Sunday, 30 December 2012

Social Media Companies make Money…. How? By Social Butterfly

Social media is being slowly integrated into business as a necessary change in how we share information. Yet social media is bigger than anyone could have imagined and hard to harness. Facebook has over 1 billion users, 600 of which are using the network mobily.YouTube gets 4 billion views per day, there are 150 million people tumbling on Tumblr, 140 million people tweeting on Twitter, 175 million registered users for Linkedin and 33 million people are streaming their favorite music through Spotify. These services are some of the most subscribed in the entire world—but they are, for the most part, free. How can a free service, that is incredibly popular, provide flawless product (note backlash when something goes wrong), for free?
Historically, when social networks finance their startups, they base their numbers on an assumption of growth—the money on day one is different than year two, and is still different from year five, and so forth. Getting a social media company off the ground requires involvement with a venture capitalist, or group of venture capitalists. These people invest in the company anticipating an eventual payout as the company grows more valuable, bringing  a healthy return on their initial investment. However, as platforms become more popular they often require more capital investment to build and maintain operations. In the case of a popular social media platform, servers and technicians need to be added to compensate for increased traffic. It is at these points in a start-up’s evolution that it can either go in for further rounds of investment, or hope to get bought out by a larger company.Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 6.33.13 PM
Whether a company gets bought or not, it needs to  become profitable. The turn most companies take is towards advertising—and this is not a passing fad. Out of the $16.9 billion (up from $11.8 billion last year) in revenues made by social media outlets, $8.8 billion came from advertising. Another route is subscription based services, such as Spotify, which make considerably less comparatively to their advertising brethren—showing that people would rather be advertised to than pay a fee to sign up.
Facebook, the behemoth of the social media industry, has recently upped the advertising antie, however. Instead of simple banner advertisements, they began their “Facebook Exchange” program in June with the basic premise that advertisements are not only tailored to your interests in banner form on your facebook page, but actually follow you from webpage to webpage and remember you for long periods of time. This advancement in data mining and connectivity comes after prolonged pressure from Wall Street to make Facebook more profitable than it has been. Facebook has yet to disclose actual click numbers, yet potential advertisers and investors are very much on board and have contributed to a recent spike in the companies stock.
There are a few other ways to make money from a social service. Companies offer “levels of access” accounts, which limit the amount of functionality that a service offers based upon what a subscriber pays for. Companies have tried “professional,” “executive” and “full member” accounts in tandem with a free, less complete service—though they do not often fare as well as the non-premium-based advertising service which typically sees more use. The fear among social media platforms for requiring a provided service cost lies in the fact that users are fickle. A young up and coming company can steal another company’s user group with the click of a mouse, and it is a story we have seen before.
A roundabout way for making the user pay is a tactic called “gamification.” Here users can pay for experiences in a game, give gifts to friends, or achieve preserved status based on participation or spending. Gaming and gift strategies are being called “money-spinners” and are catching the eye of larger companies. While profits don’t come close to that those garnered via advertising, it is at this point a solid second place opportunity for financial gain beyond the current bread and butter, advertising.Screen shot 2012-12-10 at 4.57.19 PM
Experts are predicting that the number of people joining social networks is going to taper off over the next few years, often citing that those who have the financial and technical ability to have social media already do. Because of this, instead of focusing on extreme growth (keeping up with network and hardware demands), as most social media platforms have been forced to confront in their infancies, we will see much more effort placed on the monetizing of existing companies and enhancement of already existing services. It is thought that not all hyped platforms will survive through this next phase.Groupon, a social coupon platform, began with a loud boom and wild support from people with smartphones everywhere, though just in the last few months we’ve seen stock prices plummet, and interest decrease because of lackluster performance that could not live up to original projections.
Internet start-ups continue to be one of the hottest and most interesting areas of tech business development. This is no arena for the faint of heart. A saturated market and no current gold standard solution to monetization make the barriers to entry higher and higher. Yet as obstacles to continued success grow, so does the challenge to create the next big thing in social media.
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Friday, 28 December 2012

Optimize Your Social Media Schedule: 4 Tips for Avoiding the Social Media Time Suck by Ashley Zeckman

optimize social media time
Making the time to execute on a social media strategy can rattle even the most experienced marketers.  Unlike traditional marketing, social media marketing can present many different challenges and distractions.  According to a study by eMarketer 73% of marketers say finding the time to create content as their biggest marketing challenge.
I recently ran a poll of @TopRank Twitter followers to get a sense of how they spend their time online.  I asked “If you had only 20 minutes a day to spend on social media what would you focus on?”  Some of the answers we received were:
  • @henryroominates – “I would try to connect with powerful Twitter users and Tweet content from my blog.”
  • @SebastianX – “I’d read my Twitter Followanyday List.”
  • @Paco_Belle – “Look at 2-3 Twitter lists, couple circles on G+, scroll Facebook timeline & look through my RSS feeds for new things.”
  • @Paramountbuzz – “Engaging others…doing it now.”
  • @GreenDolphin_ – “My RSS feed, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.”
If you are involved with implementing social media marketing, you know that 20 minutes a day just won’t cut it.  On top of implementing social media tactics, there’s also the task fo staying current. Lee’s post “11 Ways to Get Smarter & Stay Current in a World of Social Information Overload“ outlined how much time can be involved using social tools to collect, filter and curate social media marketing knowledge.

Avoiding Shiny Object Pitfalls

Reuters estimates that the average worker loses 2.1 hours of productivity every day to interruptions and distractions.  To avoid wasting time begin by prioritizing your week.  While it’s true that unexpected issues can come up plan for the best and the worst.  If you have 3 hours per day on average to complete tasks related to social media strategy what will you get accomplished in those 3 hours?  If you were only to have 1.5 hours per day what would you want to get accomplished?  Proper planning will lead to improved productivity and efficiency.  Also, take some time to determine what your top distractions are and eliminate them.

Optimize for Productivity

Focus on what will have the largest impact on your productivity. Determining what time of day you are most productive, and which activities are most significant will help you to stay on track.  Are you an early riser, night owl, or somewhere in between?  Creating a daily schedule and routine can significantly improve your productivity.  You will also want to keep in mind statistical data which points to the best times of day and days of the week for engaging in social media activity.  A recent infographic by KISSmetrics on “The Science of Social Timing” provides valuable insight into the best times of day to share or engage on sites like Facebook and Twitter.  Some of the findings include:
  • 5pm – best time to Tweet for re-tweets
  • 1-4 per hour – most effective frequency of Tweets
  • Midweek & Weekends – best days to Tweet
  • Noon & 6pm – best time to Tweet for increase Click Through Rates
  • Saturday- best day to share on Facebook
  • Noon- most effective time to share on Facebook
  • .5 per day – best sharing frequency

Tips for an Optimized Focus

Now lets talk about some no brainer “don’ts” that the many of us “do”.  Let me know if any of these sound familiar to you:
  • Your best friend is having problems with their significant other so you keep your phone close, just in case…
  • It’s baseball season and your team is playing but you don’t have the day off, thank goodness for internet radio right…
  • You have email anxiety which forces you to check email every couple minutes because you never know what you might miss…
  • One of your colleagues is obsessed with chatting online and pings you every couple minutes with a question or joke…
  • You’re scheduling Tweets, posting on your personal facebook page, and reading Psychology Today all at the same time, because after all you are a master multi-tasker…
I too have often thought that I could do everything at once.  A balancing act acquired from years of having too much to do, and not enough time.  I considered multi-tasking an art form and a higher form of organization than my counterparts who only focused on one thing at a time.  I could not have been more wrong.  In recent years I’ve had to buckle down and force myself to devote all of my attention to one task at a time.  I’ve found that the quality of my work has improved and the level of my stress has decreased significantly.  Some tactics that have worked for me include:
  • Closing my email when I’m working on social media tasks
  • Close all Internet windows and tabs except for the one I need to work on
  • Disabling chat or closing chat windows to avoid distraction
  • Pick 15 minutes a day to indulge in activities such as checking personal social media profiles, responding to texts, or chatting with friends.
  • Spend 30 minutes to an hour each morning reviewing emails and responding, do the same thing before leaving at the end of the day.
  • It is significantly easier to stick to your schedule if you are working ONLY on the tasks you have scheduled in the time allotted.

Tools for Optimizing Your Time

Depending on your available time and social media content strategy, there are many tools that can help you accomplish more with less time.  Below are three different types of tools that social media marketers can use to get the most out of their time:
Curation Tools – good for quickly gathering and automatically sharing content
Social Aggregators & Management Tools –  follow and engage with multiple platforms
Social Bookmarking – effective means of organizing and storing social bookmarks

Next Steps

I’m sure you’ll agree that focus and time management are something that most of us can relate to.  Based on what was covered in this post, consider the following questions and determine what you can do to better focus on the tasks at hand:
  • What are your top 3 social media goals and do you have a plan for reaching them?
  • How much time can you dedicate each day to using tactics to reach these goals?
  • What steps can you take to improve your focus while completing social media activities?
  • Which type of tool: curation, aggregator, or social bookmarking can you use to help save time?
If  you are looking for additional tips on Optimizing your SEO, social media, and content strategies be sure to take a look at the new book: “Optimize: How to Attract & Engage More Customers By Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing.”

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

How to Make Money Using Social Media

Social media sites are receiving millions of visitors on a daily basis. Because of this fact, there are now a lot of online marketers who are using social media to help them grow their businesses. Social media users might have heard of these successful marketers who are earning a huge amount of money by just using social media. Perhaps, you have heard of them too and maybe, you are wondering how they are making money. Want to learn how? Read on.

There are actually a lot of ways to earn money using these sites and here are some:

  • Promote your own business. If you have a business, then the first step that you have to take in order to make it to the top is to promote it using your social media accounts. You can create different accounts on various social networking sites and then make use of their features to promote your business. Facebook, for instance, allows you to make your own page. You can create a page for your business, add your friends and their friends on the page, and then inform them about your business. Run promotions, host contents, offer deals and more.

  • Sell your products. Online shops are becoming popular these days because of the convenience that they offer. You can make use of your own social media accounts to sell your products. If you are using Facebook, you simply need to post the photos of your products, include their respective descriptions and prices and then wait for comments. You may also share them so that more people will be able to view them. On the other hand, if you are using Pinterest, you simply need to pin your products on your own board or on someone's board.

  • Advertise someone else's products. If you don't have your own business or products, then you don't need to worry at all because you can still make money and that is by advertising other's products. This is called affiliate marketing and it is very popular among marketers. The truth is, there are a lot of people who are generating a decent income using affiliate marketing and if you are really determined, you can be like them. Of course, you have to know the ins and outs of affiliate marketing so that you can succeed.

Social media is not only for personal satisfaction, but it can also be a way of earning money online. Take advantage of the ways mentioned above and start making dollars.

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Wednesday, 12 December 2012

How To Make Money From Blogging

Do you already have a blog? Or are thinking about starting a blog? If so, wouldn't it be nice to make money from your blog? Whether you want to make a small amount of extra cash, or would like to get to a point where you can make a decent income from home. You can make money from blogging if you are prepared to do a little work.

However, if you think that making money from a blog is easy, think again. As with any job, it takes hard work and dedication. Below are some of the many ways that you can use to make money from blogging, but please remember, what works for one blog, may not work for another, you will have to spend some time finding the method or methods that work best for you and your niche.


There are quite a few ways that you can allow individuals and businesses to advertise their services or products on your blog for a small fee. Advertisements can be banner ads or text links, and there are many different advertising options available such as pay per post and pay per click.

Affiliate Marketing.

Blog readers are also consumers, and will often make purchases of products and services related to the blog's topic or their lifestyles. Affiliate marketing is where you place an advertisement on your blog for a particular product or service, and then get paid if a customer purchases the item through your blog.

Write Reviews.

There are many websites that will connect bloggers with individuals or companies that want to educate potential customers about their products or services. You can often post reviews about the products on your blog, and receive payment in return.

Sell Merchandise.

There are quite a few websites that allow you to sell merchandise on your blog that you don't have to manufacture. This keeps overheads down as you don't have to pay for inventory, shipping, and other related costs. Instead, the websites keep a small percentage of your sales to cover their costs.

Guest Blogging.

You already know how to write blog posts; you do it for your own blog. So why not become a guest blogger and write content for other blogs in return for a small payment. Not all blogs will pay their guest bloggers, but many will, and there are quite a few people who have become well paid professional bloggers by guest blogging.

Write & Sell an Ebook.

If your blog has a loyal following, then people must enjoy reading what you write, and quite likely consider you an expert on your blog's topic. The same people may enjoy reading more of your work outside of your blog. Use that to your advantage and write an e-book, and then offer it for sale on your blog.

Final Thoughts.

As you can see, there are many different ways to make money from blogging, and the above information only lists a few, with a little time and research, you will find many more. However, remember that making money from blogging is not easy money. You can't expect to start a blog, and immediately be able to give up your regular job. However, with a little effort and time, it can be a very rewarding profession.

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Saturday, 8 December 2012

How To Make Money From Writing

There's plenty of ways to make money from writing simple articles just like the one you are reading now. If you can write about anything, in a conversational tone, and make it interesting to the average person, you can get paid. A lot. Most people are unaware of this. But the truth is that in the world of written content, it's a seller's market.

There is one caveat. You've got to be flexible. No, I don't mean if you can touch your toes you'll get rich. I mean you've got to be flexible on what you can write about. The more flexible you are, the more money you'll make. It's that simple. If you choose to only write about the nutritional benefit of carrots, then you won't make much money. However, if you've got some decent skill, and can research something enough (Google is your friend!) to write a decent article about it, you can get paid.

How do you start? For many people, the easiest way is to simply start blogging. Start a blog, on a domain that you own. It's tempting to try a free blogging service, but you'll see why that's a mistake in a minute. On your own domain, you can start writing about anything you want. Whatever interests you.

After a while, people will come to your site to read your stuff. If you write about a bunch of different stuff, then some stuff will be more popular than other stuff. Just figure out which stuff is more popular, and write about that. Once you get some consistent traffic, you can put some ads on your site. If you get enough traffic, you can make a decent living just writing about stuff you like.

Another way to make money is to write content that people want. There's plenty of freelance sites where people show up and say they want an article about toaster ovens. You show them your blog, where you've got a lot of articles on household appliances. They check it out, and like your style. They say they'll pay you ten bucks for an article about the latest toaster over.

Do this enough times, and you'll have plenty of happy customers. The more customers you've got, the more money you can charge. Pretty soon you're selling your articles on toaster ovens (or whatever) for fifty bucks a pop. Write three or four of these a day, and you'll pulling in some mad cash.

These are just a couple ways you can get paid to write. There's plenty more where they came from!

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