Marketer by trade. Creative mind by heart.

Author Archive

Personalized Christmas Cards from Shutterfly

Just created my Christmas card with Shutterfly. What do you think? Cute, right!

I received 50 free cards just by blogging about their promotion. For more information: Promote your blog post as well as Shutterfly’s blog promotion at http://bit.ly/sfly2010.

All Wrapped Up Christmas Card
Make a statement with Shutterfly Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Let me know if you create one with their blog promotion! It’s quite fun. Follow me on Twitter @jackiej04.

50 Christmas Cards Galore via Shutterfly!

This holiday season, I’ve been contemplating whether I want to make cards or buy a box of greeting cards at the store. Well, Shutterfly made it easier for me, they’re giving away 50 free holiday cards if I (or you!) blog about it. Lovely! Especially since I’ve had great experiences with them in the past, so I’m glad to buy from them again and use their service.

Let’s take a look at the really well designed cards they have this year:

1.  Christmas Photo Cards: http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-photo-cards

I’m a big fan of the Snow Globe design. Love me some baby blue and white! Thinking about using an adorable picture of my Labrador Retriever in the middle :)

2.  Christmas Cards: http://www.shutterfly.com/cards-stationery/christmas-cards

Loving the All Wrapped Up design and I know just the photo that I’m using. It’s one of my dog “all wrapped up” in a blanket!

3.  Monthly Calendar: http://www.shutterfly.com/calendars

Every year, I’ve wanted to make my own wall calendar. Maybe this year will be it (budget pending)!

Later this season I’ll show you the one I picked, there are so many to choose from! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and a joyous start to the holiday season!

For more information on the Shutterfly 2010 Holiday Collection promotion, visit http://bit.ly/sfly2010.

11 New Twitter Tools

As I’m updating my new website, http://theinnovativeconsultant.com, I thought I’d feature this blog post from COMMScorner. Fitting that I’ve had this post bookmarked for a while now, and I just saw that Twitter is unveiling new Analytics. After all these (mostly free) tools, my question is – which one is the best URL Shortener to track clicks (ala Google Analytics)? Speak up in the comments below!

Onto the blog post…..

It’s hard to keep up with all the tools available to help maximize Twitter and other social media platforms.

But, over the last few months I’ve been testing some of the new ones I’ve stumbled across, getting a feel for the ones that have the potential to be the most useful.

Here are the ones I’ll probably use more over the next 12 months and perhaps you might give ‘em a whirl too…

Note: Most of these tools are free to use or have adopted the ‘freemium’ model.

11 Twitter & Social Media Tools To Try In 2011

1. Twoolr – complete Twitter statistics

If you are familiar with TweetStats.com you’ll think that this is quite similar, but Twoolr provides some additional metrics and insights that TweetStats doesn’t.

Twoolr will tell you how your account is being used, when you are most active, what you are tweeting about and which links you are sharing most frequently.

Best bit

The network tab tells you who you are communicating with the most and in what context i.e. @ replies, RT’s and #FF’s

Invites

I have ten invites to Twoolr in BETA available if you’d like to give it a go.

2. MentionMap – conversation visualisation tool

I think PR people will really like this one.

MentionMap provides a ‘live’ analysis of what a particular person is talking about on Twitter and who they are talking to.

When you take a look at a blogger or journalist’s MentionMap you can get a really clear idea of what they have been tweeting about of late.

Best bit

It’s physical output allows you to get a feel for that person at a glance as opposed to trawling through a bunch of bland raw data.

3. The Archivist – tweet library and analysis

The Archivist does what is says, but also provides some really useful insights and data visualisations around the Twitter activity for a specific subject / search term.

Hashtag analysis is really handy with this tool, especially if you want to keep a running tab on how many mentions it is getting over a period of time.

You can also download all the data in an excel file and use as you wish.

Best bit

The data dashboard is really handy, giving you information like the most used associated words and weekly frequency mapping.

4. Qwerly – people search for the social web

This was launched recently and has been billed as the best people searching tool yet if you want to get a feel of someone’s social media presence.

It is also handy as a reference guide for your own contacts, listing the contact details you have for everyone you are following and the networks they are using.

Best bit

The most popular users is pretty cool, showing who has been searched for the most.

5. Hash Tracking – hashtag tracking and analytics

What I immediately liked about this tool is the quantifiable value it represents.

While most Twitter tools profiled here are free (or adopt a freemium model), this one is priced in a way that makes it an easy sell internally if you did need to obtain deeper results.

You can try Hash Tracking out now but you’ll have to wait a bit until the paid options go live.

Best bit

I assume the best bit will be the reporting, especially as it can feature 100,000 tweets associated with the hashtag in question.

6. TLists – Twitter List search engine

This allows you to search public twitter lists by keyword / topic, bringing up the most relevant results.

The associated stats TLists provide are great, giving you an idea for how frequent each list pushes tweets outs and what sub-topics they mention.

Best bit

It is really simple to use.

7. TouchGraph – visualise the connections between related websites

This will give you a picture of the sites connected to you, your brand and your website giving you a visual representation of what a google search for that term might look like.

This is useful if you want to get a picture of where else you are being mentioned outside your ‘owned’ web properties.

Best bit

The Facebook specific search option does the same job for you and your friends and who has the most photos toegther which is pretty nifty.

8. FeedLooks – Google reader on steroids

It is always hard to imagine anyone out-googling google, and while I don’t think this will get anywhere near achieving this, FeedLooks functionality will probably be borrowed by google at some point.

The interface is clean, items are sorted into ‘old’ and ‘new’ as opposed to ‘read’ and ‘unread’ and Twitter feeds can be integrated into the dashboard too.

Best bit

A rating next to each post gives an indication of its popularity / hotness, helping you browse and identify content more efficiently.

9. Address Book One – bringing all your contacts together

The amount of ways you can communicate with your contacts only gets bigger and bigger, and consequently more difficult to manage.

This tool is worth a look if you want to centrally manage all of your contacts across all the platforms they are involved in.

It will import address books from Facebook, LinkedIn etc and arrange them on a snazzy dashboard.

Best bit

I’ve only just started using this one, but the search option seems especially useful if you need to track down someone’s contact detail

10. StatPlanet – the infographic creator’s best friend

Want to create maps and graphs? Then this is well worth a look.

The best explanation of how this works is via the demo video and these example here also help tell the story more.

Best bit

The interactive graphs breathe life into what would normally be quite static slides.

11. Citrify – web-based photo editing

This is a great tool for bloggers who need to adjust images for posts.

It is also incredibly simple to use and comes without the hefty price associated with Photoshop.

Best bit

The wrinkle removal feature is a god send!

Have you spotted any other tools that you think might be handy in 2011?

If so, I’d love to hear from you.

As always, if you find this post interesting-share it. Sign up for my RSS feed to the right and leave a comment worth sharing! Follow me on Twitter @jackiej04.

Social Media Tip of the Day: Twitter Chats

I have a treat for you today! I’ve been planning on writing a post about Twitter Chats and I found a comprehensive list of Twitter Chats for your perusal. More on my review of Twitter Chats tomorrow, but here’s a nice little write up from Robert Swanwick:

Twitter chats are simply pre-organized times to tweet on pre-organized hashtags.  They use applications like TweetChat or twebevent to corral just those tweets together and to auto-tag any new tweets with the right hashtag.

The Chat Schedule began as a quick solution so that no one person had to track and manage the information about all the Twitter Chats.  There were only about 25 chats back then.  It has since grown into a list of well over 100 that gets hundreds of hits a day and adds several chats a week.

Everyone from journalists to moms to finance people to Knowledge Management professionals are finding each other and banding together via Twitter chats.  See more info about the Twitter Chat Experience.

I fully expected that someone would write a little database driven web app that would replace the public Google Doc, but perhaps simpler is better in this case.

Thanks to all who run the chats, all who have posted information about chats, and all who tweet the link to the list so that more potential chatters can find one that’s right for them.

View the schedule for yourself and add any chats you know about that aren’t listed.

Source: http://swanthinks.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/the-twitter-chat-schedule/

 

The 9 Worst Ways to Use #LinkedIn for Business

On Tuesday, I featured the article “How to Really Use LinkedIn to Market Your Freelance Business“. I thought this one would be fitting, as it’s the 9 Worst Ways to Use LinkedIn for Business. Enjoy!

From HubSpot:

LinkedIn is a powerful social network to connect with industry professionals, especially for B2B. People use LinkedIn to connect with coworkers and industry peers, get business advice, and even find new jobs. It’s a great place for businesses to make relevant LinkedIn users aware of their brand. However, just like Facebook and Twitter, there are several common mistakes that companies make on LinkedIn.

Here are 9 LinkedIn for business strategies to avoid, as well as how to remedy them.

1. Don’t Answer Questions

The “Answers” section of LinkedIn, where people go to ask their business-related questions, is a place where businesses establish themselves as industry experts and even find new customers. These questions are categorized by industry; anything from finance & accounting to marketing & sales. Avoiding answering questions because you’re too shy or don’t want to invest the time is such a missed opportunity. Take a few minutes each day to look at the new questions in your industry, and see if there’s one you can provide a helpful answer to.

2. Be Overly Self-Promotional when Answering Questions

If you were in a bind and reached out to a community of peers for help, would you want the only response to be “Give me your money”? Of course not. You’d hope for honest and valuable guidance.  The “Answers” section of LinkedIn is a fantastic place to find potential customers who have publicly revealed that they have a problem your service/product would solve. Instead of proclaiming that they should hire or buy from you to reach a solution, offer useful advice and let them know to contact you directly if they have more questions.  This way, you’ll be building a relationship that will gain their trust, and then they’ll be more likely to turn into a customer.

3. Don’t Join or Participate in Groups

If you haven’t joined any relevant groups on LinkedIn, you’re missing out on a few things. First, being in a group lets you share links with that group, so you can share links to your own blog or site (in a very non-spammy fashion, of course). Second, you can find out the latest industry news, because other professionals post helpful links to groups constantly. Also, they’re a great place to find industry peers to connect with, whether to find new customers or even find fellow industry bloggers who could potentially link to you.

4. Leave Your Profile Blank

Since you’ll be answering Questions and joining Groups with your personal account, you should make sure your own profile is complete so that you can gain people’s trust and establish authority. If people can’t learn anything about you in your profile, they won’t want to connect with you. Describe your role at your current and previous companies, and provide links to your website and any relevant profiles (i.e. Twitter).

5. Leave Your Company Page Blank

Your company page has the potential to gain LinkedIn followers who will see your blog posts, company profile updates, and job openings appear in their LinkedIn newsfeed. But if your company description isn’t filled in, it might prevent people from following you, or even from finding you in the first place. Make sure you optimize your company page by including relevant keywords and links to your website.

6. Don’t Optimize Your Profile for SEO

Optimizing your LinkedIn profile for SEO takes only a few minutes, so it would be a shame to miss out on such easy link juice. By adding custom anchor text to the website links on your profile, the links will pass higher-quality SEO authority. To optimize these links:

  • Click “edit” next to the website link
  • In the Choose dropdown, click “Other”
  • Enter the name of your website
  • Enter the URL

7. Don’t Promote Your LinkedIn Page on Your Website

Keeping your company’s LinkedIn profile page a secret from your website visitors isn’t a good idea, since these are the people most likely to actually follow you. Add a LinkedIn icon to your website to increase awareness of your presence on LinkedIn. Make it easy for your visitors to find out how to connect with you in social media.

8. Ignore Connection Invitations

Once you provide value in Answers and Groups, people will start inviting you to connect with them on LinkedIn. Don’t just ignore these invitations. Unlike Facebook, don’t feel like you need to personally know everyone that you connect with. LinkedIn automatically sorts your connections based on how you know them; whether through a current or previous job, or through a group, so don’t be concerned about having a network that’s too big to keep track of.

9. Don’t Post Status Updates

It might seem like overkill to post updates on Facebook, Twitter, AND LinkedIn. But it’s not. LinkedIn is a more professional social networking site than Facebook and Twitter, so it’s likely that you’ll have different followers here who will benefit from seeing your updates. It’s ok to re-purpose content across all of the social channels, as long as you’re not duplicating the content.

What would be your #10? Let me know in the comments below!

Read more: http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/7040/The-9-Worst-Ways-to-Use-LinkedIn-for-Business.aspx#ixzz14QSDgjLC

How to Gain New Followers on #Twitter

Today’s #socialmedia tip of the day is focused on getting more followers on Twitter. Though your goals should be providing quality content and engaging with your fan base, it doesn’t hurt to add more quality followers. Here are some tips on growing your Twitter presence:

  1. Use Twitter suggestions. On your homepage, Twitter generates a list of profiles to follow. Their list is on target, showcasing people that are within your network and usually have the same interests as you. Do yourself a favor and use this nifty service, as you’ll see those followers will reciprocate the action and follow you back.
  2. Re-tweet quality content and blogs that appears on your timeline. Sharing is caring, right? If you’re pushing out quality news and content, people will want to follow you and hear what you are saying.
  3. Use Listorious. Before Twitter suggestions, there were Twitter lists built on sites like Listorious. You’ll find quality lists to follow by topic and by building your Twitter following, you’ll increase your chances to be followed.
  4. If you have a blog, link it to your Twitter account. Anytime you post on your blog, it will send out a tweet with your blog link. This shows you’re active in your industry and are providing content that people want to see. You’ll not only get new blog readers, but increase the potential of starting new conversations surrounding your blog’s content. Use applications like Networked Blogs and Twitterfeed to push your content to not only your Twitter account, but also Facebook.
  5. Join Twitter Chats. There are weekly chats where a group of Twitter users gather for one hour discussing a certain topic. This is how it works: there is a moderator pushing out questions and respondents use the Twitter Chat hashtag (for example #smchat) and discuss the given topic. Becoming more active in the Twitter community aids in gaining new followers. For more information on #SMChat, visit http://wthashtag.com/Smchat.

That’s it for today!

As always, if you find this post interesting-share it. Sign up for my RSS feed to the right and leave a comment worth sharing! Follow me on Twitter @jackiej04.

How to Really Use LinkedIn to Market Your Freelance Business

Today’s #SocialMedia Tip of the Day comes from @FreelanceFolder about how to use LinkedIn to market your freelance business. It was such a great post that I dedicated today’s tip to it! Enjoy.

Should freelancers be using LinkedIn to promote their freelance business?

To answer that question, let’s take a closer look at LinkedIn:

LinkedIn at a Glance

It is the biggest social network of professionals with an estimate 66 million members. According to Quantcast, an average of five million people visit the site every day. Because LinkedIn is for “professionals,” most of its members have had more education and make a much higher income, on average, than those of other social networks.

LinkedIn has the reputation of being used by human resources people, headhunters and recruiters to find suitable candidates for their job openings. Executives from Fortune 500 companies, business owners, and professional service providers also use LinkedIn.

Your Freelancing Biz Could Benefit from LinkedIn

If your Ideal Client fits the profile of the typical LinkedIn user, then obviously it’s a good place for you to connect with, find and be found by them. For example, if you want to work for specific companies, you could find the right people to reach out to by doing a search in LinkedIn.

However, even if your Ideal Clients are hanging out somewhere else, you can still benefit from LinkedIn.

For one thing, LinkedIn could allow you to connect with others who could, in turn, connect you with your Ideal Clients. You could link up with thought leaders and other influential people in your industry, niche, or even geographical location.

At the very least, LinkedIn is good for your web presence. With it, you can build high-quality backlinks to your freelancing site. Your LinkedIn profile is also indexed by Google and will likely be on the first page of search engine results when somebody searches your name.

So You Wanna Use LinkedIn: Here’s How

As with any other tool, LinkedIn will give you results if you know how to use it. Below are some basic strategies for getting started and making the most of LinkedIn’s features to promote your freelance services.

1. Get the Most Out of Your LinkedIn Profile

Your profile is the most important part of marketing on LinkedIn. It shouldn’t read like the typical resume, which is formal and dry.

Instead, strive for a profile that is both compelling to humans and crawlable by search engines. You can accomplish this by doing the following

  • Use a personable photo. One with you smiling directly into the camera is best. Avoid using your company logo or other image. People prefer to connect with other people, so show your face.
  • Craft an interesting and keyword-rich headline. This is the 120-character field following your name. Put your target keywords in there and at the same time hint at what sets you apart from your competitors. Think of your headline as your elevator speech. It will determine whether your profile visitor will continue reading the rest of your profile or not.
  • Maximize your summary. Again, use your target keywords in the summary. However, make sure what you write is interesting to humans first of all. This is where you can go into more detail about what you do, whom you help, and how you help your clients. Strive for something complete and concise.
  • Fill up all other areas of your profile. Fill in the details about your past jobs, education, interests and so on. Even if you don’t think these are relevant to your current freelancing work, these details help other LinkedIn users find you. Other users may also be more inclined to connect with you (and eventually hire you) when they see that you have something in common with them, whether it’s going to the same university or having similar interests.
  • Maximize the website links. LinkedIn allows you to display and link to up to three websites. Use all three links, even if you only have one site. One link could be to your home page, another to your About Page, and still another to an opt-in page or even your services page. This is a good way to build high-quality backlinks to your site. Use your target keywords as your anchor texts when creating links to your web pages.

2. It’s All About Connections

It’s a social network, after all, so after you’ve got your profile up, start connecting!

The easiest way is to import email addresses you already have in your Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL accounts. You can also find people you already know by searching company names and schools. You can also invite other people by simply entering their email addresses in the “Add Connections” tab.

Eventually, you’ll find that people you’re already networking with on Twitter and Facebook will want to connect with you on LinkedIn as well. Should you? There’s no harm in doing so. In fact, connecting on LinkedIn gives you just one more way to reach them when you have an important message to share. After all, your followers and friends won’t always see your Twitter and Facebook updates.

3. Get Props with Recommendations

One feature you don’t get from Twitter or Facebook is the ability to collect and display recommendations or endorsements from other members of LinkedIn.

This is a powerful feature for freelancers, as it gives social proof of your skills and abilities. LinkedIn displays the number of recommendations you have on your profile, so the more you have, the more impressive it is.

The easiest way to populate the Recommendations section of your profile is to connect with your clients who are already on LinkedIn and ask if they can endorse you. If they have existing testimonials, they’ll be all too willing to use the same one on LinkedIn. It’s much less work for them.

Don’t be timid about approaching former employees and colleagues and asking them for recommendations as well.

Of course, it’s a good idea for you to pay it forward by giving recommendations of people you’ve worked with. Do so without being asked, and you will be richly rewarded.

4. In Summary

LinkedIn is another social media marketing tool you can use to become more easily found on the Internet, create connections that will bring opportunities, and reach your Ideal Clients.

That said, it is yet another social networking site that can potentially eat up your time and drain your energy.

The key is to know what it can do for you, how to use it, and have a strategy. By being clear about who you want to connect with, and setting limits on the amount of time and energy you spend, you can avoid making it a time suck.

So is it necessary for freelancers to be on LinkedIn? Of course not.

At the very least, it doesn’t hurt to have a compelling, keyword-rich profile that links back to your site.

Are You Linked?

Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Have you found clients through LinkedIn? Please share your experience by commenting below.

Image by smi23le

Source: http://freelancefolder.com/how-to-really-use-linkedin-to-market-your-freelance-business/

 

Monday’s #SocialMedia Tip of the Day – Facebook Pages Pt. 2

Today’s social media tip is a continuation of Thursday’s post. Today I’ll focus on maintaining a Facebook Page. Some tips on growing your Facebook presence are:

1.  Set up a personal profile to add as an admin of the Facebook Page. This is so you create a personal touch while maintaining the Page. Reach out to 5 people per week introducing yourself, your business, and Facebook Page. Invite them to your Facebook Page as a natural way to grow the fan base. You’ll not only make new friends, but also gain potential brand advocates.

2.  Post on 1-3 related groups and pages per week introducing yourself. You’ll be able to reach out to more people about your business and network online.

3.  Link to your Twitter profile and other social media profiles. Involver has a really cool Twitter app that you can put on your page for free. You’ll be able to have a Twitter feed without cluttering your wall.

4.  Take advantage of the other free apps from Involver. They have an RSS feed app so you can pull your blog posts into your Page, a YouTube channel, and much more useful apps for your Fan Page. The key is to add value on your page, and these apps sure do the trick!

5.  Put a Facebook Fan Badge on your website. If you’re getting a lot of traffic to your site, why not share the social love and literally invite visitors to your Fan Page?

That’s it for today. As always, if you find this post interesting-share it. Sign up for my RSS feed to the right and leave a comment worth sharing! Follow me on Twitter @jackiej04.

Thursday’s #SocialMedia Tip of the Day – Facebook Pages

I’ve heard this before- “So you have a Facebook Page, now what?” You can do lots of marketing with a Facebook Page, that’s what!

I’ve been using Facebook Pages since they first emerged back in mid-2008. I’ve seen them evolve into the powerhouse they are today-with competition sprawling everywhere. To set you apart from the rest, I’ve put together a couple tips for your new Facebook Page:

  1. When you set up your Facebook Page, make it rich with photos, logos of your company, links to your social sites and website, and information about your brand. Facebook Pages are great for not only building a fanbase, but establishing your brand as an industry leader.
  2. Set up a ‘landing page’ for your Facebook presence. Go into your settings and edit profile -> Manage Permissions -> Default Landing Tab. Choose the tab that is most important to your brand. A good idea is to create a ‘Welcome’ tab introducing your brand and encouraging visitors to become a fan. A great example of using a welcome tab is Coca-Cola:
  3. As you can see, they clearly display where you can find them on other social networks, include promos, and     encourage you to become a fan. Well done, Coke. They also make the experience interactive, though you don’t need to be that fancy if you don’t have the skillset for coding that.
  4. Encourage brand engagement by providing a contest. Dunkin’ Donuts does a fantastic job of including their fans with the ‘fan of the week’. Keep in mind, this might get you many new followers, but they’re only interested in the contest. You’ll have to keep those fans by providing interesting content. Here’s the Dunkin’ Donuts example:

5.  Just like the contest, provide interesting content daily. Switch it up with pictures, articles, blogs, and ask            questions from your fans. This will aid in responses and keep your fans on their toes.

Tomorrow I’ll be talking about PT. 2 of “So You Have a Facebook Page, now what?” Stay tuned!

As always, if you find this post interesting-share it. Sign up for my RSS feed to the right and leave a comment worth sharing! Follow me on Twitter @jackiej04.

Wednesday’s #PR Tip of the Day – AwardSync!

Today’s PR Tip of the Day is a continuation of yesterday’s post, talking about services from Atlanta-based mBlast. Today is all about AwardSync, a FREE service and database on awards programs in every industry.

What’s great about AwardSync is that it gives you an opportunity to enter your clients into awards programs and search for free. You never know what gems you may find-could be a PR opportunity minefield.

Here is what a search for ‘wireless’ looks like:

It’s free and it might just be your next best online friend. Give it a try!

That’s it for today, I’ll be talking about “You’ve Got a Facebook Page, Now What?” on tomorrow’s #socialmedia tip of the day!

As always, if you find this post interesting-share it. Sign up for my RSS feed to the right and leave a comment worth sharing! Follow me on Twitter @jackiej04.

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