Political Wins With Social Media

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The gubernatorial candidate with the most Twitter followers won Tuesday’s election in 22 of 34 declared races across the country, according to a Wired.com analysis.

The results showed 65 percent of the candidates with a bigger Twitter following won the chief executive’s post in their respective states.

When it comes to Facebook, 20 of the 34 gubernatorial candidates with the most fans, or likes, won the chief executive spot. Facebook’s analysis of the 98 most hotly contested House races, showed 74 percent of the candidates with the most Facebook fans won.

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Can Social Media Save You Money?

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Social Media in essence is free, right? Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc…they don’t charge you to have an account or to create a business page, giving you the opportunity to promote your products and services to billions of people online. Okay, advertising on these networks costs money, true, but in comparison to traditional means of advertising (print, TV, radio) the cost of advertising via social media networks is much less.

But, can social media actually save you money? Ford certainly saved money in its recent launch of the Ford Fiesta. Jim Farley, Ford CMO, was quoted “On the Fiesta Movement, we had higher unaided nameplate awareness than Fit or Yaris, and we spent 10 cents on the dollar, than a traditional tv ad campaign. So by starting earlier and using social media to spread the word about the new product, we’re really reducing the amount of traditional advertising we have to spend.”

It’s sometimes difficult to predict a true ROI for using social media. In the Ford case, however, it’s important to realize, as Farley explains above, that social media is lowering the amount of money that Ford has to spend on traditional advertising. That’s money that can then be spent on product development, customer service, and other areas that improves the quality of the product, as well as customer satisfaction. Which ultimately…increases sales. So this is another example of social media working indirectly.

How are you using social media to save your business money?

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Book Your Next Delta Flight Right From Facebook

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Delta Airlines this morning launched a Facebook feature that allows viewers to complete flight bookings without leaving the site. And the same feature will begin appearing in the next few days in the airline’s display ads on various major news and publisher sites, said Paul Skrbec, Delta spokesperson. “There will be an arrow consumers can click that will expand a window right on the site they are currently on,” he said. “The entire transaction happens in the ticket window.” Indeed, powered by Alvenda’s technology, the feature allows the viewer to buy airfares directly on Facebook or publisher sites. 1-800 Flowers began using a similar feature – allowing checkout to occur on Facebook – last year, explained Wade Gerten, CEO of the Minneapolis-based service provider. Gerten said that transactional data such as credit card information and home address is passed through Alvenda’s system and onto Delta’s secure server “within about a nanosecond.” The airliner posted about the tickets-buying feature today on the social site, including the copy: “Note: Information collected here goes to Delta and not Facebook.” On Delta’s Facebook page, the feature is pushed via a “Book a Flight” tab. Viewers who click on the tab are then asked to allow the app to access their basic information, such as name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, and list of friends. After the flyer allows or disallows the inclusion of such information to the flight search process, he arrives at a ticket window directly on the Facebook page. To be clear, the feature doesn’t float in a separate window on top of the page. Tickets shoppers can then enter departure and destination cities and dates before they’re served pricing and travel time options. During the selection process, a Share button appears. If viewers click through, a city-specific version of the following copy will appear in their newsfeed: “I’m using Delta’s Ticket Window to find flights from Lincoln to Newark without leaving Facebook!” That newsfeed post will include a “Book this Trip” button that takes friends who click through directly to the tickets window feature. Meanwhile, the tickets shopper is able to enter in all the standard information (credit card number, e-mail address, security code, frequent flyer code, etc.) required to buy flight tickets online. The same experience will be leveraged in display ads, Skrbec from Delta said. Though the feature would seem to call for a bevy of city-targeted Facebook.com ads for Delta, the spokesperson couldn’t shed light on the airline’s campaign plans. “We do a variety of search engine and paid ad placements,” he said. “Our ad placements are constantly changing depending on where the business demand is.” Skrbec said that Delta was the first airline to offer a direct-purchase Facebook.com feature – a plausible claim since marketing and sales applications on the social site are still at a fairly nascent stage. Given Facebook’s 500 million-plus users, competitors will likely follow.

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Top 10 social-media strategies can boost hotel marketing

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Hotels increasingly are seeing big benefits from taking part in social media. A list of 10 key strategies for making the most of social media to promote hotels includes creating custom Facebook pages; creating and promoting destination blogs; creating a search-optimized video about your destination; creating an account on photo-sharing sites to post hotel photos; and using online news channels to promote news releases.

Read the full article here; TOP 10

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How One Treatment Center is Using Social Media in Addiction Recovery

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The Right Step, a provider of affordable alcohol and drug rehab services with twenty locations throughout Texas and New Mexico, recently launched a new, free online social networking website to support its alumni. The website is an exclusive part of the OneRecovery social networking site for recovering addicts and alcoholics. It gives clients who have completed an addiction treatment program online support to help them succeed in life after rehab. AETNA, the insurance provider, chose The Right Step as one of a select group of treatment centers they would assist with the launching of the website as an extension of after-care support.

The new website has been described by some as “Facebook for people in recovery.” It allows users to share their emotions, attend online AA meetings, access a range of useful resources, and get support from their peers.

The Right Step’s Corporate Alumni Coordinator Jana Magee believes post-rehab services are an “imperative part of someone’s recovery.”

“One of the biggest questions facing those who successfully complete an alcohol or drug treatment program is how to continue growing and improving life,” explained Magee. “This new online community, which also provides access to the larger OneRecovery network of individuals in recovery as well as our other alumni programs helps recovering addicts learn new coping skills and techniques to maintain their sobriety and grow as individuals.”

The online social network site is just the latest addition to The Right Step’s industry-leading alumni support efforts. The alcohol and drug rehab center continues to support patients long after they’ve completed their inpatient treatment or outpatient program.

The Right Step’s alumni group gives members a chance to give back to the community by offering them speaking engagements, mentoring opportunities for others in recovery, plus additional programs at no cost. Additionally, The Right Step is committed to letting members “have fun in treatment and recovery.” That’s why they also offer entertaining outings, such as bowling tournaments, picnics, dances, and much more to those in their alumni network.

Clearly, this commitment to all of their patients has played a significant role in The Right Step’s ascension to one of the area’s most successful alcohol and drug treatment centers. The Right Step offers inpatient and outpatient treatment across Texas and New Mexico, including in Albuquerque, Austin, Baytown, Beaumont, Dallas, Central DFW(Euless), Plano, Houston, San Antonio, SW Houston/Ft. Bend, and Pasadena.

About The Right Step
The Right Step, which accepts most major private insurance, is a group of caring, experienced professionals with proven expertise in the field of addiction. CEO George Joseph, LCDC, was recognized as a “2009 Behavioral Healthcare Champion” and “National Counselor of the Year” in 2000 and has been in this field for over 27 years, successfully leading the organization for the past 16 years. Chief Medical Officer, Jason Powers, M.D., was voted as one of Houston’s “Best Doctors” and is recognized as a leader in the emerging field of addictionology. The Right Step’s team of executive directors, doctors, program coordinators, counselors, nurses, and recovery advocates knows every day they have the opportunity to improve the lives of others. The Right Step is renowned for effective, affordable, proven methods of substance abuse treatment, and they are committed to helping alcohol and drug abusers every step of the way on the path to a more meaningful, rewarding life.

For more information on affordable alcohol and drug rehab services, please visit. www.rightstep.com or call 877.627.4389

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Wildfire Reveals 6 Clever Tricks to Double the Effectiveness of Your Fan Page Status Updates!

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Many businesses are rushing to build up their Facebook ‘fan’ base, but what’s the value of a fan if you don’t know how to effectively message them and get their attention? Below are a series of very simple tips for how to get your Fan page status updates noticed. Special thanks are owed to the other panelists joining our CEO Victoria Ransom at the Web 2.0 expo session, “From Faceless to Fantastic,”where some of these tips were discussed (@ekaterinawalter, @ttaxchels, @smcilnay and @angelathp) and in particular to Jeff Widman at Brand Glue. But first, you might be wondering why such tips are even necessary. Aren’t all status updates seen by fans? The short answer is, no. Facebook uses an algorithm to determine which updates and stories will appear in a given person’s newsfeed. While no one knows exactly what this algorythm is (besides Mark Zuckerberg!), it largely depends on how much engagement a particular story receives. So, if you send an update out to your fans and it receives a lot of ‘Likes’ or ‘Comments’, it will be exposed to a much higher % of your fans in their Top News stream and there will therefore be a much higher likelihood that your fans will actually see your post than an update that gets few ‘Likes’ or ‘Comments’. So sending out posts that are highly engaging is extremely important to the success of your Facebook marketing strategy.

TRICK #1: Ask fans to ‘Like’ your update! This may sound trivial, but it is hugely powerful – when you post an update out to your fans ask them to show their support by clicking on the ‘Like’ button of your post. For example, if you send an update about a new product feature instead of simply saying: “We’re excited to announce the release of our brand new navigation, ” say something like: “We’re excited to announce the release of our brand new navigation. Click the ‘Like’ button if you like this change”. We have tried this over and over again and on average we see 200-300% more ‘Likes’ when we make direct requests like this. Check out the great engagement with this post– 29 people indicated they “Like” it, which was likely aided by the direct prompt to do so right in the message!

TRICK #2: Encourage comments by asking yes/no questions A powerful way to encourage comments is to ask your fans questions when you post an update. But you’ll get a much higher response rate if you ask questions that require very little effort to answer, like yes/no questions. For example, you’ll get far fewer comments if you ask “Tell us what you think of our new homepage design” than if you ask “Do you like our new homepage design – yes or no?”. Of course, if you’re looking for concrete feedback from your fans you may prefer the first approach, but if you are wanting maximum exposure for your post the latter approach will yield a significantly higher number of comments.

TRICK #3: Don’t use the Facebook links box! You may have noticed that Facebook provides an option to attach a link to your fan page status updates. What you may not know is that you’ll generally get fewer clicks on your link if you use this feature rather than simply including a link in the body of your update. Don’t do this… The link button outlined above will attach a link to your post, but its best to avoid using this tool, and just paste the link right into your text. Try this instead… Pasting a link you wish to share with your users directly into your message has proven, with testing, to have a significantly higher user click rate!

Don’t do this:

Do this instead:

TRICK #4: If you post your own videos, do use the Facebook video upload Just as Facebook provides functionality to attach a link to your update, so too does it allow to you attach a video to your post. While we recommend against using this functionality when posting a link, we do recommend that you use the ‘attach‘ functionality to add your own videos to your updates. Why? If you upload your video via the Facebook ‘attach’ functionality it will automatically embed a ‘Like’ button into your video, thus giving you the opportunity to build your fans when people share your video. If you simply link to a video on YouTube or elsewhere there will be no ‘Like’ button automatically embedded in your video. Try this out… Upload videos which you have on your computer using this uploader tool– it automatically inserts a “Like” button right into your video! You get a cool feature with it! By uploading this video directly into the video uploader tool pictured above, users can now click directly on “Like” within the video as they watch.

Try this: Upload videos which you have on your computer using this uploader tool– it automatically inserts a “Like” button right into your video!

By uploading this video directly into the video uploader tool pictured above, users can now click directly on “Like” within the video as they watch.

TRICK #5: Target your messages to different segments of your audience. Did you know that you can push out status updates that only specific segments of your fan base will see? For example, if you have a global business and you have an offer that is only relevant to your Canadian customers, you could push out a story that only your Canadian fans will see. Likewise, if you have Spanish speaking fans you could target them exclusively with an update written in Spanish. Right next to the “Share” button in the messaging box is a targeting tool– while the default targeting is “Everyone,” you can limit the outreach by location, all the way down to city/state and by language. If you have a message that you don’t need or want all of your users to see, you can customize who the message will be revealed to, by using the functionality built right in to the message box! Target your message right down to the city! You can target you messages by location of your users, as deep as their city, and even the language they speak!

If you have a message that you don’t need or want all of your users to see, you can customize who the message will be revealed to, by using the functionality built right in to the message box!

TRICK #6: Make it worth your fan’s while to look out for your updates! Razorfish published a study awhile ago that asked consumers why they fan and follow brands. The greatest percentage of people, by far, responded ‘for the exclusive deals & offers’. So if you want your fans to watch out for and look forward to receiving your updates, you should reward them from time to time with special offers like coupons, giveaways, contests and more. We’ve seen companies that offer regular deals (e.g. Friday specials or Tuesday giveaways) build highly engaged fan bases.

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Using Twitter to Your Advantage

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By Chuck Frey |

Twitter is an endless source of ideas and inspiration. Because so many people are making connections and sharing questions, conversations and links, the it’s not uncommon to encounter new, unexpected ideas and the serendipitous opportunities they offer.

So how can you increase your odds of bumping up against great ideas that you can potentially use in your business? Here are a few thoughts:

Follow a diverse group of people, both inside of your field or profession as well as an eclectic group of people from other walks of life who will challenge your thinking and inspire you. The key here, as in real-life creativity, is diversity. The more viewpoints, the better. Some people on Twitter are very literal – here’s where I am, here’s what I’m doing – while others are more cerebral and thought-provoking. Look for people to follow who are in the latter camp.

Look for interesting groups that people you respect have created in their Twitter accounts, and follow them. This will expose you to a broader group of people and their viewpoints and ideas. This is a fairly new feature of Twitter; the advantage of following a group is that you instantly add everyone who is in that group to your tweetstream – you don’t have to add each one individually.

Set up searches for terms that are important to you. I don’t have a sense of the percentage of Twitter users who have set up searches for specific terms in their Twitter readers, but my gut feeling is that it’s rather low. I suspect that most people use these programs with the default set of columns – usually all of the people you’re following, any direct messages you have received and any tweets that mentioned you.

To improve your odds of encountering valuable and relevant ideas, it’s essential that you set up searches on keywords and terms that matter to you. For example, I have permanent searches set up in TweetDeck and HootSuite for innovation, creativity, brainstorming, mindmap and mind map. The tweets in these columns can be from anyone, and that’s a good thing when it comes to serendipity. What they share is the keyword or phrase that you specified.

Participate in Twitter chats related to your area of interest. Usually, a group of people agree to set aside one hour to discuss a particular topic. For example, I know of one group of people who are focused on innovation who meet weekly at a specific day and time. The tweets that are part of their “conversation” are held together by a hashtag – in the case of this group, #innochat.

To follow these conversations, simply set up a search column in your Twitter reader with the group’s hashtag as the search term. There are no invitations for these confabs; anyone is welcome to just listen in or share their expertise. Often, the tweets are flying by so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. But the best Twitter chats are a hotbed of ideas and discussion. Effective moderators will always publish the “tweetstream” – a list of all of the twitter messages that were part of the group’s discussion – after the chat, so you can always view an archive of tweets.

Ask for feedback: If you are kicking around an idea in your head, one way to get quick, free advice on its viability is to ask others on Twitter for feedback. Obviously, if this is a highly proprietary idea, you won’t want to share it in this medium. But otherwise, it’s a great way to get fast, free feedback on your nascent ideas. How can this be serendipitous? Because someone will inevitably challenge your thinking and send you off in an exciting new direction.

Have fun: Follow at least a few Twitter users with the sole purpose of making you laugh. Humor often comes from unexpected twists, unusual situations and unique perspectives. Laughter tends to put you in a looser, more creative frame of mind. So be sure to follow a few people who will tickle your funny bone. Some of my favorites include @badbanana, @funnyoneliners and @shitmydadsays (as the name implies, this last one is not really safe for work, but it’s hilarious!).

How about you? How do you utilize Twitter for creative inspiration?

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Facebook Applications that Let You Do Cool Stuff on Facebook

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Have you ever wanted to DISLIKE something?
The Status Magic Facebook app can add a dislike button to any status updates posted via the app. And if you wanted to really mix it up you can actually customize the second emotion to anything, such as “love,” “hate,” “disagree” or even “LOLs.”

Want to tag people in your Status Update?
To mention someone in a status update just type “@” in the status bar and start typing their name as it appears on Facebook. An auto-generated list will then come up with people in your social circle whose name starts with the letters you’ve typed. The feature also works with pages, brands, events and companies. Hit the name you want, complete the update, click share and the name will become a hyperlink (you won’t see the @ symbol) and will appear in blue text.

Create a word cloud from your Status Updates:
There’s a really fun way to visualize anyone’s status updates (even an entire country’s) as a word cloud. The Status Analyzer 3D app will look at what it is you’ve been chatting about lately and generate a list, and then a pretty, colorful, animated cloud. You can share the results with others on the social networking site by posting it to your friends’ walls or by adding it to your profile.

Ever wanted to talk like a pirate?
Turn your Status Update into Piratespeak with the help of this translator http://www.talklikeapirateday.com/translate/index.php

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