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Referrals Made Easy: StumbleUpon

Before Web 2.0, it would cost a lot of money to drive traffic to a website. Pay-per-click programs and web banners/ads were the cutting edge and came with a significant investment. Web 2.0, however, introduced a variety of tools to do more with less.

StumbleUpon.com is an online community of user-generated referrals. Just as friends refer one another to trusted businesses/products, StumbleUpon users refer one another to useful, interesting websites. Users refer and rate these websites using two buttons, a “thumbs-up” and “thumbs-down.”

Rather than “word of mouth,” it’s a “click-of-a-mouse.”

stumbleupon_scheme

For the growing web-business, using StumbleUpon is a free way to not only generate traffic to your site but also to receive relevant feedback. When users comment about your website on StumbleUpon.com, utilize this information to improve your website. Lastly, make sure to thank them by commenting on their StumbleUpon page. Remember, five years ago you would have written a check to receive such feedback.

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Managing Your Brand Image Using LinkedIn

In his book, Effective Networking, Michael Hughes says the first five seconds of meeting someone new is the time when each party forms the most important perception about the other. The first impression is crucial to successful negotiating, interviewing, and networking.

online_business_networkingWhat would you do differently to make your first impression a good one?

You can make a good impression prior to arriving; forming your brand image begins before sitting in the interview chair and even prior to the all-important handshake. Give important appointments a chance to view your personal page at LinkedIn or read your blog. The first five seconds is still critical, but social media tools can relieve some of the pressure.

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Just Another MySpace: The Death of Facebook

Facebook. Still thriving or just short of collapse? Yes, more than 150 million people actively use Facebook (have returned to the site in the last 30 days). Stats, like looks however, can be deceiving. Facebook, as a business, is in the maturity phase of its life cycle. What comes after maturity? You guessed it… death. Let me explain.

The focus, the core business of Facebook from its inception in 2004 was college students. The company began offering profiles to only those enrolled in what we call “higher education” (i.e. the young, energetic, and not always sober). In short, college students loved it. Since then, the Facebook network began including high school students, adults, companies, old people, etc. Thus, Facebook ventured away from its core business.

Whenever executives try to grow their company, they must not loose their focus. Because (according to one very smart marketing professor)…

“If You Lose Your Focus, You Lose Your Shirt”

The only way to be successful long term in business is to stay true to your focus. For example, when you hear “Nike,” what do you think? Sports. Therefore, it would be ridiculous for Nike to produce ballet shoes. Similarly, Facebook has sacrificed its brand image (as the fun, college network) for growth (by allowing non-college students to participate). In other words, Facebook has started gathering oranges when it should have continued to cherry-pick.

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