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

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 13, 2009

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

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

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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  Whet your appetite Create a branded chat room and invite participants from Facebook and Twitter with SavorChat

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 10, 2009

savorchat logo

Even the most tepid digital marketer has a Facebook or Twitter page (right?).  One way to get the most out of the experience is to invite your friends and followers to participate in brand-related discussions.

SavorChat is a free service that lets you create group chat rooms and invite participants from your favorite social networking sites.  The idea being, you already have the guest list, you just need a space to throw the party.

Setting up a chat room is pretty straightforward. You don’t need a SavorChat account, because the service works with both Facebook Connect and oAuth (for Twitter).   Once you’re logged in, simply create a new chat room, giving it a name, date, duration, and category.  Twitter users have the option of adding a Twitter hashtag too (i.e. #MyBrandName).   You can also add a room description and privacy settings.  Stealth mode hides your chat room from the public and search engine indexing, and if you choose, you can password protect your room to limit who has access.

savorchat screen

Once you save your chat room, you’ll be given the option to invite participants directly from your friends/followers list, publish (or tweet) your chat room, or grab a link to invite users outside of the social scene.  Everyone is herded to a SavorChat space.  A chat remains open as long as you want, so it can be used as a brand message board in lieu of a real-time chat room.

If you’re looking to do some homegrown customer research, look no farther than your own social networks.    Anyone willing to follow your brand is probably game to give you feedback.  SavorChat is providing a free venue; it’s up to you to get the conversation started.

Recently, Best Buy launched Twelpforce, a corporate Twitter account on steroids where Best Buy employees man the Twittersphere, offering advice, promotions, etc to brand followers.

Branded chat rooms have been making the rounds for years (e.g. Meebo). Most actually have more features and functionality than SavorChat, but what they don't have is the automatic social integration of Facebook and Twitter.

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  Finger-lickin' Good Find and qualify social content on Delicious with their new advanced search functionality

Posted by maggie.hunsucker August 7, 2009

delicious-logo

Sometimes, it’s not about what’s new and trendy, but rather, when an established tool or service improves their feature set.  Social bookmarking site, Delicious, just unveiled some long-overdue upgrades, including an advanced search bar.

Most people use Delicious for their personal bookmarking needs (I know I do), but it’s also a great tool for monitoring social content.  A brand that doesn’t perform well in a diluted search market may have several bookmarks on Delicious.  You can also use Delicious to see which sites and bloggers hold the most influence in your industry.

Problem is, as the site has become more and more popular, navigating through the sea of bookmarks is difficult.  A simple search for “social media marketing” yields almost 50,000 results.   With Delicious’s new search functionality, I can filter those results by tag – either choosing tags I like, removing tags I don’t, or looking for tag overlap.  I can stipulate a timeline (e.g. bookmarks only saved from January 1, 2009) or confine the results to bookmarks in my personal network of Delicious users.  Delicious also offers up search suggestions, which taps into parent company Yahoo’s search assist technology.

Using the same example, lets say I want to launch my own social media marketing campaign.  Specifically, I’m looking for case studies and articles about social media strategy, so let’s remove the “web 2.0″ and “blogs” tags.  I’m also going to use a Delicious search suggestion and narrow the time frame to the last year.

delicious search screen

Immediately, I shed about 47,000 bookmarks. I’ve filtered out the riffraff and general bookmarks for sites like Mashable and Tech Crunch (sorry, compadres).  What I’m left with is more inline with my original intentions. Since, I’m using a bookmarking site instead of Google, I can further qualify content by its popularity.  For example, 62 people have bookmarked 360i’s Social Marketing Playbook.

There’s actually a lot of new functionality on Delicious, so much that we can’t cover in one article.   Check out their What’s New page for the full rundown.

Delicious appears to be jumping on the Twitter bandwagon, as well. They've updated their homepage with a real-time "Fresh Bookmarks" tab and have given account holders the ability to tweet their bookmarks.

You can also use the timeline filter to monitor search trends. "Social Media Marketing" was peeking rather slowly until mid 2007. Could this correspond with Twitter's emergence on the scene or after it won the SXSW blog award in 2007?

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