Contact us

Mesh, Inc. 
Digital Marketing Strategy
604 309 5700
kirk@meshinc.com 

MIX & MESH

Frequently or infrequently, we will share what we are working on, what we are thinking about, and a few things that we find transformative. 

Entries in twitter (2)

Wednesday
Feb082012

Social Media Explained

I saw this image this morning online and I thought it struck a great balance of mocking social media enthuiasts, as well as helping to give a few helpful tips on how you can use different social channels to communicate about your business.

I'm sure the names of each sound familiar: twitter, facebook, foursquare, instagram, youtube, linkedin, pinterest, lastfm, google+; but do you know what they are, and how to use them? Here's a short post on each:

Twitter.com - twitter is an amazing tool for connecting to others and sharing links and throughts. For some it's a stream of consious, many of their posts have a personal component, but are written with the knowledge that it's an open, public forum. Posts could inlclude "I'm eating a donut", "just nailed my first double-black run", "picked up my new Nike trainers today". Hashtags, literally the# symbol before a word, are used to add your tweet to part of a conversation, or to start one. I often add #northvancouver to my tweets if I'm talking about a locally relevant topic, or #canucks if I'm talking about a game. You can also send a direct message to someone who is following you by typing: d theirtwitterusername your message. And can add someone to a public message by typing: @stumullan really like your new shoes.

Facebook.com - Facebook is a more personal and semi-private tool. You create a personal account, connect with your friends, and then share messages of a more personal nature, or share photos. You can set your privacy settings so that your posts are only viewable by your friends, or friends-of-friends, and users typically share at a sligthly deeper level than twitter - such as "my Gran just died, keep me in your thoughts", or "seriously, I'm considering handing my kids back". For business use, Facebook is best understood as a place to share and link to posts, photos, topics and news that is relevant to your customers, but broader than just your product. People want to be in conversation, and appreciate your curation of interesting and relevant information. They don't want to feel 'sold' to.

Foursquare.com - a location-based tool where users can check-in to a location, such as a shop or entertainment venue. There are 'gaming' elements such as becoming the mayor of the venue if you have the most check-ins, or winning a badge. Some businesses have offered discount insentives to regular customers on Foursquare, but it's userbase in Vancouver seems fairly small.

Instagram - one of the best social photo sharing tools. You take a photo with your phone, edit it, and then post to Instagram (and twitter & facebook if you wish). You can connect with other instagram users, and can like their photos. Instagram is a great social tool, but it's business purpose is less clear, although they do have a guide for brands on their website..

Youtube.com - needs little explanation. You upload videos to youtube which are viewable online, and which you can embed in your website. It's a great place to publish instructional videos about your product or service, or how-to guides. It's also an excellent source of distration when you're low on energy in the afternoon!

Linkedin.com - a social network for business. Some people use Linkedin as their online resume. It's certainly a good place to connect with business colleagues, and some users try to promote their skills and services on the site by posting status updates or seeking recommendations.

Pinterest - an online pinboard where users can highlight ideas, photos or themes. It's very new and by invitation only. I'll comment more once I've tried it out.

Last FM - an online radio service where you can connect with your friends and share what you're listening to.

Google+ - Google's new social network that is designed to challenge Facebook and Twitter. Google+ integrates with your Google's Mail, Calendar and Documents services through a new Google Toolbar which appears at the top of your screen. Google+ is definitely a place where businesses should be represented as there is evidence that + posts are being preferred in Google search results. For now you can visit plus.google.com to create an account. You can create a page for your business once you're logged in as a personal Google+ user by going to http://www.google.com/+/business/

This is just an overview of the services shown in the photo. I will write more about how to use then when I'm next inspired.

 

Tuesday
Feb072012

Make your online marketing manageable.

If you're like me, in addition to your marketing and networking activities in the physical world, the Internet is constantly calling like a siren, asking you for your time. Every day we're bombarded with messages in the media and our email inboxes reminding us that if we're not active online we're missing out on a major opportunity. Yellow Pages and your local newspapers call to offer you incredible deals on their print-services, and you meet companies like Mesh who offer to improve your search position.

In my experience it's easy to get to the end of the day and feel like you've failed. Often the failure is actually seeded in a paralysis of too much choice, rather than an inability to complete one of the possible tasks.

For February we have decided to simplify our inbound marketing efforts, and set some modest goals that will help us increase our social presence, whilst maintaining a healthy balance between work and life, and between getting our core business done as well as being active online.

One of my favourite proponents of work/life balance is Leo Babauta, he writes a daily blog at zenhabits.net, and every day he drops another little gem into my inbox that helps me reflect on slowing down, simplifying, and taking care of myself and others close to me. My favourite post of Leo's, and one of his most popular, is titled 20 Things I Wish I Had Known When Starting Out in Life. Another more recent post that I find immensely challenging is titled 100 Days With No Goals. I encourage you to subscribe to zenhabits for a daily dose of live-life-more-slowly medicine!

I'm not quite there with living life goal-free, but for February I'll describe my approach as a method, rather than a goal. Each day I'm going to write one post on the Mesh blog. Each post will be personal, and have personality. Each post will speak to where I am in my work and life, and offer a reflection on the challenges I face. Each post will be at least 2 paragraphs, and contain at least 2 links to articles or content that I have benefitted from, related to the post's topic.

Once I've posted the blog I will tweet the title of the post out on our @meshSEM account. I will then retweet it on my personal @stumullan account.

During the course of the day, I am going to post one other tweet from @meshSEM with a link out to an interesting article or resource on Internet marketing. The purpose of this tweet will be to share knowledge and effective practice for anyone thinking about Internet marketing or SEO. As with the blog, these will be stories that I find interesting, and which I would like to link to.

Finally I am going to create a Mesh Google+ account – they've just opened Google+ to brands and companies – and post both the link and the blog entry there also.

These three tasks are manageable. And they feed my desires or interests in their own way. I enjoy writing, and as my knowledge of marketing online has grown I have wanted to share some of that knowledge and connect with others who are also interested in shared-learning. I also enjoy watching the web and staying on top of current trends and developments. Spending no more than 30 minutes each day writing, browsing and linking not only helps me stay current and write creatively, it also helps keep Mesh on the radar online.

Day one's blog complete– and note that I'm starting on February 7th! There's no place for guilt or duty in this experiment. An authentic voice for your writing and sharing is one that comes from a place of enjoyment or fulfillment, so I'll likely miss a few days during the month, but 15 authentic posts will be much more effective than 29 (it's a leap year!) that are tainted with some sense of 'must do'.

A quick note about links: Links are the lifeblood of the Internet, connecting us to each other, expanding our horizons, bringing unique and interesting news, stories, videos, music to our desktop. Links also help drive your visibility online, each link acting as a 'vote' for your post or page, telling the search engines that you have something valuable to offer. It is certainly my hope that during this process others link to the Mesh blog, improving our visibility, and I would encourage anyone wishing to promote their product or service online to develop a strategy for acquiring natural, relevant links to pages on their website.