James Gunter

James Gunter is the former head of social media marketing at CrimeReports.com and now runs a full-service content creation company at AsteriskContent.com.

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Embracing Social CRM encompasses many concepts, like working collaboratively through social interaction with customers to define your brand image, a system-wide shift in the way that customer interaction is handled, and implementing tracking systems to calculate ROI. But two of the basic principles to creating a solid Social CRM strategy for Facebook are:

  1. Understanding why people interact with brands on Facebook 
  2. Using that knowedge to define the specific ways in which you should interact with customers on Facebook to increase brand engagement
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Back at the F8 Conference in April, Mark Zuckerberg announced the demise of Facebook Connect and the rise of what he called the “social graph.” The social graph is the idea that everything we do should be socially integrated on the web.

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It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Facebook’s social plug-ins. I love them. I love what they do. And I love that they are so easy to implement on just about any blog or website. But the best thing about the Facebook social plug-ins is that they are great at not only connecting you to your website visitors but connecting your website visitors with each other. And one of the best ways to take advantage of this aspect of the Facebook social plug-ins is with the Comments plug-in.

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In previous articles, we’ve talked about cool Facebook social plug-ins that were introduced last year by Mark Zuckerberg at the F8 conference. The Login plug-in is great for creating a better user experience on your website, and the Comments plug-in is great for helping build a community of brand followers. But what about plug-ins that create a better user experience on your website AND help you create a community? Voila! The Recommendations and Activity Feed plug-ins (Facebook is so cool. They think of everything).

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From time to time, you hear about new social networking sites cropping up, trying to be the Facebook-killer—the new, all-encompassing social network that promises to connect us to all our friends (and brands) in new and mind-blowing ways. But basically anything since the demise of MySpace has failed (Google Buzz, I’m looking in your direction). The fact of the matter is that 5 years ago, social networking was new, and only the most web savvy individuals saw any value in it. So we all messed around with a bunch of different platforms—Friendster, MySpace, Bebo, and others. But by the time we all figured out that MySpace had basically turned into a trashy hook-up spot for 14-year-olds with daddy issues, Facebook came along with its clean UI and easy-to-navigate profiles. And we were all hooked.

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Single sign-on is a great way to authenticate users without having to keep and track usernames and passwords for all your site members. It’s also great for users, because they don’t have to create new credentials for your site. In addition, using single sign-on plugins like Login with Facebook, Twitter, Google, and more, lower the barrier of entry for new users to join your site.

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Most companies and brands these days have started to realize that they can’t just keep playing the same old advertising and marketing game. They have to adapt to the emerging social media landscape in order to survive. Not only survive, but thrive. Consumers today are more likely to trust recommendations from friends than they are advertising messages, and those recommendations are coming through social media.

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Social media is the next big frontier for marketers. It’s a gigantic space with billions of members worldwide that self-identify by profession, age, location, relationship status, tastes in music, movie preferences, favorite foods, and more. Who needs market research anymore? All you have to do is clue in to a certain demographic by interacting on social media and people who are searching for what you have to offer will come to you. It’s a way to reach out to and interact with your best customers—those who will be your brand evangelizers and will recommend your products and services to their friends—on an ongoing basis and keep them in the fold.

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Social media marketing is a growing industry right now, and many marketing companies are branching out to offer social media marketing packages to their clients. As well, companies are turning their attention to social media marketing by steering their focus toward online engagement with their customers and hiring social media managers to handle the ebb and flow of information that passes through these networks. But with so many channels, profiles, and accounts, social media managers can have a hard time juggling all their personas, brands, and messages.

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How Influential Are You?

If you’re in the social media marketing game, you know that more important than having a large number of followers is getting influential people to follow and share your content. As a social media brand manager this becomes even more important. If you are on Twitter, sharing links and publishing great content, you want the most influential people out there digging your stuff and sharing it with their hordes of followers as well. This will not only increase your Twitter following, but it will most likely raise the awareness of your brand and result in more profits.

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