General Topics

Social Networks Affecting a Businesses Profits
Summary by John McCarthy

It’s no secret that the social networking world is booming. People have become fascinated with using sites such as Twitter and Facebook. In response to this growing industry; businesses have developed their own ways to use these sites. Social networks provide a lot for businesses, it creates a new way to communicate with clients and potential customers. But does this really work for businesses? Are they really getting their messages heard? Looking at a company’s profits is a good way to measure the success of these websites, have they increased since their use of social networking?

This is a tough question to answer, because it isn’t obvious if an increase in profits is related to the company’s use of social networking but it can be relevant. Company’s use social networking to advertise to their customers. It’s a different style of advertising than in the past but when times change marketers need to follow. Social networking is for the people, for a business its potential customers, and if businesses want to get attention from the people they need to go to their level and interact with them. This interaction done with social networking and has become the new age of marketing. By being able to reach out to millions of people at a very low cost, it would be foolish for a business not to jump on this bandwagon.

With technology available today it is possible for businesses to monitor how many people visit their social networking site. Tracking traffic can also show a company how many people used the link from their social networking site to get to their own site and how many of those people purchased something over the internet from that business. This is one way to measure how effective social networks can be for businesses but not the only. Other opportunities social networking presents are; it creates a buzz around a company website, product or service, is an informal way to get messages across to customers, and it will create a loyalty or trust for consumers.

It is evident businesses benefit from using social networks, with no set up cost it is bound to pay off in the long run. It might be hard to measure a businesses increase in profits quantitatively but it wouldn’t be a lie to say social networks have a positive influence on a company’s revenue.

http://cfagbata.com/profit-through-social-media/

http://hubpages.com/hub/How-To-Use-Social-Networking-For-Business-Marketing-Profits

Why use Social Media Professionally

Summary by Megan Esch: “Social networks imperative; Twitter, Facebook are becoming essential skill sets”

Social Networks have moved out of dorm rooms and beyond the boundaries of old fashioned business etiquette. These networks are the newest form of professional communication. A recent article titled “Social networks imperative; Twitter, Facebook are becoming essential skill sets,” outlines the increasing demand to be technically savvy in the business world.

This article addresses one of today’s business philosophies: the more information you can put out, in the places consumers want to see it, the better. Because social media networks are cost-effective ways for companies to get their information to thousands of people while maintaining a personal touch, it is more necessary than ever for a professional in Public Relations, Marketing, Sales and Media fields to understand and be comfortable using these technologies.

The article states that one of the reasons it is so important for businesses to make good use of these growing tools is because it provides marketing, without the perception that you are trying to market someone. This article examines the recent trend in the business world of developing new job positions based solely on social media networking.

http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=7&hid=5&sid=352ea034-2ddc-43f1-8877-0949bdf9b2b7%40sessionmgr4&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=fdcaae48&AN=

Summary by Jessica Haerther: "Socialnomics"

The world of social media and networking has grown immensely and still continues to grow. New progress is made every day and it becomes more challenging to keep up these changes and developments. “Socialnomics- Social Media Blog” is essentially a blog that frequently updates on new trends in the social networking media world. A recent blogs discusses the topic of how social media and networking are now prevalent in movies and television. This sparked the subject of a new Web 2.0 tool called “milbook.” This is a professional networking site, similar to facebook, that has been developed for the military and is accepted by the Department of Defense. Many television ads are also shown that incorporate social networking tools as well. Many include funny lines such as “facebook me” or clips of people googling various topics. For more information on these articles, go to http://socialnomics.net/2010/02/16/facebook-line-in-valentines-day-movie/ and http://socialnomics.net/2010/02/09/google-super-bowl-ad/.

Another blogs goes on to say that many companies are incorporating social media networks and searching. Google is now incorporating sponsored listings, organic listings, and social graph listing into the search results. This allows customers who may be searching for a product to see what their friends or peers have bought and what they think to be given the most weight. To read more about this, go to http://socialnomics.net/2010/01/11/social-media-vs-seo/.

Media is becoming bigger than many think and a popular blog on the website shows this. Over thirty-seven statistics are shown to give viewers just a glimpse of how relevant social media is becoming. Statistic number eighteen says: “80% of Twitter usage is outside of Twitter…people update anywhere, anytime…imagine what that means for bad customer experiences?” Statistic number eight says: “2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction." For more statistics, visit http://socialnomics.net/2009/08/11/statistics-show-social-media-is-bigger-than-you-think/.

All this information goes to show that social media is quickly increasing, even for those in the 55-65 age range. Everyone is having to learn how to use this quickly evolving social media just to stay in touch with relatives, friends, and professionals. With all these latest developments, what’s next?

http://socialnomics.net/

Social Media Statistics

“Social Media Adoption by U.S. Small Businesses Doubles Since 2009”
Summary By: Megan Fiala

Recent statistics show that U.S. small businesses are using social media more than ever before. According to this news release by PR Newswire, U.S. small businesses are using social media more than twice as much than they did a year ago.

Why has social media become the new outlet for small businesses? Due to the ecomonic downturn the U.S. is currently facing, many small businesses are finding social media as an outlet to reach out to customers at a relatively low cost. According to the article, small businesses are mainly using social media tools such as blogs, facebook, and twitter, to identify and attract new customers.

“The biggest expectation small business owners have from social media is expanding external marketing and engagement, including identifying and attracting new customers, building brand awareness and staying engaged with customers. Sixty-one percent of the respondents indicated that they use social media to identify and attract new customers.”

As technology continues to advance, we could see even more small businesses using social media outlets to further their success. For more statistics on how the use of social media has grown over the past year, check out the article below. The statistics are astounding and are only bound to go up from here.

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/social-media-adoption-by-us-small-businesses-doubles-since-2009-84467232.html

Effectiveness of Promoting through Social Media
By: Tara Carsner

With the growing popularity of social media on the web such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, it is no surprise that businesses are jumping in on the trend as well. Business are creating personal pages, fan pages, blogs, and much more, as a way to reach their current consumers, and at the same time hoping to reach out to possible new consumers.

Advantages to creating a business social media page go beyond reaching new customers. Not only is promotion through social mediums free, but it’s a good way to control how any one particular business is perceived. By setting up a professional, credible page, businesses can create a positive image for their business. With a successful site, positive word-of-mouth will begin to circulate. Sounds easy and simple, but that’s actually far from the truth. There are many things needed for a business’ page to be successful. It’s not just as simple as throwing information onto as many social mediums as possible, there are key elements you must follow.

First of all, when it comes to quantity, it is actually better to focus on just a few social mediums rather than being all over the web. This allows for adequate amount of time devoted to making the few sites very attractive, interactive, and entertaining. You must make the pages/profile look credible so consumers can distinguish “official” pages from made-up, non-business sponsored, pages. This is achievable by having a clean layout sited sources, trademarks, and other company pages links. These links will also help navigate consumers to your business’ other pages as well.

Along with links, it’s very important to make a link to bookmark your pages as well. This increases the likelihood that the consumers will navigate to your page more often because it will only be one click away in their bookmark toolbar.

The last main thing to remember is not to over do marketing on the pages. If marketing is too strong, it will drive consumers away. No one wants to stay on a page long if all they get to look at are ads and pure advertising. On the other hand, subtle marketing through blogs or interactive games will not only promote products, they will also keep consumers interested in the page.

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/may2006/tc20060530_170086.htm?%20chan=search-

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/5140634.stm

http://www.evancarmichael.com/SEO/1210/Use-the-Power-of-Social-Media-Promotion-to-Supercharge-Your-Traffic.html

+ + How to use Social Media Professionally

Summary by Megan Esch: “Social media use, perceptions of decision-making power, and public relations roles”

“Social media use, perceptions of decision-making power, and public relations roles,” looks at PR practitioners who are frequent users of social networks and their perceptions of their own structural expertise and power. It was reported that practitioners who frequently use these networks report greater perceptions of their own expertise, power and success in the field.

This article examines how social medias and networks are slowly changing the Public Relations field and how practitioner's professional self-evaluations reflect this change.

http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eoah&AN=19811745&site=ehost-live

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Ethics of Professional Social Media use

Facebook Principles
By Darla Frank

The blurred lines and unwritten rules addressing professional ethics on social networking sites are frustrating because many times advice is contradicting. Professionals question organizational presents on Facebook because marketing on social networking sites is a newly discovered realm of unclear waters. In the grand scheme, is there a right and wrong way to network? The answer is yes. Those doubting that answer should visit the all too often ignored Facebook policies for professionals (http://developers.facebook.com/policy/). These policies discuss principles that provide cut and dry answers for what behaviors are acceptable and will not be tolerated. The problem is that these policies do not provide answers for the abbreviation premises with which professionals often struggle or the "friending" controversy that is constantly debated. To help supplement for those unclear issues, Facebook has a blog for developers that provides helpful advice to professionals, such as how to use Facebook chat to connect professionally with users. Professionals can also post comments and ask questions on the blog to get advice from the Facebook team designed to support organizational promotion. Check out the blog at http://developers.facebook.com/news.php?ref=blog

Summary by Megan Esch:

An article from Human Resource Focus titled "Employers Need More Social Media Rules," takes an in depth look at the need to regulate social network use by employees. The article discusses the lack of social networking policies that are the underlying cause of many recent lawsuits within the business world. The article states that most employers do not actively monitor employees’ use of social network websites because many feel that what an employee does outside of work should remain largely his or her business, however, this attitude puts employers at risk because they are unaware of activities such as disclosure of proprietary information and inappropriate photographs.

A survey showed that about half of employers polled don’t have a policy for employees’ online
activities outside of work. Just 10 percent have a policy specifically addressing social networks, and 34 percent have a general policy for online activity that also addresses social networks. 32 percent of respondents said they have a “passive” monitoring system, where action is taken only when “we are apprised of an issue.” 8 percent said they monitor informally, and 14 percent did not know whether monitoring occurred.

This article takes a basic look at the increase in lawsuits and harassment charges that have taken place due to the growing use of social networks.

http://hrguru.monster.com/news/articles/3176-employers-need-more-social-media-rules

Summary by Jessica Haerther: "Public Relations: The Empirical Research on Practitioner Ethics"

The public relations field has occurred a negative attitude for many. The credibility, integrity and public image of public relations has been documented in many studies. Journalists, editors, and even college students have all ranked public relations practitioners at the bottom of the ethical behavior list, while ranking themselves at the top. It is necessary for these corporations to have public relations in their company, but the public has seemed to have lost faith and trust in the ethical and moral practices of these practitioners. This article looks into how practitioners can improve their image and their use of ethics in the field.

This in turn led to the conclusion that the public view of public relations practitioner’s ethics need strong and immediate improvement. Since corporate management is given such high marks in the moral and ethical standards of a corporation, they should be the ones to place such emphasis on moral and ethical behavior. Education should also play a vital role in the importance of learning moral and ethical decision making in companies. With the event of more and more social media public relations practitioners and involved in the company now must decide what moral and ethical issues they could possibly be running into. They must then decide how to morally and ethically handles these issues in a way that will not further the tarnished image that public relations practitioners have carried for many years.

Pratt, Cornelius B. "Public relations: The Empirical Research on Practitioner Ethics." Journal of Business Ethics 10.3 (1991). Print.

Summary by Jessica Haerther: "Public relations, the public interest and persuasion: An ethical approach"

A problem for public relations practitioners is not only whether or not they are making ethical and moral decisions, but whether how they are persuading the public is viewed as ethical or not. Meeting the public interest was a huge determinant in whether or not persuasion was ethics. The paper begins by defining the use of ethical persuasion and then considers standards that might be used. Rule utilitarianism is used in this paper which means every situation is not different. There should be a set of rules decided and everyone show operate in accordance with them. These rules are determined by considering what would lead to the greatest happiness of society if these rules were adopted.

The findings of this paper were that ethical persuasion can be used, but it is sometimes difficult to define what is best in terms of the public interest. Audiences must be sufficiently informed about a topic so they are able to make informed, rational, voluntary, and reflective judgments. A set of standards relating to practicing ethical persuasion was developed. These standards were truthfulness, respect, equity, and authenticity. This helps to determine what behavior is viewed as ethical and unethical in decision making. In regards to social media and networking, these standards can then be used when public relations practitioners are attempting to determine whether what they are releasing is ethical and in the public interest.

Messina, Alex. "Public relations, the public interest and persuasion: An ethical approach." Journal of communication management 11.1 (2007): 29-52. Print.

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Web Writing Basics

** http://www.useit.com/papers/webwriting/

In order to write on the web you must know how people read web pages. Like Jill said, people rarely read web pages, they scan them usually from top to bottom, not left to right. There are many tips to draw the reader in including, using bullets, one idea per paragraph, cut the word count in half, and many more. All of these try to get the viewer hooked before they quickly move on to the next page. The average web viewer only reads 20% of the text on the screen so you must get your point across quickly and concisely. Eye tracking or movement is another important factor you must consider. Viewers naturally read the top of the page and then immediately follow the left hand side of the page downward. On average only the first two words of headlines are read so your headline should be accurate and short, do not use clever headlines.

One important decision you must make is how much information is enough, how much is too much, and how much is optimal. Readers will only read what optimizes their benefits relative to the costs. There is a cost benefit analysis that must be applied to each piece of web writing. It considers how long it takes to read a particular piece and determines whether or not the benefits or what you gain from the reading outweigh the costs. There is no perfect answer or ratio between long and short essays because it is unique to each viewer and the contents but there is a general guideline that should get you close.
Summary by Blaine Dopler

What Makes a Great Website by Tara Carsner

http://www.webreference.com/greatsite.html

When creating a website there are many steps and guidelines to follow. Not only does your website have to be searchable so readers can navigate to your page, but you must also conquer how to keep readers reading. So how exactly do you make all of this possible? To help you create a dynamite website, here are a few guidelines to follow.

To get web users to navigate to your page, it’s best to have good, clear, searchable headlines. You can do this by making your headlines very specific and include keywords of your main topic in the headlines. This helps when people use search engines to find articles on particular subjects, your page may show up easier.

So when people end up at your site, how do you manage to keep them there? The article touches on many things. There are a few main points to make sure you do. You must have an appealing home page. It helps when something looks interesting, to get the attention of the reader to have them even begin to browse your page. To attract readers, your text must be easy to read and very well-organized. Subheadings are always very good at helping to achieve both of these. It is also very good to have your website be interactive. You can achieve this by having adjustable graphs a reader can toy with, or even a audio visual readers can play and watch.

There are many key pieces of putting together a successful webpage. For more website must-haves, and further explanation on how to utilize these, read the full article on What Makes a Great Website. With a little bit of creativity and proper use of the mentioned tools, you will be able to make a great website of your own for yourself or your business.

Webpage Eyetracking

** http://www.uie.com/articles/eye_tracking/

In order to create a user friendly web page you must keep eye movement in mind. While the optimal layout may be different for each purpose there are basic guidelines that all web pages must follow.
• Readers tend to look at web pages in an “F” pattern which means they read the first few main topics or headlines and then briefly look at the beginnings of the remaining content.
• Bright colors and animation attract users’ eyes. This is not a new finding, but it is interesting to actually see it happen. The gaze cursor flicks to the animation, dwells for an instant, and then returns to content.
• Eye gaze often stopped at the borders around ads (the bottom of ads at the top of the page and the top of those near the bottom). To users, these lines apparently indicate content that is unimportant to their task.
• Users rarely looked at what we called the Study Area just above the browser’s status line. Users often found what they wanted before getting to this area. Interestingly, if they wanted to see information from this area, they scrolled to bring it higher on the screen rather than looking at the bottom.
While there is no perfect layout for any situation it is important that you research what your viewers are looking for and make that information easy to read and locate.
Summary by Blaine Dopler

"Twitter, Facebook And Beyond: How To Manage Your Company's Online Presence"
Summary by: Dakota Crosswhite

Many people assume that a majority of people that use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media's are college students while many are, more than half of its members are people that are not in school. Blogs, wikis, Twitter, Facebook, and others are becoming popular among the corporate world. This article states facts about how many companies actually use these web tools. It also talks about what companies should be doing with their blogs, Facebook or Twitter accounts. Companies have been using sights like these to recruit candidates for open positions within their company. But not only do companies search sites for people, but people search sites for companies. It is important to remain professional with your websites. When starting a blog, even though you may not have many followers, you still need to stay professional and post regularly. It is also important that when requesting to be someone’s friend or to follow them on their twitter, that you create a relationship with them so they know you aren’t spamming them. This Article provides you with the necessary information to keep you knowledgeable on your websites and how to use them.

Mind Your BlackBerry or Mind Your Manners
By: Andrea Schupbach

As Web-enabled smartphones have an increased attendance at executive meetings, many people are having trouble fighting the temptation to engage themselves in the social media during business operations. The use of phones have become routine in the political and business worlds. Because of this, a debate about etiquette has broken out.

Submeeting commentaries of a primary meeting are going on. Business is being won and lost due to responsiveness of E-mails. Environmentally friendly advocate are trying to save the environment by encouraging note-takin on BlackBerry's. Connections are being made and people are being reached out to at all times.

Meetings and speakers are distracted by the use of smartphones. People are complaining because of the lack of attention. Someone lost a job when they pulled out their BlackBerry to look up a fact to make a point.

Very few companies have policies about smartphones in meetings. Therefore, it is up to the discretion of the employees to feel it out in uncertain terrain. Many people will lay their smartphone out on the meeting table signaling that they are connected, and if the meeting doesn't hold interest, there are 10 other things they could be doing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/us/22smartphones.html?_r=2&hp

Social media at work: How networking tools propel organizational performance.
By:Andrea Schupbach

Building relationships and working collaboratively are increasingly affected by today's networking technologies, such as, wikis, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. It is said that different types of social media will significantly affect organizational performance. The problem many organization's run into is figuring out exactly how to put these media channels to good use in an create strategic advantage.

The power of social media must be carefully leveraged to build more effective and agile organizations. When implementing social media, some of the areas a business should focus on are attracting and retaining the best employees, boosting innovation and knowledge creation, developing talent, gaining operational efficiences, engaging employees for greater productivity, and sustaining competitiveness. It is also very important when dealing with social media to be very detail-oriented to avoid costly mistakes. Once something hits the Web, it is out there for all to see. A simple click of the delete button may take it away, but who's to say someone hasn't already seen it?

http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=psyh&AN=2009-19845-000&site=ehost-live

Social media needs to prove effectiveness, says Bebo chief.
By:Andrea Schupbach

The article presents information on the views presented by Bebo sales and marketing chief Mark Charkin at the Internet Advertising Bureau Engage conference. It's focus is advertising toward young people. Charkin said that Bebo is exploring more ways to provide advertisers with information on the effectiveness of campaigns and how to amplify the content elsewhere. He said that the challenge for advertisers now is to find ways of using the online medium to echo the every day life of young people and reach out to them an a non-intrusive manner. The way youth communicate is no long traditional e-mails and text messaging. They have moved on to real-time banter online.

http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bsh&AN=46971800&site=ehost-live

For a more in depth look at all of the keys to effective promotion through social media, visit these sites:

http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdf?vid=8&hid=12&sid=87442b9f-4a55-4742-b64b-131c273575a0%40sessionmgr13

http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=psyh&AN=2009-19845-000&site=ehost-live

http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bsh&AN=46971800&site=ehost-live

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/us/22smartphones.html?_r=2&hp

Maximizing Effectiveness of Social Media

Small businesses can capitalize on their use of social media by using specific strategies based on various statistics, one of which is targeting their audience. In this article, statistics about social networking sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) such as age, education level, and affluence are made available for small business owners to view. Businesses can use this information to their advantage to market to their targeted audience.

Facebook Users:
-116 million unique U.S. visitors in December 2009
-follow the Internet average pretty closely in terms of affluence, education, and household size
-are slightly more female
-are mostly younger, aged 13-34

LinkedIn Users:
-24 million unique U.S. visitors in December 2009
-are slightly more male
-mostly have at least a college education
-are generally older, more educated, and more affluent

Twitter Users:
-23 million unique U.S. visitors in December 2009
-reflect an even male/female ratio
-peak at the 18-34 age group (16% of its total users, compared to 8% of the total Internet audience), with an even number of older and younger users.
-are generally less wealthy than those on Facebook and LinkedIn

http://tinyurl.com/yeqbleu
Summary by Tara Buchheit

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