Archive for December, 2011

SearchCap: The Day In Search, December 21, 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:

  • Google Adds Christmas & Hanukkah Decorations To Search Results

    If you go to Google and search for variations of either [christmas] or [hanukkah], you will see Google has dressed up the search results page with holiday decorations. The Christmas version shows Christmas ornaments hanging from the top bar: The Hanukkah version shows Jewish stars across the top bar: In the past they placed these […

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Advanced Segments for Holiday campaigns

With only a week before the holiday gift season is over, it’s time to shut down your online ads and turn off the lights at your e-store, right? Not so fast, not if you want to ride the final shopping wave!

Holiday shoppers are still out in full force, and “dollars per buyer” are up 12% this year, so you’re likely to get even more bang for your advertising buck. Since Christmas is on a Sunday this year, that means last-minute gift-givers could be shopping up until Thursday the 22nd if you offer 2-day shipping…

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4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Creating Your LinkedIn Public Persona

Whether you plan to use LinkedIn as an individual, or to represent a business, you will be interacting with and be seen by others without having a chance to meet them.  And, while corporate websites give us complete control over how we depict our brands, products, and personnel, LinkedIn levels the playing field by stripping away the design elements and simply presenting every user in basically the same way.  Additionally, others may make decisions on whether or not they want to do business with you based on how you’ve utilized your LinkedIn profile.

This is exactly why social media, including LinkedIn, requires a strategic approach.  Regardless of how much “branding” you try to include on your professional profile or company’s page, your actions and words online speak much louder about you and your company than anything else.  When you create and display your profile, you must make public-facing decisions that communicate who you are as a person.  Embedding a video in your LinkedIn profile and using a link that automatically plays when someone visits it may be a savvy Internet marketing tactic, but it may be perceived as a punch in the face to someone who just wants to check out your profile in order to potentially engage you in new business.

When you see the value of communicating on brand or in a way that is aligned with your professional objectives for being on LinkedIn, you’ll likely sense the need to create a ‘public persona’ of yourself.

The fascinating thing about social media, of LinkedIn is definitely a part, is the social component.  It is what draws some people into having conversations and posting things on various social media channels that they might later regret.  Consider the fact that LinkedIn allows you to input information about your hobbies and interests in your public profile.  Including this information may help make a connection with a potential customer, but it may also turn off potential customers who perceive you in an unintended manner.

It’s easy to say that in creating your public persona you should avoid putting certain things in your profile, but because social media is, well, social, we’re frequently tempted to say things that catch us off our public brand.  So, before you post something in any social media channel that may be controversial and therefore affect your future business prospects, here are four questions to ask yourself:

  • Would my family approve of this?
  • Would my boss approve of this?
  • Would all my customers approve of this?
  • Would a court of law approve of this?

Unless you can answer “yes” to all four of these questions, keep your public persona intact by simply not posting your opinions on the Internet.  If you post useful and engaging comments that are aligned with your sales and marketing objectives, people will perceive you and your business and being skilled and experienced.  So remember, if you treat LinkedIn with the same amount of respect you would treat a professional association meeting or industry convention, you will be well on your way to building and enhancing your LI brand, which will be optimized for business success!

Have you ever been taken aback from conversations and/or a public profile you have seen on LinkedIn?

The above is a summary of selected content from my critically acclaimed new LinkedIn for business book “Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing,” available at Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or iTunes.

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#IUBB & The Incredible Phenomena Of Crowdsourced Play By Play

Last week Indiana University’s Hoosier Nation was totally screaming, abuzz at IUs stunning upset of (previously) #1 Kentucky.  I saw some retweets among my community that highlighted an incredible reality: These days sports fans don’t just yell at the players in the stadium or at their television sets. They yell at each other on Twitter, at the speed of rabid emotion!

I’m watching IU/Notre Dame game now…

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Ho-ho-hold the phone: Santa’s on the line

Last year, Santa got his very own Google Voice number, and people around the U.S. received a special personalized holiday phone call from Santa Claus.

This year, Santa wants you to reach out to him (after all, reindeer are only so-so conversationalists). If you or your family members have a special request for Santa, you can call him right from Gmail* and leave him a message at his Google Voice number: 855-34-SANTA…

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The History Of Photo Sharing

Photo sharing has come a long way. 20 years ago the process of taking, processing, and distributing a photo could take weeks or longer. Now, mobile apps such as Instagram allow us share photos in seconds. What follows is a brief history of photo sharing—where we’ve been and where we’re going.

Special thanks to @semil and @techcrunch.

View an enlarged version of this infographic »
Click here to download a …

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Getting An Expedited Us Passport Isn’t A Difficult Process

As a valid government document proving your identity, getting a passport can be a long process. There are a host of specific documents required and then the government typically takes four to six weeks to review them all before issuing you a passport. However, there are ways to get an expedited US passport if you’re in a rush.

Get It Quickly

Regardless of the reason you’re applying, you can get an expedited passport. This means you can get one in a hurry whether you’ve lost your current one,need to renew one, or are applying for the first time. You still need to follow the same process that’s required, depending on your situation; it’s only the turn around time that’s different. You want the fastest US passport renewal possible.

Requirements

So you’ll still have to fulfill all the same requirements that exist for those applying under normal circumstances. Your application packet will have to include all the necessary documentation and forms. The only difference between a standard and expedited process happens on the government end as your obligations remain the same.

Quick Turn Around Time

You can always apply yourself to get a quick turn around time on your travel document. If you take this option, you’ll call one of the authorized US agencies and schedule an appointment. You’ll bring your complete application package to the office and meet with an agent. You can request a shortened processing time, which may get approved. If your quick processing time request is granted, you’ll then return to the same agency a few days later to pick up your valid travel document.

Private Companies

You don’t need to do this on your own though. You can engage a private company, one authorized by the US government, to handle your entire application process including your request to shorten the processing time. You turn your submission package to the company, who will manage all the government contact for you. Then, using overnight mail, they will get it to you.

Cost

How fast this type of service can operate will depend directly on how much you’re willing to pay. Each service will usually have different speed levels of service, which can range from two weeks to 24 hours. The fees you pay for the expedited service are on top of the standard fees you will still have to pay to the government to get your passport in the first place.

Considerations

There are a number of these authorized companies from which you can choose. When you research these companies, there are two critical features to keep in mind. Perhaps most important, the service should offer you a guarantee of meeting the turn around you’ve selected. The other most critical feature is that the service has easily accessible customer service.

4 Fresh Reasons Why Social Media is the New Farmer’s Market

I had the chance this summer to speak in rural Japan (Kumamoto, Kyushu for those of you who might have been there to see Mount Aso) at a workshop on social media for the agricultural industry.  Whenever I speak, I always mention how social media truly transcends industry (as well as discipline) and always ask someone to challenge me in finding an industry that can’t find a use for social media.  The agricultural industry is ripe (pun intended) for using social media because it really does represent what the farmer’s market used to be.  Farmer’s markets don’t just sell agricultural products, either, so listen up all you small businesses!

It’s often where your customer is at

If you wanted to sell your produce in the past, you had to go to where your audience was. With 65% of Americans using social media, there is no doubt that your audience is spending more and more time on social media.  Obviously you need to figure out which platform is appropriate for you, but there is a social networking site out there where your target customer lurks.  Chances are that platform will be Facebook, but depending on your product you might have better luck concentrating on LinkedIn.

It’s often where everyone is being social

Everybody congregated at the farmer’s market.  It was a huge social event.  So is social media. The key to being successful, therefore, is that we have to be social.  We can’t just set up a Page and expect things to happen just like you can’t just set up a stand and expect to sell.  You shouldn’t be over-pushing your product like some vendors do, but those that tend to sell a lot of produce at my local farmer’s market are those that have free fruit samples.  Not only do my kids love them, it gives us a chance to try out their products and establish a relationship with the vendors.  What is the free “fruit” that you are giving away to those who engage with your business in social media?

It gives you a chance to go direct to your customer

The advantage of social media as a marketing tool is that it allows you to go direct to your customer.  Similar to how vendors need to build trust at the farmer’s market by providing quality produce week in and week out, you too need to do the same with the amount of online conversation and recommendation apps that exist.  That’s why you should be taking advantage of what social media provides you to get to know your customer a little better.  Don’t be shy: engage.

It gives you the ability to easily establish a new brand

I actually spoke at a workshop that was co-sponsored by Tomamo-chan.  Tomamo-chan is the result of a major seed distributor realizing that Kumamoto is the leading producer of tomatoes in terms of volume in Japan, but very few consumers knew this nor were buying tomatoes specifically because they were from Kumamoto.  The seed distributor got several of the leading tomato producers to join forces and create a new brand to co-brand their products going forward.  Such is how “Tomamo-chan” was born – “Toma” coming from tomato and “mo” coming from Kumamoto.  A cutesy character was created (displayed above), and through the help of my friend Katsuyo Nakao, they were able to easily establish this brand by tweeting and launching a Facebook Page where fans could actually see, and help “Tomamo-chan” grow up.  I always say that social media provides a land of opportunity for unknown brands to make a mark in whatever marketplace they are trying to establish a presence.  By showing up in social media with a unique brand in a consistent and engaging manner, it is as easy to establish a new brand entity through social media just like it is by consistently showing up at the farmer’s market.

Case in point to drive all of this home: At the end of the presentation, a gentleman in the back of the room raised his hand to share his experience with us.  He was a watermelon farmer from the rural prefecture of Oita.  He started a Facebook Page and was sharing how watermelons were harvested by using both photos and videos.  There was nothing high-tech about what he did.  In fact, he didn’t even have any apps installed or a Facebook Ads budget.  He had some of his friends “Like” the page and it grew from there.  One day someone simply posted on the wall that they wanted to buy a watermelon, and he took the order via email.  Since then he confided he’s sold quite a few watermelons.

A tea farmer also stood up and reminded us of how much content farmers had to share – and how good it felt to share it.  The farmer reminded us of how labor-intensive and tedious a job traditional agriculture is in Japan, but that when “fans” started to “Like” his photos, it made him proud.

Yes, social media can make your company and your employees feel good too!

Sometimes we overcomplicate social media with the technology and tools that we can leverage.  If you remember that social media is the new farmer’s market and think how you would represent your company at the biggest farmer’s market in the world, hopefully you’ll see how common sense should be the cornerstone of your social media marketing strategy.

Have you ever sold a product through a Facebook Page comment?  How do you feel when someone Likes your content?  Let’s chat!

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The Smashing Deals Countdown For Christmas

 

 

Christmas is near and the spirits are rising but why not speed it all up a bit? To make the days prior to Christmas much more exciting, we’ll provide you with something to look forward to each day for the next ten days. This year, we’d love to help you out with your Christmas presents…

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Experience the tsunami-affected areas of Japan through Street View

Back in July, we announced our initiative to digitally archive the areas of Northeastern Japan affected by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Today, we’re making good on that promise—after driving more than 44,000 kilometers through the affected regions, 360-degree panoramic imagery of those areas is now available through the Street View feature in Google Maps. The images can also be viewed via a special website called “Build the Memory,” where you can easily compare before and after shots of the towns changed by these events…

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