All posts in February 2012

  • LinkedIn Introduces Follow Company Button

    So once you’ve optimized your company page on LinkedIn (which we’re sure almost all of you have done, but we’ll get to you in a minute if you haven’t), how do you get people to follow it? Twitter and Facebook have like and follow buttons – respectively – that you can embed into your website, allowing people to become a follower or a fan with a single click. Too bad there isn’t an equivalent for LinkedIn. Well hold on to your hats, folks: now there is an equivalent for company pages on LinkedIn. As of yesterday, LinkedIn now has a Company Follow button for you to add to your website. Additional followers on LinkedIn can mean more leads for you in the long run. Read on for more on LinkedIn’s importance to your online marketing strategy. Installing the Follow Company Button Visit this page. Enter your company name in the box labeled “Enter company name.” (Right? Who’d have thought?) Choose whether or not you’d like your button to display your number of LinkedIn followers. Click on “Get code” to get your code! Paste the provided HTML code into your site’s layout wherever you’d like the button to appear (someone with…

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  • Facebook Promotion Guidelines: What You Need To Know

    Those of you who’ve been following along may remember our post from a few months back about the difference between sweepstakes and contests. If you’ve decided that a Facebook promotion is the next step in your online marketing campaign, regardless of the type of promotion (if you’re doing anything where you’re going to pick a “winner” then you’re having a promotion), you need to be aware of Facebook’s official Promotions Guidelines before jumping in head first. Changes since we last wrote on this topic Our CEO Shama wrote a similar post about the Facebook Promotion Guidelines back in 2009. As you probably know, the site has had a few facelifts since then – and its legal language hasn’t been exempt from the company-wide makeover. The biggest change is that now you do not need written permission from a Facebook account executive to hold a contest, sweepstakes, or giveaway. Previously, you needed explicit permission from Facebook to hold a promotion. The rules You can’t run the promotion on your page’s wall. Facebook’s guidelines state that you must use a third-party app or a custom tab to hold your sweepstakes or contest, which leads us to… An action on Facebook can’t be the…

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  • Social Media Marketing for Colleges and Universities

    It makes sense that colleges and universities would market themselves on social media – their target demographics can practically tweet in their sleep! Whether you’re trying to connect with prospective students or alumni, online marketing now plays a bigger role than ever. Below, we highlight three of our favorite examples from the higher education community. The University of Dayton’s video scholarship contest The University of Dayton is currently in the middle of their second annual video scholarship contest for incoming freshmen. The contest is based around the topic of “What does servant leadership mean to you?“, which UD featured in a 46-second video clip. The contest’s 46 entries are currently open to popular voting, and the top 10 videos with the most votes will be referred to a judging panel. The first place winner receives a $40,000 scholarship, with second and third place finishers also winning smaller financial aid awards. According to the University of Dayton, last year’s contest drew 36 entries and more than 13,000 votes. Why it’s cool: UD is allowing students to submit this video with their application instead of the traditional written essay. As the University of Dayton writes, “It’s both a nod to the way…

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  • Four Useful Tools for the Busy Social Media Marketer

    When you’re trying to juggle all the aspects of your online marketing campaign, sometimes you can end up feeling downright swamped. Although we don’t yet live in a world where you can buy a person-sized robot to do all your work for you so you can take a well-deserved nap, there are applications and programs out there to help make your life a tiny bit easier. HootSuite HootSuite is most commonly associated with managing Twitter accounts, although the dashboard also supports posting to Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn, WordPress, Tumblr, Flickr, YouTube, and even MySpace. The application has both desktop and mobile versions. A noteworthy feature of this service is the ability to schedule future tweets. The basic version of the service is free, with limited functionality. Even the basic free version includes analytics to see your clicks and retweets. The paid version integrates with Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, as well as allowing you to add an unlimited number of social profiles. If you’ve seen a URL shortened to an “” address, that person was using HootSuite. Tweetdeck is similar to HootSuite, except it only manages Facebook and Twitter accounts. This service has been owned by Twitter since May 2011….

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  • We’re Hiring: Social Media Marketing Intern

    Is social media your life? Do you physically cringe when a business has a Facebook profile instead of a page? Are you the mayor of all your friends’ houses on Foursquare? You just might be the person we’re looking for! We’re hiring a social media marketing intern for The Marketing Zen Group. This person will be responsible for researching, creating, implementing, and measuring engaging social media strategies to meet the objectives of each of our very, very different clients. You’ll work closely with the Social Media Lead, Account Supervisor, clients, and all other branches of the company. You must be able to work virtually. To be straightforward: this is a challenging position. If you think you’re up for the challenge, keep reading! What you’ll do: Thoroughly research clients’ social media needs and build from that strong strategies, timelines, content calendars, contests, advertising campaigns, etc. Implement the above strategies on a daily basis for a number of different clients Acquire new connections and followers Engage and retain existing fans and followers Build brand equity via social media channels Construct a listening framework. The best listeners make the best conversationalists. Monitor customer engagement and identify new ways to activate participation and feedback Monitor negative…

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  • 40 Social Media Tips for Nonprofit Organizations

    Although social media marketing is just as important for nonprofit organizations as it is for traditional business, some of the tactics are slightly different. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some important social media tips for nonprofits to remember. Remember: it’s about sharing and discussing, not broadcasting. Integrate social sharing buttons into your website so that visitors can pass along your content with just one (or a few) clicks. Make social media someone’s specific job. Assign responsibility to a person or group of people on your staff. Deliver quality information via your social profiles. Users should feel that your tweets or Facebook posts are useful. Research what organizations you admire are doing on social media. Set up a Google Alert for your organization’s name to keep track of what people are saying. Encourage employees to include your social media information in their email signatures. Inspire people. Try to focus more on success stories than tales of tragedy, if possible. Aim high, but stay realistic. Your social media campaign (probably) won’t be an overnight success story. Check out Twitter’s hope140 program. Participate in Follow Fridays (#FF) by highlighting people or organizations accomplishing social good. Reply and retweet often. Use Twitter hashtags…

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  • Ask Shama: What’s the Secret Sauce to Creating Compelling Content?

    How do you keep your content fresh after years of doing the same old thing? Shama gives three tips for making sure your audience stays engaged. Editor’s note: The marriage of technology and communication has been a boon to savvy entrepreneurs, but it’s also a huge challenge for those who aren’t sure how to navigate social networks. To help, Dallas-based entrepreneur and tech expert Shama Kabani is answering your questions. Email her at, or check out more of her advice at her online marketing company or on video. Dear Shama, I may not be very Web savvy, but one thing I’ve learned is that content seems to matter. And, from what you say, it matters in all shapes and sizes (videos, audio, blog posts, etc.). It strikes me as the cornerstone of all online marketing. Here is the million-dollar question: Where do you get the ideas? How can you constantly create content that works? What’s the secret sauce? —Kip E., Asheville, North Carolina To read more about Ask Shama: What’s the Secret Sauce to Creating Compelling Content?, check out the article on

  • Should My Business Start Using Pinterest?

    If you’ve been paying attention to social media news recently, you’ve probably heard about a little site called Pinterest. Maybe you’ve even ventured onto the site, pinning your favorite photos of hilarious baby animals and thought-provoking quotes. But what about Pinterest’s implications for online marketing? Surely it contains a lot of untapped potential, but is it potential that’s relevant to you and your business? What’s Pinterest again? Pinterest is a social network built on the concept of sharing visual recommendations via virtual pinboards. Users bookmark – or “pin” – photos of interest to theme-based boards. Users can also repin from other Pinterest users. The site has quickly gained popularity, and now drives more referral traffic than YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ combined. That’s pretty impressive for a network that’s still invite-only. Have people already been pinning photos from my site? I don’t know! If your site draws a decent amount of traffic and contains eye-catching photos, then the answer is “probably”. However, there’s a very simple way for you to find out. Check out – for example, replace (yourwebsite) with and you’ll find all the images people have pinned from CNN websites – not just the homepage. You may…

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  • 7 Things You Should Know About Online Marketing…But Often Forget

    With all the advice floating around out there about online marketing, sometimes it can be hard to remember it all – or separate the good advice from the bad advice (from the weird advice). It’s easy to get caught up and forget the basics. If you’re feeling a little frazzled by it all, take a step back. Breathe deep. Then review our list of seven things you should know, but may have forgotten along the way, about online marketing. 1. It takes time. You can’t set up a Facebook or Twitter account and expect it to be successful overnight. Sure, this happens every so often – but mostly for huge, established companies like Nike who have a staggering offline presence. You might not even see results within the first week, so you can’t get easily discouraged. However, we’re also referring to the fact that you and your team need to put some working hours toward your online marketing. If you just throw together a landing page in five minutes, that level of effort is going to show. 2. It takes consistency. If you’re only creating new content once every month or so – or “when I remember” or “whenever I…

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