National Relaxation Day is August 15th, 2011

iQuarius Media will be spending National Relaxation Day toiling as usual. We live life at a frenetic pace in The United States, so dedicating a day to relaxation may seem ineffective or imposing on the things we need to do at work and home. Take a break. Stress is a known health concern. Relaxation is important for mental and physical well-being. Release your accumulated stress. Get a massage and kick your feet up, or take a walk in the park. Something to combat the minutiae of everyday life. Celebrate National Relaxation Day with us, just not like us – you might want to try relaxing instead.

What Converts Social Media Traffic Into Leads

social media

The goal: Turn Lurkers Into Leads

Are you getting traffic from social media? Want to convert some of that traffic into leads?

Some background

Start by evaluating your current lead generation process and whether it’s helping or hurting your efforts.

It’s important to understand the relationship among your:

  1. lead generation strategies
  2. your social media channels
  3. your blog
  4. and your landing pages

Many times, when we think of generating leads in social media, we look at the content we’re posting and neglect to look at the surrounding elements that also touch the user.

Every status update about a new blog post has three steps to drive lead generation: the status update, the blog post, and the landing page. Each one of these has a different role in the process and offers a unique opportunity to optimize lead conversion.

Facebook Marries Skype (Again)?

skype-facebook-loveThe social media realm is about  to have a new sheriff in town.

The larger-than-life social network Facebook will reportedly be releasing a Skype-driven video chat platform.

Facebook’s Seattle-based tech team was behind the new feature, according to Techcrunch. Skype and Facebook were already in cahoots with a function that integrated Facebook social data directly into the Skype client. Now it looks like Skype will be coming to Facebook.

Rumors have circulated before about such a product, but it never materialized.

The report is sparse on details about how it will function. Will it require a software download? Will it support group video chat? No doubt it will be a major addition to the Facebook platform. Google+, the search engine giant’s answer to Facebook, launched with a group video chat feature, Google+ Hangouts. Google is seeing a lot of traction with the feature, but if Facebook can release a video chat product next week, Google+ Hangouts may not seem as revolutionary.

source: Mashable

Google Research: People Use Smartphones to Buy, Buy, Buy

A Google-commissioned study on smartphone usage has confirmed just how addicted we are to our devices and revealed how we use them to help make purchasing decisions.

The data, which were laid out by Google in detail during a webinar yesterday, revealed a ton of information about how we use the devices in general. A couple of takeaways were particularly interesting for businesses large and small.

Yeah, So We’re Addicted. So What?

For starters, 89% of smartphone owners use them on a daily basis, and many of them interact with their devices several times per day. People even said they’d rather give up such pleasures as chocolate, beer and cable TV than do without their treasured electronic companions. This is hardly shocking news, but it confirms just how connected smartphone owners are to their devices, a fact that has a slew of implications for marketers and businesses in general.

The research showed where (at home and on the go, mostly) and how people use their smartphones. Interestingly, more people (81%) said they browse the Web on their device than said they use native applications (68%). For ecommerce sites and other businesses, these numbers suggest that investing in one’s mobile-optimized Website could be more important than building native apps.

How Smartphones Help Us Buy Things

One thing for which people seem to use their iPhones, Blackberrys and Android devices quite a bit is shopping. Nearly 80% said they use their phones for shopping and shopping-related activities and 70% use their phones in stores.

Most people (67%) said they use their smartphone to do product research and then purchase an item in a store, followed by the 23% who research on their phones, check the product out in the store but then ultimately purchase it online.

 

The researchers also looked at what types of actions people take after conducting a mobile search. More than half (53%) ended up making a purchase and 68% visited a business online or in person.

Google Says Mobile Ads Work

People are far more likely to notice ads when using their smartphones than they are in many other circumstances. Eighty-two percent of respondents said they noticed mobile ads, and about half of them said they were likely to take some kind of action as a result, whether it be conducting more research or actually making a purchase.

The study was conducted by interviewing 5,013 U.S. adults (aged 18-64) about their phone usage. Although these results pertain to American users, a representative from Google said they’ve seen similar data in other countries.

 from ReadWriteWeb

Facebook Friends and Quality Likes That You Actually Want

social media

Facebook Friends and Quality Likes

As a business with a Facebook fan page, it’s natural to want to gather as many friends and Likes as possible. As always, though, it’s quality over quantity that will bring you the best return.

Take a few moments to see if you want them as a friend/Like. Check out their Info page and determine if they are interested in similar things, and check out their wall posts, if it is available, to see if they post offensive things, play Facebook games all day, or post gifts all over people’s profiles.

  1. Accept people who appear to have good morals, who post encouraging messages, inspirational quotes, and basic status updates. Pay attention if they cuss in every sentence, have poor grammar, and talk about things that make you uncomfortable — and don’t accept their friend request.
  2. Check their wall for several game posts. People who play a lot of Facebook games may send you lots of game invites or harass you with games status updates.
  3. Be careful allowing third-party applications to have access to your Facebook account. Sometimes these are people who are trying to get your personal information, attack, or hijack your account for your personal info. Just like with email, don’t click on any suspicious links that could be a virus.
  4. On their Info page, are they interested in activities and things that pertain to the content of your posts, products, or services? Those are the people you want to extend a friend invite to, or accept their request.
  5. If anyone becomes a nuisance, you can always unfriend them. The option is at the bottom of that person’s profile page on the left-hand side. They will not receive a notification that you have unfriended them.
  6. If you take out a paid ad on your page or group, make sure you filter it with people who have interests in what you provide, but with whom you do not already have a connection.

Apple and Hulu? Could it Be?

internetBreaking Media News

Apple and Hulu? Could it Be?

Hulu’s owners, which also include Comcast Corp’s NBC Universal and Providence Equity Partners, have begun preliminary sale talks with about a dozen potential buyers, including Google Inc. and Microsoft Corporation.

The video site is a joint venture of Microsoft Corp. and NBC Universal.

The purchase could help solve Apple’s $76.2 billion conundrum. That’s how much money Apple has in its coffers, according the Wall Street Journal and investors have begun asking Apple how it plans to put that money to work.

The Journal said that some investors are pushing for Apple to return it to shareholders as dividends.

The paper’s All Things D”  blog said on Friday, however, that while Apple has met with Hulu’s bankers to kick the tires, Hulu is not a likely target for Apple.

The blog says that although Apple clearly can afford to buy Hulu, its core free-ad supported business is not to Apple’s taste. We shall see.  Two media giants doing the tango. Where will the chips land?

courtesy: MSNBC News

How Huge is Google+?

google-plusGoogle’s social network, Google+, might be one of the fastest-growing networks ever, having already reached 10 million users according to one estimate.

Paul Allen, of Ancestry.com — not to be confused with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen — has developed an interesting method to calculate the number of Google+ members.

He sampled a number of surnames from the U.S. Census Bureau data and compared it to surnames of Google+ users. By comparing surname popularity in the U.S. with the number of users on Google+ with each surname, he can guesstimate the percentage of the U.S. population that signed up for Google+. Finally, he calculated a ratio of U.S. to non-U.S. users to generate an estimate for the number of Google+ users worldwide.

The result? Google+ has approximately 9.5 million users worldwide, with 2.2 million joining in the past 32 to 34 hours, according to Allen’s estimates.

This is amazing growth even for a giant such as Google: We cannot remember any social network reaching so many members so quickly after its release.

Coming from a third party, the data is obviously unofficial (we asked Google for comment on these numbers, but haven’t heard from them) and should be taken with a grain of salt. If they’re true, though, they indicate that — after a few missteps— Google might finally be conquering the social networking arena.

How Internet Marketing Can Benefit A Business

In our current society,  the internet is an integral part of our existence. Almost everyone uses the internet in some way, shape, or form. It doesn’t matter what  type of business you’re in at this time, if you do  not include online marketing as part of your business strategy, you’re losing out to your rivals.  If you’re considering getting your company online, you need to understand a few of the major advantages of online marketing. The energy created by the internet is almost tangible and if you’re utilizing it properly  you are able to grow and expand your company rapidly and cost effectively.

One major advantage of online marketing for your company is enhanced communication channels. With online marketing, you are able to open communication lines with your clients 24 hours a day worldwide as long as you have an internet connection. Online marketing also offers your company an inexpensive selling tool that may increase your distribution network as it pertains to products and services. Increasing numbers of people are using the web to purchase whatever tickles their fancy. It’s very efficient simply because people can browse offerings without having to leave their home or office.  Another outstanding advantage of online marketing is that it is less expensive to advertise in comparison to traditional physical business advertising or traditional promotional initiatives.  You will find no paper pamphlets or fliers are necessary.  This enables you to conserve space for storage as well. Another online marketing benefit is that you’ll have the ability to reach an incredible number of potential clients every day with less effort than conventional methods.

The world will be your oyster. People can access your site and see everything with a few clicks of the mouse. Online marketing if done correctly will bring you plenty of clients and an elevated amount of sales. The constant maintenance of the online marketing campaigns can also be a lot cheaper in comparison with the traditional mode of advertising. For those who have a web-based store, then you’ve the benefit of being open every single day of the season. Online marketing has the benefit of your virtual storefront being open twenty four hours and seven days per week without resting.
If you wish to grow and expand your company without investing an arm and a leg, then you ought to be using online marketing. Should you not, you’re sacrificing lots of money that is up for grabs. However, before you decide to jump on the online marketing bandwagon, please make certain you are ready for the action.  Create a strategy and be ready for your business to grow.

How to Write Effective Lead Capture Pages

By Ken Hoffman (c) 2011

There is quite a bit of confusion about the difference between a landing page and a lead capture page. A lead capture page is NOT the same as a landing page. For the sake of this article I will be talking about lead capture pages, NOT longer form copy for micro sites and landing pages that sell a product. Why?

Why A Lead Capture Page Is Important

Read More

Social Media is About Engagement

This is not the time to let customers or profíts slip through your fingers.

You need to make your business stronger, more successful, and ensure your customers are more loyal and responsive to your engagement with them.

Recently, Harry Dent, Jr. said that you should break from provincial geographic thinking and focus on demographics. You should go after customers, able and willing to spend on what you sell, wherever they are, not where you are.

As a result, many marketing, media, technology, and advertising experts use social media forums as a way to champion the use of social media. They suggest a company, especially a small business on main street with a modest marketing budget, become better known, extend their reach, and improve their company’s sales using social media.

Here is an example of a teaser message recently transmitted in an email campaign to small and medium sized businesses… the message says, “Social Media is the most explosively growing media of all-time and growing faster with each passing day with no slow-down in sight. It took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users. It took TV 13 years to reach 50 million users. Facebook added 100 million users in less than 9 months. And iPhone applications hit 1 BILLION in 9 months.”

Based on this message, it is easy for entrepreneurs to get seduced into thinking that by using Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, big sales are just around the corner.

However, social media should work in conjunction with traditional marketing and selling techniques such as relationship marketing within “old” social networks, cold calling, vertical marketing, and other effective prospecting activities.

Small business owners should take the time to learn how to maximize their use of social media but they should not rely on it to make their sales. Business owners need to learn how to use social media to engage their prospects and customers and how to get their prospects and customers talking about something that is important to them and the small business. This type of engagement is necessary and will ultimately get prospects and customers to take the action the business owner wants them to take… leading to a sale.

In order to make the best business use of social media, the small business owner needs to prepare a simple strategy with several guidelines to follow in the use of social media. The strategy and guidelines need to pinpoint the specific message to be communicated so that all employees using social media for the business know what direction their messages should take and how they should focus their posts. For example, is the company’s focus to improve customer service? Is it to enhance awareness of their products or services? Or, is it to boost their brand recognition? Each of these things would have a different yet consistent message for the employees of the business to follow.

For example, one insuránce company uses Twitter and Facebook to let people know about all the philanthropic things they are doing for the community. All the posts are about events they are sponsoring and contributions they’re making. Employees know that they should post information about personal things they’re doing for the community, such as volunteering at the local animal shelter or helping out with Habitat for Humanity. With a clear guideline that the social media effort is to elevate philanthropic awareness it is easy for employees to know the kinds of things they should be doing on social media sites. They have a clear focus and a unified purpose.

Another company in the retail industry uses social media to improve customer service. All their posts highlight things they are doing internally to improve the customer experience, what they are doing online to make shopping easier and how they are handling phone inquires to deliver a memorable shopping experience. They also regularly ask customers how they would like the company to improve customer service. With that as the key message, all of the company’s employees are focused on problem solving and on making the customers happy.

Therefore, a good social media strategy, with employee guidelines, is far more than a list of good and bad words or topics. Instead, the strategy with guidelines needs to focus on the core message the small business wants to portray along with the best ways to spread that core message.

The guidelines should cover the following topics.

Building Trust
The business employees should use their posts to build a reputation of trust among clients, media, and the public. When they are reaching out to others on social media sites, they should take every opportunity to build a reputation of trust and to establish themselves as a credible and transparent representative of the company.

Being Transparent
When participating in any online community, the small business employees should disclose their identities and affiliations with the organization, clients, and their professional and / or personal interest.

Being Direct
When creating posts and content, the business employees should be direct, informative, and brief.

Giving Due Credít
If the business employees post copyrighted materials, they should identify the original sources.

Self-Editing
The small business employees should always evaluate each posting’s accuracy and truthfulness. Before posting any online material, they need to ensure that the material is accurate, truthful, and without factual error. This includes doing a spell and grammar check on everything.

Responsibility
Make sure the business employees know that they are responsible for what they post. Negative or questionable posts should not be tolerated.

Being Professional
When posting comments, the business employees should refrain from writing about controversial or potentially inflammatory subjects, including politics, sex, religion, or any other non-business related subjects. The tone of their comments should be respectful and informative and not ever condescending or “loud.”

Privacy
The business employees shouldn’t ever disclose proprietary or confidential information. This includes product releases, service updates, and employee information not made public yet.

Obeying the Rules
All business employees should follow local, state, or federal laws and regulations. Ultimately, their online activities will be a reflection on the company.

Today’s social media tools are great for business building, provided that the small business owner and their employees know how to use them for the company’s ultimate benefit. Therefore, the small business owner needs to determine why their company is using social media sites and then let that purpose be known throughout the entire company. Additionally, they need to implement clear social media guidelines that small company employees can follow in order to further their company’s mission.

Ultimately, when small businesses know how they are supposed to use today’s social media tools, they can do so with focus and purpose, leading the small company confidently into the communication age.

If you would like any assistance in your Social Media strategy and/or execution, please feel free to contact iQuarius Media.

By Michael W Farrell (c) 2011
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