use.  Create stunning 3D images (DVD, CD, Workbooks, Ebooks, etc.) to use on websites.
  • Web Diner’s Hexcode Color Chart
    Trying to find the best colors for your website?  Wish you could tell your designer just what colors you want?  This is a great chat for RGB designs.
  • PMS (Print Matching System) Color Chart (PDF)
    If you are going to have your documents printed, help your designs have a specific color with this great “ink color” chart.
  • Color Wizard
    Having difficulty finding color combinations that work well together on the web (or even in print)?  This great tool quickly displays colors so you can see what works…and what doesn’t before starting a design!
  • Dynamic Drive: Gradient Image Maker
    Gradient images make great web backgrounds but can be hard to create.  This tool will create them easily for you.
  • Favicon Maker
    Want to create a favicon for your website from scratch.  Free tool allows you to create and generate one easily.
  • Icon Creator
    Convert any image (JPG, GIF,  or PNG.) into an icon or favicon.
  • Flash Banners
    Create fast and easy Flash banners with no programming skills.  100% free!

Originally posted 2012-01-13 02:59:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Competitive Intelligence: What You Need to Know to Be Competitive Thu, 01 Mar 2012 02:48:50 +0000 admin Want to know what your competition is doing online? Spy on them ethically to help you get a competitive advantage against them!  The following is a list of tools that can help you uncover opportunities which you can use to your advantage and gain market share. 

Competitive Intelligence Tools

  • Real Time Search – Social Mention
    What are your competitors writing about?  What are people saying about them?  What are people writing about you?
  • SEMRush
    What keywords are your competitors using to gain traffic?  Are they running PPC (pay-per-click) ad programs?  What keywords are they using in PPC?  What do their PPC ads look like?
  • Compete
    Get insight into competitor’s traffic, engagement and demographics.  Find the keywords that are driving traffic to the website OR that are popular in a specific industry.  What’s the benchmarking standard in your industry, and how do your competitors stack up?  What websites are driving traffic to your competitors, and more!
  • SpyFu
    Helps uncover the best keywords, and create a powerful PPC ad strategy that gets results.
  • Quantcast
    Find out audience demographics and improve marketing performance based on what your competitors are doing.  (It’s like spying for marketing!)
  • Open Site Explorer
    Compare your site against your competition and find out how you can improve your backlinks to increase your authority in your industry.
  • Social Media Monitoring and Analysis
    Provides analytics and insights about your competitors – where are the communities that they are active in, who are their community influencers, how are they handling customer service and more!

Competitive Intelligence 101:  The Basics


Originally posted 2012-02-12 03:35:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Driving Traffic to Your Website with SEO Thu, 01 Mar 2012 02:48:49 +0000 admin Search engine optimization, or the process of making your web pages more visible (and higher ranked) is always evolving. These are some great resources and articles to reference to get you going. You’ll also want to look at some of the other tools we have referenced in other “stories”. 

BASICS ABOUT SEARCHING:  Understand how people search for information on the web



CURRENT SEO (or as close as I can get to current information!)




Keyword Research Tools

Keyword Difficulty Tools

Keyword Density Tools


AUTOMATED SUBMISSION:  This is really an antiquated technique and not horribly effective.  But I am still asked about this frequently.


Originally posted 2012-02-13 02:30:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Knowing Your Audience: Why Market Research Matters Thu, 01 Mar 2012 02:48:48 +0000 admin Successful (and profitable) marketing requires detailed knowledge of where your audience(s) hang out online. These tools can help you learn more about your audience, including where you can find them both online and in traditional media, what messages will resonate with them, and more! 

Zeroing in On Your Target Market

What is Market Research & Why It Matters to Your Business

The Basics of Market Research

How to Conduct Market Research

B2C: Business to Consumer Research

B2B: Business to Business Research

Market Research Tools

Other Websites for Market Research Tools

    A wealth of data including financial ratios, business statistics, and benchmarks, on a wide range of industries.
  • CorpTech Technology Company Information
    CorpTech publishes public and private business information on technology companies that make, develop and provide services related to everything from lasers to computers, and from biotech products to advanced materials.
  • Free Data from
    A cheaper version of– it’s free! Database includes economic, demographic, income and labor market information.
  • SEC Info
    “Securities Information from the SEC EDGAR® database for sophisticated business professionals. We simply publish SEC/CSA Filings, filed by companies, institutions and individuals…”
  • Small Business Indicators
    “Small Business Indicators reports bring together monthly and quarterly data from a wide variety of sources. Use the information-packed two page reports to learn more about what is driving the small business economy in the United States.” Each quarterly report covers trends affecting small business, economic indicators over the last five years and the last five quarters, and macroeconomic statistics.
  • State Profiles
    Presents statistics by state for companies considering entrance into the B-2-B market.
  • Social Science Data Services
    A variety of social science, government, and geographic data.
  • TheInfoPro (TIP)
    TheInfoPro (TIP) is an independent research network and leading supplier of market intelligence for the Information Technology (IT) industry. Created by alumni of Gartner, EMC, Giga and Bell Labs, TIP produces fundamental, objective, analyst–free research on: markets, vendors, issues, future adoption plans, and investor confidence.
  • U.S. Census Bureau
    Access the results of the 2000 Census, 2007 Economic Census and other household and economic indicators.
  • ZoomProspector
    “ZoomProspector speeds up and simplifies the process of site selection analysis so that companies can quickly identify the optimal location for their business start-up, expansion or relocation. Businesses define the community and property characteristics that are important to them.

Originally posted 2012-02-13 19:53:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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5 Tips on How to Drive Employee Engagement Thu, 01 Mar 2012 02:48:48 +0000 Allison Jackson

Whether you realize it or not, your management style directly impacts your employees’ engagement and productivity at work. The #1 reason employees leave jobs is due to a poor relationship with their immediate supervisor. (The Gallup Organization) So what’s a manager to do? 

It can be helpful to think about managing employees in a way similar to how you would grow a garden. Gardens are a labor of love that must be tended to and supported in order for them to grow and produce. Employees aren’t much different. Here are five tips on how you can ensure your employees are productive and engaged: 

  1. Plant the seeds. Be approachable and get to know your employees. This doesn’t mean becoming best friends with your entire staff. But you should at least know if your team members are married, single, whether they have children and/or pets, and what some of their hobbies are outside of work.

  2. Reap what you sow, and put your best foot forward. A manager’s personal interaction and attitude weighs heavily on employee engagement. If you’re having a bad day, don’t let it show. Employees look to you as a leader and will tend to emulate your attitude – good or bad.

  3. Tend to the garden – take an interest. Perhaps you have some things in common with your staff. Whether it’s playing golf, reading murder mysteries or having a particular type of music in common, you should take the time to view your employees as people with lives outside of the workplace. Most employees do not live to work; they work as a means to an end.

  4. Pull weeds – admit when you’re wrong. No one is perfect; that includes you. Let your employees know that you’re human and you make mistakes. It will help put them at ease, and they’ll feel more comfortable coming to you with problems or issues.

  5. Help fertilize your garden. Understand goals, as well as their concerns. Work-related goals and career aspirations are what tend to keep employees motivated. It’s also helpful to understand the concerns and obstacles they may have in reaching their goals. As a leader, part of your job is helping them overcome obstructions and ensuring they meet their job requirements. 

One of the best ways to manage is to think back to your favorite bosses or leaders. What management styles did they have? Which of those characteristics can you incorporate into how you manage your team?   

At the end of the day, your employees look to you for their lead. Always remember, treat those as you would want to be treated…and things around you will surely bloom.

Originally posted 2012-01-19 02:36:01. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Allison Jackson is a communications professional and freelance writer who specializes in helping small businesses improve their bottom lines through clear, effective writing and communication in social media, marketing and public relations. Visit to learn more, follow Allison on Twitter (@allyjackson) or email her at]]> 0
Real-Time Marketing News Thu, 01 Mar 2012 02:48:47 +0000 admin


The following is an up-to-the-minute ticker directly from our Twitter feed.   Tweeting things of interest to small businesses & marketing folks. #smm #seo #marketing #b2b #smallbiz.

The connection to twitter has returned an error. Please try again later.

Originally posted 2011-10-07 16:20:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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