Archive for June, 2009

Social Media. It’s Time for Ad Agencies to Be Creative

By: Michael Gass (FUEL LINES)

As ad agencies, we don’t need to apply old media applications to the most exciting new medium to emerge in decades. The real opportunity is for us to do something as new as the medium itself. The art isn’t in what social media does, it’s in what we do with it. What will it be? 

I was recently introduced to Edward Boches through Twitter. He sent me a nice complimentary message which mentioned that he was with the Mullen agency.

I had gone up against Mullen on a number of occasions for new business pitches so I checked out his Twitter profile. I was impressed to learn Edward is the Chief Creative Officer for Mullen (There aren’t a lot of agency creative directors that I’m aware of who understand or participate in social media).

From his profile I discovered the link to his blog “creativity_unbound.” Reading through his posts I was very impressed by his understanding and passion for social media. Then I came across a post that he had written, “Twitter. It’s time for brands and agencies to get more inventive.”  

My first impression after reading his post. Here is a creative director who get’s it. Who not only has a good understanding of Twitter but also social media.  Edward realizes that brands and agencies have been slow to get on the bandwagon but I get a sense of his excitement knowing what is going to happen when more agencies “get it” and we allow our creative juices to flow for how social media can be used

A few excerpts from Edwards post:

While there are plenty of brands already using Twitter – GM, Comcast, JetBlue, Dell, and Starbucksto name a few– many of them are simply applying old media applications to one of the most exciting new mediums to emerge in decades.”

“Sure you can do all the things you did in other media on Twitter … the real opportunity is to do something as new as the medium itself.”

“Nearly 2500 brands have taken the initiative to tweet and connect. But as with any technology the art isn’t in what Twitter does, it’s in what you do with it. What will it be?”

My second impression. I’m not sure Edward knows how brilliant his post is from a new business perspective. Hopefully you’ll “get it” when you read it. Let’s just say if I were LowesBarnes and Noble or UnderArmor I would make contact with Edward ASAP!

If they are social savvy they would be monitoring what is being said about their brands, have already read his post and made contact.


TRIBUTE to GRAFFITI :: Beautiful Graffiti Artwork

Via: Smashing Magazine

Street culture and graffiti are well-known for being provocative, appealing, bold and uncompromising. Originally used by gangs to mark their territory in some urban area, graffitis have now become a rich medium for unrestricted expression of ideas and statements. In fact, creative designers and artists across the globe use this form of art to deliver their message and showcase their work.

Marquis Lewis




Lois In Wonderland




Collaboration between 3dom and Voyder

Walt Jabsco





Peter Baker


FUN PHOTOGRAPHY – Found on the Web


Found on the Web: June 13, 2009

(with E-Captions)



modern day escher


Boom Chicka WowWow

Boom Chicka WowWow



bend over backward



 confucious say



cool cat




40 Ways to Take Your Ad Agency’s Blog to the Next Level

By: Michael Gass




As important as it was for your ad agency to have a website, it is now equally important that your agency have a blog. A blog is the gateway to your agency.

Many agencies have a blog to be able to say, “yes, we have an agency blog.” But their blog’s content  is all over the place. No focus, no target, no purpose and therefore no traffic.

Here are 40 ways to help take your agency’s blog to the next level:

  1. Make your target audience crystal clear. 
  2. Build a community that keeps coming back for helpful, relevant content.
  3. Consistently deliver original content.
  4. Be personal and conversational in your tone. This isn’t an academic exercise.
  5. Post consistently but don’t post just to post. Make sure your material is worth the read.
  6. Asks questions, enlist feedback. You’ll build a loyal audience if they can contribute.
  7. Get your own unique URL. This is critical if you are on a site such as, Typepad or Blogger and you decided to change platforms.
  8. Have a clean layout that highlights your content, not a bunch of sidebar widgets.
  9. Highlight your best posts based upon your blog’s analytics, with a Best Of or Most Popular Posts page.
  10. Have a “cornerstone” post that is a summation of your blogs purpose, your point of differentiation, your stake in the sand.
  11. Start out with, an easy platform to upgrade from without dependency upon someone from your IT department and allows you to concentrate on the most important part of your blog, the writing.
  12. Dominate a few key words that your target audience will most likely use to find you. 
  13. Your blog’s design and layout should be configured for SEO.
  14. Get in the habit of checking your blogs analytics frequently. Keep it simple, but know at least daily the number of unique visitors, page views, top posts, how people got to your blog, search terms and incoming links. 
  15. Provide links to and from your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.
  16. Include your blog address on your business cards as well as your email signature. 
  17. Allow your blog to become the “gateway” to your agency.
  18. Become the face of your agency. We are in a relationship business. Your blog should be your central platform for online engagement with your prospective client audience. People want to work with people they know, like and trust.
  19. You don’t have to be naked but be transparent. 
  20. Repurpose your blogs content using Twitter and Twitter tools such as Tweetlater.
  21. At the bottom of a post provide “Additional articles that may be of interest” and have a bullet pointed list of relevant articles as a convenience to your audience.
  22. State the purpose of your blog in the header. Don’t force people to have to dig to find out what your blog is about because most often times they wont!
  23. Don’t sell! The moment you start to sell on your blog is when you will most likely lose your audience.
  24. Show that you have a genuine compassion for your audience and a willingness to help with their marketing challenges and obstacles by “giving away your thinking.” 
  25. Always lead with “the nugget, the takeaway” of the post. Use an inverted pyramid newspaper style of writing.
  26. Identify who your audience is in your post titles. This is especially helpful when you repurpose your content on Twitter and an important part of SEO for your blog.
  27. Always take the time to link when writing about another person, company post or website. 
  28. People reading differently online so write for “scan-ability.” 
  29. Have a disciplined, organized, strategic approach to your online reading by using an RSS Reader. I recommend using Google Reader. Stay committed to it until you get through the awkward stage.
  30. If you are using, in the Tool Section of your Dashboard add “PressThis” button to your browser bar. It will simplify adding new material to a draft that you can later turn into a posts.
  31. If you are referencing resource material that isn’t specific to your target audience, in your intro paragraph “bridge the gap” so that they understand how it is relevant to them.
  32. Take time to develop your post titles. Great titles will generate traffic.
  33. Mix up your blog with occasional videos, podcast interviews, write something more personal that your audience might not know about you.
  34. Include search tool at the top of your blogs side bar to make it easier for your audience to find content.
  35. Be sure and list your blog site on Google, Yahoo and Technorati.
  36. Include your blog feed in your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
  37. Make it easy for people to contact you. 
  38. Encourage dialogue, feedback and engage your with audience. Allow for differing points of view. Remember to, “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
  39. Comment on the well known blogs that your prospective audience are reading. This will help generate interests and traffic back to your blog.
  40. Make sure your blog’s URL is on all of your other social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.


Why You Should Be Twittering More

Posted by:

Not everyone in your business gets it. When they walk by your desk and see you looking at Facebook or Twitter they sneer, or even say, “get back to work.”

They don’t “get it”, because you are working!


The social media space is becoming more important everyday. You can tell it’s gaining influence because traditional marketers are now spamming it in hopes of proving some ROI plan they sold to their boss.

Recently, activity on Twitter crashed servers with an overwhelming surge of traffic and has been dubbed The Twitter Effect.

How could a single tweet generate that much traffic?

First of all, of course it was a big factor that Pete Cashmore is one of the people on Twitter with the most followers (people who have subscribed to his tweets). According to Twitterholic, he has more than 50,000 followers.

But the key here may not be just the number of followers of the initial tweeter, but the retweets. A retweet is when a Twitter user resends a message so that his/her own followers can share it. Pete Cashmore was the most retweeted Twitter user during the period when the affected blog went down (according to Retweetist).

In that case, the tweet was:

“Reading: “How to use Twitter to find your next job” –

Clearly a hot topic put forward by a respected member of the Twitter community. Of course, don’t overlook the good work done by Michael Litman who came up with a powerful title for his post, good social media is usually tightly intertwined with good seo/sem.

So how do you become a bright light within the Twitterati? It takes time and work. One of the best analogies I have come across was by Todd Defren at SHIFT communications. He talks about entering the arena the same way you would enter the neighborhood block party if you had just moved into the neighborhood.

You’d hang back a little, insert yourself mildly into a wedge of conversation, and ingratiate yourself. You’d be a gentleman.

And yet there might still be moments of awkwardness. All the neighbors already know each other. There are cliques. There’s context, politics and in-jokes to figure out. You wouldn’t expect to be the life of the party right away. But, you knew that going in… so, to help grease the skids, you brought some nice bottles of wine and some of your killer BBQ ribs.

Can you dedicate 2 minutes out of each hour to check twitter? That would only be 16 minutes in an average work day, you probably spend more time than that figuring out where to go for lunch.

Start slowly by following people you respect in your area, or your business. For example if you are a newspaper in Raleigh, you might want to check out twitterholic and see who the top tweeters are. You could even use something like TwitterLocal to see who might be worth following that tweets less often, nearby tweets shows you who is tweeting all around you right now.

Once you get an idea of the ebb and flow within Twitter, you can start contributing. Don’t start selling your site, start selling yourself. You are someone who contributes good stuff. You add to the conversation. When you respond to others, help them, they will allow you in. They will “follow” you. Once real people start to follow you because they think you add something valuable, you have made progress.

If you were a newsie and could retweet (RT) that you your followers quickly, they would have been impressed. You probably would have picked up a few new followers.

Another bonus is that you are sometimes privy to information that slips out via Twitter. You might even come across a Tweet from the head of the BBC newsroom, Peter Horrocks, to the director of global news, Richard Sambrook about some new appointments at the BBC that were meant to stay private.

Then comes the next hard question. Michael Gray had a great tweet a while ago:

For all those people out there who want more followers on twitter what will you do with them, for them or to them when they follow you

If you had 50,000 tweeple following you, what would you do with them?

Whatever you answer is, that’s the reason you should be twittering more.

What Sesame Street can Teach us About Breakthrough Blogging

By: Sonia Simone


They taught us about sharing and the letter Q. They taught us to jump rope in Spanish and how to count to 10. They taught us about life in the city, diversity, and the true love of a rubber ducky.

But did you know that Sesame Street actually has lots of lessons about how to be a better blogger?

There’s a reason Sesame Street is the longest-running children’s show in history. Actually, there are (at least) five reasons. And you can apply each of these to your blog, to create something that’s memorable, effective, and maybe even loved.


1. Testing, testing

Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller The Tipping Point revealed something surprising about our favorite show.

When we watch, everything feels very casual and unforced. You’d never guess that Sesame Street was actually shaped by round after round of rigorous testing with pint-sized focus groups.

Groups of little children were allowed to watch the show, with another appealing diversion just across the room. In other words, the testers tried to pull the children’s focus away.

Each time a child’s attention skipped away from Sesame Street, the producers made a note. That segment needed to be made more “sticky,” more compelling, more effective.

Kids are riveted to Sesame Street because the show is designed to be riveting. It looks informal and fun, but behind the fun is a lot of analysis.

How you can apply it: Don’t shy away from giving your analytics program a workout. (Google Analytics is free and excellent, but there are other options as well.)

Find out what kind of content rivets your audience and glues them to the screen, and what kind has your readers skipping away to find something more interesting.

Do more of what works. Do less of what doesn’t.


2. The people in your neighborhood

What would Sesame Street be without Cookie Monster? Or Bert and Ernie? Or Oscar, for heaven’s sake?

I’ll even admit that Elmo has a small (annoyed) place in my heart.

The storytelling in Sesame Street is grounded in memorable characters. The lessons, both academic and emotional, stick with us longer because they’re brought to life by lovable, familiar faces.

Storytelling and great characters create empathy, emotional involvement, intense interest, and even a sense of belonging. When we watch, we feel that Sesame Street is our neighborhood.

How you can apply it: Embrace your inner Grover. Be a character on your blog. That character can be quiet or loud, smart or dopey, brave or cowardly. Don’t be afraid to be yourself, with all your strengths and weaknesses.

Even if you’re a little bit goofy. Or furry. Or blue.


3. Make it snappy

Sesame Street’s segments are bite-sized and don’t demand too much attention or time. They keep the energy high with humor, music, color and fun.

Each segment gets to a very specific point, and it does that quickly. The show’s writers understand that their preschool-age viewers have the attention spans of fruit flies.

Unfortunately, our grown-up readers do, too.

How you can apply it: Keep things moving. Punchy, brief posts nearly always outperform weighty tomes. Yes, Maki can pull it off, but most of the rest of us can’t.


4. Focused variety

While the imagination of a child is nearly limitless, the focus of Sesame Street is nicely constrained.

Letters. Numbers. Emotional or confusing situations faced by preschool children. That’s about it.

Sesame Street uses the same sets, the same characters, the same animation styles, the same motifs to make these points again and again. There’s certainly enough variety to keep everyone interested, but the show never sprawls. They know exactly what they’re there to do, and they stick to the territory they’ve staked out for themselves.

How you can apply it: Strive for the same balance of focus and variety. Yes, you want to mix things up so your readers don’t get bored. But you also need to find your own best territory, then explore that thoroughly.

Don’t worry too much if you haven’t defined your territory yet. It can take some time to find your own “sweet spot.” But when you do, stick with it.


5. Once more, with feeling

Watch Sesame Street for a week and things will start to look strangely familiar.

The show’s writers know that little children need repetition to learn. But they don’t hammer away at the letter A for an entire hour. That would bore their audience to tears. Or at least tantrums.

Instead, Sesame Street comes back to the same lessons again and again, at intervals. Every day, people interact with Oscar and learn about handling grouches. Every day, the Count sings about his love of numbers. Every day, a letter and a number are selected. The show comes back to that letter and number again and again, in short bursts, with other material in between.


How you can apply it: If your blog has key themes (and it should), you’re going to repeat yourself. It’s natural to try to avoid that, but you shouldn’t.

Repetition is how you’ll get your most important points across. You’ll have to keep working to create fresh angles, metaphors, and interesting new frameworks for those ideas. That’s where a little art (and craft) can come in handy.

Try putting these five techniques into your blog. You might not create something as magnificent as Sesame Street. But isn’t it worth shooting for?

9 Benefits of TWITTER for Bloggers



I was a little slow getting onto Twitter last year (when so many other bloggers embraced it). To be honest I didn’t think it had much to offer me – I’m beginning to see how wrong I was.

In this post I want to explore how I’m using Twitter to:

  • improve the quality of my blogs
  • network with other bloggers
  • widen my readership
  • grow my profile
  • drive traffic to my blogs

Before I get into some of the benefits of Twitter – let me say that I’m still new to it as a medium. I’m in a phase of experimenting and finding my voice. So please treat this as a progress report rather than a complete and definitive one.

Also note that tomorrow I’ll share some of the more practical tips of how I’m finding Twitter to be most useful. Today is more the ‘benefits’ and tomorrow I’ll make some suggestions about how to use the tool more effectively. Subscribe to my feed to ensure you don’t miss that post.

The Benefits of Twitter (to me)

One of the main things that I’ve discovered about Twitter is that no two Twitter users are using it in the same way. Almost every Twitter user that I come across tells me that they have a different objective when it comes to using it and are benefiting from it differently.

As a result I won’t attempt to write a definitive list of the benefits of Twitter – but will share how I’ve found it to benefit me (feel free to add your own comments).

1. Research Tool

One of the things that I’ve come to enjoy about Twitter the most is the way that it can be used when you’re researching a post.

  • Stuck for inspiration? Twitter and idea and see what others add to it.
  • Need an example for a point you’re making? Twitter it and you might get some good ones.
  • Got a question that you’re stuck on? Ask it to your followers to see what they think.
  • Need to test a hypothesis? Do a straw poll on your followers.

The beauty of Twitter is that it’s quick, is used by a wide variety of types of people and because of the 140 character limit to messages it keeps interactions concise, manageable and productive (usually).

Example – Let me illustrate this with a ‘live’ example. Lets just say that I’m writing a post on RSS feed subscriptions and wanted to find out how many feeds people were following. I’d post a Tweet like this:


Now I actually posted that Tweet a few minutes ago and in the time that it took me to grab a screen shot of the tweet and made myself a coffee I’ve had the following responses:


What other medium can you gather that kind of data in 5 minutes? (actually by now – 10 minutes later there have been 30 responses and it’s the middle of the night for most of my followers).

2. Reinforce (and expand) Your Personal Brand


I’ve written previously about how I’ve found interacting on multiple mediums can be important in building your personal brand. Whether it be social networking, blogging, bookmarking, real life interactions etc – all of these ’straws’ when added together can go a long way to building your own brand. Twitter is another ’straw’ in my personal brand (and that of my blogs).

What I’ve found is that I’m getting emails and messages from people saying things like:

  • ‘I used to read you at ProBlogger but had lost track until I found you on Twitter’
  • ‘I subscribe to your RSS feed on the blog but seeing your posts on Twitter reminds me to read them more’
  • ‘I was scanning through someone else’s Twitters yesterday and saw your face. I recognized it from your Facebook account so thought I’d check out you.’
  • ‘I saw your name mentioned the other day on Scott Karp’s Twitter feed. I hadn’t seen your blog for a while and it reminded me to resubscribe.’

This type of comment to me illustrates that Twitter is another useful tool in putting you as a blogger in front of readers and potential readers.

The other thing that I’ll say about branding and Twitter is that it can be used to expand your brand or to show a different side of you. Some of the people that I enjoy following the most on Twitter inject humor into their Twittering that I don’t see on their blogs. There’s also something a little more personal about many of the people I follow on Twitter (even if they Tweet on a ‘professional’ topic – their voice is often more personal than on their blogs).

Example – the wonderful thing about Twitter is that it’s actually others who brand you and not just you who does all the work. Look at the example above and you see that 30 people (it’s now up to 40) answered my question and each time they did they publicly used my blog’s name and linked to my Twitter account. Those 30 or 40 people are collectively being followed by thousands of others and by responding to my question they ’sneezed’ the ProBlogger virus out to them (incidentally I’ve had 15 new followers join up since posting that question just minutes ago).

3. Promote Content

The first thing that people usually ask me when I say that I’m on Twitter is ‘how much traffic does it drive back to your blogs?’ I’ve purposely held off on writing about Twitter as a means to drive traffic until this point in this post because I don’t see it as the main benefit of the tool. Having said that – it can potentially promote content and drive traffic.

I’ve been using a tool called TwitterFeed for the last four weeks (31 days to be exact) to take the headlines and URLs from my blog’s feeds and to publish them in my Twitter account. In that time I’ve seen just over 1350 visitors come from Twitter to Problogger after something like this appears in my Twitter feed each time I post:


That is not a massive amount considering I have over 1000 followers at the moment and considering that it’s .38% of the total traffic that the site has had in that time – however it’s not insignificant because I suspect that Twitter users are a fairly influential bunch of people and could potentially be spreading my URLs wider than just on Twitter (on their blogs etc).

Here’s how my traffic has grown since starting to use Twitter more seriously a month ago.


One surprising thing that I found when I started publishing my stories on Twitter was that some Twitter readers told me that they now read ProBlogger exclusively through Twitter – to the point that they didn’t check the feed any more. At first I was a little concerned by this – but then i realized that it was a good thing because those readers had found a way that fitted more with their own rhythm to read my content.

Twitter had become an alternative subscription method for them. Plus it actually caused these readers to read the blog on the blog rather just in their feed reader – creating increase page views/unique visitor counts.

4. Extend Audience – Find NEW Readers

One challenge that bloggers who’ve been around for a while in their niche can face is that they reach a saturation point. They sometimes feel like everyone who will hear about them has already heard about them and they can see a plateau in their stats. This often happens 6-12 months into a blog.

My encouragement to this type of blogger is to think about where potential readers might be gathering that they’re yet to tap into. I’ve found that this has happened for me with Twitter.

I’ve already touched on how this happens above in the ‘branding’ section – however a number of Twitter users have told me that they’ve just discovered my blogs through my Tweets (and the Tweets of others). There hasn’t been a flood of new readers from this – but my Google analytics says that 27% of of the visitors who have come to ProBlogger from Twitter are ‘new’ to my blogs. For me that’s about 15-20 new readers per day through Twitter – over a year that could definitely add up and those 5000 – 7000 new readers could have a significant impact upon a community.

5. Networking


Another obvious benefit of Twitter is the ability that it gives you to network on a different level with other bloggers, readers and ‘others’. I’ve lost count of the direct messages and group conversations that I’ve had with people that I’d never have ‘met’ any other way.

Already this has opened up some fascinating opportunities to work together on promoting each other’s content, sharing advice etc. It’s also opened up 3-4 opportunities for me to find new guest bloggers for my blogs.

One more thing on a networking front – I find it difficult to put this one into words, but there’s a certain camaraderie that develops when you read what someone’s written every hour or so throughout a day (and know that they’re doing the same with you). For me it’s something like that feeling that you get after spending a couple of days with someone at a conference – you know each other on a whole other level. Difficult to explain and I’m not sure I’ve quite put my finger on what this is (anyone able to say it better?).

6. Previews

Last week on a couple of occasions I released exclusive little previews to Twitter followers of information that I hadn’t yet posted on my blogs. I did this in two ways.

1. Once I posted news that I was yet to break on ProBlogger (I think it was about AdSense retiring their AdSense referral program). I did this because it was important news and I hadn’t yet had time to write up a post. I included in the Tweet that I’d post about it shortly – this created a little anticipation among followers (to the point where a few started direct messaging me asking when my post would go up).

2. The other time I shared a link to a post on ProBlogger that was yet to go live (ie I’d published it as an advance post at a time that was yet to happen – this created a page but no one would have known it was there). I did this as an experiment to see what would happen. The result was that when the post did go live on the blog on the front page it already had comments and a good discussion. I also found that three people had already linked to it. It also helped some readers to feel a little special to get a Twitter exclusive (in fact I’m publishing the link to this post on Twitter 3 hours before it actually goes live on the the blog).

There’s one more thing that I’d like to try in terms of combining this idea of ‘preview’ and the ‘research’ point mentioned above – and that’s to create a private post on my blog that I reveal only to Twitter followers and to then post a draft there of a post I’m working on to get feedback on before publishing it publicly. This would be an interesting exercise and explore the idea of a more communal writing of a post.



One of the things that I’ve been doing lately instead of posting so many ‘Speedlinks’ here on ProBlogger is to share these links on Twitter. I’m doing this largely from Google Reader using a Firefox add-on created by Bob Lee. While Speedlinking is something that has worked reasonably well here on ProBlogger (in posts like this for example) I’m actually finding the medium of Twitter to be well suited to it also.

Note: – if you’re not into Twitter but still want to follow my speedlinks I’m posting alot of them in my Shared Items feed via Google Reader.

8. Story Gathering

A number of times this past week I’ve heard of breaking news in my niches via the Tweets of others. I would have heard of these stories via my news aggregator and the RSS feeds of others eventually – but due to the immediacy of Twitter I heard them just minutes after they broke.

This can be the difference between breaking a story to readers and being second or third at it.

9. Find Out What People REALLY Think

Another observation that I’ve made in the last couple of weeks while on Twitter is that people have a certain level of honesty and rawness on Twitter that they sometimes mask or hide on their blogs. I’m not sure why this is – but perhaps when confronted with saying something in 140 characters they have to strip away some of the disclaimers and politically correct language and just say what they mean.

The good thing about this is that it gives you a sense of what people are really thinking on a topic. This helps you to get to know them on a new level but also helps you keep your finger on the needs and feelings of your potential readers.

So they are some of the benefits that I’ve found of using Twitter. I’d be fascinated to hear how others have found it to be useful. Don’t forget to look out for tomorrow’s post with suggestions on how to improve your blogging with Twitter.

PS: I wrote this post over a number of days. Since starting it Maki at DoshDosh put together his 17 Ways You Can Use Twitter post which has some good suggestions too.

Contemporary Social Media Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

By: Hasan Shirazi

Technology has blessed small businesses to market themselves online in very effective manner through social networking to blogs to search engine optimization and plenty of new and useful marketing tactics.

Most probably these new ways to market small business online will not be effective for every business but if you know the options available to you it can help putting your business on the fast track to achieve success through online marketing.

So here are the three most expeditious and intense ways to market your small business online:

Marketing Maneuver #1: Usage of Blog

Chum relationship with customers is the key to success for small businesses. The matter of fact is that the personal element is what makes a small business work better than a big business. This gives competitive advantage to small businesses by adding value to a product or service that big businesses cannot do. A blogs is the most effective way of identifying and getting connected with the potential customers for a small business owner. Blog writing and commenting on other blogs helps you in creating clients rather than the customers. One lifetime client is worthy than ten customers.

Marketing Maneuver #2: Usage of Social Media

Internet provides numerous ways of getting connected with other people all over the globe. People get connected with each other through chat rooms, forums and other social networking mediums. New tools of social media such as Twitter took this marketing approach to a new level, where it has given an immense contingency to market small business online. It gives you an opportunity of connecting with people where as blogging helps you in making that connection personal. It was not possible to get connected with your clients by using traditional marketing techniques, thanks to social media!
Marketing Maneuver #3: Usage of Search Engine

The most common way of marketing your small business online is creating and populating your blog or a web site with a good content on it so as one types in the keyword your site appears in the search engine results. However, search engine marketing combines few tactics and rely on natural (organic) or (white hat) techniques to market your site. Now a day search engine’s algorithm is entirely different of what it was five years ago. An entire new audience could be brought by mastering in the latest search engine marketing techniques.

Small businesses could be marketed online with many more ways but some degree of success could be found by using these three maneuvers.

Speaking Brand Language, Telling Your Brand Story

Written by Dan Stiff 

Everyone has a Brand story. The question is, who is telling it? You, or the competition? Told well, your Brand story will not only leverage your presence in the marketplace, but it will become the one great differentiator for your company.

Let’s shatter a myth: Brand does not belong to Marketing. In fact, when leveraged well, Brand is a powerful tool that can be used by Sales to boost your company’s performance and profits.

As an sales professional, you need to get comfortable with the success stories of your Brand in the marketplace, and make those stories part of your company’s selling arsenal. By articulating your Brand story, you will convey your company’s impenetrable advantages, engage the customer, and differentiate your products and services from those of competitors.

You should be able to tell your Brand story in thirty seconds. A good way to start thinking along this vein is to ask yourself  these questions:
•    Am I adequately meeting the needs of a buyer who is now more than ever interested in looking at the attributes of Brand in considering products?
•    Am I typically emphasizing concepts that relate to Brand in my presentation to the buyer?
•    Do I even have the words in my vocabulary to express the importance of Brands?

Don’t be surprised if the answer to all three is no. Brand is the crown jewel of the company, yet for too long it’s been considered the property of Marketing. A great Brand story in your hands will give you more focus in your profession, boost performance at work, and improve your customer relationships.

Creating Your Brand Story
Your Brand is made up of the collective experiences of the customers who engage it and the people like you who represent it every day. If it’s your story, you need to make it your story, by being engaged with it and by engaging the customer.

This will not happen overnight. You will need to practice it and, most important, live it. First, though, you need to start crafting a Brand story. Start by answering these questions:
•    What is the history of your Brand?
•    What is the language of your Brand? That is, what are the compelling and emotional words that represent your Brand well?
•    What has been the impact of your Brand on you, your buyers, or the marketplace? If the Brand is new, a better question is: What impact do you believe the Brand is destined to have on the marketplace?

Finding Your Brand Language
How do you start speaking Brand language? Start by becoming a student of your Brand. Learn from your customers how they perceive the Brand and what words they would attach to it. Ask questions of your buyers that help build your Brand language—questions that can get at the customer’s perception of your Brand. These questions can be utilized one-on-one or in a group setting, such as an end-user panel, market research, customer forum, or customer feedback surveys. Your end users are closest to the product and have a keen sense of what the Brand means to them. They can articulate it.

Here are some questions that will help you collect Brand language:
•    Why do you buy from us?
•    What does our product or service do for you that no one else can duplicate?
•    What is your impression of our Brand? How does it improve your lifestyle?
•    How do we build trust and credibility with you as a customer?
•    If our company went away tomorrow, what would be missing in the marketplace?
•    If you have Brand loyalty to us, describe why.
•    If you have Brand loyalty to a competitor, describe why.
•    What are we distinctively known for in the marketplace?
•    What blockbuster product or service was a breakthrough for us in the last five to ten years? Why?
•    If you could tell our CEO one thing about how to improve our personal connection with you the buyer, what would it be?

Turning Your Salespeople into Brand Ambassadors
Studies have shown that the salesperson is the most vital link to the customer. A survey by Prophet Company, management consultants based in San Francisco, found that companies “ranked the sales force as their most effective Brand-building tool, ahead of traditional tools such as advertising and marketing.”

In truth, most companies spend the largest portion of their annual budget not on advertising, but rather on the investment they make in their salespeople. If that is the case for you, then make a concerted effort to build each salesperson into a Brand Ambassador who will become a “walking billboard for the Brand.” The study went on to say that “what drives customer perceptions during the purchase cycle is traditionally managed by other parts of the company, outside of marketing.” Salespeople are key to driving customer perceptions of your Brand.

Salespeople need to tell a Brand story that is rich and has history, using Brand language that is evocative and memorable. A great Brand story will knit you and your customers together as people with similar experiences and similar heritage—just like a family. If your customers only knew this story, they would understand how your company thinks, who you are, and why it makes sense to do business with you. 

Once you have created a Brand story and language that reflects it, get it to the lips of all of your salespeople. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.