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October 19, 2010 / Muhammad Yasin

Free Social Media Tools for Small Business

 

One of the beauties of Social Media is that even a lemonade stand can manage a great social media presence while running a tight ship financially. I recently had the pleasure of writing a guest blogging for Roundpeg, a full service marketing firm serving the Indianapolis small business community. In that blog I laid out a free social media start up kit for small businesses (read it here). This blog expands on the idea of “Inspecting What You Expect” through social media measurement tools. you will find free social media tools broken up into four categories (Monitoring, Content Management, Diagnostic, and ROI). Read it, then add your own contribution to the comments section. Enjoy!

 

Monitoring

 

Content Management

  • Sign up for the free versions of HootSuite and CoTweet.
  • Create a content calendar segmented by topics, write your content in advance, and use the scheduling features of HootSuite  or CoTweet to release it over time.
  • When you share a link, shrink it with bit.ly or the built-in shrinking tool in HooteSuite

 

Diagnostic

 

Return On Investment (ROI)

  • Use unique links when sharing in social media channels and measure traffic/sales. If you are meeting face to face, ask how they found you. Bit.ly and HootSuite have decent stats on click-through. This information will help you tweak your content to what your audience actually wants to read.
  • Keep an eye on your Klout score, and follow the suggestions it gives you, but don’t treat it as the gospel.

 

Keep your eyes on the prize as you grow and remember, the more data you gather, the easier it will be for you to tweak your social media presence and make it more effective at driving your small business bottom line.

 

Remember to add your own links to the comment section.

 

Be awesome,
Muhammad Yasin

 

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October 13, 2010 / Muhammad Yasin

If You Don’t Have Anything Good To Say, Keep Your Mouth Shut: Business Social Media Writing Tips

 

As you read blogging tips written for businesses, you will notice that volume of content is mentioned over and over again. “Post 300-500 words.” “Post 3 times a week.” “Make sure you stuff those keywords into your post or no one will ever read it.” I. Call. Shenanigans! Sure, content is king, but you can do more harm than good trying to meet these goals at the expense of GOOD content. So, without further delay, some tips:

 

1) So, Um, What Do You Want?

Before you start developing social media content, find out what your audience wants to read about. This can be as simple as asking your customers what they want to know. Take a random sampling as you are chatting with your customers. Also, keep a list of the types of questions people ask, FAQ’s are great fodder for B2C blogs and very easy to write. bundle a few like topics together and you’re done.

 

2) SEO what?

Social Media has great SEO impact. It is very important to consider it in your content development and you will see that advice throughout my posts. However, you should never keyword stuff your blog, tweet, facebook post, etc. at the expense of good content. I suggest that you write in three stages: Write your post, revise it from an SEO perspective, re-revise it to make sure it doesn’t look like you revised it with SEO in mind.

 

3) Keep Your Mouth Shut

If you are a professional content developer, or publication site, you should absolutely be sticking to a vigorous schedule of releases with fresh content coming coming throughout the week. However, as a business, you are likely to burn your audience out if you talk to them that much on your company blog. If you are developing your own content, instead of hiring someone, it is very easy to write a crappy blog every once in a while just to meet your deadlines. Don’t worry about the deadline! If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything. Your audience would much rather receive a selection of insightful, and well curated, blogs versus a lot of content that isn’t impactful.

 

So, I’m going to ask you to do one thing: Spread the word to your network. You are free to write great content again!

 

Go forth and be awesome,

Muhammad Yasin

October 10, 2010 / Muhammad Yasin

Flavor Of The Week 10-9-10: Weekly News Roundup


Flavor Of The Week is a roundup of articles that I found interesting during the prior week. Being the geek that I am, most will generally be tech related. But I reserve the right to wander totally off-task and post something completely unrelated. When you get done reading, you should add your own Flavor Of The Week links in the comments section. I will repost them on twitter… minus blatant spam. Enjoy!

 

1) Social Media Startup Kit For Small Business

 

In response to droves of social media questions I have been getting from small businesses and entrepreneurs, I wrote a guest post for the great folks over at Roundpeg, A marketing firm serving the Indianapolis small business community. Give it a read, learn stuff, share it with your network, contact me to write for you.

 

| Read Article | Tweet Article |

 

2) Gap Rebrands With Appalling Logo, Interwebs Revolt

 

Corporate design phoned it in this week with two absolutely atrocious rebrands. Gap claimed that their new logo was, “more contemporary and current”. Apparently their marketing team is woefully out of touch. A few days later, after being roasted on the interwebs, Gap announced a “crowdsourcing” campaign to find a new design (read: we blew our rebrand budget and want to steal good ideas for free).

 

| Read Article | Tweet Article |

 

3) WTF?! + #megafail = New MySpace Logo

 

With a design choice rivaling the insanity of Gap, MySpace announces a new logo so bad that everyone I showed it to immediately thought it was a joke. One Twitter user posted, “This is not an Onion article: MySpace’s new logo is My______”. This is another example of how far out of touch with reality MySpace has become… sad really.

 

| Read Article | Tweet Article |

 

4) Facebook Adds New Features

 

Facebook has been on a bit of a roll this year rolling out upgrades. The new features have gotten a lot of press. I’m on the fence at the moment, but excited to see if they can pull off the idea of social CAPTCHA. Do you think the upgrades are a win or a yawn?

 

| Read Article | Tweet Article |

 

5) Awesome Map of Online Communities Base on Influence

Fictional map of online communities

 

I’m a big infographics geek and found this uber-interesting. Flowing data is right that, “It’s most interesting when you compare it to the 2007 map where MySpace, Yahoo, and Windows Live ruled the land.” My oh my, how things change. Makes me wonder how long Facebook will be able to stay on top.

 

| Read Article | Tweet Article |

 

6) Social Media: The New Frontier of Crime

 

Crime is not new to the interwebs, but there is a definite lack of coverage regarding it. Kit Eaton, one of my favorite tech writers EVER, wrote a great story for Fast Company. Read it, really, I ‘d love to hear what you think.

 

| Read Article | Tweet Article |

 

As always, don’t forget to share your own #flavoroftheweek link/comments below. I will retweet.

Muhammad Yasin

October 3, 2010 / Muhammad Yasin

Flavor Of The Week 10-2-10: Weekly Roundup


Flavor Of The Week is a roundup of articles that I found interesting during the prior week. Being the geek that I am, most will generally be tech related. But I reserve the right to wander totally  off-task and post something completely unrelated. When you get done reading, you should add your own Flavor Of The Week links in the comments section. I will repost them on twitter… minus blatant spam. Enjoy!

 

Recently I have been thinking a lot about doing data analysis on the best time to release blogs posts on twitter. This report really drove home the importance of that actually completing that project. With only 60 minutes to make an impact, you had better make every tweet counts.

 

Although I’m a blackberry user, I’m not totally convinced about this product. I’m also not really clear on what their distribution model is. Without 3G/4G it will be an awfully hard sell through wireless carriers… which is where I’m used to buying blackberry products. I’m going to reserve judgment until I see it in the wild.

 

The uber-crowded URL shortening arena just got even more crowded with Google bringing its considerable muscle to the market. They may have arrived a bit late, but I have a feeling this will eat up a LOT of market share very quickly. If you’ve given it a try, let me know what you think of it.

 

Kanye gets hacked, song leaks, feelings are hurt, threats are made, G.O.O.D. Friday goes on a day late.

 

 

Tweeteorites “scans favorites from Twitter users and builds “favorite streams” of what a person’s friends are favoriting.” The interface is still a little rough. however, the feature I love is the “Ego Boost” tool which shows you which of your tweets have been favorited. Once they fix their server instability, I will be adding this to my toolkit of free social media resources to monitor your content effectiveness.

 

What do you have to share?

Muhammad Yasin

September 26, 2010 / Muhammad Yasin

Wordclouds As A Social Media Tool: Pretty & Cheap!

The content you create will have a powerful impact on your brand value and SEO results. I’m a huge proponent of injecting personality into your content. However, as you chat football and craft beers, make sure that your core message remains intact. Wordclouds are a great way to measure how well you are doing at keeping in-line with your SEO keywords as you interact and create content. I like Wordle.net because it is quick and produces some beautiful wordclouds that are customizable visually. Also, they are free… works out well because I’m cheap!

 

 

 

That’s it. Three steps and you’re done. Pretty isn’t it?

 

Go forth and be awesome,
Muhammad Yasin

 

September 4, 2010 / Muhammad Yasin

Twitter Therapy & PR

 

My post yesterday on Kanye West’s use of social media was very timely. This morning he took to Twitter and spent HOURS baring his soul to fans, attempting to apologize for wrongs in his past, and thanking twitter for giving him a forum to reach out. An hour later, he is already getting press. This is an excellent example of how much impact you can make by being yourself while on social media. From a PR standpoint, color me impressed.  

You can read the tweets here

Do you see more of this type of candid dialogue on the horizon from other brands or individuals as they move into social media? 

-Muhammad Yasin

September 2, 2010 / Muhammad Yasin

Social Media Lessons Learned From A Narcissist

 


As I study how to improve my own social media efforts, Kanye West has emerged as an unlikely poster child for how to do things right. He’s a guy you need to keep an eye on (and not just for the pure theatrics of his life). Here a 5 best practices that he’s using to blow up on social media.

 


1)     Be An Early Adopter, But Not Bleeding Edge

Kanye has been blogging for quite a while, but he just recently added Twitter to his active communication war-chest. Reserve accounts in advance, to ward off theft of your brand, but don’t let consultants talk you into being active in networks that you don’t really need.

 

2)      Keep it Fresh

Kanye posts multiple times a day to his Twitter account. updates his blog several times a week, and keeps fresh content on his Facebook page while using other properties, like Ustream, on an as-needed basis. Another key way to Keep It Fresh is to let your personality show through your posts. Don’t be scared, it’ll differentiate you from the crowd!

 

 


3)     Customize Everything!

All of Kanye’s social media properties are customized visually instead of using the cookie cutter templates/icons. The themes convey a consistent messages and brand across all mediums.

 

 


4)      Mix Up Your Media Types

300 word blog posts may still be the foundation of social media, but try mixing it up from time to time with shorter form posts, video, even audio. Video and audio make perfect sense for a music artist, but blogging via podcast  from time to time can help keep things engaging for even the most unglamorous industry.

 

5)      Talk TO Folks, Not Just AT Them

Sure, use Social Media to get your message across, but remember that it should be a conversation, not a monologue.

 

 

Conclusion

Keep your communication mediums diverse, post fresh content regularly, and for god’s sake LET YOUR PERSONALITY SHINE THROUGH!

What do you think?

 

 

Go forth and be awesome,

Muhammad Yasin

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