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Social Media – Making a Case for Non-Profit use

Let's face it, when it comes to going "viral" there are few tools that out pace social media.  The exact tools may differ, but with passion behind the project, goals outlined and a good strategy, social media can increase awareness and fund raising. Articles: Brooklyn Autism: A great case study, Reported ROI = $25 dollars for every dollar spent: Help Hadassah Heal:  Raising $2,500 in 48 hours. California Parks Foundation:  how the CPF built a successful Facebook Fan Page Autism Speaks - Using Social media top promote events How one man raised $91,000 for Charity:  the story of 12Kfor12K challenge The above illustrates how the use of tools like, blogs, Facebook and Twitter, in particular help increase advocacy among Not for Profits.  It's never about asking for money, it's always about getting people to believe in your mission.  Once you have them by the heart, the dollars will follow. What tools have you used in your NFP Social Media campaigns?

An evening with Peter Shankman: Inaugural Social Media Club of Tech Valley Event

The big take aways: Transparency Relevance / Ask your audience how they want to receive information Brevity / Learn to write Top of mind Sponsored in part by NewWard Development, LLC. Visit the Social Media Club of  Tech Valley to learn more or visit us on Facebook! Related articles Come meet Peter Shankman at Union College (timesunion.com) Social media | you can't buy friends or loyalty (swordandthescript.com) Facebook's New Profiles - A Shot through the Heart of LinkedIn? (shankman.com)

How is Social Networking going to benefit my Business?

During yesterday’s seminar one theme that kept cropping up is “How is this going to benefit my business?”  The key to online networking lies in being subtle.  When you are there to offer your information for the benefit of the community, people start paying attention.  The “in your face”, let’s make money, “I made $30,000 in a month” sales tactic does not work.  Today’s consumer is too suspicious and extremely cautious about how their dollar is spent. Don’t get bogged down in the plethora of details on how to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and the like – they are only tools.  The mechanics will come with practice.  The real question is:  What is your intent?  If you are here to build relationships, make real connections and share your expertise, then you will succeed.  There is a lot of “noise” online – and most users of social networks filter out the noise to find the real pearls of wisdom.  Those are the people you want to make authentic connections with.  I know I sound like a broken record… but I can not stress the point enough.  People want to do business with real people, people want to donate to not-for-profits they see making a difference.  So, share your stories, offer up your knowledge and let your prospects come to you.   Don’t you want to attract the people into your business that already see the value?  It is so much easier to sell to a person who already perceives your product / service as a valuable asset then it is trying to convince someone they need you.  It’s easier then it sounds and I know it’s also risky.  You are putting yourself out there for better or [...]

Why Giants Fall

    The news is littered with the potential demise of the icons of corporate America.  Citigroup, GM, and the like have fallen pray to the financial markets, economic uncertainty, the “recession”…. or have they?  Here is the question I pose… Where is the accountability?   These institutions have been around for decades getting fat, bloated and lazy.  They have a sense of entitlement that no other businesses in the world embrace.  Stock prices fall, liquidity is at a minimum and they fret that they will have to sell off a piece of their over sized pot of possessions to remain afloat.  (Hang on, let me get out my violin…) If I went to the government and asked to be saved because I made bad decisions, failed to take advantage of new markets and forgot to listen to my customers, I’d be laughed off the steps of the capitol!   OK – so I don’t employ thousands of workers, nor do I have a billion dollar budget, but in the big scheme of things, should really that matter? I say let the giants fall!  If the directors of these corporations haven’t “gotten it” by now, my guess is, they never will.  Let the shift in the markets take place – isn’t that what free, open commerce is about?  What we are witnessing is nothing more then the natural attrition of business.  Those that maintain top place do so deservingly, by maintaining a standard of excellence to the public and behind closed doors.  Businesses that shut down, get bought out, eaten up or simply vanish are victims of their own short sightedness and by all rights should get out of the way so something or someone bigger and [...]

How do you say Thank You?

Social Networking feels like a time consuming task to most of my clients.  I find myself spending a lot of time talking with people (clients or not) who just want some answers or at least an inkling as to the benefits of the time invested in the tools.    Through my activity on my blog, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, I answer a lot of questions.  I figure if I have something worth sharing that is of value to others, then I am more then happy to do just that.  Almost everyone says "Thank You" but on a rare occasion someone goes above and beyond the standard Thank You and completely surprises me.  Today I had such a moment.   Gary Jamerson  the renown watch designer and principle of After 8 Media and said Thank You in an extraordinary way....  I am honored by the write up... Gary, thank YOU!  There is nothing more satisfying then knowing that I was of help to you and your business! For Gary's write up - visit here http://after8media.com/2008/11/internet-marketing/ and here http://after8media.com/melissa-ward/. What a GREAT way to start the day! What surprises have you gotten as a result of helping someone or sharing your knowledge?  How have you said Thank You to someone who has helped you?  Please comment and let me know.   Related articles by Zemanta Twitter For Business 9 Tips to Get the Most Out of Social Media 1.4 Billion People Want to be Loved and Linked

The Birth of an Idea

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about new products, services and web sites.  Last night, I grabbed my laptop and sat in front of the fire with Seth Godin’s Tribes playing in the background and just brainstormed.  I have seven ideas and I like them all.  I decided to pick three and really work on them.  The problem that I kept running into is that they are essentially the same business model, just with different names.  That is not necessarily bad, but it feels too much like putting all of my eggs into one basket.  So, I laid back, listened and thought about what I really want and what I believe I excel at. At NewWard Development, LLC, our core business is in web development.  I do the design and marketing work and my business partner, Bob, does all the back end application and database development.  We use a select group of outside contractors to outsource what ever overflow there is in certain areas.  Our recurring business comes from hosting and maintenance contracts.  I do seminar work, speaking, mostly local, to various business groups about internet marketing – well, really relationship building, as it applies to social networking.  That is my favorite part of my “ j o b ” and I am good at it, but it doesn’t scale online.  Or does it?  I talk, IM, twitter, and just generally connect with people all day.   If I am not standing in front of a client, I am on a panel or in the front of a room or on a teleconference or typing away about how to do stuff online.  People ask me questions all the time and I hear a [...]

What is Crowdsourcing?

According to Wikipedia: Crowdsourcing is a neologism (a word not yet accepted by the mainstream) for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people, in the form of an open call. Wikipedia itself is an excellent example of crowdsourcing.  Wikipedia enlists the help of a large group of people to share the task of writing and expanding the online information source.  Other examples of crowdsourcing are iStockphoto and plethera of web sites where you can purchase stock photographs from many photographers at a significantly lower price then hiring a photographer yourself. Who's into crowdsourcing? Getty Images recently paid $50 million for iStockphoto, a Web site where more than 23,000 amateur photographers upload and distribute their stock photographs. Hipster clothing company Threadless.com prints and sells t-shirts designed by people on its Web site. Linden Lab's 3-D virtual world, Second Life, allows people to create and retain the intellectual property rights on new businesses, brands, and personalities. Business Week 9/25/08 Croudsouring is an excellent method of generating new, innovative ideas within an organization or industry that otherwise seems "locked" in the box.  It is also a very effective method for fund raising.  A large group of people giving small donations may be a more viable growth strategy for not-for-profits  then focusing on a single donor with large pockets.  Best of all, geography no longer factors into the equation.  The Internet has removed the borders from the talent that can be tapped. Web 2.0 has created a proliferation of web sites that offer the consumer the ability to be vested in product design, generate ideas or provide the actual product.  Croudsourcing at it's best?  See Crowdsourcing, [...]

The Importance of Overdelivering

As an online merchant, your customers cannot see your face. They cannot hear your voice when you are recommending your products, and they cannot see the emotions on your face when you are telling your customers what benefits they can derive out of your products. The Internet is a level playing field for every Internet marketer and merchant out there. The sheer connectivity means that you can reach every individual in the world. You are not limited by geographic constraints and anyone can be your customer or client. This is precisely why you should overdeliver. When every competitor of yours has access to everyone in the market, your only way of winning the battle is to overdeliver, again and again. When you overdeliver, you present yourself as a person with the customer’s interest at heart. You become a trusted friend and not a greed-driven marketer out looking for their money. Overdelivering is simply your only way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. You can start overdelivering by providing superb support for your customers. How many times have you been turned away with rude answers when asking about a certain product you purchased? Compare that with the number of times you have been provided very good service, as if you're being helped by a personal friend. The ratio is just off balance, proving how scarce good customer support is. By providing excellent support to your customers and answering to their every needs patiently, you will gain customers that are fiercely loyal to you because they know you have their best interest at heart. When you provide excellent customer support, you're already ahead of most of your competitors. Take it a step further and think: in what [...]

7 Ways to Drive Laser-Targeted Traffic

An affiliate marketer may have all the things needed for him to be able to succeed in a business such as affiliate marketing.  He may have the necessary drive, diligence and perseverance to be able to understand how the system works.  He may have all the tools necessary in maintaining the business, including a really unique and interesting website which could earn him a fortune if only the whole world could see it.  However, all these would prove useless if he does not know how to drive traffic to his website.  His business would sink into oblivion together with all the sales, fortune and dreams that he might have realized if he only knew how to do this particular task. Getting people who matter to see one’s website is a difficult undertaking if he tries to consider the fact that there are rivals everywhere waiting to pin him down.  The immensity of the internet as well as the affiliate marketing world has given birth to the fierce competition between affiliate marketers, each of whom has his own great product to offer.  With all the websites piling on top of each other, how would one be able to stand out?  The seven best ways to drive laser-targeted traffic to one’s own website would help those who are bent on sticking it out with this business wherever it is bound to take them. The first step in driving traffic to one’s website is by relying on search engines and what they can do for the affiliate marketer concerned.  Because they are popular for driving free targeted traffic, they should not be ignored by all means.  Having top search engine rankings is vital in building popularity links, and [...]

3 Necessary Tools for the High Rolling Affiliate Marketer

What does it take to become a successful Affiliate Marketer? What are the ingredients of an affiliate marketing success story? Is there a shortcut to Affiliate Marketing glory? All these questions play around in the minds of affiliate marketers who want to make it big in this business. Although affiliate marketing is touted as one of the easiest and most effective ways to earn money online, it is not as easy as it sounds. The wise affiliate marketer plans every action and executes it the best way he can. He should also maximize the potential to earn by utilizing the right tools necessary for a successful Affiliate Marketing business. We have consulted some of the most successful affiliate marketers in the business and below are the top three necessary tools for a successful affiliate marketing business. Important Tool #1: Your Own Website The most important and indispensable tool in Affiliate Marketing is your own website. The first step in any successful affiliate marketing business is building a good, credible and professional looking website. Your website is the jump off point of all your marketing efforts. Thus, you must first build a user-friendly website, which will appeal to your prospects and encourage them to click on the links to the products and service you are promoting and make a purchase. Therefore, you must first concentrate your efforts in building a website that will cater to what your prospects need. The most important thing you should consider is that almost all web users go online to look for information, not necessarily to go and buy something. Above all else, make your website full of original, relevant and useful content. People will love articles that are appealing and [...]