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After a big week and response to my blogs I have decided to open the floor. I received a lot of great feedback and suggestions, so in addition to my blog articles M-F I will feature guest blog writers. If you would like to be a guest blog writer, forward your article to me no later than Sunday 24, 2010 at 12 noon. I will showcase at least one a day, perhaps two a day all next week depending on content quality, your name and your contact info will be posted with the article (your website, facebook, twitter or e-mail your choice).

Rules:

The article must fit the following categories:

  • Social Media
  • Social Brand
  • Visibility Marketing
  • New Tech for Mobile or Social
  • Small Business Education
  • Small Business Resources
  • Advertising & Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Social Brand Reputation Management

Format:

  • No More than 600 words
  • Language appropriate (English, Spanish, French or Russian)
  • No more than two external links for self promotion
  • No more than 5 links total

Content:

  • Author is given credit for content
  • Content must be original
  • Content cannot be syndicated elsewhere for sixty days.

e-mail: basil@puglisiconsulting.com

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Many sites are actively advertising in search engines for the most valuable search queries. This high level of competition tends to result in high advertising costs which make it difficult to find attractive advertising opportunities. Resource sharing provides new ways of organizing and sharing information on the web and provides advertisers with another way for Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

BibSonomy is a social bookmarking system that allows users to bookmark and share their favorite sites and publication in a collaborative manner.

The bookmarking is easy, just as it is done on the regular browser, but it saves all the bookmarks to the BibSonomy site, which enables accessed from any computer. Users tag their ‘finds’ and can look at what others have tagged and viewed, in a social networking manner.

The uniqueness of BibSonomy is that it goes further than just being a social bookmarking system. It allows for publication sharing. It is what they call ”A team oriented publication management”.

It offers users the ability to store and organize their publications and supports exchange and integration of different people by offering a social platform for literature exchange.

Both bookmarks and publication can be tagged to help find information. A description can be freely chosen. The assignment of tags from different users creates a new vocabulary called ‘folksonomy’. It evolves from the participants of research groups, individual users and learning communities organizing their information needs. Folksonomies became popular on the web in 2004 as part of social software applications. The word is a mix of the words “taxonomy” and “folk” and allows an intuitive structure for navigating the data.

Developed by a team of students and scientists at the “Institute of Knowledge and Data Engineering” and is hosted by the University of Kassel in Germany.

While about 55% of visitors to the site come from India, it is also popular in the Philippines. The use of this site in the United States is at about 8% only, but is growing rapidly.

Another great visibility tool.

The world is divided into two equally powerful entities today; one is the real world that we live in, and the other is the virtual world, or the world of the internet. Getting your business known and noticed in the virtual world can boost your brand identity recognition and your sales to unforeseen heights, depending on your marketing strategies. So how to put your small business on the virtual map?

The first thing to do is to set up your professional corporate website and incorporating e-commerce to increase the value of your business. However, this alone will not result in an implicit increase in the enterprise value of your business.

What you will need to do is leverage the Internet to increase your sales and profitability, thereby increasing the value of your business. With over a 1000 million people online in the world today, and trillions of dollars transacted over the internet, you can sense the presence of a staggering opportunity.

When you put yourself on the virtual map, you are in effect completely eliminating geographic barriers. With one step, you reach a wider, more diverse audience. A properly marketed Web site can be a very effective means of reaching new and existing customers and expanding your geographic presence. Here are a few tips:

  • Get a smart, professionally designed website designed for your company.
  • Place your logo prominently on all pages.
  • Place brief but informative and useful brochure ware of your company so that your potential customers, vendors and partners get an idea of who you are.
  • Use search engine optimization tools to ensure that your Web site appears at the top of search lists when someone looks for a product or service similar to what you offer.
  • Make sure your site prompts visitors to input comments and feedback. This way, you can capture the information of existing and potential customers to support the efforts of your sales team.
  • Ensure that your website allows a safe and secure online purchasing experience. Use the best payment gateways and incorporate every possible security signatures that you can afford. When you allow customers to purchase your products or services online, you can more than quadruple your sales output.

By allowing people to shop online at your Web site, you can reduce your sales staff and other overheads. Imagine what this can do to your business’s bottom-line.  Putting up your brochure content on your site can eliminate the need to print expensive brochures and other collateral materials.

Retain your customers and build customer loyalty by offering customer contact and support online. When your customers’ requests are attended to via real time chat, or email follow up, there’s greater satisfaction and trust in your company.

Mixx is a user-driven social media site that combines social networking and bookmarking with web content, blogging and personalization tools.

There is so much information of the web these days that we don’t have the time to find the good stuff that interests us or is important to our business. Who knows better than you what informs you, what makes you think, what makes you laugh?

With Mixx you can be in charge. Using YourMixx you can tailor the content categories, specific users and groups and see the top-rated content as chosen by you and people who share your passions. It is like whipping up your own version of the web. Just tell the site how you like it and they’ll deliver the best the web has to offer—whenever you want it. You can create a personalized blend of web content that includes text-based articles, images and videos, using either free-form or pre-determined meta tags to define items by subject matter or geography.

The content on Mixx comes from various online sources. Mixx is in partnerships with a growing list of online publishing outlets that include CNN.com, USA Today, Reuters, The Los Angeles Times and The Weather Channel.

Mixx users can also follow other users with whom they share common interests, as well as create, join and invite other Mixx users to private groups to further share and discuss relevant items among peers.

There are a few methods you can use Mixx: –

Mixx Channels – Publishers of content must fight to be noticed.  Mixx Channels enable companies to gather topical chatter and shared stories, photos, and videos into one place, an experience that cuts through the noise and delivers relevant content and information.

Mixx Sitebox – Promotes increased engagement and recirculation. It allows users to get a box of their favorite news channel and see what others have chosen and how much interested the news bit has generated.

Mixx Sifter  – The Mixx community gives direct feedback on advertising. The better ads will get impressions – not based on how much is paid, but on how positive the feedback is from users.

An advertiser uploads five different ads, in virtually any format. Mixx then invites its frequent users to review those ads, rate them and provide direct private feedback. The most popular ad is then run on the site. Mixx is highlighting the value of direct feedback to advertisers.

Are you a small business owner wanting to market your products or services without breaking the bank? If you are, you must read this article.

Customers are attracted to businesses that have a polished, professional image. They often make snap decisions about who to do business with based solely on their image and presentation.

So what does a smart image do to your business? Firstly, it gets you noticed; specific image aspects such as a well designed logo have excellent recall value. So a smart image gets you remembered. That’s two shots in one – a great impression and excellent recall value.

Investing in great corporate brand identity image helps you in two ways; it makes your small business look larger than it is and also sets you apart from the competition. What looks to be fairly simple such as unique logo, an attractive website or appealing business cards will help to establish your business’ brand identity and define its role and services in the marketplace.

So what does a smart image consist of? A well-designed, colorful and yet to-the-point logo that represents your company’s products, services and business ideals is a start. This should be followed by smartly designed business cards with the same logo prominently printed on them.

A smart business card:  You can design and print very professional-looking business cards for a low price in order to attract new customers and ensuring that your existing customers know how to get in touch with you.

A smart corporate logo: This is an absolute must if you want to be noticed and remembered. Remember, a picture is better than a thousand words.

A well-designed website:  You might wonder exactly why you need this. The world is becoming very web-centric, with more and more shoppers researching products and shopping online. When you have a smart website in place, you will instill confidence in potential customers. Your website must have a consistent look and feel and must contain your contact information, along with your business hours. It would be great to also have the names of the people who can be contacted for specific services. You can use your website to sell your products online; if you do this, ensure a safe secure shopping experience for your customers.

Hand out freebies: Everyone loves it when they get something free. How about gifting your customers small things such as pens, key chains, and mobile phone pouches and so on branded with your corporate logo?

If you don’t have a dedicated art department or marketing team to create your brand identity, here’s some good news. You can easily develop professional-looking logos and business cards using fairly cheap online services.

Using the big search engines; Google, Yahoo, and Bing has become a way of life for us. Google became a verb in the English language. The problem with the search engines is the amount of information they present. If you want something specific it is sometimes like searching for a needle in a hay stack.

The main reason, apart from the wealth of information, is the indexing system which is done by machines. What will happen if all those pages were vetted by humans, not machines?

Social Bookmarking provides that vetting.

Social bookmarking sites allow the users to choose the website they like, bookmark them, tag them, categorize them and share them with others. Other users can pass them on to their groups of friends, and the word spreads. It is a way for like-minded users to rank and store websites, articles, blogs and videos.

Blinklist is one of those sites that proved to be very affective.

With an extremely simple and free registration, Blinklist installs a button on your toolbar. In a few quick steps you export all your existing bookmarks to their site.

You have entered a world of human interaction. You can see what others have bookmarked, you can check what is the most bookmarked page in a certain topic, you can see what your friends found interesting and you can rate their finds.

And by going to their site, you can access your bookmarks from any computer. That is a great feature when you want to show your friends, your coworkers or your boss something interesting you have found.

Blinklist enables you to save a copy of the web page on your computer. If the website disappears or is blocked you still have a copy. You can bookmark articles you are interested in reading later, a copy is saved on your computer and you can read it even when you are offline.

Social Bookmarking has become a great way to increase the visibility of your website, articles, blogs or product and is increasingly incorporated in an effective marketing campaign. It provides an instant statistics tool that enables you to measure, assess and learn what is working and what does not.

To use social bookmarking to your advantage you need to know which sites cater to your target audience, especially if you are dealing with affiliate marketing programs, or specific blogs. Birds of feather flock together, they say, and so do internet users.

Another way of finding what’s new and interesting on the World Wide Web, is call Reddit.

Launched in 2005 by two 22 year old graduates from the University of Virginia, Reddit is a social network news website, for, as they call it “News before it happens”. Users can post news that is happening right now in their area, before it gets to the big news organizations. They can post links to content they like on the internet and comment on what others have found. They can also comment on the comments and rank them. With a simple response of like or dislike users mark their interest in the story posted. Every positive reaction gets a +1, every negative reaction -1. The more positive reactions a comment or link gets, the higher up the link goes. The front page is constantly in motion as new stories are uploaded and voted on.

Since 2008, Reddit is an open source community of more than 370,000 where postings get indexed not by crawlers as is the case with search engines, but by users, based on interests, not keywords.

Reddit content is divided into sub-categories;  pics, funny, politics, WTF, gaming, science, world news and more and is a good place to find popular articles or have a discussion. It is a place where you can market your own blog and get instant reactions.

The effectiveness of Reddit has been tested after the earthquake in Haiti.  The community of Reddit users raised $185,000 for the victims of the earthquake.

Another example is about to happen. In September 2010 a Reddit poster started a campaign to persuade Stephen Colbert to have a rally in Washington DC. The idea was described in a post talking about a dream the poster had.

The idea resonated with the community and webpages and Facebook groups have been created. Social networking machine started spreading the idea. Colbert acknowledged the momentum and the followers, to prove that they are serious about it, managed to raise $100,000 in 24 hours to support a charity where Colbert sits on the board of directors.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are heading rallies in Washington DC on October 30, 2010 – a direct result of a campaign that started on Reddit.

Colbert challenged the community even more. He wanted to help teachers around the country get supplies for their classrooms, something that used to come out of the teacher’s pockets. Within 3 days the community raised $250,000.

The power of social networking sites has become a force to be reckoned with. Reddit in particular leverages its own network to rank and recognize the validity of what’s being shared. This gives Reddit added value to those looking for information that is relevant based on real user reviews and not spam.