Monday, September 24, 2012

The Electronics of Advertising - Part Ten



LINKEDIN

        What is it? LinkedIn is a social networking website just like Facebook and Twitter but more focused on business and professional point of view. It is very popular in the business world and users connect to their colleagues or even represent their portfolio and resume in this website. LinkedIn allows you to create a personal profile where you can promote your skills, knowledge and experience while allowing you to connect with professionals in your field in order to do business. As you build your profile you can request and receive recommendations from people who you have done business with in the past (colleagues, business acquaintances, clients etc). These recommendations add value to your online resume just like letters of recommendation and testimonials and will help build trust in what you have to offer.

        How to use it: To get started go to linkedin.com/company/sign-up.to and follow the instructions. One of the most important parts of LinkedIn is your profile. It’s important to be sure that your LinkedIn profile is complete and includes detailed information about your skills and experience. That’s what you use to connect with people in your network and is how you get found. Here are tips for how to make your LinkedIn profile stand out from the crowd. Your profile should have all the same information that is on your resume including your qualifications, your experience, and your skills. You should fill out your profile like it’s an executive bio, so include past companies, education, affiliations, and activities. You can add a photo (a headshot) to your LinkedIn profile. Be sure the photo represents the professional you and isn't too casual. Besides your personal profile you should create a company profile as well which will list everyone who works there as well as something about the company. Setting up your business as a “company” on LinkedIn isn’t going to generate a bunch of leads, but it does give you an opportunity to have a presence on LinkedIn beyond a personal. You can embed banner images and videos in your company page, as well as feed your blog posts and tweets. You can also feature your products on your page and seek recommendations for them. That’s a kind of social proof that only enhances your credibility. Don’t forget to make your profile public – that’s how the world can find it. Also, customizing your URL will give you a link that’s easy to share.

        Whether you are a large company or small, you should be using every form of electronic advertising you can to promote your business. The good news is that most of it is free.
                

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Electronics of Advertising - Part Nine

FACEBOOK

        What it is: Facebook is a full-blown social networking site with over 901 million monthly active users that allows for sharing updates, photos joining events and a variety of other activities. There are two types of Facebook pages: Personal and Business.

        How to use it: You must have a personal page in order to have a business page because of how Facebook is setup. To get started, go to Facebook.com and follow the instruction. Once you have setup your personal page, you can then setup your business page at facebook.com/business. It has tips for setting up a good Facebook page. Some companies opt for only a Facebook page rather than having a website page if their purpose is only to communicate to their customers. The most effective use of Facebook is to communicate directly with your customers with daily specials, and information about your company that interests them that they in turn share with their own network of friends.

        How to get Facebook followers: Three basic ways to generate followers or “likes” for your page are; first, advertising your Facebook address to your existing customers. Second, using Facebook.com/ads -- you can target directly to individuals by location/demographic/age/gender/and interests. Finally, using a third-party service called an “application”, create a contest with prizes which your existing customers will share on their pages.


Next Post I will discuss LinkedIn

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Electronics of Advertising - Part Eight

Social Media - Twitter

        The best way to define social media is to break it down. Media is an instrument on communication, like a newspaper or a radio, so social media would be a social instrument of communication. Think of regular media as a one-way street where you can read a newspaper or listen to a report on television, but you have very limited ability to give your thoughts on the matter. Social media, on the other hand, is a two-way street that gives you the ability to communicate too. Social media makes the transfer of text, photos, audio, video and information in general increasingly flowing among internet users. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have created online communities where people can share as much or as little personal information as they desire with other members. The result is an enormous amount of information that can be easily shared, searched, promoted, disputed, and created. Social Media has relevance not only for regular internet users, but business as well. There are numerous social media sites in the world of cyberspace but I will talk about three of the main ones here.

Twitter


        What it is: Twitter is a social site designed to let people share short messages, up to 140 characters, called “tweets” with others.

        How to use it: To get started, you must open a free Twitter account and create a Twitter name at www.Twitter.com/signup. Now decide what the purpose of your Twitter account is going to be. This will allow you to post Tweets that are focused and based upon the purpose of your Twitter Time-line. Let’s say that your Twitter account’s purpose is to share tips about using and buying recycled automobile parts. Now you have a focus and therefore your followers will know in advance that your Tweets will be about recycled parts. If you write great Tweets your followers will tell their friends about your Twitter account.

        How to get Twitter followers: There are three basic ways. First, publicize to your existing market your Twitter name. The second way is called “hashtags” which you would use anywhere in your Tweet. A hashtag is a #sign with a series of words with no spaces. Example: #usedautoparts. It is a way to categorize your tweets and reach a market searching for something in specific. A third way is to find and communicate with your desired market. Example, if you have used Honda parts, you would communicate with people who are Honda enthusiasts. You could look for those in a Google search or look for #Honda. A great book to read that will help you get you up to speed is, “Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time” by Joel Comm.

Next post I will talk about facebook

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Electronics of Advertising - Part Seven


QR CODE

        What is it: QR Code, which is an abbreviation for quick response code is new kind of two-dimensional bar code invented in Japan by the Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing process. More recently, the system has become popular outside the industry due to its fast readability and large storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. The code consists of black modules (square dots) arranged in a square pattern on a white background. You’ve probably seen them appearing on just about everything, added to business cards, coupons, magazine articles, freeway signs and even printed on the side of busses. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader application can scan the image of the QR Code to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, watch a video, or open a web page in the telephone’s browser. QR Codes may also be linked to a location to track where a code has been scanned.

        How to use it: Print it on just about any object about which users might need information. Have your code link to a coupon, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Website. Where do you get QR codes? You can find and download a free QR code generator online and create them yourself. Do a Google search to find one.

Next post I will talk about Twitter


Monday, August 27, 2012

The Electronics of Advertising - Part Six


TEXTING

        What is it: You need a person’s phone number for a text message. Text messaging, or texting, is the exchange of brief written text messages between two or more mobile phones or fixed or portable devices, over a phone network. You can also use texting to send images and sound bites (short recorded messages). Texting is different from IM (instant messaging), but similar to email in that you are sending a message to an inbox to be read later.

        How to use it: Text messages can be used to interact with automated systems for ordering items from certain product/service providers, for communicating directly with a client in real time, and for marketing by sending either promotional content or discount coupons via text format directly to individuals.

Next post I will describe QR Codes
(also known as Quick Response Codes)

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Electronics of Advertising - Part Five

INSTANT MESSAGING (IM)

        What is it? Instant messaging or IM, refers to the sending and receiving of text-based messages in a synchronous manner between two people or a group of people, usually as part of a social network such as Facebook. IM messages usually have both parties connected “now”… and you can have more of a conversation. IM basically offersreal-time direct written language-based online chat. It may address point-to-point communications as well as multicast communications from one sender to many receivers. More advanced instant messaging allows enhanced modes of communication, such as live voice or video calling, video chat and inclusion of hyperlinks to media.

        How to use it: You sign into a program (aol, yahoo, msn…) and send a message to a person’s screen name with your screen name. With IM, you type a quick message, hit “send” and a few seconds later, your message pops up on the recipient's screen. Along with eliminating the lag in e-mail response time, IM cuts out the necessary “chit chat” of a phone call and often lets you avoid the tiresome game of voicemail tag. In short, IM is a superb way to quickly communicate with a colleague, partner or supplier. It helps you instantly respond to customer requests.

Next Post is about Texting

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Electronics of Advertising - Part Four

BLOGGING

        The truth is, most auto recyclers are still not taking advantage of electronics advertising methods to sell parts and they should be. This series about electronic advertising is being addressed to help get automotive recyclers up to speed with the basics.I've already covered a few electronic methods already in the last few posts (look at past blogs to see them). And there are several more methods to go before I move on to something else.

        What you are reading here is my recycling tips blog so it almost seems like a moot point to talk about it. But, blogging is a great way to electronically advertise in today's world of modern communication, so here we go with the subject of blogging.

        What is it: A blog (the word is derived from web log) is basically a website of information such as a journal, arranged in chronological order from the most recent post or entry at the top and the oldest towards the bottom. Blogs are written by one or more persons and are usually updated regularly. Blogs are often, but not always, written on a particular topic. There are blogs written on about every topic you can think of. Blogs are used to explain things, to share ideas, and to bring people of similar interest together. Blogs are a place to share your passion. Whole blog communities have sprung up around mutually shared topics putting people into contact with each other in relationships where they can learn, share ideas, make friends with and even do business with people with similar interests from around the world.

        How to use it: Unlike websites, which are static, blogs allow interaction between you and your readers. You can set up a blog site using the free version of www.blogger.com to get started. Blogs have a commenting function that you must turn on. Constant interaction with your readers causes a feeling of community that you can use to promote your business, products and services.

Next blog will be about Instant Messaging (IM)

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Electronics of Advertising - Part Three

WEBSITE - WORLD WIDE WEB

        I speak with recyclers all the time who tell me they don’t know anything about computers or the other types of electronic technology that goes along with them. Many say they don’t understand how it can help them sell auto parts and they quite frankly don’t want to be bothered with them. I assure them that it is the way many consumers in this present age prefer to buy their parts these days. And if they want to continue to grow their auto recycling business for very long into the 21st century, they too MUST get up to speed with electronic technology as quickly as they can. Over the past few blogs I've been covering the basics of electronic advertising with short descriptions of methods and how to use them. This week, websites and the world wide web.

        What is it? Essentially, a website is a collection of documents known as WebPages that contain information: images, words, digital media, and the like. A web page is what you see on the screen when you type in a web address, click on a link, or put a query in a search engine. The main page in a website is called a homepage, and other pages in a website are called subpages. These are connected by hyperlinks, which are spots on a page (usually text or images) that, when clicked, take the user to different location. This can be another subpage, another location on the same page, or another website altogether. WebPages are stored on a server, which is a network of computers (the World Wide Web) designed to store websites. Server space is sold and maintained by hosting providers. Hosting your website on a server ensures that your website is open to the public.

        How to use it? Think of your website as your online brochure, catalog and/or store that stays open 24/7, 365 days of the year. You can have a simple site that provides visitors with phone numbers and some basic information about your business such as what you sell, your warranty information, where you deliver to and how you ship. Or you can have a site with more bells and whistles that will allow visitors to search for parts at your site and even place orders on the spot instantly using a credit card or an online payment service. Where to get a website setup? There are many companies providing different levels of web design service but I would caution you not to grab just anybody to do a site for you because you could pay a lot of money and still not get what you expect or need. Get someone who specializing in sites for auto recyclers with a track record of satisfied customers within the industry. Ask them for a list of clients that you can call and speak to. You can also check with non competitor friends who are already setup with the kind of system you’d like and use the same designer for your site.

Next post will be about blogging

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Electronics of Advertising - Part Two


ELECTRONIC MAIL

        Maybe you are still not using email to instantly describe your recycled parts to an enquiring customer or using it to broadcast a selling message or newsletter to a large group of customers or prospects, but you should be if you expect to continue to sell parts for very long into the 21st Century. As mentioned in my last blog post, an astounding 60% of the autmotive recycling industry is still not computerized. But, it's time to get up to speed. I'm therefore covering the very basics about each form of electronic advertising method giving simple definitions with a short explanation about how to use.

        What is it: Commonly known as email or e-mail, is a method of exchanging messages from an author to one or more recipients. In order to use email you need to have a computer, an operating system (like Windows) a modem and some kind of internet connection (either dial-up or High speed) from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and of course you’ll need some kind of email program (like Outlook Express). Good news is that every computer store has help to get you setup and started. Just tell them that you don’t know anything and that you need someone to help you get up to speed.

        How do you use it: Using an email program such as Outlook Express (which normally comes with a personal computer purchase), you type in the email address of the person you want to communicate with, such as “jim@example.com”, and then you type your subject into the subject space, such as “We have your part in stock,” and then you type in your message into the message box provided, such as “Henry, the part you want is in stock for only $375 plus shipping, and I can ship it to you today.” And finally you hit “send” and it goes instantly to them.

        All of your staff should have their own email address and you should include that address on their business cards and your website.

        If you want to send something such as your company newsletter or flyer to a large group of people, you can use a professional email broadcast service such as ConstantContact.com or MailChimp.com, just to name two of them. Be warned however, not to send willy-nilly to a group of people you have not first gotten permission from to send them stuff. That is called spam and you could be fined and/or blacklisted. There are legitimate ways to get people to agree to receive email blasts from you. You can ask them at the point of purchase if they would like to receive your newsletters, specials, etc via email. You can have a place on your website for people to sign up for contests, offers, newsletters, etc. NEVER just add them without getting their permission.

Next Post will be about Websites

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Electronics of Advertising - Part One


Fax Machines - Old Technology, yet still usable

        A few years ago I wanted to fax something to a recycler and called him to ask for his fax machine number. He said, “We don’t have fancy things like that here!” Therefore I ended up having to mail him what I wanted him to have. I was frustrated because it took several days to take care of something that could have been done in just minutes.

        In today’s world of instant communication, fax machines are considered slow. In fact, a lot of changes have happened in the world of electronics since fax machines have come onto the scene and yet many in the automotive recycling industry today are still in the dark ages electronically speaking. At this writing only 40% of the industry is computerized. Over the next few posts, I will discuss some electronic advertising basics from fax machines to QR Codes.

FAX MACHINE:

        What is it: This is considered old technology today, yet fax machines are still used successfully as a marketing tool. It is a very good way to get a message out to individuals or a large membership group quickly. You need a fax machine that you plug into any phone line. You can have a dedicated line to receive faxes or you can use your regular phone line. The newest fax machines can tell the difference between incoming phone calls and fax messages and sort them out.

        How to use it: To send something to an individual, place your document into the fax machine, dial in the recipient’s fax phone number, and hit “send.” It’s as easy as that. Keep in mind that photos, large graphics and certain colors such as yellow or light blue will not fax well, or maybe not at all. It’s better to use a fax machine to send simple black ink text, line drawings, or black ink only forms. If you plan to send to a large group of people use a fax-broadcast service to do so. The company you use will ask you to provide a list of fax phone numbers, documented proof that you have their permission to send faxes to them. You then fax your document to the broadcast service and they will broadcast it out to your list. A group of several hundred or more will receive your faxed item all at the same time.

        Warning, new federal regulations prohibit sending unsolicited faxes to anyone. It called “spam” and violators can face large penalties for breaking the law. Be sure to get permission first from those you plan to send to before sending them anything, and be sure to include a statement at the bottom of your fax with instructions about how to get off your list.

Next post, Electronic Mail