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Why being LinkedIn is great for small businesses?

image It’s no secret that social media has changed the way the face of the world wide web so very drastically. From school-going kids to octogenarians, everyone is up online connecting, communicating and interacting like never before. And tech-savvy marketers are no way behind. With such a huge audience up for grabs, advertisers and marketers are using every trick-in-the-book to grab those elusive eyeballs. Being a small business, you too, can actively leverage the power of the web to take your business places. Much has been written about using Facebook and Twitter for business. Now, let’s look at LinkedIn and see how it can be utilized to further business interests.

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9 ways to promote non-profits using Twitter

twitter_logo_headerWhat’s happening?  That’s the question everyone’s answering these days. Twitter is quite a rage with the online folk these days. And people are not just using twitter to tell others when they woke up in the morning or what they ate for breakfast, twitter is now being used to promote brands and build businesses. What’s more, twitter has become the perfect medium to promote non-profits because of its wide reach and its ability to attract followers with less than 140 characters.

Here are 9 easy ways to promote non-profits using Twitter:

1. Create a Twitter profile

surestart copyStart promoting your non-profit by creating a twitter profile on similar lines – http://twitter.com/pathsurestart/ .This is your online address on twitter and you can add a small bio of your organization. You can even use http://twitbacks.com to create an interesting background to your profile

2. Follow other non-profits

Use twitter to connect to other non-profits. Take part in conversations with other non-profits, reply to their messages or re-tweet them to your followers. This way, you build relationships on twitter and earn a lot of good will for your cause. Also, you get to be active on twitter and gain some visibility for your cause.

3. Promote blogs/news

polldaddy copyUse twitter to build a buzz around your cause. Promote your blogs; update your profile with news on a regular basis. You can use twitter to promote stories and experiences in your blogs. You can create polls for twitter using applications like http://twitter.polldaddy.com/ and ask people to cast their vote or even play your games through twitter messages. The more information you give out, the more likely people will get excited about your cause.

4. Tweet useful information

Give out information that may be useful to people, so they may be willing to RT it to their followers. Re-tweeting is a great way to spread your message. And people will re-tweet only when they know that the message is funny, interesting, useful or if it really touches their heart.

5. Use pictures, videos and more!

Share pictures:

twitpic copyOnly 140 characters are allowed in a twitter message. But a picture speaks a thousand words. Say a whole lot in your tweet using pictures. Use http://twitpic.com/ to add pictures to your messages and post it on twitter

Share videos:

You can share videos from youtube and myspace on twitter. The reach is more and a touching videos inspires better.

6. Nominate for a twitcause award

twitcause copyNominate your charity for a twitcause award http://www.experienceproject.com/twitcause.  If people think that you’re cause is good and you are doing a good job, they will vote for you. Your cause is recognized and awareness about your work also spreads in the twitter world.

7. Petitions to spread awareness

http://twitition.com/ helps you create, sign and share petitions on twitter. Spread awareness about your cause by requesting tweet people to sign a petition pertaining to your cause. You can spread the word about your cause and also get people involved in your work through petitions.

8. Raise funds

http://twitter.com/WeGiveMealPacks uses twitter on a regular basis to collect funds and other necessities for their projects. So do a host of other non-profits. http://twitter.com/RangDe uses twitter to raise micro-credit to help the marginalized in India.

9. Create a twibbon

twibbon copyUse http://twibbon.com/ to promote your cause. Create a twibbon and request your supporters and followers to use it on their profile. This way they can show solidarity to your cause and also help spread awareness about your work.

So, the next time you tweet for your non-profit, remember, 140 characters can indeed make the world a better place!

Latest Privacy Changes on Facebook

Following the privacy violation charges by the Canadian Privacy Commission, Facebook announced four new privacy changes.  The privacy changes will impact all users and not just Canadian users alone.   Here’s a scoop about the issues Canadian government had with Facebook and how Facebook responded to those:

1) Retention of consumer data:

The Issue: Once a user opts out of Facebook, what happens to the information shared by the user on Facebook is unclear.  On Facebook, deactivation of account was not an option for deletion. A system that ensures complete deletion of user data upon account deactivation was demanded.

Facebook response: Upon deactivation, users will be notified with the “delete” option.   They have the choice to elect a complete wipe out of all user account details forever or have them saved on Facebook’s database for future reactivation. Read more

The Power of Social Media – A Coke Story

coca-colaThe use of social media websites has been growing at an alarming rate.  New platforms are emerging and trends are changing, all within a short span of time.  The use of social media is not just restricted to networking with friends.  Global businesses are leveraging the popularity of social media to market their products and services, communicate with their consumers and build an online brand in the process.  Let me talk about the Coke and how they leveraged social media.

Two coke fans, Dust Sorg and Michael Jedrzejewski realized that Coke doesn’t have an official page on Facebook and decided to start one.  They picked up a high resolution image of their favorite Coke tin and put it up.  Within no time, the fans of Coke started hovering in and today the fanfare for Coke on Facebook is an astounding 3.3 million.  It is now the second most popular network on Facebook, next to the network of American President Barack Obama.

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Social Media Websites’ – Who Is Making What – Insight Into Revenue Generation

Social media sites, notably Twitter, FaceBook, MySpace, YouTube and LinkedIn have become household names and have become an integral part of people’s life so much so that it is tough for regular users to imagine a life without social media.  Social networking websites have become virtual celebrities, with an enormous fan following and all the glitz and popularity that is hoarded on them.  But are they making the kind of money that real world celebrities get to make is the million dollar question.

The people behind these social media websites had remained mute about this until recently, probably because the sudden rush of success was more than a sweet surprise and they themselves did not know how to monetize the maddening popularity received by these websites.  Of late, there seems to be lot of thought put into revenue generation and the paparazzi is finally getting their questions about revenue answered.  Here is a report of the popularity score of some social media giants and relatedness of their respective revenue generation.

Facebook

Facebook

Brief History: Originally called “thefacebook”, Facebook was incorporated from a hobby of Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg.   The hobby soon crossed the realms of Harvard dorm rooms and Facebook was officially launched in February 2004.

Key takers: High school and college students.

Finances: Facebook initially received a $500,000 funding from Peter Theil, co-founder of PayPal.  A few months later, it received a $13 million financial aid from Accel Partners and another 425 million from Greylock Partners.   A sum total of $40 million was conjured up to kick start the venture in a big way. 

FaceBook today: Facebook is one of the fastest growing social networking websites today.  Its interactive features and its global appeal have helped in its membership going viral.  Facebook now has over 250 million active users, with over 30 million active users accessing it through mobile devices.

Revenue generation:

  • August 2006 was a milestone year for Facebook as it signed a three year deal with Microsoft to provide and sell ads on their website for a revenue split.  Silicon Valley entrepreneur Mark Andreessen who is also a board member of Facebook holds that Facebook would make well over $1 billion in the year 2009 if it pushed harder on selling advertisements.
  • In the year 2008, Facebook was able to rake in $350 million, a huge progress from its 2007 revenue of $150 million.  (Source:  http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-9862792-36.html)
  • However, the company had a $150 million negative cash flow for the year 2008, a deficit created by its $50 million EBITDA expenditure.
  • But,  Andreessen has said that Facebook is on track and has expressed confidence in generating about $500 million revenue by the end of 2009.  The recent acquisition of social media site FreindFeed is sure to feed some funds as well.

The Verdict: The financial history of Facebook and the recent business developments indicate that Facebook is in a safe mode at the moment and also holds promise for upscale revenue generation moving further.  The company is full of investor cash including $240 million from Microsoft that nails Facebook at a massive $15 billion evaluation.

Twitter

Brief history: Twitter was the outcome of a daylong brainstorming session by the board members of the podcasting company Odeo.  The first prototype of Twitter was designed for the internal use of Odeo employees, which was later developed and launched for public use in July 2006.  But Twitter spun off as an official company in April 2007 when Biz Stone, Even Williams, Dorsey and other members of Odeo formed a formed Obvious Corporation and acquired Odeo and all of its assets including Odeo.com and Twitter.com from the investors and other shareholders.

Key Takers: Unlike other social networking sites, it is difficult to single out a particular kind of users who use Twitter most.  Twitter has gained wide popularity across the globe with diversified user population ranging from college students, entrepreneurs and entertainment freaks.

Finances: Twitter is backed by Union Square ventures, Digital Garage, Spark Capital and Bezos Expeditions.  Though Twitter has kept its funding under cover, its first round of funding is rumored to have been between $1 million and $5 million, followed by an equally enormous second and third round funding, all totaling up to an approximate US$57 million.

Twitter Today:  Since its creation in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Twitter has gained notability and popularity worldwide.  Between the year 2008 and 2009, Twitter has seen a monthly growth of 1,382 percent.

Revenue generation:  Twitter has always been discrete about its revenue and has evevn projected losses in its earlier announcements.  However,  in an unfortunate incident,  one of Twitter’s computer was hacked and its revenue information was published by TechCrunch.  The records contained Twitter’s internal projections for 2009 that indicated revenue of $ 400,000 in the third quarter and a $4 million in the fourth quarter in its net earnings.

The data has projected that Twitter will have over 1 billion active users by 2013 and its future revenue run rate, a massive $140 million by the end of 2010.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone has said that the company is developing various add-on tools and services for the businesses and professional users of Twitter, which could create a revenue stream for the company. He said Twitter plans to introduce some of these tools by the end of 2009.

But Stone dismissed the notion of selling advertisements on the popular service at least for the 2009, even though ad revenue is the main way most web start-ups manage to stay in business while keeping their service free for consumers.

The Verdict: Until recently Twitter was believed to be running a loss, and that did not seem to surprise anyone because sudden appraisal of fame and authority can be a bog down.  However,  the recent Twitter revenue leakage and the fact that Twitter did not retaliate to this in a big way seems to confirm that Twitter has a sound financing system or is at least in the path of stabilizing its finances.  And the unstoppable viral spreading of Twittering practices only adds to the joy of great finances.

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