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13 12 Resources to Generate Leads with Social Media

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photo credit: photopin

While some say that social media marketing is overrated, we say “what’s the harm?” There’s no reason not to invest in something that has overall positive reviews, especially when it comes in lead generation. According to Hubspot, social media isn’t just a fad. In fact, 92% of marketers agreed that social media is important for their business. Moreover, by spending as little as 6 hours per week, over 66% of marketers see lead generation benefits with social media.

The list of “positive reviews” goes on and on.

So, are you ready to make use of “à la mode” tools and resources to generate leads and boost your sales? Here are a few that might help.

Posting and Monitoring Resources:

  • Hootsuite: Hootsuite is almost synonymous with social media. This is a brilliant monitoring service that will tag keywords or red flag mentions related to your company or service. Hootsuite allows you to keep a close eye on anyone who has been discussing you, the problem you serve, or any other topics important to you.
  • TweetDeck: Here’s another monitoring tool that is perfect for tracking and organization social mentions. Use this tool for “engagement” and bringing in a new stream of potentials to your pages.

Measurement and Analytics Resources:

  • HubSpot: This is the ultimate lead generation resource. Hubspot helps social media marketers assess traffic and lead generation using social media or other channels. This is a great tool for determining how far your social media efforts have gone in terms of results.
  • Topsy: If you’re a fan of Twitter, here’s a tool that might help! Topsy allows users to judge the popularity of a certain keywords and hashtags. This is especially useful for Twitter campaigns, allowing you to judge how often a hashtag was used throughout your campaign.
  • Facebook Pages Manager: Make Facebook page managing easier by not having to open and scour through numerous Facebook pages every time. Facebook Page Manager will connect with your Facebook audience and keep up with multiple pages through a single application. You can post photos and statuses, get push notifications for new activity, reply to comments on your pages, get tips and more.
  • Seesmic: Integrate this app to any major platform you can think of (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, etc.) and you can manage you social media accounts on the go. View your network streams all in one place in an interface that looks very much like an email platform. This is available in both desktop and mobile applications.
  • Klout: Want to know how influential you’ve been with your social media accounts? Kloutlets you track your progress on some of the most popular social network. Examine how your shares and tweets change overtime, check which content made the hit-list, and more.

Blogs and other Resources:

  • 6 Ways to Capture Leads from Facebook Pages: Here’s a brilliant resource written by Amanda Webb detailing ways you can capture leads on Facebook. She goes into depth about each “tip n’ trick” with pictures and examples included.
  • 5 New Ways Twitter Can Get You More Business: Here’s a great article published on Wordtracker by Amanda DiSilvestro. Owing to recent changes in Twitter, lead generation is not the same as it was before. DiSilvestro discusses how you can make use of these features to your advantage and juice up your marketing strategies.
  • Twitter LeadGen Cards—B2B Domination (Case Study): Jessica takes us through a case study based on Webtrends experience with Twitters new features for advertisers. As per the study, Web trends managed to accelerate its lead gen in a matter of months by nearly 1,000 percent. Now that’s huge!
  • Best Practices for Instagram Marketing and Lead Generation: Instagram marketing has great potential and Annetta Powell thinks so too. She writes about how you can use spectacular visual content on this channel to generate leads and the “best practices” that will capture maximum attention.
  • Pinterest Lead Generation 101—Best Practices and Hack that Will Make You a Pro: Here’s a great resource on Hubspot for SMM’s targeting the Pinterest fan base. Ginny Soskey goes through comprehensive strategies, practices, and “hacks” that will increase both direct and indirect leads through Pinterest.

IMG_0739Alison Stone is a creative writer and blogger who tackles academic to creative topics on different blogs. When not blogging, she works at Dissertation cube where she provides help to students who come and ask her write my coursework. Find her on Google+.

 

4 RSS Plug-ins Do Some Lifting For You

Many bloggers have found ways to add some functionality and bling to their blogs with plug-ins – little add on scripts that extend a platform like WordPress.

Some of these such All-in-One-Seo Pack are under the hood tools helping with search optimization, some are on screen, like the Top Commentator Widget, extending commenting functions.

One neglected area of plug-in functionality is that of plug-ins designed to enhance the RSS feed. You blog’s RSS feed is very important to the overall health of the blog, but because most bloggers don’t experience their blog that way, the way that a majority of reader may, it mostly stays “right out of the box” vanilla.

Here are some practical suggestions for giving your RSS feed a makeover with your readers in mind.

1) Use Feedburner (now a Google property) – you can add some great things to your blog feed using FeedFlare so your readers who use a tool like Google Reader can use social bookmarking tools right in your feed.

All of these type of social media links can appear in your blog feed:

2) RSS Footer – this plug in lets you add some copy only to your RSS content in the header or footer of each post. There are several reasons you might do this, but the reason I do is it allows me to add: This content from Duct Tape Marketing with a link to my site so that all the folks that simply run my blog feed on their sites don’t have to go to the trouble to add my credit line – if you know what I mean

Here’s a shot of how this plays out on a blog running my content as it were their own:

Supplement – this plug in allows you to add all kinds of content to your feed. This might be useful for folks who want to encourage subscribers by offering premium content that non-subscribers don’t get to see.

Include pages in feeds – more and more folks, myself included, are adding pages as WordPress calls them, to add static type content or even build entire sites pages. This plugin allows you to include those pages in the rss feed instead of just blog posts. I’ve seen some nice uses of this where a blogger posts on a subject and then builds resources pages, for example, to support the topic in greater detail.

9 Automatically adding content with bookmarking

In another installment of what I might call “Fun with RSS,” I’ve created a video that will show you how to automatically post any content you want to your web site or blog using bookmarking.

This is a great little trick for creating “In the News” pages or for scraping company or industry mentions to re-purpose to a web site. I use it to post news mentions I get and mentions of my book from around the Internet, but you could easily use this technique to create custom content pages for search purposes or even create highly personalized newspapers for customers and prospects. Once you get this set up anyone surfing the web for you can build these highly personalized pages.

The video shows you ways to find the content you are looking for and then use a bookmarking service called delicious to tag the content and create an RSS feed that you then take to a service called Feedburner to create the code to easily publish the content to your site. Once you do this you can add content by simply bookmarking it on delicious using the tag that corresponds to the content and it will get posted automatically to your site.

Video: Adding content with bookmarking

7 New look and more better userness

duct tape marketing logoLook, if you’re visiting here for the first time, you might not notice that I’ve completely overhauled the site. Not just the blog, the entire Duct Tape Marketing site.

This redesign was very overdue. It’s funny what can happen when you spend most of your waking hours producing content for about six years or so. One day you look up and find you’ve created one of those hall closets where all the stuff you need is, but nobody can find it, and cleaning it out becomes, well, one of the worst jobs in the world. So on top of a new look, which I think supports the brand, you can actually find an incredible amount of stuff again. It’s always been there, if you knew where to look. Now you can find it by starting out at the home page – www.ducttapemarketing.com

So, if it’s been awhile since you kicked around the entire site, please be my guest. Especially those of you, and you know who you are, that have suggested politely, or otherwise, that my site needed an overhaul.

This site now also holds together an article database script, WordPress blog, job database and social networking custom implementation of the KickApps tool capable of housing and streaming videos. Now that’s what I call a right proper use of duct tape.

The biggest addition to the site is the WorkBench – a business social networking community. The WorkBench, a true work in progress, allows small business owners and marketers of all kinds to build a profile, network with like-minded individuals, show off you stuff, upload, share and rate audio and videos and even create a blog on the fly. There is a small business forum that allows users to either ask a marketing question or give a marketing answer. We will be holding our very first contest shortly allowing members to compete for nifty prized like duct tape wallets and the like.

I invite you to visit the WorkBench, become a member, build a profile and even blog, add audios and videos and connect with other members by commenting and rating content that get added. As Duct Tape Marketing readers you are some of the first to be invited so please, realize that communities take time to grow, and know that I am open to hearing your suggestions on ways to improve it.

Thanks for making this possible!

Special props to Haylie McCort – dotcomcowgirl who foolishly believed me when I said it was just a little refresh!

2 Sometimes a cat will bark

mybloglogIn a rather obvious nod to the great book, Waiting For Your Cat to Bark by the brothers Eisenberg, I would like to suggest that their advice, figuring out what works and doing it better rather than expecting results from something that isn’t natural for people to do, is dead on. But, sometimes you’ve got to have some side bets placed on long shots too.

Here’s what I mean. There are three services that you may or may not have heard of that, on the surface, don’t seem to offer the typical small business owner much in the way of marketing use. And yet, there are elements of each that contain the spark of some very useful DNA. I’m not suggesting that you should throw your energy into every new new thing on the web. You’ll drive yourself crazy do that. I am suggesting that you figure out what works, measure it, improve it and do more of it – all the while keeping some side bets going on up and coming tools that might just be a dog in cat’s clothing.

46 Take the three song challenge

MoondanceEach week for about eight years now I’ve recommended a music album in my newsletter. I’ve often received more comments about my music selections than my marketing advice, but I just know that I spend a great deal of time rockin out in my office while working away. Based on feedback from readers I know I’m not alone on that one. (I actually sold a pretty significant piece of business one time and the person told me that when they saw I liked “The Band” they knew I was the right choice.)

A while back I asked you to tell me just 3 books that have made difference in your life and the list that came through your comments kept me busy for months.

So, here’s the new challenge. Name three (yes, just three) songs that make a difference in your life. It’s funny how important music can be in how we relate to things, remember things, enjoy and endure things. Even in business. But, the tough part is creating a list of only three favorites. Can you do it?

    Here’s my list:

  • Thunder Road – Bruce Springsteen (The live version is my favorite)
  • Into the Mystic – Van Morrison (Hope, faith, connection)
  • Forever Young – Bob Dylan (My mom lived this one – check out Jimmy Lafave’s version)

Now it’s your turn, give me some new ideas for my iPod.

8 Twittering the possibilities

Twitter for businessTwitter has fascinated many while disgusting as many. Some seemingly normal individuals have become obsessed with it.

In case you’re not familiar – Twitter is a micro-blogging tool that allows you to tell the world, or your best friend, what you are doing now. The most basic tweet, as it is called, is an answer to what you are doing.

I’ve been drawn to it in a curious way, but never put much in it as a business tool because I don’t know that it has any real value, particularly if it’s going to cause me to build a list of followers and then post continuously. (Although I love it for events and meetings because event participants can use it like a news flash and announcement service in real time.)

    Recent updates to the service have made it mildly more interesting from a business standpoint

  1. You can now search and find anyone you know to follow (they have to give permission, but it makes building a list easier)
  2. Alex King’s twitter plug in allows WordPress users, that would be me, to post your tweets to your blog, but, and this is the best part, it also automatically creates an alert on your twitter feed every time you post to your blog – effectively giving your followers notice.
  3. Growing list of Twitter add-ons for the twitterati

I’m still mixed on the tool for small business, but if it has a fan base and it’s really easy for you to use, what the heck, play with it.

You can follow me by going to Twitter and searching on my name.

5 Building Your Own Social Network

KickAppsSocial Networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace are all the rage at the moment for the potential they offer some businesses. They do offer tremendous applications for building community and even building business but these giants also possess some real limitations for most businesses due to the overwhelming size and potentially unfocused nature of the community inhabitants. (Do you really want some creepy 16 year old reading all the private, intimate details about your products?)

So, maybe you’re like many who think that the idea of building a community with lots of tools that help them share, interact, and create content that is focused on a single, perhaps very niche, topic of interest to all the members of the network is a great idea.

If so, you could easily find a developer to spend hundreds of hours hacking together a network offering just for you or, you could look into a growing list of tools that are made for people who would like to create their own social network branded just for their business or topic needs.

The leaders in this space are Ning and KickApps, but there are others as well. Ning wins the award for simplicity and boasts over 70,000 users. KickApps offers people with just a little bit of web coding skills the best option for creating a social network that integrates more seamlessly with your existing web presence in look and feel.

I am in the process of creating a Duct Tape community offering using KickApps that will allow Duct Tape readers to submit content, including video, share marketing stories, get marketing help and basically interact with like minded small business marketers. More to come on that!

If you have an interest in this topic you might want to start your research by reading this TechCruch article titled the 9 Ways to Build Your Own Social Network

4 Advertising Age to Use the ToddAnd Power 150

advertisingageTodd Andrlik, a marketing and PR guy known to most as Todd And and creator of the Power 150 – top marketing blogs, announced today that AdvertisingAge will be taking over his little creation and plans to integrate it into their coverage of marketing and media.

I think it’s a tribute to some hard work on Todd’s part to have created something AdAge thought worthy of partnering with and a further sign that blogging has truly become too important for mainstream media and advertisers to ignore.

From Jonas Bloom, editor of Advertising Age

The fact we’ll now also be ranking the media and marketing blogs says a lot about how important that community has become in a very short time.

11 Could You Use a Wiki for Marketing?

wikiI’m fascinated by some of the creative uses I’ve come across for a fairly new media tool called a wiki.

What’s a wiki? Let’s turn to the encyclopedia built on one Wikipedia – The definition of a wiki
Here’s an example of a wiki used to build a community enthusiastic about a single topic – the outdoors. WikiOutdoors

The WikiOutdoors site was built using a custom skinned version of the free software called MediaWiki – the same tool that Wikipedia is built on.