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Social Media Monitoring Tools to Size Up Your Competition

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Performing a competitive analysis should be an essential piece of your company's strategic plan. Gaining this information can help you to better understand your company's strengths and weaknesses, more accurately forecast the returns of future strategies, and achieve a competitive advantage going forward. Engaging a company to prepare a competitive analysis can be a very large expense for a small business to absorb. Fortunately, social media provides a much more affordable outlet for gaining a leg up on your competition. Outlined below are several ways that social media monitoring tools can help your business to size up the competition and gain an edge above the rest:

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7 Personal Branding Lessons You Learn by Falling in Love

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By Dr. Amit Nagpal, {grow} Community Member

The first guideline I share with a new client is, "You don't build a personal brand. People do, when they see excellence & have pride in associating with you." So you must, "Enlarge as a human being, Excel as a social media being and Evolve as a personal brand."

Here are seven lessons, you learn by falling in love:

Lesson 1) Great relationships and brands are built by sharing and caring

Love and personal branding, both are primarily about sharing and caring. There would be good and not so good phases for sure but you must keep making genuine attempt to fill the emotional and ego tanks of the other. Keep in mind, selfishness is our default setting but we have been 'Empowered' to change the settings.

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New Enhancements Make Pinterest a More Powerful SMB Marketing Tool

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As if you already couldn't stay away from Pinterest, this social media site recently enhanced its platform to include larger images and more information regarding each pin, such as being able to see other people's boards that also include the pin. In a nut shell, these visual improvements make Pinterest even more intuitive and navigable for users.

So how do these enhancements make Pinterest an even more powerful small business marketing tool? Entrepreneur shares some insight of how businesses are using the updates to this platform to their advantage:

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5 Marketing Metrics Where "Close Enough" Counts

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It has been said that "close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades." Things have changed. The time has come to update the old adage to "close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and marketing analytics." The numbers we use to grow companies are rarely 100% accurate because we don't have access to all of the information.

Marketing analytics are not engineering specifications. When designing a building, an error of one inch at the foundation can cause a three foot variance at the top. When calculating lifetime value (LTV), failing to factor in the future value of money has little effect as long as the calculations are consistent over time.

If you are a marketing analytics superstar, you are probably rolling your eyes right now. Before you get too excited, you should know that this post wasn't written for you. It was written for people who don't know how to factor in future value or can't access all of the data required to calculate exact answers for their marketing questions. In a perfect world, everyone would be able to generate precise analytics. In the real world, it is better to be close than not measure at all.

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Facebook Newsfeed Redesign is a Serious Challenge for Brands

"Goodbye clutter, hello beautiful new stories," Facebook said last week when it showed off its redesigned news feed. But none of those beautiful new stories will be from branded pages.

This appears to be the industry's consensus response, after the recently announced changes to the Facebook timeline. The changes will put a user's posts and life events on the right-hand side and their About info and app activity on the left, doing away with the need to scan backwards and forwards across two columns. Some might even suggest this new layout looks a lot like Google+.

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Users control their Facebook news feed

But what has upset marketers is the ability for users to control exactly what they see in their Facebook news feed, potentially squeezing out brand updates. To date, users were only able to hide or delete specific posts in their timeline. But now the new changes will give Facebook users the ability to toggle between filters and really control what they see.

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