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6 Ways Brands Can Become More "Likable"

6 ways brands can become more likable

Remember the time before the "like" button? Back then, we told Facebook our interests. Our interests were brush strokes that helped fill in the picture of who we are to our friends, the way we used to go to a new friend's home and look at their record collections (when there were records) or their bookshelves (when there were books) to get to know them better through these personal badges. Interests were converted to "likes" when that little button came into our lives. Why the button? Facebook understood that to create value for advertisers, they needed a lightweight, low commitment way to open a communication channel between brands and people.

This is the source of the tension you see as more and more people post that misguided privacy statement telling Facebook not to use their posts for advertising purposes. People expected to join Facebook for its original purpose -- as a connection platform. Now the stream of connection has been crossed with the stream of advertising. Those of us who remember "Ghostbusters" know what happens when you cross the streams: You get the gooey remains of the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man all over your community.

The problem, in most cases, is that brands aren't inherently likable and very few are worthy of being proudly displayed as badges. As the flow of sponsored communication increases, people are becoming more reluctant to "like" a brand and unleash a tide of what I call "newsfeed pollution." Though it is true that "recommendations from friends" is a top reason for purchase, people are often embarrassed that a brand they "liked" is using their implied recommendation in ads across their networks ("I don't love them, I just wanted the coupon"). One industry friend of mine refers to Facebook as "that CRM program I never meant to join."

So what is a brand to do? Social holds such incredible promise, but we don't want to be crashing someone's party and talking to strangers about how we're best buddies with other guests who are a little embarrassed we showed up. Here are six things you can act on today (and one thing Facebook should consider) to be a good brand citizen.

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7 Social Media Tactics Your 2013 Budget Needs to Succeed [Research]

7 social media tactics your 2013 budget needs to succeed

As social media matures, it's no longer a test outside of your budget. Adding to this pressure, social media conversion rates are low relative to other marketing strategies. Therefore you must coordinate and integrate social media marketing into your overall marketing plans to maximize efficiency and effectiveness.

To get your 2013 marketing plans on track to increase revenues, here are seven social media tactics based on solid research that you need now. (BTW, use these charts to persuade your management team!)

1. Leverage the power of social connections. Consumers are more likely to respond to recommendations from their friends than social media ads. The recommendation has the unstated endorsement.

Actionable marketing tip: Encourage customers to share your information on social media venues. Additionally, use social media advertising to target your audience and to send them to your page rather than off of the social media site.

2. Think beyond Facebook for social media. While Facebook is too large to ignore as a marketing platform, it's not as effective as other social media options for converting to sales. Specifically, research by Shop.org, comScore, and The Partnering Group found that 70 percent of consumers click through on a retail blog to the firm's website and 68 percent of consumers use YouTube to browse and research products. Further, consumers follow more brands on social media platforms other than Facebook.

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The Museum of the Internet: From Netscape to Napster, Friendster to Myspace and more...

the big internet museum

The Big Internet Museum
A mind-bending look back on the memes, music services, and Myspaces that built the web

Flush with nostalgic e-artifacts from the earliest days of the world wide web through now, the newly opened Big Internet Museum traces the history of memes, social media, gaming, and more modern-day timesucks through their many fascinating iterations since the Net's 1969 debut. And unlike any of those damn restrictive Smithsonians, it can be fully enjoyed pantsless from your couch.

Through virtual exhibits in seven dedicated "wings", it'll drop trivia-worthy knowledge on you about gifs (they're older than you think), webcams (the first image broadcast from one was of a sexy, sexy coffee pot), Geocities (its original name was "Beverly Hills Internet". Seriously.), and e-mail spam -- the first of which was sent out by some marketer named Gary Thuerk. So... eff you, Gary Thuerk!

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Pinterest Reaches Two Milestones: One Good, One Bad

pinterest has reached two milestones one good one bad

This week's need-to-know social-media news.

Even social-media powerhouses aren't immune to common startup troubles. The latest: A New Jersey attorney is suing Pinterest and its early investor Brian Cohen, alleging that Cohen stole his concept for a similar social site and passed it along to Pinterest's co-founders. In his complaint, Theodore Schroeder says that he and Cohen were business partners in 2007 and 2008 when Schroeder developed a website, Rendezvoo, that was a precursor to Pinterest. Two of its elements -- content boards and so-called "infinite scrolling" -- are now key features of Pinterest.

Meanwhile, Pinterest reached another startup milestone this week by making its first acquisition -- recipe-sharing site Punchfork. Like Pinterest, Punchfork uses an image-based pinboard interface. The site will be closed and its personnel incorporated into Pinterest. -- AllThingsD and SocialTimes

Facebook adds voice messaging to mobile apps.
Running late to a meeting and need to tell your associate, but can't spare the typing time? Put away those tapping thumbs. Facebook has made it possible to record and send short voice messages through its Messenger app for iOS and Android. And the social-media giant is already testing a feature that allows free voice calls between Messenger users who are connected to Wi-Fi. -- PC World

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Content is King and Here are the Crown Jewels for Free! - Reduce the Cost of Your Lead Gen Efforts with these great tools

Content is King and Here are the Crown Jewels for Free. Reduce the Cost of Your Lead Gen Efforts with these great toolsHelping great leads find you through good inbound and content marketing is among the most cost-effective ways to drive new leads. Our friends at Marketo want to help you do this more effectively, and are offering a number of great free assets on inbound and content marketing.

1. (eBook) CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY: A cornerstone of any strong inbound marketing program is great content. In "How to Build and Operate a Content Marketing Machine," you'll learn how to:

• Develop and refine your content plan
• Get your content produced, published, and distributed
• Convert content visitors through targeted, content-rich nurturing

Click here to download

2. (Cheat Sheet) CONTENT MARKETING: Use this Content Marketing Cheat Sheet to quickly map out your own buying stages and determine which content to best associate with those stages. You'll learn:

• The six rules of content marketing
• How to map content to buying stages
• The three R's of content optimization

Click here to download

3. (White Paper) AMPLIFY INBOUND MARKETING: Inbound drives good results, but combining with tactics such as SEO, social, and automation, you can amplify its impact. Download "Amplify Your Inbound Marketing" to:

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