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.

Effective Keywords: How to find them.

Your website can only get the best optimization with the right use of effective keywords. Search engine optimization relies on keywords as one crucial ingredient. The right keywords are therefore a requirement… a must for any website owner who wants to succeed in his or her SEO campaigns. But finding the right keywords or keyword phrases can be a very daunting task because a lot of the best keywords are being used by a product, service or business are already being used by many search engine optimization experts and professionals. You can either compete with them for rankings in search results but that would be very difficult. It is strongly suggested that you research your own set of keywords or keyword phrases that are as effective as popular keywords other optimizers are using.

As suggested above, your main task now is to find the most effective keywords or keyword phrases that you will use for your website. There a few strategies that you must consider to find the right keywords to help your site achieve top rankings in search results. First and foremost you need to find out that are the common words being used by people when they are searching for something on the net. These common words are like the “layman’s” terms. These are simple yet effective keywords. We each have our way of describing a thing or service like for example buying “email marketing service” or “email campaign providers.”

It is therefore important how your specific target market prefers to call your product or service. You can find this out by communicating with them through online chat, forums, blogs and social media networking sites. You may also find out how often people use keywords about your product or service by simply conversing with people that you meet every day and taking note of how they call your product or service. Take note of the terms that are often used by your own niche. It is best if you make a list of it and then start the words that top the list first. These words that top your list are the words being used more. Check also spelling variations and keyword phrases construction like for example for singular vs. plural variations and synonyms.

Once you have decided to use a specific set of keywords for optimizing your website, you have to research them to see if they are actually effective.  You want to know what each word’s KEI or Keyword effectiveness index is. Then you must monitor them within a specific period of time, and see if it does pull up your website on top of searches. This involves a little experimenting that you won’t be able to perfect in just a short period of time. It requires constant monitoring of the results. If you find that the keywords you used are weak, then it is time to other keywords and keyword phrases on your list, going through the same kind of process, from implementing to seeing the results.

This process will actually require from you a great deal of your time, but all your efforts won’t be in vain if you see more traffic pour in. You may opt to have someone do the research for you, you can hire an expert or hire a social media virtual assistant.  Whatever you choose to do, make sure you research your keywords before you start blogging and writing content for your website.

Using Blogs to Drive Away People from Your Business


Reading the title of this article will surely make you curious… especially if you are a professional practitioner or business owner. You may ask the question: Why would I want to drive people away from my business?  You should find the answer within yourself if you contemplate hard enough.   Saying “No way!” is normal.

There is an old saying that prevention is better than the cure.   Doctors constantly say this to their patients.   A dentist tells their patients to brush their teeth and floss twice every day, for it prevents oral problems like cavities.  Doctors also advise their patients to stay healthy and fit. Based on the examples above, dentist and doctors use these practices to establish rapport and trust with their patients

As a business owner, how can you apply this to your business? How can you keep customers coming back to you “even if” you drive them away? It’s quite simple really. Write a blog, not just any blog about your business, but useful information that people can use.

If you own a restaurant, write a blog that informs people how to prepare delicious meals every day in the comforts of their home. This is driving your customers away, right?  Wrong.  There may be people who have the time and will take your tips and advice about creating a special meal, but for most people, they will realize that you are an expert in fine cuisine and they will patron your restaurant.

Another example is if you own an auto shop, you can blog about how to maintain your car and how to do diagnose problems to help car owners save money. This is pushing car owners away from your business.  Car owners will realize that you want them to save money and you are an expert.  This will lead to customers flocking to your establishment.

YouTube and its Endless Marketing Opportunities

So what do 20 million viewers say about YouTube?

Only one thing is for sure, that YouTube is the best avenue to get noticed. Do not be misled by the idea that by simply uploading a video to youTube, that you are marketing. It is not enough to just do that. It entails a certain “gimmick” to get attention, a good knowledge of marketing skills plus a good sense of YouTube tools. If you use this website properly you might get the attention you are aiming for. Here are some tips to get the network’s traffic to your site. Follow them and watch as millions of users hit your sites.

1. Be Creative

What is the first thing that comes into mind when you hear the word YouTube? Well for millions of viewers they think of funny and silly videos that get people laughing every time they watch. In which we can conclude that unusual stuff gets attention on this site.
You don’t have to humiliate yourself or your company to get people’s attention, that’s not good business ethic; but you can use something funny to attract their interest. It does not have to be a full blown advertisement or commercial that is too costly. For small and medium business owners a personal camcorder should do the trick.
Charles Smith, a pottery artist from Mobile, Ala., thinks about the tens of thousands of people worldwide who have clicked on his videos to watch him create works of art on his pottery wheel only to break them up at the end.

2. Keep it Short

The reason why YouTube only allows a 10 minute video upload is because it believes that the attention span of an average person will not exceed that. If your video is more than 10 minutes, half of the population will not be interested anymore, unless you can hook them on the first few minutes.

3. Talk out Loud

If you are using the microphone on your personal camcorder then you might have a problem. Most videos found on YouTube do not use an external microphone hence resulting in bad audio quality. Invest a little on clip-on microphone or wireless microphone and transmitter. These would greatly increase the potentials of your YouTube page. This is a classic example of public speaking, the clearer your messages are, the more it will be heard and the more you increase your target viewers and ultimately your target customers.

4. Comment and be Heard

Like other social networking sites, You Tube is a community where you can leave posts and comments to other people’s download. By leaving comment on popular videos you will get attention on your own pages as well. You may want to put a custom sign salutation on your posts that includes your webpage. Make sure that you put honest comments and reviews on these videos and not use it just to promote your product or service. Your comments’ sincerity will greatly reflect on your business’ ethics.

5. Join Groups

Being a part of existing topic-oriented groups on You Tube would widen your audience network. If there is no existing one yet on your area or niche then create a new one and create your own network. Joining these groups will be a good way of getting customer feedbacks regarding your product.

More YouTube Tips next week…

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.

How to use Flickr to increase your business

Do you remember Yahoo Photos? They closed down September of 2007 after advising to their numerous users to move their photos to Flickr.  Yahoo changed their service name to Flickr. Now, Flickr has the same feature that yahoo offered before and more. It is basically a photo hosting and sharing service. Is it designed for private use by you and your friends only? Wrong.  Business communities know little of how they can exploit this free site for their businesses.  If you own a small or medium sized business, this is a smart way to battle with the giant enterprises lurking in the market.

Your business will need a Yahoo ID to sign up and once you get access you can start posting pictures. Flickr has groups depending on the category or interest your business is in, join them to get more viewers for your own page. After which, you can start downloading new materials to be noticed, Flickr calls it a “set”.

Here are some tips that will work well for you and your business:

1.    Start with your Flickr user name. Put your website address or your web domain as your screen name. This way anyone who accesses your account can copy the link to a URL and get to your site. Since, your username appears on every photo you upload then your site’s link will be available to see for everyone in the community.

2.    Every time a picture is uploaded onto Flickr, the user has the ability to tag it; these tags become a powerful tool for search engine optimization. You can either use your web domain every time you tag a photo or use logical keywords to increase traffic to your Flickr business page. Manipulate your tag description in such a way that it increases opportunity for your business name and domain to appear in search engines.  Remember, when tagging, keyword research is important, take the time to research your keywords before starting this tagging process.

3.    Use the “Buddy Icon” in your profile and change it to your own company’s business logo. This way it will be recognizable whenever someone accesses your page. If you do not have a logo design yet, remember that a logo does not need to be complicated artistry. Branding is important, use a simple letter or icon that you can associate with your business, put some simple designs and use it often so that it becomes a good way for product recognition.

4.    Attach your logo as a watermark on every picture uploads you do. If you don’t have the skill to put a watermark on each photo upload then you can just include the logo on each set of pictures you put on your Flickr page. On top of each photo series would be a good idea.

5.    Use the profile page of your Flickr account to describe your company’s products and services and when doing so forget about marketing or advertising pitches as these may get you into trouble with Flickr.  Just be informative.