17 September 2010

Social Media Platforms

Social Media platformsA core component of formulating a social media marketing plan is to understand the ins-and-outs of each of the major social platforms so you can create relevant strategies and tactics around each one. The following outline will help you determine which profiles should be incorporated into your social media marketing plan.

  • Community mindset: connect
  • Primary demographic: 25 to 45
  • Ideal fit for: entertainment, lifestyle brands, and non-profits
  • Biggest opportunity: using ads to build fans
  • Biggest challenge: few appreciate Facebook advertising
  • Metrics: fans, comments, likes, wall posts
  • Helpful tools: Lexicon, ad interface, applications, analytics, connect, etc.
  • Community mindset: connect
  • Primary demographic: 15 to 25
  • Ideal fit for: music and entertainment
  • Biggest opportunity: providing music samples
  • Biggest challenges: noisy; losing market share quickly
  • Metrics: friends, favorites, groups, impressions
  • Helpful tools: Open Platform, MyApps, MySpace Toolbox
  • Community mindset: connect
  • Primary demographic: 35 to 55
  • Ideal fit for: service providers, industry associations
  • Biggest opportunity: creating thought leadership via Q&A and Groups
  • Biggest challenge: time commitment
  • Metrics: profile connections, best answers, group members, discussions
  • Helpful tools: Applications, Salesforce plug-in
  • Community mindset: create
  • Primary demographic: 35 to 55
  • Ideal fit for: technology
  • Biggest opportunity: develop thought-leadership
  • Biggest challenge: requires significant resources over time
  • Metrics: feed subscribers, comments, Technorati score, pingbacks, inbound links, visibility in search engines
  • Helpful tools: WordPress plug-ins
  • Community mindset: create (microblogging)
  • Primary demographic: 35 to 45
  • Ideal fit for: service industry
  • Biggest opportunity: customer service, consumer insight, sales and marketing
  • Biggest challenges: noisy; reliability issues; platform limitations
  • Metrics: followers, @ replies, retweets, direct messages, custom hashtags
  • Helpful tools: BingTweets, TweetBeep, TweetDeck, HootSuite, CoTweet, Mr. Tweet, Twitalyzer, blog plug-ins
  • Community mindset: vote
  • Primary demographic: 25 to 45
  • Ideal fit for: big brands and entertainment
  • Biggest opportunity: creating viral content
  • Biggest challenges: noise; conversions
  • Metrics: views, comments, subscribers, ratings
  • Helpful tools: TubeMogul, YouTube Insight

14 September 2010

How to choose the right Website Design Company

Your website is your company’s calling card on the internet so you need to have one you’re proud of and does the job it’s meant to, and offer pleasant viewing for your browsers which can only be achieved with quality web development. That means getting a professional web development company to develop your site and create web based solutions for your business. But before approaching a web design company, you should clarify your requirements. Here’s how you do it.

Firstly, you must establish your goals. What’s the purpose of your web site? Are you selling products, displaying your portfolio, announcing your services? What do you want your visitors to do? Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes. What do they expect to find at your website?

Next you have to set your budget. Having these figures in hand at the beginning can help in your negotiation with the web design companies. But don’t reveal your budget. Always get quotes based on your needs first. The first thing you would probably do if you live in Cape Town is, go to Google and search for web design companies in Cape Town. Take the advantage of the global reach of the internet and search for web design agencies in South Africa. Also take into considerations if you have any technical staff you employ, would you need to do the maintenance of the sites yourself? If you do not have the staff, then web based solutions could be the right option for your web development, which are offered by many web design agencies in South Africa, how would you find these companies? Just do a quick search in Google for web design agencies South Africa, or one stop marketing company and it should bring up a long list of web design agencies in South Africa. But then it is down to you to single out the right company for your web development needs. However, you could do a more specific search for certain areas like web design companies Cape Town , which would be more local so you can go to see your web development company when you may need to. Web design companies in Johannesburg would tend to be more expensive compared to the rest of the country

Establishing your goals in this way allows you to clearly explain your requirements to the web design agency that you choose. In fact, these are the same types of questions that web development companies ask at the start of any project. Having the answers readily at hand means you have a better chance of getting the site that you want. Plus, the information you gather from these questions can help in choosing the right web development company.

Finally we come to the all-important step of choosing a web design company. Remember that building a website involves the separate skills of design and development. You need a company with expertise in both web design and web development. And if the firm has business skills, then better still, as you will find if you search for web design companies in Cape Town, they have a lot of all round skills in web development and offering web based solutions.

In fact the ideal web design and web development firm should also offer SEO consulting and marketing advice. Searching for web design companies Platterkloof would give you less choice of web development and SEO, however, if you searched for web design companies Cape Town or web design companies South Africa, you would find more companies with mixtures of different skill sets to make your web design and web development project successful, also the firm should be knowledgeable about the fast-changing world of ecommerce and be able to offer solutions such as database integration, content management, and shopping carts, for example. A firm that has this all round knowledge will be able to come up with ideas and advice that lead to total development solutions. So how do you find your dream design firm?

The first thing to do is to make a shortlist of website design and web development companies and check their online portfolios. See if their designs look like they’d work for your concept. Is the layout clean and easy to navigate? Is the image of the company presented well and is the website’s purpose immediately clear? Be wary of designs that are heavy with flash animations, or feature graphics but little text. This suggests the design firm values form over function which is ineffective if you’re trying to sell something. Check if the company has offered web based solutions in the past, ask if you can speak to any of their client who have had web based solutions and web development done from them. Remember, you want to find one firm that can handle both the design and development aspects of website creation. Finally, you should ask for customer references. Then, get in touch with existing clients and ask about their experience with the web design company.

It’s not easy to find the right website design company for your needs. But if you follow the above guidelines, you’ll be able to find the right web design agencies in South Africa for your business. You can find web design companies in all of South Africas major cities such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban.