Firestarter Create and distribute a branded interactive promotion on Facebook with Wildfire

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 18, 2009 at 11:46 am

Wildfire AppPart of creating a brand presence on a social networking site is, well, being social.  This means finding ways to engage your customers and keeping your products relevant.

Consider holding a branded contest or promotion with the Wildfire App.  Wildfire gives you the tools to create and distribute interactive promotions on the biggest social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, and Ning).  You can choose from Wildfire’s existing templates or go completely white label.  There are packages and pricing for just about everyone.

Here’s how it works, choose the type of promotion you want to hold:

  • sweepstakes
  • contest
  • product giveaway
  • user-generated contest (video, photo, essay, etc)
  • coupon distribution

Wildfire provides layouts for each type of promotion, but you also have the option of creating your own custom design.  Again, it depends on the package you choose and your CSS skill level.  Once your contest/application is launched, you can start monitoring your campaign through your Wildfire account.  You can also pull data reports from your contest, like name, age, gender, email information, address, etc. of the participants.

The beauty of any social networking promotion is the built-in viral capabilities.   As someone interacts with your application, it appears in their news feed and perpetuates brand exposure.  Users also have the option of inviting their friends to participate.

In addition to your social networking application, you can create a custom contest widget for your website to reach your existing (and non-social) audiences.

Wildfire is an fbFund grant winner. The fbFund was created by Facebook and partners to reward third parties for outstanding application development through the Facebook platform.

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  Queen Bees Let influential teens socially market your products with Trendsta

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 14, 2009 at 11:39 am

trendsta logo

Teens and Tweens are a notoriously tough sale.   They rely on the influence of their own crowd, and no matter how hard advertisers try, they’re always behind the curve (that’s so, like, 5 minutes ago).

If teens are your target market, check out Trendsta.   Trendsta is a new advertising platform that takes a unique approach to cracking the teen circle of influence.  They put products in the hands of those deemed “cool” and leverage their powers of persuasion across social networks.   Trendsta already counts Atlantic Records, Epic Records, Penguin Books, and Delia’s among their advertisers.   On the Trendsta site, you’ll see conversations ranging from Microsoft Zune to SNL skits to the latest song from a band you probably never heard of.  But that’s the point, right?

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So how does Trendsta find their influencers?  Initially, they randomly selected 50 social networking profiles (teens with networks of 600-700 people), but the current model qualifies teens on-site with a “Trend Test” (i.e. how cool are you?).   Trendsta scans each applicants Facebook profile for:

  • The number of friends they have
  • How many people comment on their status
  • How many people write on their wall
  • The number of social interactions they have

If you pass the test,  you’re eligible to become a member of the community and receive free products from advertisers.

Skeptical of the Trend Test’s validity?  Consider this.  During Trendsta’s initial testing,  they were able to follow and measure 14,000 brand-related conversations that started with the initial 50 participants.  I’d call that pretty darn influential.  Advertisers can monitor the same social conversations and measure their Trendsta campaign through a personal dashboard.

Brand communities are nothing new, but Trendsta maybe on to something here.  Instead of fighting the fact a group of 16-year-old girls control your brand image, embrace it and use it to your advantage.   The site is still a little sketchy on the details (mostly contact so-and-so for more information).  Seeing how I am neither a teen nor cool enough to pass the Trend Test, I can’t demo the product either.  ::Sigh::  It’s like high school all over again.

It's estimated that teens are responsible for $190 billion in sales last year. Pretty impressive when you consider minimum wage is $7.25/hour, and the average weekly allowance is $10-20/week.

Teens have learned to block out aggressive advertising tactics. Can you blame them? Go-to sites like MySpace are plastered in products.

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Wall Decor Our Top 3 Apps for promoting your brand on Facebook

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 13, 2009 at 1:28 pm

If you think Facebook apps are all Mafia Wars and Texas Hold’em, you should take another look.  There are several apps designed to engage customers and promote your brand through social networking.

Social RSS

social rssRSS feeds are an easy way to bring fresh content to your Facebook page.  If you have a company blog or personal industry blog, you can pull articles directly into your Facebook status with Social RSS.  Feeds update automatically, and your articles are posted on your wall, as well the homepage of your Fans.  We use Social RSS on our own Digital Scientists Facebook page.   It’s a free app, but they do offer subscription services ($2/month) for prolific bloggers with constant refresh rates.

Bonus Points:  Social RSS lets you import your Twitter feed, as well.

SlideShare

slideshare logoSlideShare made an appearance on Feed Growth! back in 2007, when it was heralded as the “YouTube of Powerpoint”.  Now, you can bring the same slick presentation application to your Facebook Page.   If you already have a SlideShare account, you can import your existing documents – or – sign up for a new account, and start uploading Word docs, PowerPoint & Keynote presentations, PDF’s, and more.   This is a great way to distribute your marketing materials, old sales presentations, and just about any collateral that you have on hand.

Testimonials

testimonials logoClient testimonials are worth their weight in gold.   They fortify your existing relationships and sell potentials on your company and your capabilities.  However, collecting testimonials can be an arduous task – a bit like asking for a handout.   Let the Testimonials Facebook App do the groveling for you.  When you install this app, it gives you the option of leaving testimonials for any of your Friends/Fans who also have the app (ergo, presenting the same option to anyone else that downloads the app).  You’re best bet is to promote the application on your Facebook page, itself, so people know they are always welcome to leave feedback.

Really, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  There’s a slew of Facebook applications for businesses.  Since these apps are developed by third parties, there isn’t much marketing for them, so you’re going to have to do some hunting – and demoing – to find the right ones for your Facebook page.

Facebook apps are notoriously clunky (of course, the same could be said about Facebook, itself). Looks can be deceiving though. Facebook has more than 250 million active users. Of which, more than 1 billion pieces of content is shared each week, including web links, news stories, blog posts, etc.

Social Media marketing isn't going anywhere, so you better get on board. The majority of our ideas are in one shape or another connected to Facebook, Twitter, and the likes. If it isn't a tool that simplifies or helps you manage your social media campaign, it's a tool for measuring its success.

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Pretty Young Thing Update your social sites and blogs at the same time with Postling

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 12, 2009 at 1:10 pm

postling logo

When it comes to social media, small businesses usually fall in two camps:   they don’t get it and don’t care to – or – they get it, but they don’t have the time or resources to make it worthwhile.

One service is hoping to change all that.   Postling is a new social media management tool. Think of it as a command center, where you can simultaneously publish updates to all your major social sites, including Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr, as well as blogging platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Tyeppad, SquaresSpace, and Tumblr.  You can even respond to comments on your posts from your Postling account.   Don’t have a blog?  No problem.  Postling throws one in with your subscription.

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Postling is pretty simple to setup too.  Choose the services you want to activate and plug in your login information.  Then, choose what you want to do from the main navigation:

  • Update your Status
  • Create a Blog Post
  • Upload an Image
  • Share a Link

When you publish on Postling, you have the option of picking and choosing which services you want to include.    This is a nice feature if you maintain a lot of social media accounts (we have separate identities for feed growth and digital scientists).

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Postling costs $9/month or $90/year.  They’re currently offering a free 30-day trial. Sure, there are similar services on the market (some are even free), but we think Postling’s ease-of-use sets it apart.   It’s clearly designed and marketed for the small business – someone who would rather pay a nominal fee for a steamline tool than take time away from their business to update a Facebook page or blog.

UPDATE 08.17.09: Postling now supports Facebook Fan Pages!  That was quick guys.

We did run into a little snafu with Postling. We were unable to segment our business's Facebook Fan Page from our personal Facebook page, as both use the same login. Luckily David Lifson, CEO of Postling, responded to our inquiry immediately and let us know this is something in the works. Keep us posted, David!

Postling was created by some of the original folks behind Etsy.com, the world's largest online craft marketplace. It appears the guys kept it simple and stuck to the same formula. Etsy is e-commerce for small businesses. Postling is social media for small businesses.

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  Purple people eater Create a website-worthy color scheme from an inspiration image with ColorSuckr

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 11, 2009 at 1:01 pm

coloursuckr logoWith the abundance of blogging and publishing platforms, just about anyone can create a website.   The trick is getting that do-it-yourself job to look like it’s professionally designed.

A great place to start for inspiration is the ColorSuckr website.   ColorSuckr lets you pull the color scheme from any online photo.   You can grab a Flickr image, upload your own image to Flickr, then grab it, or point ColorSuckr to a webpage.   If more than one image exists, ColorSuckr lets you choose which one to extract.

ColorSuckr pulls up to 12 colors from each image and gives you the RGB, Hex, and Web Safe values for each.  You probably won’t need the latter, as web safe colors are almost an archaic convention in web design (harks back to when computers could only display a set number of colors with accuracy).  Still, nice to have all your bases covered.

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We like the narrow focus of this tool (seconded by our in-house designers).  Adobe’s Kuler offers a similar feature, but Kuler can be a bit overwhelming for the novice designer.  ColorSuckr is quick, easy, and accurate.  Like the color scheme on another website?  Point ColorSuckr that way.

The reality is, poor color choices can overwhelm your website and distract a reader from your content.   So ditch the chartreuse font and creepy flesh-toned background (it may work for Prada, but not for your website).  Find an image or website with a beautiful color story and let that be your inspiration. ColorSuckr will do the rest.

No shortage of tech goodies here. ColorSucker offers both a FireFox Add-on and a multi-browser bookmarklet that lets you grab color codes from website images as you're viewing them. It also lets you download an Adobe .ACO swatch file, so you can pull it into your design software.

Choosing a color palette is usually one of the last steps we take when designing a website. It's like icing on the cake. Focus on your site's structure first and foremost - layout, content, functionality, etc. Some of the best sites are devoid of color, but they are well thought out and very usable.

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  • Wildfire App
  • trendsta logo
  • social rss
  • postling logo
  • coloursuckr logo


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