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Free Twitter Tools

Social Sonar - Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Social Media Guide recently released its list of four free Twitter tools they suggest users download.  We agreed with their list and wanted to share it as well.

The first is Twilert.  Twilert allows you to set keyword alerts so that when people tweet about topics you might be interested in, you will receive an e-mail alert.  You can opt to receive your alerts in one e-mail so that you don't receive hundreds of e-mails each day.  You can also limit your searches to certain areas so that you are not following people who may be too far away to affect your business. 

Next is TweetStats.  For this site, you need only supply a Twitter name.  You do not need to sign up or login.  You can use it to track your own stats, or another user's stats.  It will tell you how often one tweets, when they tweet and which word(s) they use most often.

SocialOomph is next on the list.  The site has many features but one is the option to schedule when tweets are sent.  It also allows you to track keywords.  For a fee, it will follow back people who followed you and send direct messages to new followers.

Last on this list is Twitterfeed. This helps you connect your blog to Twitter.  It tracks clicks and lets you choose which site you use to shorten your link.  You can also connect it to LinkedIn and Facebook for updates. 

There are many, many tools to help you with Twitter.  Have you tried any of these tools or any others not mentioned?  We'd love to hear about your experiences!


What Do People Notice On Your Facebook Fan Page?

Social Sonar - Saturday, January 14, 2012

EyeTrackShop recently did a study for Mashable to help determine what people actually looked at when they went to some of the top Facebook fan pages.  Here's what they found:

~  For the most part, the participants visited the wall of the fan page first and spent four times more time there than on any other part of the fan page (the only exception was the Victoria's Secret fan page).

~  The smaller pictures (now the "cover") above the wall were noticed 85% of the time.

~  The "likes" column was noticed only 58% of the time.

~  Profile photos don't matter as much as you think.  Generally profile photos with faces in them got the most attention.  Only 57% of those who visited the Coca-Cola fan page even saw the bottle of Coke.  The exception was Skittles -- 90% of visitors did notice the bag of candy in the profile photo. 

~  Facebook walls with photos seemed to get the most attention.  In this study, those who visited Playstation's fan page spent 4.88 seconds looking at the photo-laden wall.  That was more time spent than on any other brand's wall (where time spent on any portion of any brand's page was never over four seconds). 

It appears that photos rule the roost.  Rather than spending time building fancy fan pages with extra apps or tabs, simply posting interesting, conversation-starting photos are a good first-step to creating a popular fan page on Facebook. 

Do you put photos on your Facebook fan page?  If so, have you noticed more comments than on other posts?


Google+ Gains Momentum

Social Sonar - Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Only two months ago, we reported that Google+ was growing but not yet expected to be a major contender against Facebook.  In that short amount of time, Google+ traffic has increased 55% and some estimate they will have 400 million users by the end of 2012.  That certainly seems like game-changing information.

As we mentioned in our last post, two of the best reasons to use Google+ are: Circles (allowing you to pick and choose who sees certain content) and Hangouts (video chat between you and certain customers or friends).  In addition, Google+ allows you to create saved keyword searches so that you can easily search for users who may be talking about your industry.  You can also use their "View Ripple" tool to see how your content is being shared or talked about.  Using Google+ can also give your website an SEO boost.  If you place +1 buttons on your product pages and blog, it allows people to easily promote your website and products for you. 

There are a few things of which to be aware if you decide to enter the Google+ ring.  First off, Brand Pages are tied to one single individual Google+ account.  You cannot add admins to pages at this point.  This means that if you are not administering your page yourself, you will need to give your employees your log-in information in order for them to manage the page.  Second, although Google+ is growing, Facebook and Twitter are still King and Queen.  At this point, you may not see the benefit of managing an additional social media site if everyone on Google+ is also on either Facebook or Twitter already.  Finally, at this time, Business Pages can only add other Business Pages to their circles.  Until they can add individuals, growth for those pages remains somewhat small.

Again, while Google+ may be growing as a social media site, it does not yet appear to be a requirement for social business.  We will continue to monitor its growth and let you know if our opinion changes. 

In the meantime, have you used Google+?  Do you use it for personal or business purposes?  If you are not yet there, are you considering it?  We would love to hear your opinion!


Groupon's Quadruple Threat

Social Sonar - Saturday, January 07, 2012

Although some businesses are revolting against Groupon because they feel like they end up losing money and catering to someone else's clientele, Groupon continues to grow in popularity with consumers. 

Yesmail has been analyzing what it calls Groupon's quadruple threat marketing campaign.  Groupon has been using e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to deploy up to 15 campaigns per day. 

Their analysis of e-mails found that their average subject line was 42 characters.  They also rarely used their own name in the subject.

Groupon has over 350,000 Facebook likes.  Their most popular posts included questions for their fans to answer.  On average, they get 21 comments per post.

They have over 50,000 Twitter followers.  Their posts averaged only 74 characters.  They ask questions for their followers to answer here too. 

Their YouTube channel has almost two million views.  The average video length is about two and a half minutes.  Each video receives approximately 20,000 views.

Yesmail's final analysis is that Groupon doesn't actively push their deals through social media.  Quite the opposite, they use these sites to simply build their brand and connect with their followers by asking questions and posting creative and interesting content.  They suggest that others follow suit.  Ask creative questions.  Post interesting photos.  Encourage interactions and respond to your fans and followers so that a strong relationship is built. 

Do you need help with your social media plan?  Social Sonar is here to help!  Contact us HERE.



Does Your Business Need a Smartphone App?

Social Sonar - Wednesday, January 04, 2012

As smartphones such as the iPhone and the Android become more popular, development of programs (known as "apps") that can be downloaded to the phones are also rising in popularity.  A recent survey by Deloitte LLC found that 45% of smartphone users downloaded an app at least once a week.  With just the swipe of a finger and click of a button, your customers can see your latest deals or newest products, without even stepping foot in your store.  Before you can decide whether your company might benefit from having its own app, you should do some research to make sure it is worth the expense.

App developers charge, on average, $100 per hour (the range is $50 to $250 per hour).  According to OS X Daily, the cost to develop even a simple app can range from $3,000 to $8,000.  A complex or recognized brand app can cost up to $150,000.  O'Reilly Digital Media claims that a full-time iPhone app developer costs about $5,000 per week, and some apps can take four to six weeks to develop.  Although you can save money by hiring college students or using labor outside of the US, oftentimes projects are not developed properly and more money has to be spent later to fix bugs.  Another thing to remember is that each market (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc.) will require its own program.  If you already know how to write code, you can always develop the app yourself and pay to be part of Apple's developer's program. 

Having a successful app means having new and changing content, which will add to the cost (or time you spend on upkeep), and is something to include in your consideration.  You would also need to ask yourself if your customer-base uses smartphones.  Would they have a need to visit your app regularly and will it will drive business into your store?  On the flip side, could an app help your employees do their job more effectively?  Perhaps the purpose of the app isn't to make money but to help save money by making certain tasks easier. 

Arguments in favor of creating an app?  According to Comscore, in 2010, over 45 million people were using smartphones.  The Android market had over 800 million apps downloaded in 2010.  The Apple iPhone had over 3 billion apps downloaded by the beginning of 2010.  Smartphone ownership is expected to grow 30% per year for the next five years (with an estimate that 2/3 of people in the United States will own one).  A really, really good argument in favor?  Domino's Pizza claims their app drove over $2 million in business into their stores within three months following the launch.  Clearly, Domino's is a nationally recognized chain already; however, it is a testament to the power of users committed to their smartphone apps. 

There is much to consider before you can decide if a smartphone app is right for your business.  Under the right circumstances, it could really help you drive business to your store or improve customer service. 

How about your business -- do you have a smartphone app or are you considering one? 



What is Klout?

Social Sonar - Saturday, December 31, 2011

You may or may not have heard of Klout before. If you ask Klout what "it" is, Klout will tell you that it is a way to measure online influence from social networks. Klout uses information from your connected Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare and Google+ accounts to determine how much you influence your followers. They are working to incorporate other social media sites soon. Klout doesn't measure how much YOU put out in the world. It watches how often your followers and friends are interacting with your posts and re-posting your information. In other words, are you in a town hall meeting with lots of interactions or is your voice echoing in an empty cave?

To help encourage activity, Klout also allows users to give each other a "+K" in certain topics, which range from social media to food. It easily allows each user to Tweet or post their praise on Facebook, and then allows the recipient of the +K to publicly thank Klout and the person who gave them points -- free advertising and pats on the back for all involved. The average Klout user has a "score" of 20 (the range is 0-100). Singer Justin Bieber has a Klout score of 100 and is categorized as a "celebrity." President Barack Obama has a Klout score of 86, a score still high enough to be a "celebrity." Social Sonar's Director of Social Media, Lori Myers, has a score of 60 and is categorized as a "broadcaster." 

How does Klout determine its scores? As mentioned before, Klout tracks when your posts are re-shared, re-tweeted, "liked," commented upon, etc. The spread is your Klout score. Your "true reach" is the number of people you are actually influencing, both in your immediate network and in other people's networks as they share your original post(s). It is important because Klout is able to weed out spam accounts who may be following you but are not actually interacting with you. "Amplification" indicates how much you influence people. It measures the probability that your posts are being re-shared. Your "network impact" measures the influence of your entire network. It essentially determines whether you are interacting with other influential people or just regular ol' Joes. 

What does all of this mean? For now, not much. While Klout is worth keeping an eye on, getting into the Klout game means committing time to actively work your profiles to make sure you are an influencer in your topic(s). Especially as Klout adds more social media sites and works out a few bugs, it may be important in the (near) future to help businesses be more influential in their field and connect with others who are also influencers. 

How about you? Are you or your business on Klout? What is your score and how important do you feel like it is for your business?

Social Media Statistics

Social Sonar - Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A web analytics company, comScore, just released a report called "It's a Social World: Top 10 Need-to-Knows About Social Networking and Where It's Headed."  Here are some of the highlights, which you can use to help plan where you should spend time promoting your business.

~ Social networking sites have a combined 1.2 billion users, which is 82% of the world's population

~ Nearly 80% of adults over the age of 55 are now connected on social media sites (the fastest rising group)

~ Women between the ages of 15 and 24 spend the most time on social media sites (approximately 8.6 hours per week; 1.1 hours more than their male counterparts)

~ Nearly 1/3 of the U.S. with mobile phones (aged 13 and over) are accessing social media sites on their phone (that number goes up to 64% for those with smart phones with almost 40% doing so every single day)

~ Facebook alone reaches more than half of the world (55%)

~ Facebook accounts for approximately 3 in every 4 minutes of time spent on social networking sites (and 1 in every 7 minutes spent online)

~ Twitter reaches 1 in 10 Internet users worldwide (and has grown 59% in the last year)

~ Google+ is up to 65 million users worldwide, although many still continue to doubt its staying power

Although this report generalizes the world's social media use, you may better know where your customers are "hanging out" on the Internet.  Perhaps simply asking them which site is their favorite will help you determine which social media sites are worth your time. 

Which sites are you currently using for your business?

Simple Ways to Keep the Holiday Spirit

Social Sonar - Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas is literally upon us.  Here are some simple tips to keep the holiday spirit in your store to make 2012 your best year yet. 

1.     Remember to use social media sites to have a conversation with your customer. You can offer discounts and deals but you should also converse with your fans and followers. Responding to questions and comments builds a relationship and your brand.

2.     Build your empire by asking your current customers to bring their friends into the fold. You can offer discounts to those who invite their friends to your business. You can run a contest to see who can bring in the most new fans. Or you can simply ask people to suggest your business to their friends if they are happy with your customer service. However, you do it, word-of-mouth marketing is one of your best bets for building your customer base. 

3.     Offer your own deals. The jury is still out on discount websites like Groupon and Living Social. Customers, of course, love the great deals but businesses lose a lot of money, and often have few return customers. By offering your own discounts and deals through your social media profiles, website and newsletter, you are catering to your own customer-base and rewarding them for their loyalty. 

4.     Connect your brick-and-mortar store to your online profiles. You should advertise in-store which social media sites you are using. You should have links on your website, but you should also have in-store signs, which let your customers know where they can find you in the virtual world. 

5.     Encourage check-ins. Offer discounts for checking-in to your store on Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, Gowalla or other apps that allow customers to announce to their friends that they are in your store. Facebook now groups certain posts together, so if multiple customers are checking-in, their friends on Facebook will see that your store is a popular place. 

Remember a social business is a happy business. Social Sonar wishes every a very safe and Happy Holiday Season. We look forward to entering 2012 with you and watching each and every one of your businesses grow. 


Tips for Using Twitter

Social Sonar - Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Twitter can be a powerful tool for building your business. Just ask Lady Gaga - she currently has the highest number of Twitter followers in the world.

Here are some quick tips to get the rest of us started without recording an album.

Lady Gaga TwitterFind followers

There are many theories about the best way to get people to follow you. However, the easiest way is to follow them first. One in four people you follow will generally follow you back. If you search for terms that are relevant to your business, you can find potential followers ripe for the picking! You can also check out your competitors and follow some of their followers. You can avoid "spam bots" by not following people who have no tweets, or x-rated photos and links on their profiles.

Tweet content

Most people on Twitter do not want to see a steady stream of "canned" tweets. Although it is fine to Tweet links, you should also ask questions and have conversations with your followers. It will make you seem more like a "real" person. Don't be afraid to re-tweet great content. Just because you didn't write it, doesn't mean you can't share it.

Tweet frequently

There are multiple theories about this topic as well, but most estimates range from two to five tweets per day. The content should be varied. Maybe one or two tweets about your company. You can also tweet about the industry. Some can be re-tweets. You should also be tweeting at optimal times. If you are tweeting at 3 a.m., most of your audience may be in bed, and your message will be lost in the timeline by the time they are awake and checking Twitter.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags (# -- the pound sign) help mark certain keywords for tracking on Twitter. Often people and programs search for hashtagged words to re-tweet or gather related stories. Learning to properly mark your keywords with hashtags can help you gather followers who are interested in what you are tweeting about.

Track clicks

Twitter automatically shortens the links you include in your tweets now, but if you want to track clicks, you can use bit.ly. It's a free service which shortens your links so that you can use more of your 140 characters for content. It also tracks the number of people clicking and sharing your links.


Twitter can definitely open your business up to a whole new audience. Just use this guide to get you started. You'll be off and running in no time with the Twitter world at your fingertips!

Social Media and Lead Generation

Social Sonar - Saturday, December 17, 2011
Although most social media experts suggest focusing on building your brand and having a conversation with your customers rather than trying to make a sale, you want to know that the time you are spending on social media sites is actually paying off. Webmarketing123 recently released a report entitled, "Social Media: The Tailwind for SEO & Lead Generation." This is a summary of their report and recommendations. 

One important way to help build your brand is to raise your ranking in search engines. Almost five billion inquiries are processed on major search engines every single day. Search engine optimization (SEO) is about getting your business to the top of those lists. By cross-promoting Facebook posts, likes and tweets, you will link your social media optimization (SMO) to your SEO program. Therefore, by communicating with your customers on social media sites, you may actually raise your SEO rankings. 

Webmarketing123 suggests mapping out your plan as follows:

    1.    Diagram: Choose your social networks.
    2.    Test: Figure out which types of campaigns work best with your audience.
    3.    Strategize: Decide which content you will promote.
    4.    Implement: Launch your campaign and grow your audience.
    5.    Monitor: Track growth.
    6.    Measure: Measure return on engagement (ROE) across periods of time.
    7.    Optimize: Develop fresh content and schedule posts and tweets to encourage customer interaction.

Your ultimate goal is to drive more traffic to your website, which raises your SEO rankings and makes it easier for customers to find you.  You also want to boost the number of "likes" on Facebook and increase re-tweets or replies.  Both people and search engines like fresh, keyword-rich content.  By keeping Facebook and Twitter updated with engaging and interesting content, you are improving your rankings. 

Close the circle by adding share buttons on your website.  This makes it simple for customers on your website to "like" or tweet about new content.  You should also cross-promote your blog on Facebook and Twitter.  Learn how to use keywords and hashtags on Twitter, so that search engines will add them to the search results page, which will help drive more traffic to your website. 

You can the measure your ROE by monitoring traffic on Google Analytics, measuring your buzz on Facebook and growing your followship on Twitter.  "In social media, your ROI is your ROE."

The social media/SMO/SEO/ROE/ROI world can be very confusing.  If you would like us to explain how social media can help improve your business, please let us know!