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social media researchThere are some interesting studies surfacing lately in the world of social media.  Here’s a summary of three recent research findings covering the benefits of social media marketing, how forums help brands and how businesses are employing social media marketing.

#1: 50% of Small Businesses Say Lead Generation is Biggest Benefit of Social Networking

According to the “Small Business Marketing Forecast 2010” from Ad-ology, lead generation is the biggest benefit of social networking for U.S. small businesses.

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When people hear the word design, they sometimes think only of making something look good, using colors and graphics to add interest. But on the web, and especially on a blog, design has a purpose: to grab readers when they arrive, make it easy for them to get what they want, and create trust through a consistent and professional look.

A well-designed business blog:

  1. Uses visual interest to make posts easy to read
  2. Brands your business in a consistent way
  3. Places useful information in places where it is easy to find
  4. Isn’t cluttered with things that aren’t helping you promote your business
  5. Makes it easy for readers to do what you want them to do

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Are you using Twitter and wondering whether it’s doing anything for your business?

Do you have a strategy? Or do you find yourself haphazardly tweeting at all hours of the day about everything from what you had for breakfast to news in your industry?

If so, you need a tweet plan.

What Is a Tweet Plan?

A tweet plan is a series of scheduled tweets used in conjunction with your real-time tweeting. The tweets in your tweet plan are carefully crafted to target your preferred audience. The result: Every day you consistently brand your Twitter presence and attract the attention of the people you want to reach, providing them useful information.

And because your tweets are evergreen, they can be scheduled in advance. This means you only spend a couple of hours writing and scheduling up to 4 weeks’ worth of tweets at a time.  Here’s how it works:

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social media case studies“Be yourself.”  It’s one of the rules of social media. If you’re blogging, tweeting or Facebooking for business, be real—or you won’t be followed.

Yet, how do you pull off “authentic” while maintaining the company brand message?

It’s tough enough for a small business. What if you’re #2 on Business Week‘s best global brands list, with nearly 400,000 employees across 170 countries?

At IBM, it’s about losing control.

“We don’t have a corporate blog or a corporate Twitter ID because we want the ‘IBMers’ in aggregate to be the corporate blog and the corporate Twitter ID,” says Adam Christensen, social media communications at IBM Corporation.

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Social media is the talk of the planet.  But where do you go to learn the best tips and tactics?  Look no further…

Tons of nominations came in.  Our panel of social media experts carefully reviewed the nominees and finalists. What follows are the winners of Social Media Examiner’s Top 10 Social Media Blogs for 2010.

If you’re looking to reap the rewards of social media, these rich blogs need to be at the top of your reading list.

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Real-time search is bringing social media to search engines. And that means a whole new dynamic for businesses using the social web.

With Twitter and Facebook updates appearing in Google search results, many businesses are trying to figure if this is good or bad—and what to do next.  Ziff Davis featured this blog post a while back.  It got me thinking about the implications of the real-time web and how businesses can navigate through these rough waters.

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social media expert interviewIn this video I interview Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer for the 358,000 member organization MarketingProfs.

Ann talks about how she manages being the public face on Twitter for her organization. She also shares how her own Twitter strategy has evolved over the last 2 years.

In this video Ann also discusses the challenges of having employees represent your brands on social media and how to approach social media policies.

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A compelling, active Facebook fan page should be an integral part of your marketing plans. With its 350 million users and average daily session time of 25 minutes, Facebook provides an exceptional opportunity for visibility, Google indexing, live search ability, and fan engagement—whether you’re a solopreneur, a large brand or anywhere in between.

But, if you build it, will they come? And if they come, will they stay and engage?

There are two primary components to Facebook fan page engagement: 1) Sharing quality, relevant content and 2) inciting comments.  In this article I’ll tell you how to best engage with Facebook fans.

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Video is very hot and there’s a strong social media connection.  Are you using video to promote your business? Do you know the best ways to leverage this growing form of content?

What follows are 5 ways you can tap into the exploding video frontier—and achieve many social media advantages.

Why Video Now?

The demand for video is already proven:  U.S. audiences viewed nearly 28 billion online videos in November 2009 alone.

The demand for video in a social setting is clearly growing:  Nielsen reports that online video viewing on social networking sites was up 98% in 2009.

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