Stone is a Professional Website Design, Development, SEO and Interactive Marketing Services Company with headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Marker company grows its online community, builds customer trust, and engages in a bit of whimsy in new social media plan.
The ways Sharpie spreads its message through social media are almost as varied as the ways people use the iconic markers.
What once was commonly known as the best tool for labeling file folders or for celebrity autograph signings has become a paintbrush of sorts. Artists use Sharpie markers to grace brown paper bags, Styrofoam cups, T-shirts, ceramic tiles and even cars. Sharpie has embraced this newfound creativity in some of its most loyal customers by inviting them to be part of its “Sharpie Squad.”
“These are not professional people who do art for a living; they’re just people showing off their creative ways to use our product, things we would have never thought to do ourselves,” says Susan Wassel, social media manager.
The company is eager to inspire others to use Sharpies more creatively as well as to buy a range of colors in addition to its flagship product, the ubiquitous black pen. Unlike many social media campaigns, Sharpie took what was out there already, latched onto it and built an integrated marketing campaign around it. It’s called: “Uncap what’s inside.”
Read more at Ragan.com.
Freaking out because you suddenly have zero followers on Twitter? No, you’re not unpopular.
Twitter temporarily reset users’ follow count to zero and suspended the follow/unfollow feature in order to restore a bug that allowed people to force anyone to follow them.
Gizmodo spilled details on the “Forced Follow” bug, explaining in explicit detail how Twitterers “could force any Twitter user—from Oprah to Kutcher—to follow you.”
At 1pm today, Twitter reported: “Follow bug discovered, remedied.”
Read more at the Huffington Post.
iMedia has some great examples of highly experimental but extremely successful social media campaigns carried out by some big brand names. Although these are some grand-scale endeavors, any small business can adapt tactics as it fits their business objectives and personality. Check out the highlights:
vitaminwater - Flavor Creator Lab Facebook App
Displaying an intense devotion to Facebook, vitaminwater scrapped its website altogether and made Facebook its landing page. The objective being full interaction, visitors are now redirected to become fans and discuss the products. What does vitaminwater gain? Valuable, and instant, feedback for non-traditional market research and a much more personable way to respond to their consumers.
A contest determined the specs for a new drink named after social media, called Connect. Over the summer, fans could vote on flavor, ingredients, packaging, and naming for the new drink. The Facebook fan that won the name game also won $5,000.
View the rest of the post at the Stone Blog.
This morning Google announced that their Local Business Center is becoming Google Places. Essentially, it’s just the name catching up with the practice as the ‘place pages’ have been around for quite some time. The reasoning behind the change is sound:
Why? Millions of people use Google every day to find places in the real world, and we want to better connect Place Pages — the way that businesses are being found today — with the tool that enables business owners to manage their presence on Google.
They are also introducing some news features including the ability to specify service areas, a new way to advertise outside of the usual AdWords, free business photo shoots and real time update abilities.
One of the more interesting features is customized QR codes. Once a business creates their ‘place’ they can download a unique QR code. These codes can be placed on business cards, coupons and other marketing materials. When customers scan them with certain smartphones they are taken directly to the mobile version of that business’s Place Page. With the ability to customize your business’s Place Page with the latest news and offers this could be an extremely effective tool.
Of course, they offer the stellar tracking that Google programs have become known for. Data includes the usual, but useful, visitor and keyword tracking; along with what areas people traveled from to visit your business.
It’s not difficult to find examples of businesses with beautiful websites but no traffic. Businesses with stunning websites that fail because the product or service they’re providing just isn’t good enough. Design only goes so far, and ultimately cannot save a business if the product just doesn’t cut it.
Of course on the other end we have pig ugly websites that are wildly successful. Websites like Craigslist. People point at them and say: “Look, aesthetics don’t matter — as long as its usable enough and offers enough value it will succeed”. Yes, unless the interface is so unusable that people can’t use the service then it probably will succeed — but that’s not the point. The real point is: does good design and good aesthetic help your business be even more successful, and if so, are the gains enough to justify the work spent?
Read more on UsabilityPost.com.
Pingdom breaks down each popular social network site and the average age per site. Why is this important? If you’re looking to use social media to market your ecommerce site, you need to know what the demographic is for each site to wisely target and save time and effort (and money).
Onextrapixel.com has a great article breaking down WordPress as a web development platform. It includes a list of 12 popular CMS plugins and a design gallery of sites using WordPress, from photography to ecommerce to a creative agency, even an online high-end jewelry store. The article also brings up some important points you might want to consider before using WordPress as a CMS solution, as well as a list of great reasons to use WordPress.
View a sample of the WordPress CMS plugins suggested below.
Flutter is a feature rich WordPress CMS plugin that focuses on easy templating for the developer and simplifies content management for the administrators by creating custom write panels that can be fully customized.
Custom Admin Branding
Custom Admin Branding plugin allows you to not only re-brand the WordPress login screen, but also the admin header and footer with your own custom images. This will actually give your client an idea that the CMS is tailored specially for his business.
Multi Level Navigation
WP e-Commerce shopping cart plugin for WordPress is an elegant, easy to use, fully featured shopping cart application suitable for the selling of products, services and fees online. This will come in handy if you want to sell something on your Blog or site; there is no need for a change in CMS.
Check out the rest at The Autopsy of WordPress As CMS with 25 Great Plugins & Designs.
For more plugins, try 20 Must Have WordPress Plugins For You to Get Started Effectively.