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LinkedIn is a networking tool for co-workers, the unemployed, past colleagues, current, and friends within the working world. The goal for any business person joining LinkedIn is to make new business connections. These are just some of the ways a business could benefit from joining LinkedIn:   

1. Generate More Business – As soon as you start networking, you increase your chances of reaching new customers.

2. Check Out the Competition – You can view what they are doing, and keep a pulse on new opportunities.

3. Obtain Greater Visibility – Linkedin provides options that will allow your profile to be indexed by search engines, like Google

 4. Conduct Market Research – Make use of the Q&A feature to post your questions.

5. Facilitate Introductions – You are able to introduce colleagues to one another, and you can also ask your acquantainces to help you in connecting with those that will help grow your business.

6. Show Recommendations – You may not only view what recommendations others have received, but essentially encourage those you’ve done business with to recommend your services or products.

Here is a YouTube video (more emerging media?!) on how to build your business with LinkedIn.  Very informative!

What do you use LinkedIn for?  Social aspects? Business opportunities? Networking?

Charlie Sheen’s deal with Ad.ly, a Los Angeles-based company that brokers social network endorsements for brands like Toyota, Hyatt and Microsoft, is perhaps the highest profile example of a celebrity getting paid to tweet, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. Charlie Sheen

The practice has been criticized by some social media users, but Ad.ly CEO Arnie Gullov-Singh does not believe Twitter fans are turned off by their favorite stars pushing products.

“If you go on Twitter or Facebook and you’re a moderately active user, you’re getting content all day long from your friends, your family and people you don’t know,” Gullov-Singh said. “You click on links that you think are going to be interesting based on who they’re from.”

Ad.ly counts a number of athletes and entertainers among its roster, such as 50 Cent, Mike Tyson and Snoop Dogg.   Gullov-Singh believes that celebrities are currently the ideal brand endorsers in terms of social media because of the influence they have, their fan loyalty and, as he put it, “their ability to move the needle.”

 The company will find out the celebrities interests and then they will write the tweet based off which company the celebrity is comfortable with endorsing.

Kim Kardashian and Soulja Boy can send out one little tweet and get paid $10,000.
 While their 140 charaKim Kardashiancter messages may take little effort, advertisers are willing to pay up to get a piece to get the attention of their millions of followers.

Do you think that celebrities should be paid to endorse brands?  If you tweet, do you realize which celebrity tweets are paid and which are genuine?

Valpak and other companies  such as Jiffy Lube, Domino’s Pizza, and Coldstone Creamery are offering coupons and other incentives to consumers via mobile devices.

“Valpak has been in business for 41 years and we are evolving,” said Deanna Willsey, director of corporate communications at Valpak. “We mail 45 million households a year and we have the online site. “Now we have evolved to mobile and are allowing people to access coupons right from their smartphones,” she said.

Valpak’s signature blue envelopes are stuffed with coupons for goods and services such as dental work and local pizzeria menus.  In order to increase its reach, Valpak is putting its coupons online and reformatting the site so that mobile users get an optimized version when visiting the site from their handsets. Mobile customers can plug in their ZIP code and get coupons for local companies. The consumer can show the phone’s screen to redeem them.  No printing required! Since the mobile-optimized experience launched, the amount of coupons downloaded has increased. mobile phone users dialed up 140,000 coupons.

The redemption value of mobile coupons will increase by over 30 percent by 2010, according to market researcher Juniper Research.

  • In a recent report, Juniper identified two key drivers for mobile coupons. First is the fact that consumers are always glad to save a buck or two.
  • Second, merchants are keen to make sales especially now during a tough economic time.

The Juniper report also said that mobile coupons are attractive to both consumers and vendors as they can be targeted at specific groups of customers and matched against particular interests and purchasing patterns as opposed to more traditional models where everyone gets a coupon.

This is something that companies also do on Facebook, for example Kohl’s will send targeted messages JUST to Facebook fans offering a special coupon for instore or online purchases.  So, if the consumer is not a fan of Kohl’s on Facebook, they will miss this offer!

Mobile marketing for Valpak and other companies is much more cost-effective than printing and mailing coupons.  I currently open the Valpak coupons, flip through and save the local restaurant ones that I may or may not use.  But, some potential prospects throw them right into the trash.  Valpak can more efficiently compete with Groupon and Living Social with offering the mobile coupon option. 

Do you currently use coupons from Valpak – either in print or online?  Which method do you prefer?  Have you used your cell phone screen to redeem a coupon?

Some say, out of all of the emerging media available today – webcasts, social media, podcasts, mobile marketing, etc – banner ads are the least effective.

I say that may be so, but they are still effective!  When a potential customer clicks (or accidentally clicks) on your banner – this is an instant lead for your company.   They are typically very inexpensive to produce – and they can be very eye-catching if designed properly. 

Some reasons as to why banner advertising can be advantageous:

Cost Efficient: Like I said above, banner ads provide a cost effective and efficient to market a website.

Just a Click Away: As opposed to many other marketing strategies, once your ad is placed, your customer is just a click away from your site. No emails to write, no articles to distribute.

Brand Recognition: Whether the person clicks on your banner ad or not, they will notice your company name – and that will stick with them – especially if they see the ad on multiple sites, frequently. 

Targeted Traffic:  Unlike many other forms of advertising, banners bring prospective customers who are already interested in what you have to offer.

Easy to Track: You’ll be able to track page views, click-through rates, number of clicks and cost-per-sale, to make it easy to determine your ad’s effectiveness as well as which web sites are producing the most visitors to your website.

SEO Advantage: In order to be found on the search engines a prospective customer has to know the name of your product or related keywords, but with banner advertising, all they have to do is click.

Blogs can be for fun  – you can share what you did today, recipes you’ve tried, photos you’ve taken, movies you’ve watched and more.  They can market yourself or be a powerful tool for a company. Companies should have a blog because it is free publicity for them and they can monitor the blog and review customer praises/complaints and questions. 

Blogging is fast becoming an extremely important strategy for any online marketer. An effective blog can:

  • drive swarms of traffic to the main website  
  • generate more product sales
  • create an additional stream of advertising income
  • be a great customer service tool

Both online and offline businesses can use blogs to take their products and services to a wider audience, increasing their traffic, leads and sales.

 With an effective business blog, you can:

  • Humanize the business. Because a blog is much more informal than other websites, you can write posts in your own voice and give your business more of a human face.

    Improve  customer service. Your blog can act as a kind of interactive FAQ, allowing your customers to submit questions and you to answer them.

  • Give your target market the information they’re looking for.  With a well-written, regularly updated blog, you can become a reliable resource in your industry and build a following of loyal readers who depend on your content. These people will be your best potential customers.

Drive traffic to your sales website. If you already have a website, a blog can give your traffic levels a real boost.

Build your credibility and establish yourself as an industry expert. It’s a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your subject area, and allow your visitors to feel much more comfortable buying from you.

Promote your products or services. You can actually sell products directly from a blog, or you can use your blog to mention new products and direct visitors to your sales website.

Generate extra income. There are now several advertising programs available, such as Google AdSense, that allow you to monetize your blog and generate an extra revenue stream.

 Adage ranks marketing blogs at this link: http://adage.com/power150/  may be useful for you if you are a marketer!

 Do you have a blog at your place of employment?  Is it successful for your business? 

Advergaming is an immersive mix of advertising and entertainment that takes the form of video games. According to eMarketer.com, it’s been around since at least the early 1980s when Kool-Aid and Pepsi developed Atari 2600 games that featured their products and distributed the game cartridges as promotions.

In 2001, the term “advergames” was coined in Wired magazine’s “Jargon Watch” column. Since then it has been used to describe the free online games that many major companies are now using to promote their products.

Major food brands that sell candy, cookies, and other snacks have turned to online advergaming to appeal to the younger generation. Websites that advertise products such as Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or Post’s Fruity Pebbles offer interactive Flash based games that not only draw kids in but keeps them coming back. The problem here, is that the U.S. is having troubles with childhood obesity.  Schools are banning vending machines (the sugary snacks and drinks) and are creating healthier lunch menus in the cafeteria. 

Does the media play a huge part in childhood obesity? Or, is it the child’s parents responsibility?

According to a poll of 3,000 children conducted by Intuitive Media, 43% of children noted that they are more likely to eat a snack they saw online. Another 61% admitted they had visited food websites before.

The U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention says childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children ages 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5 percent in 1980 to 19.6 percent in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents ages 12 to 19 years increased from 5 percent to 18.1 percent.

The issue here is not that food giants are advertising to children, as they already do so in television commercials, it’s that advergaming is blurring the line between advertising and entertainment—a line that children who have limited cognitive abilities at their young age can distinguish between. Researchers are not yet sure how this form of online advertising affects children but they do know that while TV commercials have a wider reach, advergames reach children at a deeper level.

Is it fair to say that advergaming leads to children becoming overweight? Is it a contributing factor? Or do the children themselves and their parents need to take responsibility for their own eating habits? 

It makes sense right?  Why not tie-in social media with your Super Bowl commercials? That’s what an estimated one-half of Super Bowl advertisers plan to do this coming weekend.

Super Bowl 2011

Here’s a sneak peek:

  • Budweiser has aired spots leading up to the game that challenge viewers to guess the plots of its 3 Super Bowl commercials. More clues are featured on Facebook. Guess correctly, and Bud will “unlock” a new commercial online.
  • Audi will air a commercial in the first quarter that sports its own Twitter hashtag.
  • Mercedes-Benz is running a “Tweet Race.” Four teams race to Dallas in Mercedes cars, fueled by how many times fans tweet using the hashtag of their favorite team. It’s all for a chance to win a new C-Class Coupe.
  • KIA will give away a 2011 Optima after offering contest clues on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Volkswagen will debut take-over ads on YouTube the day after the Super Bowl

Lightspeed Research discovered that one-third of Super Bowl viewers with smart phones will be sharing messages via social media. “An impressive 45 percent of those with smart phones plan to use them during the actual game – that’s nearly double the number of those who anticipate using the internet from their home computer,” the survey found.

It is a useful tool for advertisers spending mega-bucks on a Super Bowl commercial.  Emerging media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube will extend the viewership of the advertisement.  These advertisers can benefit before the game, during the game, and after the game with emerging media.