Freedom of speech is often considered a threat to governments that do not hold with democratic ideologies, and as Iran reinstated its Facebook and Twitter blockade on Tuesday, following a brief lapse on Monday, the power of social media is clearly considered formidable on the Internet.
One of the newly elected president’s platforms that differentiated him from former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was that Internet access, which is heavily filtered throughout the regime would be freed up. Despite Hasan Rouhani who has his own Facebook page, there had not been any freedom extended to the public until Monday’s apparent “glitch” whereby Facebook and Twitter became available for a number of hours, according to the New York Times.
The government keeps a strict firewall over the entire country, and the blockade against social media was erected again early Tuesday.
Social media has proven to be one of the fastest sources of news and information, in general, across the globe, and has also directly influenced many unhappy citizens with ways to find like-minded individuals and empower them to organize quickly and efficiently, as has been seen in the recent Egyptian revolution and the myriad forms of the American Occupy protests.
So . . . was Monday’s opening up of Facebook and Twitter really just a glitch? Insiders say the problem may have been the result of a battle between different groups inside Iran.
If you thought Facebook and Twitter were not necessary to disseminating relevant information and news far more efficiently and accurately than traditional news and media outlets, remember this: social media allows anyone direct access to the witnesses, organizers, writers, reporters, interviewers (and interviewees), as each person posting on Facebook and Twitter places their unfiltered voice onto the Internet and into the world without all of the potential mass media interests and middle-men.
For businesses and brands, regardless of the size of a company, social media is an excellent way to attract new clients, convert more sales, close more deals, and involve yourself, your brand, and your employees directly in the lives of a community where everyone can revel in their lives with you, the business, as a part of it all.
By R.J. Huneke
There are social media metrics, comprehensive reporting programs from Facebook Insights to Google Analytics, and lots of engagement on the networks, but there is only one real way to tell if you are making money.
After the results of a Chief Marketer 2012 Social Marketing Survey was released recently, this Chief Marketing Officer took on the single biggest obstacle that marketers were up in arms about: judging the ROI (return on investment) for social media.
How do we unlock the magic that reveals clear and telling ROI in the green?
You have to go back to traditional marketing and sales methods. The one rule to rule them all is this: do not market on social media networks without having a tangible way to track sales leads and conversions.
Yes, this can be hard for the small business owner that does not have the money to purchase and monitor dozens of 800 phone numbers and call centers. But consider this: as long as you have a cell phone or more than one phone line, you can at least use a Google Voice account [video below] to make a unique phone number for free and link it to one of your lines and track when this unique # is used for a social media exclusive marketing campaign.
If every phone number on your Facebook ads, pages, and posts goes back to a number you do not use for anything else, then you can see exactly how many people called about your services or products from Facebook.
If you only want to see the benefits of your entire online platform, then put the unique phone number on the web site, the LinkedIn account page, the Twitter page, and anywhere else you market digitally.
Another way to track closely your ROI for social media networks is to use coupons and giveaways (there are a number of free ones out there) that are exclusive to each place that you put it. Look and see who loves the 15% off and if they got an email coupon, or a Pinterest coupon.
In this CMO’s opinion you should not be spending time and money (and time is money) marketing in social networks if there is not a tangible way to discern how much profit the digital networks generated.
By R.J. Huneke
What started out solely as a means of shameless self-promotion quickly turned into marketing, and one of the first lessons that this author came to learn was the power of being able to cross promote over numerous platforms seamlessly online.
You do not have to do be a digital media genius (though that helps too) to succeed in promoting your self or your business. What you really need to dedicate is time, energy, and an idea.
Now hold on for a second and let me explain before you tell me to stick social media and blogging where the sun does not dare to shine, because being a business owner does not allow for much in the way of expendable time, energy, or ideas; I know from experience that running a business exhausts time and energy.
But having a burgeoning business of any kind almost always certainly starts with an idea. How do you utilize your idea to make sales conversions? How do you expand upon the idea?
What cross promotion is really all about is coming up with a solid, interesting, or advantageous idea that will benefit the consumer and then getting that message out there in the world, or the marketplace if you will.
This idea can be as simple as the reason your product is better than all others, or why it is different and interesting. Use the ideas that are already associated with your market and write a rant about them in a blog. Great promotion starts with a blog online, because the keywords in the written article (words relevant to the topic) register in the global search engines, the Google’s and the Bing’s, and people can then find your location, your idea, your product when they look for something loosely related to it on the vastly intricate world-wide web of the Internet.
Are you already on Facebook for personal use? If not, get there, but make a business page to be another soapbox for your professional idea/business/product. Copy and paste a link to each blog in that Facebook box that asks you to “post” and then open up a Twitter account. Do not even worry about what you are doing on there or the fact that you do not want to spend time on there. Just post the title and link to your blog there as well.
Talk about the Twitter page and web site blog on Facebook; then do the same with Facebook and the blog on Twitter. Cross promoting your business ideas will resonate online and help people, interested consumers, find what you have to share with them.
By R.J. Huneke
As SINC Sites are public computing labs with software tools, a knowledge base if you will, the SYNC Blog is a public house of educational information providing intrinsic insight into tech, media, and business.