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[Reposted from http://www.mike-g.ca/mgxc/growing-your-business-online/]

How do I make use of the Internet to take my business to the next level and start generating revenue?

Just the fact that you may be asking the question, tells me that you’re on the right track. More often than not, folks jump right into building a website, starting a blog, and sending out Tweets without ever thinking about what specifically they are trying to accomplish in doing so.

“That’s simple, I’m trying to grow my business. I need to be on all the social media because my competitors are, and that generates them business.”

Yeah, but how? Did it really help them, or is that just your assumption? And if it did indeed build them up, what were they doing right? What’s your game plan?

Too many business out there are trying to jump in on the latest trends, and think that just simply having a Facebook fan page, LinkedIn profile, and Twitter feed are going to generate them a whole lot more business. Sorry to say, it doesn’t work like that. If you don’t have clear goals (and the right benchmarks to measure those goals against) in place, you’re wasting time and resources.

There is a lot to know, and it’s important to avoid the pitfalls along the way. From website design, to properly implementing and executing a social media strategy, I will be creating posts that are designed to help answer your questions and guide you down the right path so that your business can grow effectively online from the perspective of someone who has been in the game for over 15 years.

Every week, I will be posting a new article on properly planning your strategy, designing your site, and marketing your business through the Internet. I always welcome your comments and questions, and hope that you all find this helpful.

Peace.

Mike G

During an interview on Ottawa CBC Radio One with Kathleen Petty and Alistair Steele, the JimWatson.ca, the site for Ottawa mayoral candidate and Pondstone client, Jim Watson, was dubbed the best among all contenders.

Full text of the interview below:

Ottawa CBC Radio One, Kathleen Petty’s show

KP: Alistair Steele’s been looking at the brave new world of online electioneering… So get me back on track here, Alaistair – what did you find out?

AS: Well, Kathleen, I found out that compared to the last election in 2006, there’s been a remarkable upswing in the adoption of new technology, particularly social media sites like the ones that you just mentioned. It’s really quite amazing just how many ways there are now for candidates to reach voters and some of them are making full use of those new tools.

KP: OK, so who gets the most marks for the most impressive site?

AS: Well, I’d say that Jim Watson sets the gold standard here. No surprise, really, given his status, given that he is running for the mayor’s job. His web site is very slick, it’s easy to navigate, it’s uncluttered, it’s topped with a photo that makes him look friendly and approachable, it’s got the simple yet striking grey and red colour scheme. There’s a link to his Flickr page, there’s a slide show where you can see photos of Jim out in the community, there’s a section for campaign news complete with an RSS feed so you can get updates as they come in. You can donate, you can order a sign. And then there are these invitations to follow Jim on Twitter, or you can choose to ‘like’ him on Facebook , and of course there’s a link to YouTube where you can view videos like this one … [clip] … the sound quality’s not great here, which would be about my only complaint about this web site.

For audio of the full interview, go here.

Blu Dot Design and Manufacturing, Inc is a Minneapolis-based furniture company founded and operated by three former college friends who shared a passion for art, architecture, and design. The rest of the Blu Dot Story is as follows:

Our goal is to bring good design to as many people as possible.  Which means creating products that are useful, affordable, and desirable.  To make that happen, our design process is founded on collaboration.  Not just among ourselves as we play show-and-tell with concepts, but a total collaboration between pencil and paper, materials and machines, even packaging and assembly.  We like to think that the form is almost inevitable, a by-product of the process.  Our job is simply to help it emerge as beautifully and as efficiently as possible.

The BlueDot Real Good Experiment is a response to the “resourceful culture of ‘curb-mining‘: the act of finding furniture on the street” which the company became aware of after opening a SoHo location. From the experiment’s site:

Now that a year has passed [since the store's opening], our friends at mono approached us with a way to conduct a curb-mining experiment of our own: What would happen if we left a bunch of Real Good Chairs all over New York, free for the take? Who will grab them? Where will they go? How will they get there? What will their new homes look like?

Thus, the  REAL GOOD experiment was born.

The Real Good experiment and accompanying video (Blu Dot Real Good Experiment from Real Good Chair on Vimeo) is a great example of social marketing. All the chairs that were placed around  the city have found good homes, according to the site (and image below).

To continue to follow the chairs, check out the Flickr and Twitter feeds.

-Jessie W.

Wednesdays, as we all know, can be a bit of a drag: halfway through the week, yet not quite time to celebrate weekend bliss. So here are five site I’ve complied using Stumble Upon (which in itself is a great way to get through the week) to entertain, distract, amuse, divert, engross and other like synonyms.

1.) OK GO: Having posted on the genius that is OK GO before, I’ll keep this run-down brief: the band who arguably made YouTube with their 2005 video for “A Million Ways,” is back with a an outrageously complicated Rube Goldberg machine-inspired video.  According to Wired, the man behind the machine Rube Goldberg, or  Health Robinson contraptions if you’re English, became famous for designing and building “fanciful, bizarrely complex, jury-rigged contraptions to accomplish simple tasks.” OK GO released the Rube Goldberg video for “This To Shall Pass” a few weeks ago and the video features a massive machine whose parts drop, twist, crash and break in a perfect, unbroken harmony to the nearly four-minute video. The video, created by a Los Angeles arts and technology collective Syyn Labs, took months to build with the help of sixty volunteers and two days to film, is explained: here. (Parts two, three and four.)

Follow them on Twitter, or become a fan on Facebook; OK GO is a band that knows social media and how to use it well by not only  generating the content, but also engaging their fans so they will keep coming back, again and again and again.

2.) Billboard Ads: From Best Design Options, the 35 best billboard and related advertisements. My personal favourite:

Cool Billboard Ads - Bic From Best Design Options: “Bic developed this creative outdoor advertisement for their razors.   The billboard is blank except for a small logo, but without it the advertisement might be missed and it acts as a good backdrop for the giant razor and cut grass.  The only draw back is the constant trimming of the lawn.” The other 34 ads can be found: here.

3.) Create your own Jackson Pollock: Love the art but can’t afford the price tag? Then this online DIY project is perfect. Go: here and click enter to create your own abstract impressionism.

Enter Jackson Pollock.org

4.) Wisdom Bits: Music, as they say, is the great communicator. Check out Wisdom Bits here for “nubbins of wisdom from everlasting songmavens”.  Here you can find the best snippets of wisdom from Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” to Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line.”

5.) This last one was intended to be a link to the cheesy, yet endearing Love Letters project, but then I clicked ‘Stumble! and this sink turned up instead. (Don’t let that exclamation mark deceive you; Stumble! is one of the few instances I think an exclamation mark is justified.)

The concrete sink shaped as a fossil is from HighTech. The fossil is an ammonite, an “extinct species of cephalopods which lived in the sea about 400 million years ago. Their shells are found all over the world and they are very much sought-after by fossil-hunters, their value depending on size and the state of preservation. The fascinating shape of ammonite fossils, which resembles a rolled up helix, is the basic design element in the new HighTech wash basin.”

Amazing. Awesome, and another reason Stumble Upon is so addictive.

So, do you Stumble!? If so, what are the best links you’ve Stumbled upon lately?

If you don’t use Stumble Upon, do you use a different/similar tool?

- Jessie W.

From Mashable.com (original story here).

facebook farmville block hate how to

The Facebook-platform game FarmVille has 80 million players. It’s been named social networking game of the year. It’s played by people young and old. It’s bigger than Twitter. But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
The game optionally advertises itself by sending out news feed updates to your friends whenever you accomplish a milestone with your farm or character. When you have lots of friends playing FarmVille, those updates can be ubiquitous enough to drive you a little crazy.
Here we’ll save your sanity by showing you how to hide all those FarmVille news feed updates and notifications without burning any bridges with your passionate social gamer friends.

Hiding Friends’ FarmVille News Feed Updates

facebook farmville hate how to updates news feed status

This task is simple. Any time you see a FarmVille update in your news feed, move the mouse cursor to the right of the update and a “Hide” button will appear as seen above. Click on it.

facebook hide farmville block updates from news feed how to

As illustrated above, you’ll then be given the choice to either hide that friend or just the FarmVille app. Since you probably want to keep seeing your friend’s updates (we hope), click “Hide FarmVille.”  This will hide FarmVille news feed posts from all your friends, not just the one who published that particular update.

block blocking farmville notifications updates news feed facebook updates

Sometimes friends will send you notifications inviting you to join them in FarmVille or other games. These can be annoying if you’re not interested in playing. The easiest way to take care of this is to click the “x” next to the notification when you receive to block the FarmVille application.

But if you want to do this preemptively without waiting for another notification, just search for the FarmVille application using the Facebook search bar, go to the application page, and look for the “Block Application” link directly below the application image. We’ve included a pic above so you’ll know what you’re looking for.

Clicking that and confirming will prevent FarmVille from accessing your information or sending you notifications, but it won’t hide news feed updates from friends.

Facebook is an effective means of communicating with your current and potential members and supporters both for company or a campaign.

For an excellent example of effective use of Facebook, check out Jim Watson’s Facebook page here, Ottawa’s mayoral candidate Jim Watson. As clients of ours, Pondstone coaches campaigns on what to say, when to say it, and how to properly say it.  As Facebook expands, keep your company in the news without overexposure or bothering your base.

- Jessie W.

Boy oh boy.

When will politicians learn?

Twitter has an amazing capacity to help an elected official or a campaign spread messages and allow for online dialogue. But it is a double-sided spear. Twitter can bite back just as strongly as it can help you.

This of course is easily avoided, with a very simple free tool: common-sense.

Canadians have been much better at it since a number of incidents where MPs/staff/elusive hackers sent out Tweets (Tweet: a message sent over Twitter consisting of no more than 140 characters), but it seems our British counter-parts are still learning.

The story can be found here on BBC.co.uk but here is the run-down:

Labour MP David Wright

UK Labour MP David Wright, who’s most recent Tweet states, “What a commotion today. Looks like my tweets have been tinkered with. I will keep you posted – about 18 hours ago”. It seems his ‘Twitter-feed’ sent a message saying something along the lines of Conservatives being “scum-sucking”.

The real juice of this pickle for the Hon. Wright, is Tory chairman Eric Pickles. He is demanding answers from the pickle-ridden Wright.

Tory Chairman Eric Pickles

We must not deny the possibility the Mr. Wright is right and not in quite the pickle Mr. Pickles claims he is, after all it is possible a past (or current, for that matter) staffer or ‘hacker’ gained access to the account and only ‘edited’ the extent harshness of Mr. Wright’s Tweet, but I doubt we will ever really find out.

Again, this really is a matter of common sense. Twitter amplifies everything ‘nasty’ you say. The media is new to what is acceptable and what isn’t and they love stories about Twitter misspeak, or Twoops.

For a great example of effective Twittering, check out @JimWatsonOttawa, Ottawa’s mayoral candidate Jim Watson. As clients of ours, Pondstone coaches campaigns on what to say, when to say it, and how to properly say things. As simple as Twitter may seem to be a little coaching goes a long way.

Remember: Tweets, not Twoops.

Until next time,

-Adam M.

toilet blog Yes, the day has come that large US companies are now paying people to blog about going ‘number 2′. In fact, its a pretty good gig if you can get over the fact that you have to write about your bowel movements for the whole world to read.

$10,000.00 for 5 weeks, in NYC. Yup, $10,000.00.

Read the ad for yourself:

charmin toilet blogging text

Still don’t believe me? Click here.

Enjoy

-Adam M.

Studios clamp down on Twitter

Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz forbidden to tweet about details of fourth Shrek film?

Published on Monday, Oct. 19, 2009 12:28PM EDTLast updated on Monday, Oct. 19, 2009 2:20PM EDT

Hollywood studios, fearing loss of revenue or premature leaking of confidential details, are inserting language in contracts that prohibits staff – even big-name stars – from using social-networking services such as Twitter to disclose details of projects.

Film stars Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz are lined up for a fourth Shrekmovie, set to appear next year. While it would be natural to expect that their contracts would forbid them from revealing plot details via Twitter or Facebook, some Internet sources, including imdb.com and mashable.com, have suggested that the stars have been forbidden to use Twitter at all.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/studios-clamp-down-on-twitter/article1329379/

Giuliano Stroe - Worlds Strongest Kid

Giuliano Stroe - Worlds Strongest Kid

UPDATE: I’ve added a new clip to replace the video that was removed from YouTube. Enjoy.

For those of you who haven’t e-met, let me introduce you to Giuliano Stroe – the world’s strongest kid. Giuliano is 5 years old.

I came across this video this morning on Facebook:

By no means is this the most impressive video but it certainly caught my attention. There are countless more videos of young Giuliano on his YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/stroeiulian04

He also hold a Guinness World Record which you can see here: http://twitter.com/GWRnews/statuses/1172691944

Here is a short video history:

Enjoy

-Adam M.

Social media is gaining popularity among advertisers during the recession.  Businesses are looking for a more cost effective way to reach out to consumers during the recession.

social-media

As advertising dollars grow ever more scarce, companies have been forced to rethink how they reach consumers and have moved away from the traditional 30-second spot to the kinds of targeted, Internet-driven marketing campaigns that have been talked about for years.

The thinking among these media executives is that advances in technology is enabling them to build more detailed profiles of consumers — which can then either be sold as a commodity or employed in their own marketing campaigns.

Next-generation advertising will be driven by the tastes and habits of 14 to 24 year-old “millennials” whose lives center on social networks and Internet-enabled handsets.

A more effective way of reaching these young folks … is to use their social networks as influencers, rather than bombarding them with ads.

full article

Pondstone Communications

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