Archive for December, 2011

Should Social Media Be Outsourced?

Smart marketing puts your message right in front of your audience. With millions of people participating in social media each day, using social media platforms to market your business can be a smart move. If you’re warming up to the idea of social media and see it as a legitimate strategy, a logical step is to embrace it and find a team member or a trusted outsourcing provider to build up your social presence.

But before you sign over your social presence to an outside provider, it’s important to ask whether social media should be outsourced and, if so, how it should be outsourced to maximize benefits and minimize risks.

The Benefits of Outsourced Social Media

Like other types of outsourcing, social media outsourcing can save your company time and energy. Your business efforts are always more successful when they are closely linked with your core competency. For example, if your business specializes in virtual office services your employees and managing staff will have expertise in remote working, virtual office technology and all of the other components that go with working “in the cloud.”

Unless your company specializes in online marketing, social media skills aren’t part of your core competency. Your time and the time of your employees will be better spent on other projects. Outsourcing to a social strategy consultant or service can help you keep your presence consistent and your social presence running smoothly.

Using an outside vendor for social media can help your organization gain unique insight into the social process. With frequent platform updates and new measurements of success being introduced on what seems like a constant basis, it’s important that your company stays on top of its game. An outside vendor who specializes in this form of marketing can be a critical key in your social success. They can help you stay competitive and learn to stand out from the crowd with unique updates and engagement tools,

The Risks of Outsourcing

Despite all of these benefits to outsourced social media, the process isn’t without its risks.

The path to effective social usage for corporations has been littered with faux pas and missteps that have made many companies regret starting a Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn account. Chrysler’s account was a victim of a bad tweet in March and Nikon’s Facebook page underwent a fair bit of backlash in September, among many other examples of corporate social gone wrong.

In Chrysler’s case, an employee of the social media firm posted a profanity laden update on the official Chrysler Twitter account. The tweet was made in haste by a hired social media “expert” who either forgot they were logged into their client’s account or made the post in a moment of bad judgment.

Nikon’s social media agency made the mistake of implying that a photographer is only as good as their equipment. This is something that every real photographer knows is not the case, and the Facebook post received a lot of negative response from the Nikon fanpage community and photography blogosphere in general.

The lack of professionalism shown in the Chrysler case and lack of knowledge about a market in the Nikon case are two very real risks of outsourcing social media. But there are ways to minimize the risks and still reap the benefits.

Don’t Outsource Your Voice, Outsource Your Process

Social media outsourcing can still be very beneficial and help your company save time, remain creative and stay competitive. Rather than handing your entire social process off to an outside firm, you can seek out a social consultant or company that will get your company set up, train your employees and offer ongoing support as your social business needs expand.

A social media expert can show your employees how to utilize these channels in an appropriate way. Your employees know about your business and your field. They are invested in the success of your company and are less likely to make mistakes with regard to professionalism or lack of industry knowledge.

By using an outside vendor for social media training and support (rather than outsourcing updates), you can maintain control over your profiles while still reaping the benefits of utilizing an outsourced resource that has expert level knowledge.

What do you think about the benefits and risks of an outsourced social presence?

Courtney Ramirez  (1 Posts)

Courtney Ramirez is a content marketing consultant and SEO Copywriter. As owner and head copywriter at Six Degrees Content she creates optimized web pages, blog posts and other online content pieces for companies in both B2B and B2C industries.

Windmill Networking Blog

aimClear® Lights Up 2012 With New Branding Campaign, Internet Erupts!

Contact aimClear | Follow Us On Twitter | Download Free Chapter 5, Killer Facebook Ads

As aimClear celebrates our five year anniversary, following August’s much anticipated move to our incredible new office, we’re unveiling a branding campaign, mostly for the fun of it. The Über-groovy banners (below) were created by artist Rachael Stene with support from Manny Rivas and Joe Warner…

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Here’s How To Get A United States Passport Fast

Urgent travel to a foreign destination can be a challenge that we face in our modern world. There are many scenarios that could crop up for someone who needs to get to another country in a matter of weeks. Knowing how to get a pass port fast in this kind of situation is essential.

Travel Documents

Passports are legal documents. They state your nationality, your birth date and confirm your identity. To apply for one, all of these things must be confirmed by way of certificates and proof. Making an application for a passport will entail supplying confirmation of these basic facts in the form of official documents.

Details

The first step is therefore to find the application form and get your official papers together. You will most probably need original copies of everything. When you are filling out the form, take care to make accurate entries. One way of doing this is to fill it out in pencil first and add the ink when you are sure that all the information is correct.

Options

Getting your application processed in one day is an option. If you are willing to attend the office early and are happy to be patient, there should be no problems. It is a good idea to phone your local office and check their opening times. With this information in hand, you will be able to arrive early so you can get the ball rolling.

Agencies

First, you will have to go to your nearest office. It is worth going at the start of the day. Find out when the office opens and arrive as soon as the office day begins. You will need to ensure that you have all the necessary documentation with you. If you do your homework, you will save yourself both a wasted trip and unnecessary frustration.

Online Forms

A quick check on the net may also save you waiting or queuing on the phone. At the Internet site of your local passport office, you may well be able to download an application pack with all the information that you need. There should also be clear and concise information on how to fill out the form and all the other requirements of application. There is a different application for a child USA passport.

Evidence

If you can show clear evidence to back up why you are making a rushed application, this will help your case tremendously. Contacting passport administration and asking for assistance in providing proof like this could well be a good move. There are those, for example, who have to travel for a job interview in a foreign country. They could bring along a letter showing they have been invited for interview.

SearchCap: The Day In Search, December 28, 2011

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

  • Do Your 2012 Resolutions Include Increasing Conversion Rates?

    That’s a trick question. Of course the answer should always be yes. Hopefully your website conversions in 2011 have already resulted in a banner year. But if you feel like you have room to improve (and there always is), then it might be time to review what advice our conversion experts shared with readers throughout […

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Shalom #SMX Jerusalem! Search, Connection & Belonging

On January 15, 2012 I will kick off aimClear’s intense 2012 conference speaking schedule by moderating and presenting at SMX Israel 2012.  I am honored to say the least. The venue is the Inbal Hotel, one of the finest hotels in all of Jerusalem, located near the Old City and Liberty Bell Park. The sessions will be hosted and is programmed by our good friend and Conference Chair Barry Schwartz (@RustyBrick)…

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How You Can Cease Pondering How Long Does It Take To Get Your Us Passport

Thinking how long does it take to get your U S passport may take you off track. If you want to travel outside your country, you will need this valid document,no matter how long it takes to obtain it. The best way to deal with this question is to put in an application as soon as you can. This will require some identification and also verification of nationality.

Proper ID

Keep in mind that identification is needed for this procedure. This can take the form of a current driving license. If you have official government documentation that can prove identity, this can also be used. Verifying nationality will also form part of this process.

Application Forms

Taking care to fill out the application form is a small and overlooked way of speeding up the process. It is more likely that a form that has been well filled out will be processed and takes less time to deal with than something that is difficult to read. Photographs will also be needed, and should have been taken no longer than six months ago. If you’re replacing a stolen passport, you will need a different form.

Timing

Postal applications take the longest time. They can be processed in four to six weeks. For anyone who does not need a passport immediately, this is often an application method of choice.

Expedition

There are other options if you do not have time to wait. An expediting service exists and can be used to get this document quicker. Going down this route means that there will be extra costs that will be added on. An issue can then happen in around two weeks.

Costs

Additionally, there will be shipping costs to be paid for a quicker issue. These are added on to compensate for the services that are used to get passports in a hurry. These charges do increase the total cost of issue quite significantly.

Peak Application Times

Trying to figure out processing times will not yield a definite time frame. There are other variables in this equation. One of these is the time of year at which applications go in. At holiday periods and peak travel times, there will be more applications than normal. It is estimated that at these times, postal application can take up to eight weeks and expediting services can run on for a few more hours or days.

Getting this travel document in one day is also possible. This can be done by finding the location of a local issuer and bringing everything you need to their office. Again, there will be an extra charge incurred so it does depend on disposable income. By now, you should have stopped wondering how long does it take to get your U.S. passport. All you have to do is get into the application procedure and choose a processing time that fits with your wallet. You will then have your passport in your own time. You can also replace a stolen United States passport this way.

Comics of the week #109

Every week we feature a set of comics created exclusively for WDD.

The content revolves around web design, blogging and funny situations that we encounter in our daily lives as designers.

These great cartoons are created by Jerry King, an award-winning cartoonist who’s one of the most published, prolific and versatile cartoonists in the world today.

So for a few moments, take a break from your daily routine, have a laugh and enjoy these funny cartoons…

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5 Important Things Japan Taught the World about Twitter in 2011

It’s been several months since the incredible misfortune and tragic events that have struck my beloved 2nd home of Japan.  Although you don’t read about it on the news anymore, Japan is still in crisis in both trying to contain a nuclear power plant which might require years of work while also trying to keep radiation-tainted food away from the dinner table of 125 million Japanese who are understandably nervous.  #PrayforJapan still needs you, so please do not forget to include the Japanese nation in your prayers.  Thank you.

Twitter has always had more uptake in Japan when compared to the United States, but although business use of Twitter lags behind that of the United States, it has become a major form of mobile communication and news reading/sharing.  When disaster struck and electricity went out, social media became an emergency broadcasting channel. In fact when I met those within the Liberal Democratic Party, who required all representatives of their political party to have a Twitter account in late 2009, they thought that the first and foremost use of Twitter was as an emergency channel for broadcasting.

We all know that Twitter is much more than that.  And the way that the Japanese used Twitter taught the world several things that we can all learn from:

1. Faster Than CNN

While CNN reports the news 24/7, it can’t beat Twitter in terms of speed of delivery.  While CNN was repeating the same content over and over again with infrequent updates, Twitter truly was where the news was breaking.  Indeed, in 2011 we can say that the news breaks on Twitter first.

2. The World is Listening on Twitter

I always tell people that when you tweet, you are on the world stage.  Try tweeting out a brand name, and chances are they will follow you back.  I had the experience of tweeting out how I was helping a friend’s family evacuate from Fukushima – and the next morning I was contacted by BBC to secure an interview with that family.  Imagine, the BBC crowd sourcing from…Twitter!  Media has indeed been turned on its head!

3. Hashtags are News Channels

Hashtags started out on Twitter as a way to categorize tweets and make them searchable.  I’ve always told people that Twitterville is like one huge global AOL chat room, and, indeed, we have seen the growth of various #TwitterChats that exist as public rooms that agree to meet at a certain date and time of the week.   When tragedy hit Japan, hashtags literally became news channels.  Want to find out what was happening in Japan?  Follow the #Japan channel.  From Fukushima?  There’s a #Fukushima channel for that.  Hashtags have become news channels in themselves.

4. Links are What Make Twitter Go Round

For those that still think that Twitter is still about where people talk about what they had for breakfast, you are obviously following the wrong people.  Twitter has a rich culture of link-sharing and engaging with content, and if you are looking for a way to navigate through the Internet for targeted information, there is no better way to do this than for searching for it right in your timeline of tweets.  Not only was Twitter much faster than CNN, it became and remains a news aggregator for the world.

5. Social Media in Itself is NOT an Authority

With so many tweets clogging up the hashtag “channels,” it’s hard to gauge what constitutes “authority.”  When I saw a number of tweets that mentioned that the founder of Pokemon has passed away in the tsunami, I naturally retweeted that information as a way of paying it forward and helping to spread information to those that might not have heard.  Shortly thereafter a tweet with a link proved that the whole thing was a hoax.  What tweets should we believe?  Just because it’s tweeted, it doesn’t mean it’s real.  And the authority of traditional media is sorely missed in the new Wild West of news reporting.

Japan taught us a lot about Twitter – has this changed your understanding of the power of tweets?

Windmill Networking Blog

Forget Siri: Google Voice Phone Searches May Display Results on TV

Apple’s latest phone has a slick voice controlled feature named Siri that lets you tell your phone to do a number of different things, and can even power searches that it will answer for you. There’s been some speculation that type of verbal interaction might harm Google because it would bypass the search advertisements [...]…

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The Best Way To Utilize Expedited U.S. Passport Services

When traveling outside of the United States, you will need to know how to utilize expedited passport services. When travel dates sneak up on you, you will need to expedite your application so that you will be allowed to travel. There are many excuses that the passport office accepts for speeding up processing dates. Make sure that you have every proof of citizenship and identification documents that you will be needed to help speed up the process.

Application

It can take weeks or sometimes months to receive a passport if you opt for the regular routine service. The time it takes to process new applications is at least four weeks. The average time it takes to process is four to six weeks. If you plan on traveling soon and cannot wait for that time to pass, then you will need to apply for documents using an expedited service that can be made available.

Overnight Delivery

The expedited service processing times are a lot speedier than the routine service processing times. Processing an expedited application takes only two or three weeks rather than four to six weeks. The agency recommends that you purchase overnight delivery when mailing your application to make sure that the processing times stay expedited. You can get expedited service for a US passport card as well.

Travel Plans

If waiting two or three weeks is not acceptable for you, then you probably need the passport sooner. To get the documents that you need in only fourteen days, you can go directly to the agency to apply instead of waiting for the mail. You will need to call to schedule the appointment before you go in so that you will be helped immediately. Utilize the internet to find locations near you to make things easier for you.

Wait Time

There are times when even waiting fourteen days to travel is not acceptable, but thankfully there are other options available to you still. If you or a loved one are experiencing an emergency that is considered life or death and you need to leave right away, you may be able to get the help you need. Let the office that you need to travel within a few days.

Application Process

Concerning life or death emergencies, applicants must visit their passport agency’s office and complete an emergency application. This extremely expedited passport will allow the individual to travel within twenty four to forty eight hours of the application, which will begin to be processed immediately. Due to changes in national security, you may be required to provide documentation proving that there is an emergency occurring overseas that requires your presence.

Cost

When you utilize the speedy processing times, you will need to pay a little bit extra. In addition to the fees for a standard application, a person will need to pay to speed up the process. It costs an extra sixty dollars for every application that is sent in to the office so that the application will be moved along faster. It is recommended to buy overnight delivery for mailing the application to the office and back.

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