6 06, 2013

How to Override the Max Width of Twitters Embeddable Timeline Widget

By | 2017-06-16T12:22:23+00:00 June 6th, 2013|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

According to twitters instructions the embeddable timeline widget has a maximum width of 520px. If you need your widget to be wider than 520px you will not be able to use the width attribute. If you need it wider you’ll need to override the max width using the following CSS (change width accordingly):

2 05, 2012

Social Media Best Practices

By | 2016-11-18T12:10:07+00:00 May 2nd, 2012|Categories: Social Media|Tags: , , , , , , |

Now that we have been practicing for some time, we are aware of good (and, bad) ways to employ social media. Opinions will vary about the “best of the best”. That is the beauty of the web, it always changes. From a book summary I read on social media, here are some of the best practices according to the author at this point in time. This is not an exhaustive, all inclusive list. The basics are covered and should align with your current techniques for using social media effectively.

There are multiple platforms* available for your content and they should be used relative to the target audience. Having likeable content is a fundamental criteria for success. Get your customer to listen to you and then….

  1. Listen first, and never stop listening – You want to know what customers think. Ask and they will tell you. Next, the most important thing to do is listen. Closing the loop by acting on what your customers tell you will prove that you not only listened, but that you understand and can do something about it.
  2. Define your target audience better than ever – There are many tools that allow you to focus on your true demographics for your product/service(s). Define them and determine what will make them “like” your content.
  3. Think – and act – like your consumer – Remember, it’s about them, not you. Don’t sell them; instead, provide content that is of interest to them. Get them talking about topics of interest and find ways to integrate your wares into their lifestyle.
  4. Invite your customers to be your first fans – Word of mouth (WOM) is key here. The more likes you get, the better your credibility. Be clear about your value proposition and define what is in it for them. Remember, there is no value-add if only your employees are interacting with your content.
  5. Create true dialogue with, and between, your customers – Related to listening and being genuine. Get them talking about you to leverage the WOM effect. When your customers share tips and tricks with others, it proves they are engaged. It also saves you from providing customer support directly. Help guide the discussion by acknowledging comments – and, correct where needed.
  6. Be Authentic – Get connected by demonstrating an interest in your customers. Personalize it by including your name.
  7. Be honest and transparent – You can spot a phony a mile away. Your customers can too.
  8. Integrate social media into the entire customer experience – Another fundamental for success and cannot be stressed enough. Make sure everyone who interacts with your customers has the same message and is aware of promotions and specials. Regardless of how they find you, it should be a consistent message. The last thing you want is a disconnect among channels and mismanaged expectations from your customers. If they are online, they can tell their network about you – the good and the bad.
  9. Don’t sell! Just make it easy and compelling for customers to buy – They already found your content and are engaged. Don’t insult them with a bland sales pitch. State the (relative) value proposition clearly and make it easy to “Add to Cart”.

Having a dialogue with your customers is easy using a social media platform. I would add that you keep in mind how you want to be treated. After all, we all are consumers in the end.

*Platforms range from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, FourSquare, LinkedIn, Google+, Blogs, and specialized networks (e.g. flickr, yelp, etc.)


8 07, 2011

Beacon Technologies Through the Eyes of an Intern – Week 8

By | 2017-08-15T15:59:01+00:00 July 8th, 2011|Categories: Social Media|Tags: , , , , , , |

Eight weeks down, two more to go.  The past two months have really gone by quickly.  I spent some time today reflecting back and what all I have done and learned so far here at Beacon.  I’ve learned a lot, but I realize that there is still a lot I don’t know.  Since this week was the start of a new month, I spent a lot of time this week working on transitioning the accounts I was working on to other members of the WMS team.  This involved some meeting time and talking about what I had been doing, what I planned to do, and what steps could come next.  The other major thing I did this week was to compile monthly reports for the clients I had been covering.  Like I mentioned a few weeks back, that’s not the most glamorous task but it’s really not so bad.  I found it very rewarding to see growth in the clients I covered and to see things I had done start to show results.

The other big thing I did this week was to sit down and map out a final two week plan to help market Beacon itself.  I’m excited to be getting into this since my background from undergrad is marketing.  Some of the things I am going to be doing involve PPC campaigns, setting up various tracking measures, creating possible promotions, and a few other ideas.  This will be fun.

On a side note, I have been doing a lot of work with social media for several clients as well as for Beacon, and the more involved I get, the more I learn.  I’ve always been comfortable with Facebook, but I never really have had much exposure to outlets such as blogs, Twitter, and Foursquare.  That has changed during my time at Beacon.  I’ve learned how to utilize various outlets to accomplish different tasks.  For instance, I’ve learned that using Twitter can be very valuable for interacting with customers and is a great tool for promotional contests.  Another thing I learned is that Foursquare, which is a location based check-in service, is great for driving foot traffic into a business.  The way that is done is by first setting a location for the business within Foursquare.  Then you can set up options where special offers will pop up on someone’s cell phone if they are running the Foursquare app and they are within a specified geographical area of your business’s location.

The final thing I want to talk about relates to social media as well.  The “new kid on the block” is Google+.  I was able to get an invite to join Google+ today.  For those who are unfamiliar with Google+, it basically is a social media outlet similar to Facebook.  There are subtle differences between the two that I have observed, but overall it seems to be more or less the same.  The concept is almost the same as Facebook, and the only real differences at the moment are that Google+ calls features by different names than they are called within Facebook.  I’m not entirely sure if it’s something I’ll stay with but I’m willing to give it the “old college try.”

24 06, 2011

Beacon Technologies Through the Eyes of an Intern – Week 6

By | 2017-08-15T16:15:00+00:00 June 24th, 2011|Categories: Beacon News|Tags: , , |

This week was a fun week.  I got the opportunity to learn some things that I was not familiar with and then got to put what I learned into practice.  I learned how to create SEO landing pages.  Basically these pages serve the purpose of helping a website rank for keywords that are important to the website.  This is turn helps the page to appear higher in search results.  Making and editing these pages is not the most fun task, but it is a good skill to have.  I think I spent probably around four hours learning how to do this and then actually working on them.  All-in-all, I would say it was a good experience.  I learned some information on effectively creating title tags, meta descriptions, and page content.  These are skills that will help me even outside of SEO work.  I had to think about getting my message across in a short message and efficiently say what I am trying to say in that short message.  This is a valuable skill to have.

Another thing I did this week was to learn a lot about Twitter and how to utilize it.  One of the clients I am working with is focusing a lot on social media and trying to increase its presence and better communicate with whom it is connected.  One of the things fun things with this client is that I am getting to learn more about Twitter and then share that information as well as help manage the Twitter account.  Some of the things I’ve been working on are optimizing whom the client follows as well as helping with communicating to the client’s followers.  I have been looking over some of the tweets that the client sees and retweeting them to the client’s followers as well as a few other related tasks.

Aside from that, there were the usual meetings/brainstorming sessions.  These are great because I get to learn more about SEO and different methods and tools.  Another thing I did this week was start to conceptualize a layout for a monthly newsletter for a client.  I really like to do things like that because it allows me to be more creative.  I don’t really have great drawing talent so it looks pretty rough on the piece of notebook paper that I hashed it out on, but it gets the job done.  I guess the next step is to practice using Photoshop to work on my graphic editing skills and also using Dreamweaver to compile the newsletter since it will be sent out in HTML.

12 12, 2010

How Can I use Social Media for My Business

By | 2017-02-21T11:18:34+00:00 December 12th, 2010|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , , |

Social Media… It seems to be one of the buzz words that online marketers love to throw around.   What does it really mean and is it really important for your business?   I started out in the business in SEO several years ago before the phrase “social media” really existed and my goals were about getting more qualified visitors to a website where they would interact with the content.

Before there were social media giants like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter people would generally start their web experience at a search engine.   These served as the best portal to access information online so people “congregated” there.   What these new social media websites provide is another portal to the web where users interact with networks of people they know.    Several aspects of our daily lives are being digitally organized so we interact with the web in such a way that it consistently provides information that is more relevant to our daily lives than when we just search for a specific piece of information.

10 years ago the web didn’t have a lot of personal information.   People historically used the web to search for things.  The reason Google is so successful is they provide a portal that organized random information better than anyone else.   Now, that information is personal.   Our friends, what they did last night,  who liked who’s dog picture is all online.    Social media organizes personal information the way search engines organized random non-personal information.    We are naturally going to spend more time with and trust portals to our personal information than non-personal.
What does this mean to you as a business?
  • Social media allows users to interact and communicate within their networks.  As an advertising opportunity, this is similar to Word of Mouth because you have individuals spreading your marketing messages for you.   When someone in your target market hears about you from someone they know, the message has a much larger impact.   A recommendation from a friend is the most valuable marketing channel available that you can’t buy.    Social media allows you to be in that space and have your target market push your marketing message out to each other which will build a level of credibility other channels don’t.
  • It also allows you to put a personality or face to your business.   How you deal and interact with the public will shape your brand position.  Social Media gives you the opportunity to communicate as a person directly with your target audience.    Not only do you get the chance to push your marketing message, you also get to actively resolve issues in a positive light in front of potential customers.  People will be able to see how eager you are to ensure your customers have a quality experience which will only reinforce a positive brand experience.
Check out the following web statistics image from onlineschools.org.  Their data was compiled from the following sources.
17 12, 2009

Keeping the “Social” in Social Media

By | 2017-02-23T16:54:41+00:00 December 17th, 2009|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , , |

Submitted for your approval, the following case study:

The companies Rockler and Woodcraft offer an interesting comparison involving Twitter.  Both companies are stalwarts in the woodworking industry, roughly the same size, have similar web sites, and both started tweeting almost a year ago (Rockler began in December 2008,  Woodcraft got started in January of 2009).  However, it is in their Twitter strategies that we see a huge difference.

Woodcraft has used Twitter almost extensively as an advertising component.  Nearly every tweet they put forth is pushing a sale, discount, or product line for emphasis.  They rarely receive any tweets from their followers.

Meanwhile, Rockler has used Twitter as an opportunity to engage its customers and followers.  Roughly 80% of its tweets are NON-COMMERCIAL.  They ask questions of their followers (i.e. what is the best music to put to wordworking?)  and respond to questions or comments that are posed to the company (which occurs many times every day).

The results:  Rockler has more than three times as many followers as Woodcraft (2500-800).

So, what can we take from this?   By being more engaged with the customer and finding ways to keep their tweets interesting, Rockler has developed a much bigger and more involved following.  When they do tweet about their products and/or sales, they are reaching a significantly larger audience and more interested audience than Woodcraft does.  If every message is pushing a product, it is too easy for the followers to dismiss the company’s tweets as spam.

It should be noted that without access to the accounting books, it is impossible to say definitively which company is seeing a bigger return from Twitter.  Yet, it is probably safe to say that any salesperson in the world would take the much larger and more captivated audience over the opposite.

Social media is looking more and more like a viable business model every day, but it is important to never forget the social aspect of it…or your customers might forget you.


Twitter Comparison - Rockler & Woodcraft