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Tim Peter

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July 15, 2011

5 Key Lessons About Using Social Media in Your Business (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – July, 15, 2011)

July 15, 2011 | By | No Comments

With the recent rollout of Google+ and its rapid climb to over 10 million members, it’s easy to figure that no other social networks matter anymore, right? Well, not really. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon and loads of others have earned their place in the discussion and don’t plan on giving it up anytime soon. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t use each of these channels more effectively. Here are 5 key lessons from around the web on using social media more effectively in your business.

  1. Your numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Social monitoring firm Awe.sm uncovered that most analytics tools don’t give Twitter enough credit, noting Twitter drives 4x as much traffic as you think it does. Their key takeaway?

    “While the incredible growth of mobile apps and desktop clients and their importance in the Twitter ecosystem is news to no one, the value Twitter drives through content syndication is a bit more surprising: more than 1 in 8 visits driven by Twitter sharing are actually referred from other sites. Many other sites use Twitter’s API to pull in Tweets that they display on their own sites, where links in those Tweets are then clicked. For example, look at this screenshot of my LinkedIn activity stream. Notice that every update says ‘via Twitter.’ Yet when someone clicks on one of those links, the referrer will be linkedin.com, even though it only got to LinkedIn because someone shared it on Twitter first.”

    That, of course, is going to be true of any social channel that syndicates its content. Which leads to our next key lesson…

  2. Tracking isn’t as easy as you’d like, but it can be done. Google APAC Conversion Room blog looks at how Fairmont Hotels tracks their tweets more effectively in Google Analytics–and how you can, too. Money quote:

    “When campaign tracking variables are applied to any link in our tweets, the traffic resulting from those tweets will be correctly attributed to the respective tweet regardless of where the visitor found and clicked on the link. “

    Nice.

  3. Growing your audience in social channels helps build your business. Phil Mershon at Social Media Examiner looks at research that confirms how to use social media to grow your leads. The overall findings state,

    “[i]n many ways, this research confirms what many experts have been saying, but now you can see the reasons in black and white. If you want to generate leads through social media, try blogging more frequently and growing your reach—all with an understanding of your target audience.”

  4. Content is still king. It’s one of the oldest cliches in the online marketing world. But The Atlantic offers an intriguing infographic looking at what makes people follow a brand online. The article notes,
    “…[o]n Facebook, most followers are drawn to special offers and deals (36.9 percent) or are already customers of a brand (32.9 percent). On Twitter, the same things draw people to a brand, with a larger emphasis on special offers and deals (43.5 percent).”

    But the number 3 driver on both Facebook and Twitter, with 18% and 23% of respondents respectively, is “interesting or entertaining content.” There’s no question people like deals. But the smart marketers are engaging customers without them.

  5. Go where your customers are. As I mentioned above, Google+ is getting lots of ink these days as a “Facebook killer.” But Jason Falls of Social Media Examiner makes a key point:

    “Honestly, there’s a lot to like about Google+. One thing I don’t, however, at least from a marketing standpoint, is the majority of people aren’t there. They’re on Facebook.”

    It’s important to note that Jason is not writing off Google+. He’s just suggesting we take some time to let customers digest what Google+ is before proclaiming it the end of Facebook (or anything else for that matter). Your customers are all over the social web. Are you?



Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

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Tim Peter & Associates helps companies from startups to the Fortune 500 use the web to reach more customers, more effectively every day. Take a look and see how we can help you.

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Tim Peter

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November 2, 2010

What's changing in social media marketing. And what isn't.

November 2, 2010 | By | No Comments

Social media marketing imageRoughly 6 months ago, Twitter announced its Promoted Tweets feature. At the time, I asked why you should you care about Twitter’s Promoted Tweets, noting:

“I’m amazed that no one is talking about October 23rd, 2000…

[W]hat does any of this have to do with October 23rd, 2000? That’s the day Google – which, to that time, had built up tremendous traffic and few revenues – launched its AdWords platform, permitting businesses for the first time to advertise within its once pristine search results.

While no one, not even me, will guarantee Twitter can repeat that success, the company has demonstrated its value as a service to its users. Just like Google did. They’ve grown huge by offering consumers a great way to connect with information they care about. Just like Google did. As long as Twitter can keep the attention of its users, I suspect they’re sitting on a compelling advertising platform for your business, too. Just like Google did.”

Today, Twitter started putting Promoted Tweets in front of consumers using the HootSuite Twitter client and the company plans to roll it out to other clients in time. Now maybe these changes cause you to worry. Is it possible to keep up? Or is it possible that the changes in social media marketing aren’t that big a deal?

Both Facebook and Twitter have proven successful as a marketing channel for many businesses. But that’s been true for several years now. This is just Twitter’s latest step to improve their relevance as a marketing channel. I’m not suggesting this makes Twitter or Promoted Tweets a mature channel, one you should favor above all else.. But your marketing strategy needs to account for social as a channel.

Additionally, given the rise of mobile phones as a means to access the web, and that mobile users already use social more than email, any mobile strategy that doesn’t include social isn’t much of a strategy. Admittedly, as Mike Moran pointed out the other day, not all mobile traffic is, in fact, mobile. But the social bit is actually social.

So, what if you don’t know how to use social to market your company? Here are three great – and surprisingly resilient – places to start:

Social, for better or worse, is here to stay. And, yes, it’s likely to continue changing. But, if you get the basics covered and learn how to put it to work for yourself, your business should be here to stay for a while, too.

What’s working for you in your social media marketing? I’d love to hear about it. Tell me in the comments below.



Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

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Tim Peter

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October 29, 2010

Don't be scared: A quick social and local round-up (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – October 29, 2010)

October 29, 2010 | By | No Comments

I’m awfully busy this time of year getting my Halloween costume together, so this week I’ll spare you any horror stories and just get right to the links:

There you have it folks. All treats. No tricks.



Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

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And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

Tim Peter

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September 16, 2010

Using social tools to grow your sales

September 16, 2010 | By | No Comments

Social media marketing works for targeting customersWhere are you going to find your customers now? According to Eric Picard over at iMediaConnection, customers are increasingly creeped out by targeted online media. (No huge surprise, I might add). As mentioned yesterday, customers want to browse, shop and buy from companies they trust. Which helps explain why customers increasingly work with brands that they’ve built a relationship with, either through Facebook, Twitter or myriad other social tools.

Of course, choosing the right social network to reach your customer can make all the difference between a successful campaign and trying to calculate ROI when dividing by zero. Which is what makes eMarketer’s recap of an interesting ExactTarget study on whether Twitter followers are better than Facebook fans so helpful.

Earlier studies seemed to favor Facebook (though, at the time, we suggested both Facebook and Twitter can work for many businesses). And, to be fair, the ExactTarget study suggests that Facebook’s higher use may lead to more business, just at lower response rates (Twitter only has 3% market penetration, while just about everyone in the universe has a Facebook account. I’m expecting friend requests from Vulcans and Klingons any day now).

Of course, as ever, e-mail remains the “forgotten social network”, with customers more engaged than Facebook users. Not that that makes the headlines. Ah, well…

Ready to take the plunge deeper into the social pool? Check out Mashable’s write-up of 5 great examples of social media campaigns to learn from. I also humbly recommend checking out thinks coverage of how the Marines use social media, too.

How are Twitter and Facebook working for you? Let us know in the comments, OK?



Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

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Tim Peter

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July 16, 2010

Anti-social? 5 things to consider before you start your social media marketing (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – July 16, 2010)

July 16, 2010 | By | No Comments

iStock_000013352631XSmall.jpgSocial media and social networking, for all their activity, are still a mystery to many businesses. Maybe you’re concerned it’s all just hype. Or that there’s no business opportunity in them. Sure. That’s possible. But, before you write them off completely, here are a few ideas you should consider:

  1. First, we’ve got Jennifer Grove at American Express’s Open Forum, who looks at why small businesses shouldn’t take social media for granted.
  2. Not enough for you? OK, how about one more reason: 73% of teens use social networks and 75% have a mobile phone, with half using those phones to send over 50 texts per day. You don’t market to teens you say? But, did you know that half of parents “friend” their kids on Facebook? So it’s not just kids out there, now, is it?
  3. What if you are interested, but are still not sure how to use social media for your business? Mashable has a great set of beginner’s tips targeted at traditional media that should work well for many businesses. And my past round-up of 5 ways to put social to work ain’t bad, either. If I do say…
  4. If you’re ready to go full-throttle into the world of social, you may want to be like Ben & Jerry’s and drop email marketing in favor of social media. I think that’s an extreme approach and, in fact, have argued that email is a social network in its own right. I doubt we’ll see this as a trend anytime soon, but it’s entirely possible this is a first step down a longer road.
  5. FInally, take a look at Michael Gray’s post about how to use LinkedIn to generate business. It’s a great piece and many of the tips should work equally well in Facebook and other social networks, too. Of course, if Facebook is your primary aim, take a look at my review of Justin Levy’s “Facebook Marketing”.

Social (and mobile and local) are very, very real. While many businesses are still learning how to make the most of them, the same was true of the Internet as a whole a decade ago. There is no “silver bullet.” Most of this learning is going to take time, experimentation, and the occasional failure along the way. But, your customers are using social media every day. Isn’t that reason enough why you should, too?



Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

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Tim Peter

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April 16, 2010

Can social networks help you grow your business? (Small Business E-commerce Link Digest – April 16, 2010)

April 16, 2010 | By | No Comments

Happy Friday, Big Thinkers! It’s been a busy week in the land of the local, social, mobile web. Twitter’s Chirp conference was going on all week, which led to a bunch of significant news on the social front, many of which help answer our question. The answer is, “social networks can help you grow your business… if you use them the right way.” Fortunately, there was a ton of good information this week on how to use them the right way. So let’s look at what we’ve got:

Enjoy the weekend, folks. We’ll catch you back here next week.



Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

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Tim Peter

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April 13, 2010

Why should you care about Twitter's "Promoted Tweet" advertising platform?

April 13, 2010 | By | No Comments

Twitter logoFor all the discussion about Twitter’s new advertising platform today, I’m amazed that no one is talking about October 23rd, 2000. It’s a significant date in history and one that Twitter no doubt had in mind when launching their “Promoted Tweet” offering.

Sure, you can learn how Twitter’s new search-based advertising system works and why your business might be interested:

“When a Twitter user searches for a word an advertiser bought, the promoted message will show up at the top of the results, even if it was written much earlier. The posts say they are promoted by the company in small type, and when someone rolls over a promoted post with a cursor, it turns yellow.

The ads will also be a way for companies to enter the conversation when it turns negative. Several companies have created tools to measure sentiment on Twitter, but until now, businesses can do little with that information. Even if they write a post in response, it also quickly gets lost in a sea of complaints.” [Emphasis mine]

And, you can learn that Twitter plans to include “Promoted Tweets” in individual users’ Twitter streams in the future:

“The advertising program, which Twitter calls Promoted Tweets, will show up when Twitter users search for keywords that the advertisers have bought to link to their ads. Later, Twitter plans to show promoted posts in the stream of Twitter posts, based on how relevant they might be to a particular user.” [Emphasis mine]

You can hear read that many Twitter users aren’t thrilled with the new feature, even though most people haven’t seen it yet:

“Not surprisingly, most of them don’t like the idea of ads being inserted at the top of their Twitter search results and eventually into their personal Twitter streams.”

You can also see how Twitter understands its future depends on business customers. Clearly, I’ve been bullish on using Twitter for your business for some time. But, in addition to launching this advertising platform, Twitter is offering businesses an overview of its service, and some best practices and case studies to help you get more out of your activities on the site.

So, what does any of this have to do with October 23rd, 2000? That’s the day Google – which, to that time, had built up tremendous traffic and few revenues – launched its AdWords platform, permitting businesses for the first time to advertise within its once pristine search results.

While no one, not even me, will guarantee Twitter can repeat that success, the company has demonstrated its value as a service to its users. Just like Google did. They’ve grown huge by offering consumers a great way to connect with information they care about. Just like Google did. As long as Twitter can keep the attention of its users, I suspect they’re sitting on a compelling advertising platform for your business, too. Just like Google did.



Are you getting enough value out of your small business website? Want to make sure your business makes the most of the local, mobile, social web? thinks helps you understand how to grow your business via the web, every day. Get more than just news. Get understanding. Add thinks to your feed reader today.

Or subscribe via email.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow Tim on Twitter.

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