Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

What’s So Great about Viral Marketing?

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

If you’re using the Internet to market your company, than you must have heard the term “viral power.” Does this phrase ring a bell? Do you know what it means? If not, you’re not alone. Many businesses hear the same advice as you may be hearing, such as “use the viral power of the internet,” “viral marketing is the way to go,” and so on.

But, what does viral power mean? Bascially, it is comparing information across the Internet to a virus. A virus can spread extremely easily and rapidly and information online works in the same exact manner. Links from one website bring you to the next, people share information across various online channels, and information is recycled and archived.

One of the greatest ways to take advantage of viral marketing is through videos. YouTube is a primary example of how businesses have used videos to increase online exposure and attract more clients. In the video below, you’ll see just how vital video marketing is in promoting your business online and increasing your client base.

If You Think LinkedIn Isn’t Worth Your Time, Think Again

Friday, October 9th, 2009

One of the first pieces of advice Ira Shull gave me when I met him at a networking event was to join LinkedIn.  Since then, I’ve heard him repeat that advice at many events and social gatherings.  According to Ira, in his twenty years of working in publishing, ten of which he’s worked freelance, no other tool has found him more work.  Recently I had the pleasure to interview him about how he uses LinkedIn and what his results have been.

Sūmèr: When did you start using LinkedIn?

Ira: I set up a profile early 2008, but I didn’t really start using it until people started contacting me—including people I went to college with, friends I had at previous publishing companies, and so on.  I quickly realized that this was a valuable resource since people were finding me through it, so I added most of my resume information to my profile, got some recommendations from people I’d worked with as well as former clients, began building my contact list, and started really looking to see what I could use the service for.

Sūmèr: How did you use LinkedIn in the beginning?

Ira: One of my initial steps was to pick fifteen contacts that I thought might be able to lead me to freelance work and I send them a group e-mail saying, “I’m looking for work, does anyone know of anything? Please let me know. ” I didn’t ask them for work directly; I just put out to them that I was looking for work and let them decide how to answer.  Out of the fifteen that I contacted, I got quite a few responses, including a job interview at a major publisher and several leads on freelance work.

Sūmèr: How is this different than other methods you’ve used to find freelance work?

Ira: I’ve tried a lot of different things over the years—professional organizations, job boards, freelance job lists, and so forth—and by far the best results I’ve gotten from anything to this point have been through LinkedIn.  For two years, I paid eighty-five dollars to be a member of a job board in New York, getting their job listings.  The person who got me into it said they got one job a year, and in the two years I was on it, I got one job that I made two hundred dollars from—and that was it. I’ve paid nothing for LinkedIn to this point, and I’ve gotten several thousand dollars worth of work.

I’m basically doing direct marketing, and even to get a response is a small success. No one’s said please don’t contact me anymore.  In many cases I suspect these are people who wouldn’t pick up the phone if you called or wouldn’t e-mail you back.

Sūmèr: How are you using LinkedIn now?

Ira: The big change this year is I’ve started using the groups much more.  I’ve joined a lot of groups related to my field and I’m a member of at least fifteen to twenty groups.  Through these groups you have access to a lot more people.  As long as you’re a member of a group, you can send e-mails to other people in that group directly, unless they indicate they want differently.  So, what I tend to do is look through the groups for interested people, people who might have higher authority, or people who might lead to people with higher authority.  I send them an e-mail introducing myself and ask if they have upcoming projects or know of people who might.  I tend to get a pretty good response.  In most cases people say to send my resume or that they might know someone, and in many cases it’s led to work.

I’ve found clients in different ways.  In one instance someone contacted me—unsolicited—through LinkedIn and asked me to provide samples.  Another I contacted and asked them if they had any upcoming work and got a job from them.

In another case I contacted an individual who was looking for editing services and pitched myself to him, and I’ve worked for him multiple occasions. This year I’ve worked with probably six or seven different major clients, and I would say that at least five are through LinkedIn connections, either directly or indirectly.

Sūmèr: Do you have any advice for people using LinkedIn to find a job?

Ira: It’s a great resource.  You have to be very assertive to use it.  You have to be willing to face rejection.  It’s not a panacea or cure all for what ails freelancers, but if you target people through it, and are clear about what you want and are polite and have a track record—by which I mean experience, recommendations, and samples—I think people will respond to you.  I feel people aren’t using it enough because they’re not really sure how it works and aren’t sure about the technology and they’re afraid to contact strangers, but I think that in this marketplace you kind of have no choice—you have to be assertive.

Sūmèr: Any last words?

Ira: LinkedIn changes things from a national marketplace to a global marketplace.  Two of the clients I’ve gotten from LinkedIn are in Australia and Spain.  It’s clear to me that LinkedIn connects you to people throughout the world.  People who are freelancing need to expand their horizons, and not just think in terms of their town, their city, their state, or even their country, because there is work out there, and with the right tools and attitude you can find it.

About Ira: Ira has worked in publishing for over twenty years, ten years of which has been in publishing.  He’s worked with a number of clients as a writing coach/consultant on projects from Ph.D theses to full-length manuscripts, offering structured feedback and guidance on various stages of the writing/publishing process. Currently, he also works with high school students on the acquisition of writing and reading comprehension skills through a private tutoring agency.

Visit Ira’s LinkedIn Profile at

Stop Wasting Your Time Chasing Clients Online

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Whether you’re in retail or real estate, tourism or graphic design, you’ll want to join me for my free telecall Tuesday, October 6, 2009, because I’m going to share with you how you can tap into the new age of PR and achieve exposure and more clients.

If you’re on the fence, if you think you don’t have the time, if you don’t think you need to promote online . . . here are 5 reasons why you should join me on this free call:

  1. You’ll learn proven PR integration tips and strategies that you can easily implement on your own today.
  2. You’ll learn how to save thousands of marketing and promotional dollars while maximizing your online exposure.
  3. You’ll get the tips you need to stand apart from the competition and gain massive online exposure across a variety of channels.
  4. You’ll discover exactly how to interact with your target market online and where to interact with them.
  5. You’ll learn what you can to today to get more online exposure.

Register today for “The Ultimate Strategies to Boost Your Online Presence.”

How NOT to Waste Time Promoting Your Company Online

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

I’m often asked, “How do you have the time to spend on social media? How do you handle client accounts and do all that blog marketing?” Or my personal favorites, the less tactful questions, “Do you ever sleep? Do you have a life?”

The world of 2.0 has created a wealth of free marketing and PR opportunities. It’s leveled the playing field—the smaller companies can compete on the same level as the big boys. PR 2.0’s user-friendly interface makes it simple for anyone to use. The problem is, this wonderful technology has delivered a healthy dose of overwhelm and exhaustion to those who use it to promote their company.

If you are struggling to find the perfect balance between promoting your brand online and spending your time wisely, you’re not alone.

The list is exhaustive: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon, Del.ici.ous, YouTube, blog writing, blog commenting, article marketing, ezine writing, and more.

Where does one begin? Where does it end? (Is your head spinning yet?)

There’s a simple remedy to wasting your time promoting your business on social media, Tweeting all day, and commenting on blogs until your fingers ache.

It’s called a strategic plan—one that you can actually implement and stick to.

My team and I are able to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time for our clients and Sūmèr (and, yes, still have a life) because we operate off of a deadline-driven plan. Each week, we have objectives we need to meet, which are broken down into daily tasks.

And we batch our work. It’s amazing how many blogs you can comment on when you have a set list of blogs and do it all in one sitting. Set a timer, and don’t switch tasks until you’re finished.

Another great tip is to track your efforts. Whether you track efforts in a spreadsheet, a planner, or a word document, you’ll be able to see where your time is being spent and refine your efforts weekly.

To recap:

1) Create a plan.
2) Break goals down into easily digestible daily tasks.
3) Batch your work.
4) Track what you do and the results you get from your efforts.

Have any tips to help increase business productivity while decreasing the time you waste promoting your company online? We’d love to hear your feedback in our comments section.

Build Online Relationships through Real-Time Marketing

Friday, September 18th, 2009

More WebProNews Videos

Marketers now have the opportunity to analyze customer relationships and promote their business in real-time to prospective clients. Will you take advantage of real-time marketing?

Are You Boring Your YouTube Viewers?

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Message from Michelle

Welcome to this issue of Sumèr’s Secrets. Mama and I are finally settled after our trip to see the family (although she really misses her son, Moose).

Recently, a client came to us concerned with dwindling traffic on their YouTube channel and requested we critique their videos. It didn’t take long for us to figure out why no one was watching their videos. Before I continue, it’s important to note that Sumèr does not record or edit videos. We write the scripts and we are in the business of helping our clients create and share a strong brand message.

We figured that if one company was having this problem, there must be more. My team and I surfed business videos on YouTube and were shocked with what we found: video after video had boring, invaluable content.

This issue of Sumèr’s Secrets focuses on the common mistakes businesses make when posting videos on YouTube. From the video content to the messaging, and your dress to the footage quality, your videos should work to strengthen your brand image.

Connect With Me Online at:

Feature Article:

Are You Boring Your YouTube Viewers?

These days, it seems more and more companies (and individuals) are making videos and posting them on YouTube with the expectation their videos will help with search engine rankings and attract new clients. While video marketing has the potential to promote a business and attract clients, many companies find no one is watching or reviewing their videos.

Do a quick search on YouTube and you’ll find videos without sound, ones that make no sense, poorly produced videos, and boring content. The worthless video is everywhere.

These poorly produced videos are fine if you’re uploading footage of your cat chasing your hamster or showing your kids playing in the ocean. But if you are a company using YouTube to promote your services, products, or expertise, then poorly produced videos will do the opposite of what you intended.

Before taking the time to film your video, ask yourself “What is the purpose of this video and how does this video promote my brand?” Perhaps you want to explain a specific product or service, illustrate your industry expertise, or strengthen your brand image by providing viewers with valuable tips and strategies. Once you know the above, you will know what action you want your prospect to take.

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when posting YouTube videos:

  1. Posting a video just to post it: Posting a video without a clear purpose is a YouTube no-no. Not to mention a waste of your energy and the viewer’s time. Before you create a video, you want to decide what the purpose is, the best way to provide prospects with valuable information, and the most effective way to execute it.Let’s say a tour company wants to post a video about their latest tour promotion to Niagara Falls. Posting a video that just scans the falls and the spectators isn’t enough. Without some sort of explanation to orient the viewer, the video will have minimal impact. And a video like this does nothing to entice viewers to want to visit Niagara Falls. Sure it’s a nice view, but the video message isn’t powerful enough. A more effective video would orient the viewer and include audio that talks about the tour, gives facts about the Falls, and / or include happy traveler interviews about their experience.
  2. Your video should reinforce your brand, not hinder it: A poorly made video—whether it be bad quality, muffled sound, or flat-out pointless—reflects your brand image. Your videos should be consistent with your brand personality and with your brand message.For example, if you are an adventure travel company and you have a video of you on a zip line high above a rainforest canopy, viewers will be okay with shaky video footage. It not only shows what your company does, but it creates an experience for them. By contrast, if you own a spa and you want to post a video on the latest and greatest facial services you offer, your video should be high quality. Your dress and message should reflect your brand.
  3. Not using a call to action at the end of each video: Although the entire video should be working to drive the prospective client to take action, the last portion of your video should always provide a call to action and be accompanied by the appropriate contact information and links. Having your information readily available after viewers finish your video will help drive them to take action, which could be calling your company, purchasing your product online, inquiring via email, or simply learning more about your company. Whatever the action you want them to take, make it obvious.While the call-to-action usually comes at the end, if you have the appropriate video software you can display your website link and company phone number at the bottom of the screen throughout the entire duration of the video.

Never Again Hear the Words “I Can’t Find Your Video”

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Optimizing your video posts on YouTube is essential if you want viewers to find them. Discover the tips and strategies  for optimizing your videos from YouTube’s project manager, Matthew Liu.

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Catching a Thief on Facebook

Friday, August 21st, 2009

It appears that dusting fingerprints, taking hair samples, and performing DNA analysis might not be enough to catch a thief. For Daniel James, owner of Las Olas, he did some of his own detective work using Facebook.

Where most companies use Facebook for promoting their businesses, Charleston’s own surf apparel shop Las Olas took Facebook to a whole new level. Below is the incident report.

Incident Report

Report Entered: 2009

Case Title: To Catch a Shorts Thief

Reporting Officer: Las Olas Facebook Page


Role Name

Las Olas Store Owner           Daniel James


Status Name

Shorts Thief                            Mr. Pánts-Stuffer


I was in Las Olas when a group of teenage skateboarders came in to browse. I had met one of the boys before and wasn’t suspicious of anything. They came in and started browsing; meanwhile, I had a friend asking about surf trip pointers as I rearranged merchandise—so I was a little busy. I was at the counter, and the boys were in the back looking at shoes. I had just rearranged the men’s shorts, and when they left, I noticed a pair was missing. At this point I called the police who showed up very quickly. I reviewed my security video from my computer and saw one of the boys had stuffed some shorts down his pants. The police did a sweep based on my descriptions but to no avail. So, I took still pictures from the video, enhanced them, and made a Facebook photo album with a reward for whoever could identify the thief.

Within about one hour, I had a dozen or so responses and suggestions. I followed the leads and found out the thief’s name.  I then called the detective working on the case and gave him the information. I wasn’t too surprised that people recognized this boy from the Facebook album I created.  Charleston is a small town, and if you live here, someone has seen your face before.

Report Status:


Las Olas was opened in May 2007, during a time in which mainstream surf clothing had evaporated everything unique. Las Olas tries to promote unfiltered products to let the customer decide what is in fashion. Bringing Southern California style to Charleston, SC, Las Olas has now been open for two years, despite a fluctuating economy. You can reach the Las Olas store via phone at 843.737.0488, or visit them at 441 King Street in Charleston, SC.

If you have a great Facebook story, we’d love to hear it! Leave us a comment.

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Social Media Vulnerability: Could You Be Affected?

Friday, August 21st, 2009

More WebProNews Videos

Although popular social media sites are some of the greatest tools to use to market and promote your website, they’re not the ONLY tools you should be using. The above video discusses how Twitter, as well as Facebook, were recently the victims of a hacker. When these systems were down, tweets and Facebook updates could not be passed through. This event should inspire you to use other online channels to market and promote your business. Other channels include discussion forums, blogs, and email.

What else are you doing  to market and promote online?

Letterman Doesn’t Know How To Tweet?

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

In this hilarious video from the Late Show with David Letterman, Kevin Spacey tries to explain Twitter to David in the simplest way possible.


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