Screen Capture Tools for Social Media Marketing

Writing or presenting something on your blog might be easy to do, but getting your readers to know exactly what you’re talking about may be a little more difficult.  This is why Screen Capturing is a very important tool for bloggers.  Especially for Question and Answer posts, and even tutorial and help type posts work really well with screen captures.

Here are some resources and tools you should also consider:

For Desktop, we have:

  1. Print Screen – this button is already found on your keyboard and automatically captures the screen, and even allow you to paste it into MS Paint for editing.
  2. Windows Vista Snipping Tool – a Window Vista utility that captures screen shots easier, but is only available for Vista Home Premium, Enterprise, Business, or Ultimate Editions.
  3. Jing Project – a free software by Techsmith that’s available for Windows and Mac, that has the capability to instantly capture images and videos, as well as perform sketches on the picture and shared online.
  4. Snag-It – a very useful and perhaps one of the top screen capture software from Techsmith, that captures anything that you see on the screen.
  5. Snag-It WLW plug-in – a plug-in that allow you to capture screen shots using Snag-It, for those that uses the Windows Live Writer software as you blog.
  6. FastStone Capture – a featured screen capture tool that easily captures anything on the screen including menus, windows, objects, full screen, and even scrolling window/web pages.
  7. Evernote – a screen capture management tool that captures information anywhere on the web, that uses any device or platform that you find most convenient.

For Web Tools, the following are available:

  1. Browsershot – a free web service which is a must for web developers the looks of your website in different browsers or versions.
  2. Clip2Net – capable of capturing, sketching, and instantly shares screen captures online.
  3. Websnapr – allows you to create a thumbnail screenshot of any websites, just by simply entering the URL and hit “capture”.

For Firefox Plug-Ins, the available tools are:

  1. Snag-It for Firefox – a small custom Firefox toolbar which is an extension from  Snag-It’s Firefox browser that allows users to screen capture the entire scrolling window, region, Web page, and even texts which can be edited.
  2. ScreenGrab – allows you to save the whole webpage, a frame in JPEG or PNG format or even a particular selection.
  3. FireShot – a more advanced screenshot tool that provides a set of editing tools that can instantly modify web captures insert text and graphic annotations.  A Pro version with more functionality is also available in the amount of about $35.
  4. Page Saver – a free screenshot extension that is almost like ScreenGrab, but does not require Java. A commercial version is also available.
  5. Iimmgg Tools – a simple to use drop-down icon in the toolbar that enables you to capture screen shots of a selected region or the whole scrollable page, or even just the visible area.
  6. Kwout – a Firefox add-on that easily captures and online images or save web pages.  Also provides you the screenshot codes that can be immediately embedded in the website.

More sophisticated and advanced screen capture tools are available, but for Bloggers, these simple tools may be the best way to go.  Although these tools and its’ uses are legal, taking a screenshot of someone else’s website might not be.  So make sure you obey any licences and use only what is needed to make your point.  Also, remember to respect webmasters whose websites you are taking screenshots of.

Making Social Media Link Building Work


Link building through social media is getting more popular these days but it is not as easy as you may think. It entails a lot of work and requires a great deal of time. It has no short cuts and only the right person can make it work. The basic idea of link building via social media is social media participation. Link building is a method for you to actively promote your product and services from your website so people in your network can also link back to you. This is one of the most effective methods being used by SEO today and really helps your website land on the first page of search results.

This is not the hands off method that everyone thinks it is. You have to really get involved with your own community who has same the passion and interests you have. It is not just creating profiles in social media site like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Digg, etc. But you also have to constantly update the content of your profiles by returning any comments to your network or take care of requests from your friends. Participating in community discussions is good way of making the contents of you profiles as fresh as possible.

But the most important thing that you must remember when building links through your social media profiles is to make sure that you are linking to articles that make sense to your friends, visitors, readers and network members. Creating links that are irrelevant can cause deactivation of your profile and rebuilding your online reputation can be very difficult or nearly impossible to achieve. It really takes a great deal of work working from the bottom and up again. You can fail in this method of social media link building if you fail to build relationships within your network and to succeed in building relationships you need to constantly reply and take care of your network’s requests. Failing in this step is failing all the way.

A remarkable aspect of social media is that links derived from it are very objective in nature therefore it is of high importance. The more social media content that is linked to your website means that your website achieves a more unique identity and this could be very effective in boosting your website’s ranking in search results. But you have to make sure that your website has got what it takes to keep the interest of your social media networks. With this said, impressed social media members will always provide links to valuable information they see on your website.

Some of the sure fire techniques that will make social media link building very effective and extremely beneficial for you are: updating your social media properties, avoiding spam, responding to your community, promoting your products and services indirectly through tips and techniques pertaining to your products and services and providing valuable information selflessly and without expecting too much. The trick here is to enjoy your network of people and in time, you will see yourself building relationships and your community willingly promoting your posts or tweets to everyone.

More Flickr Tips….

Previously we talked about some tips to maximize your Flickr account’s visibility. Things like using your web domain name as your username in Flickr, putting your website name as tag for each photo upload, maximizing the use of your company’s logo for recognition, and proper description of your business in the profile really helps but if you want more ideas check out the additional tips below.

6. Create a simple informative essay about your company’s services, make it as extensive as possible so people know what to expect from your business and pay attention to your design. In this page you could even put your website address where they can visit.

7. Join as many group sites as possible but be mindful of the group’s terms before joining as you may violate some of their posting restrictions. It is always safe to join the same group category as your business interest. You will be surprised at the extensive group categories that Flickr offers.

8. Upload the creative shots of your products and service and company. You maybe uploading hundreds of photos everyday in your page but these efforts would be pointless if the shots does not speak, remember the saying “A picture can speak a thousand words”.  Before uploading a particular set of photos, start using your creative mind and think of how these pictures can best describe your company and interest people to try them. No need to hire well-known models to endorse them, just make it unique as possible.

9. Explore the Flickr community.  Do not just mind your own site. Check other pages in your group’s site as well as visit a different group and maybe discover some potential. Comment on other people’s photos, especially if they really look nice and can grab people’s attention. Add them onto your favorite’s lists.  Honestly comment on their photos.  Never utilize this tool to brag about your company because it may get the community irritated. Also you may want to search for other people’s postswith regard to your products and services as you may get more feedback from them for product improvement. Comment on these feedback as well if you like, appreciate a compliment and acknowledge a criticism. Let people know that you are listening and you value their opinions.

10. Use the Flickr blog. Connect your company’s existing blog on Flickr by just pasting some HTML codes. This is a good turnaround tool for publishing the latest news in your company, without too much effort from you. Once you update your blog, your Flickr blog will also be utilized. Allowing, news, discounts, upgrades, promotions and advertising can be loaded to your Flickr network.

These activities can be time consuming.  You may consider hiring a virtual assistant help you with these tasks and other social media marketing tasks.

Now, remember as per terms and conditions of Flickr it is against their rules to use it for commercial purposes, specifically for advertising company products or services, if caught your Flickr account will be turned off.  However, that does not mean we cannot use it for indirect marketing.

Is social media marketing the new yellow pages?

Is social media marketing the new yellow pages?

Improving collaboration between people and between organizations is no longer optional if you want to survive in today’s hyper connected businesses world, stated Erik Van Ommeren, Director of Sogeti’s international research institute.

Social media marketing announces your presence to the world. It’s a reliable marketing trend to build your network on line for success, for the world of tomorrow. Reaching out through social media is well worth looking into.

Much of social media marketing is about finding the right way to promote. Social media marketing is introducing exciting venues of communicating to consumers of internet and brick and mortar businesses.

Think outside the book, social media is the new yellow pages. social media is an innovative tool that will help local businesses pump out all types of information, from the latest in local news, to their promotions and coupons.

Social media allows you to be in control of your marketing. With Tivo, satellite radio, Ipods and the internet, the consumer is in charge of their own media. They are no longer a captive audience. With social media, you can reach out to your consumer through non-traditional channels and still have them listen to your message. Social media marketing allows you to be in control of you business advertising, drive traffic to your site, where you want to place your promotions and coupons, with little or no cost.

About 54% of Americans have substituted internet search engines and local phone books for social media. More content is created, distributed, and advertised on line, and more advertising dollars are moving towards social media. If your campaign is executed correctly, social media will get you more referrals, generate more leads and help you share information used to educate prospects. The all new social media marketing requires different skill sets and strategies when compared to traditional marketing. You can hire firms who specialize in this type of marketing or simply try it out for yourself. It is important to note, that is as in any form of marketing, consistency is the key to success. So, don’t expect to get a ton of new business from just starting a Twitter and Facebook account.

The public has turned to social media sites such as, Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and Linkedin to reach their audience. Social media activity also helps your businesses improve search engine rankings through link building. There are now more and more companies that are seeking out alternative and effective marketing strategies, because the phone book is no longer providing what they need. Many would argue that social media marketing is the new yellow pages.

Social Media Overload?

Getting in touch with your friends, colleagues and loved ones is made easier because of Social Media and networking sites. Many enjoy the convenience of such sites to update everybody who is connected in your network about what is happening with your life or your business.  With the presence of these networking sites, you can stay connected with everybody no matter how far the other person may be or no matter what time zone. Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, Myspace, Linkedln are just a few sites created for social networking. Everyday there are more sites created for the same purpose and you just can’t help but join these sites just to stay connected. Some of us are suffering from social media overload.  There is way too much information out there, where do you start and how do you manage your social world?

Maintaining too many networking sites is time consuming. Let’s face it, we are busy people who have lots of things to do and spending numerous hours in updating all this sites can be demanding. However, if you are using social media sites to promote your business, it is a job that needs to be done to ensure that you will not stay out of touch.  If you are participating in Social Media for your business, you may consider outsourcing social media tasks and get virtual assistants that you can pay by the hour or by the project. This is a convenient solution if you are experiencing social media overload and ensures that you will not be an outcast on the networking world.

One important question before joining a social site is to ask yourself why you are joining this site. Is it because somebody invited you to sign up or is it because you are intrigued by the services that this site offers? Another question would be what is the purpose of this site?  Some sites focus on building a network for professionals liked Linkedin, some sites are great for keeping up with friends like friendster and some appeal to the youth like Myspace. Knowing the purpose and the reason why you want to join the site would narrow down the list of sites that you have to maintain and keep up with. This also serves as a guide for the content that you will have to post on each site and to avoid duplicating content.

It is also important to create boundaries for each site. It could be an awkward situation to read a comment regarding a photo and you did not intend for that person to see it.   Some personal information is for you and your friends only and not for your colleagues to see and vice versa. So if you are maintaining this site for your family communication then stick to that plan and avoid posting information that is not family related. Communicating your plan for that site is also effective when it comes to sorting out who needs to belong to each site. For example, a colleague invites you to facebook but you are not comfortable sharing some personal information on facebook with colleagues, then be honest and inform your colleague why you are maintaining that site personal and invite them over to a more appropriate site.

Social networking has many benefits and could be very fun but once overloaded it could defeat your initial purpose. You do not have to be an outcast in the social media world if you know how to handle the overload. So stop stressing and gain more friends.

social media where do I start

What to “Tweet” About

What to “Tweet” about- resources if you are stuck on Twitter

If you are a fan of Twitter and can’t get enough of sending tweets, then you know how sometimes you get to the point of being stuck and not knowing what to tweet about. This is normal for many because with so many things to talk about, sometimes it’s hard to choose which conversation to start with.  Sparking the interest of your fellow twitterers is the key to have a successful conversation and to keep the tweet alive. Here are some great resources if you are stuck on that stage of oblivion:

1. Try asking a provocative question that would spark up the  imagination of readers:

This is a great way to start and keep the conversation going; usually if a reader is challenged with your provocative question then readers have the tendency to tweet back to your original tweet.

2. An inspiring quote:

For some this may be corny but this is still an effective medium for twitters to keep on replying to the tweet especially if they got inspired with the quote.

3. Tweet about a useful link:

Share your resources and give links that are applicable to the topic so that other readers could check out the website as well and learn more about the topic for future tweets.

4. Give freebies:

Everybody loves freebies and it is a great way to catch attention and have the conversation rolling.

5. Tweet about new products:

People are always curious if there is something new that comes out.  Take advantage of that curiosity to attract more followers.

6. Found something interesting on twitter? Retweet it:

Retweeting other interesting tweets is a great way to get more readers. You’ll be surprised at how varied the opinions can be, regardless if it is a retweet. Everybody wants to their opinion to be heard even if it is on the same topic.

7. Need help? Tweet about it:

Humans by nature are very helpful. If you need something done or if you need assistance with something then twitter is the best place for you to ask for help since it immediately alerts other members of your community that you need assistance.

8. Do something worthy and promote charity:

You don’t have to have a lot of money to be able to help in your ideal charity. You could simply promote it on Twitter and for sure you will get followers on your chosen charity. After all people wants to feel good about doing something good.

9. Tweet about an achievement or something you have done:

Try to alert people if you have new blog or if you had an achievement that you want the world to recognize.  “Tweet” your own horn!

10. Your favorite song:

Do you have a song that makes you feel good?  Share it with your followers, you could make someones day!

There is no limit as to what is the topic that you should tweet about.  So if something interests you, then tweet about it and share your interest with others.

Don’t underestimate the value of a blog for your small business.

We always hear the word blog and underestimate the value of blogging. To some it’s just a waste of time to maintain and sad to say, these people are losing a valuable chance and opportunity especially if they have their own business. With the social media marketing getting stronger every single day, one must learn to adapt and take advantage of these opportunities that other businesses already did. In fact, almost all big corporations and major businesses would even go to the extremes and hire a set of professionals to maintain their blog site.  Needless to say, the rewards of their effort are paying out in big ways and their investments were never a lost cause, instead it has delivered more than what they expect in return.

There are numerous reasons on the importance of maintaining a blog for every corporation and companies alike. If you have a corporation and still haven’t jumped in and joined the blogging world, it’s never too late for you to start. You may still have doubts about blogging and having a blog for your business or corporation, but the mere fact that you are reading this article means that opportunity is knocking at your door. Let me give you some reasons on why you should start a blog for your corporation and hope that this may help you and your business grow stronger.

First, a blog is primarily for your customers especially for those consumers who do not believe in faceless advertising. What do I mean by faceless advertising?  Basically, faceless advertisers are those who do not care about getting in touch and does not want to develop a strong customer relationship with consumers. Creating a blog is a great way to connect with your customers in a somehow personal level. If you are truly a reasonable business person, you know that customers are demanding and love to transact business on a personal level. Otherwise, they would rather deal with robots or transact business elsewhere where they could feel the trust that is due for them.  A blog gives you that trust and transparency while creating an open line of communication with your customers. Here, you can freely express and get more personal as compared to your company’s website and avoid having to throw sales pitch all the time.  You could also take advantage of the RSS feeds to update your customer on a regular basis. You can get the respects of your customers and get your brand known while being “human.”

Second, a blog could drive traffic to your company’s website. You know that a great traffic to your website means more potential customers. The good news is, blogs can give you an increase in traffic and could even put you on top for search results.  This helps you in getting a favorable page ranking, helps with search engine optimization and link building because you can put more keywords and phrases in a blog.  It also alerts search engines that there is a new content on your site. You can also use it for showcasing your expertise. Since more traffic leads to more viewers, you could show the visitors that you are the expert on such field and get the edge against others who claims to have the same expertise as yours. Customers are more likely to patronize your brand if you’ve demonstrated authority in your category.

Third, a blog is easy, cheap and gives quick results with little effort to maintain but with big rewards. You do not have to be a genius to start a blog; all you need is a little time to update it. Think of it as writing to your friends where you can be comfortable in expressing yourself without using fancy words or stiff academic writing.  It’s easier for you to communicate and at the same time you can get immediate results and feedback from your customers without having to wait for any focus group responses. It’s also inexpensive; in fact most blog sites are free to join. Probably the only expense you will have is if you need to hire a creative designer to personalize your blog and have your brand etched on the page. Or perhaps you can hire a virtual assistant to update your blog when you can’t do it yourself.

Lastly, a blog would equate to brand awareness. Every business should put brand awareness on the top of their list because this is what makes your business grow. No matter how you promote your business, the objective is always the same and that is brand awareness. And I guarantee you that blogs are one of the most effective ways for brand awareness.  With all that said, underestimating the power of blog is a huge mistake.   Blogging is an opportunity that you should not let pass you by.