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MLM Woman Issue 136
May 2008


From the Desk of the Editor

Welcome to the 136th edition of the MLM Woman Newsletter. This month our focus is on Web 2.0 Social Marketing tools (Blogs, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter) and how you can use them to promote and build your business.

If you haven't experimented with any of these tools yet, now is the time to start. They are all free and available to anyone who is willing to take the leap and try something new. Social marketing is all about relationship building, making new connections, and sharing resources. Learning how to use these new tools gives you another highly effective way to grow your business using the power of the Internet.

If you like this month's issue, please be sure to let your friends know about it too and invite them to come and visit us. Also, if you have comments, questions or something to share after reading this month's articles, please visit our MLMTalk Discussion Forum and join in the lively conversation!

You can also view the articles from this month's issue at the MLM Woman Newsletter blog . This blog will be updated each month with new content from our monthly newsletter. So head over and take a peak.

And also be sure to check out our Moms in Business Blog and MLM Marketing Blog,
and my Twitter Tips Blog
for lots of additional tips and resources which are added throughout the month.

Yours in Success!

Linda Locke, Editor MLMWoman

Thirteen Reasons Why
Your Business Needs a Blog

By Heather Bixler

A lot of online business woman take for granted the benefits a blog has to their business, and a lot of them choose not to use a blog because they simply can't see the benefit it has to them and their business.

Well in this article you will learn thirteen very important reasons why your business needs a blog!

1. Networking - Blogs are a great way to build relationships and networking with those looking for your services and/or goods.

2. Information - Blogs are also a great way to get information out about the products or services you sell!

3. Fun - Blogging is a great way to build your business while having fun. Really it doesn’t even feel like work!

4. Affordable - Sometimes having a blog can be more affordable to get set up than having a website. 1. Because the Wordpress Blogging platform is free to install on your own hosting and domain, and 2. you don’t need expensive software like Frontpage or Dreamweaver to maintain your blog.

5. Easy Maintenance - Using blogging platforms like Wordpress and the like make it so much easier to add content to your website, through the art of categories and the like, you can easily organize your content and make it easier for your visitors to find what they are looking for and therefore encouraging them to stay and visit for awhile!

6. Friends - While you are networking you can also make friends!

7. Interactive - With blogs you can be more interactive with your visitors by making posts, asking for comments, and then replying to the comments, all through your Wordpress admin dashboard! You can’t do that with a “regular” website!

8. Easy RSS - It is super easy to create an RSS feed with a blog which means more readers for your blogs!

9. Plug Ins - Plug ins add value to your blog by making it possible for you to host podcasts on your blog, and even generate Google sitemaps too! With regular websites you would either need to know alot about javascript, and a whole lot of code mumbo jumbo, but with Plug Ins all you have to do is intall, configure, and have fun! So much easier, and so much more fun!

10. More Search Engine Traffic - With the write Wordpress template and plug ins - your traffic will be streaming in no time at all.

11. Flexibility - With Wordpress you have the flexibility to create posts, pages, and you even have the control over what appears on your home page (like a sticky post or even a specific page) which provides you with the flexibility to either create more of a blogging type website, or a static type website.

12. Community/Partnerships - Wordpress blogs are a great way to create community blogs! So say you have a team of employees, or business partners, Wordpress makes the ability to have multiple authors of the blog seamless, which is a great way for your team to grow their business!

13. Perfect - All around Wordpress is the perfect choice for you and your business, by giving you the opportunity to communicate with your guests and to help build strong relationships that will in turn help you grow your business. No business should be without a blog, period!

About the Author
Heather Bixler is the owner and Lead Designer at Girly Blog Designz.

Is Social Networking Just Politically Correct Multi-Level Network Marketing?
By Don Osborne

Use social networking websites to build your small business!

That message or something similar may have hit your email in-box. Many small business gurus have promoted the idea of social networking as a marketing tool to gain new customers directly or through the referral process associated with social networking.

At the heart of small business "social networking" is an expectation your "friends" and their "friends" will become a source of new business. Sounds like what's at the core of multi-level marketing: a business method for moving goods, services and opportunity by tapping into the multiple levels of people who know people - you tell your "friends" and they'll tell their "friends".

Or is it?

Most small business guru advice focuses on joining a social networking website as a way to create relationships you can develop over time into a business transaction or, worst case scenario, a socially networked referral source of new business.

If you've joined a social networking website you quickly realized you need to encourage your friends to join under you and also attract others you may not yet know to join under you. Without your friends joining, it's more difficult to convince people you don't know to add you to their "friends" list and vice versa.

Bottom line, without a new group of friends, who aren't currently members of the social network you've just joined being brought into that social network, the growth of the social network you're building can be very slow. It may never reach a level of critical mass sufficient to create enough relationships to produce business for you.

If business creation was the compelling reason for joining a social network, you'd better be prepared to cause others you already know to join you and, in turn, have percentage of them do the same.

Sound like multi-level marketing?

Maybe not - perhaps it's just a social networking experience defined by Webster's as:

"the use of a website to connect with people who share personal or professional interests, place of origin, education at a particular school, etc."

Social Networking vs. Multi-Level Network Marketing?

1. The controversy surrounding multi-leveling marketing vs. the positive enthusiasm for social networking as a life force.

2. The core element of "friend to friend" referrals stacked in multiple levels of entry based on who knows whom placed in order of joining a multi-level marketing opportunity vs. becoming part of a social network of shared interests stacked by the order of "friends" joining in either width or depth.

3. Sharing products, services and opportunity vs. sharing "interests, place of origin, education at a particular school, etc".

4. The hope of new income through endless word-of-mouth referrals vs. a growing social network of friends to expand your life's opportunities.

Is social networking just politically correct multi-level network marketing?

Share your thoughts; maybe that will foster a social network of its own. Unless, of course, you think this is all about selling something. Than, I suppose, you may have just joined a multi-level marketing network.

About the Author
Don Osborne authors The Profit Puzzle Online Workbook, a small business @ home start up to success workbook to help you plan, finance, start up, run, grow, sell your small home based business ideas. For your Free 32 Ways to Profit click on: http://www.profitpuzzle.com.

The Age of New Media -
Is Your Brand Up to Speed?
By Laura Pasternak

You Tube. Facebook. MySpace. These are just a few of the new media channels that have shaped our culture, influenced opinions, and sold ideas, products and services. Are you leveraging them to build and promote your brand?

While the traditional methods like print, television and radio still help to build a brand, technology is changing the way in which we learn about political candidates, discover new trends, introduce emerging artists and their products to potential audiences and more. Today, consumers are in control. They pick and choose what they watch, how they buy and where they get their information. Forums abound, offering reviews on everything from merchants to hotels. Blogs offer up varying perspectives on our social, economic and political landscapes. These new channels are changing the way brands are presented, marketed and even received by consumers.

Tuned In, Logged In and Plugged In

A 2007 survey of 7,705 U.S. college students conducted by Reynol Junco and Jeanna Mastrodicasa, authors of the book, Connecting to the Net, illustrates how technology has entered practically every facet of daily living:

• 97% own a computer

• 94% own a cell phone

• 76% IM (instant messaging)

• 15% of IM users are logged on 24/7

• 34% use websites as their primary news source

• 49% download music using peer-to-peer file sharing

• 75% have a Facebook account

• 60% own an iPod or other portable music/video device

Such statistics should be an eye-opener for businesses that haven't considered leveraging these mediums in their branding efforts. Often referred to as social media, social marketing or social networking (for consistency, we will refer to these collectively as social marketing), these mediums are shaping how brands are created, developed and perceived.

Social marketing outlets allow users to self-publish (e.g. blogs, You Tube, online forums) and provide other opportunities (think Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace) to interact and, in many cases, even shape buying choices. They wield a broad swath of influence; heightening exposure for the subject or brand and enabling viewers to help spread the message or sell the brand. For example, Wikipedia notes that in July 2006, there were 65,000 videos uploaded to You Tube daily and more than 100 million videos being watched there daily. This same source also cites that Facebook and MySpace have more than 64 million active users worldwide and well over 300 million accounts respectively. In January of this year alone, nearly 79 million users watched over three billion videos on YouTube. Those are staggering statistics.

Social marketing is proving to be fertile ground for all genres including businesses, charitable organizations, politicians and even the common consumer. Individuals can easily, quickly and inexpensively create, disseminate and/or gain information as well as establish and maintain social connections that help build and strengthen a brand.

Leveraging and Protecting Your Brand

In the past, media outlets consisted of print, television and radio. As a result, companies were able to maintain control of how the brand was positioned and represented - both visually and verbally. With the advent of the Internet, there are new opportunities and challenges to branding. Here are a few things to consider:

Know Your Target, Know Your Media Channel

Although the basic tenants of marketing still apply, you must understand the demographics and psychographics of your target. Then select the appropriate tools and outlets to reach them.

For example, if your audience is older than 30, chances are they are less likely to be visiting websites like Facebook or MySpace for entertainment and information (although they might be there to monitor their kids). However, if your target is 30 or younger, these outlets are prime breeding grounds for promoting your brand.

We're past the point of dismissing these channels as a "fad." They are here to stay. With each passing day, they will become more commonplace. Companies that neglect the potential role of these channels in their branding run the risk of eventually being perceived by consumers as inflexible, outdated and out-of-touch - not a good thing.

Seek Out New Research Tools

Customer feedback is an essential market research tool. Technology offers newer, more efficient methods for gathering organizational and marketing intelligence.

The Internet has become a modern day, inexpensive tool for research. The days of assembling people in a controlled conference room, as you gauge their feedback from behind a one-way mirror, have changed. Today, online outlets offer opportunities to capture important information about your brand. Additionally, the appeal of social networking sites such as Facebook make online forums an ideal channel to gather business intelligence. Consider setting up a user name/password-protected forum to solicit feedback on your products and services. It can be an effective market research tool, while also conveying to customers that you value their input.

Encourage the Spreading of the "Virus"

Viruses usually have negative implications. However, viral marketing can be a valuable ally to businesses. In his book, Unleashing the Ideavirus, author Seth Godin presents the idea that traditional advertising methods will be replaced by marketing strategies that rely on consumers to spread the word. He also believes that consumers will grow to become more reliant on the opinions of their fellow consumers.

Leveraging the mass appeal of social networking venues like Facebook and MySpace to promote and refine your brand is one example of viral marketing. Companies like the retail chain Target have used such sites to appeal directly to students, particularly during Back-to-School campaigns. These companies post valuable information for students about preparing for school, living in college dorms and more. Once they are engaged in the content, students are more likely to buy, and consequently, sell for you as they tell their friends about your site.

However, there is a caveat to this idea. Be careful to not use these sites to "hard sell" your brand. Remember that most of the visitors to these sites have been bombarded by the media and technology their entire lives. Hard sells don't work for them. The initial approach should be one that offers them practical advice and tools combined with the opportunity to start a dialogue. Once that foundation is successfully established, then you can promote your brand.

Finally, recognize the power these marketing channels offer for introducing a new brand. Just because your brand is new doesn't mean you must choose traditional (and often more expensive) routes to herald its arrival. Emerging artists are one example of how effective these new mediums can be. Musician Colbie Caillat posted her then unknown songs to MySpace. Her profile was visited more than 3 million times and her songs like "Bubbly" have been played over 10 million times. As a result, she signed with Universal Republic Records and released her debut album that offered downloads of her songs through iTunes. Pretty powerful stuff.

Be Transparent, but Proceed with Caution

As with any promising new territory, by all means proceed, but do so with caution. In this instance, it is important to ensure that there are no skeletons in your closet before venturing into social marketing. Unfortunately, the discount chain Wal-Mart learned this lesson the hard way. The company has been the target of numerous stories and allegations about unfair work practices. As wonderful as this medium is, it can also open up a Pandora's Box, especially for those companies whose operational practices are not aligned with their messaging. Before venturing into this space, make sure your social awareness practices are forthright and reflective of your values.

In the shadow of Enron and other corporations that walled themselves off from their customers, today's organizations must maintain an open dialogue with their customers. Your audience expects (even demands) to be heard and in turn, insists on answers. By actively participating in online forums and blogs, you can instill trust among your customers and reinforce your organization's integrity. All of which influences how your brand is perceived.

Venturing into new territory is always daunting, and there are pitfalls along the way. However, if you heed these tips, there's no telling how far you can take your brand. Just ask Colbie Caillat.

About The Author
Laura Pasternak is President of MarketPoint, LLC, a brand management firm that helps businesses improve results by identifying, integrating and managing customer-driven brand equities and strategies. Visit http://www.yourmarketpoint.com or call 1.866.21POINT toll-free to learn more.

Using Facebook as an
Online Marketing Tool
By Robert Lavoie

Have you ever wondered if what you know about marketing on Facebook is accurate? Consider the following paragraphs and compare what you know to the latest info on marketing on Facebook.

Social networking websites are becoming more and more popular each day. Websites like these are primarily used as a social utility that will enable people to connect with other people. With Facebook, you will be able to connect with friends, acquaintances, and with other people who you study and live with.

One social networking website that is very popular among many people today is Facebook. With Facebook, you will be able to get your very own profile page where you can upload an unlimited amount of photos, share videos, and also a place where you will let people viewing a little about you.

Although this is a great social networking site that will enable you to keep in touch with your friends and acquaintances as well as meet new people and make new friends, it is also a website that made a lot of internet marketers drool.

With over 62 million active subscribers and still continuing to grow, you know that this place is the place to market.

If you own a business and you are reaching for an 18 to 25 demographic to sell your products, you will see that Facebook will be able to provide you with your target customers. Most subscribers here are aged between 18 and 25, which is called the "tech-savvy youth audiences".

If your marketing on Facebook facts are out-of-date, how will that affect your actions and decisions? Make certain you don't let important marketing on Facebook information slip by you.

With Facebook, you will not only target your ads on specific regions and universities, but you will also be able to get your fair share of audience. Here, you will see that when you join, you will be able to readily use tools that can really help you advertise your products and services.

You can customize your profile in order to make it unique and attract your target audience and you can also post blogs and even syndicate your blog page using RSS. If you have video ads about your products or services, you can post it here on Facebook as well.

When you register with Facebook, you can also add friends. Try adding as much as you can and establish some relationship. If you already know someone who uses Facebook, add them and try to get them to promote the products or services you offer.

This is one great feature of Facebook. With it, you will be able to get people who are connected to your network to advertise for you. This way, you will see that you will be able to market your product more effectively by getting people in other network know about your products or services.

Another great tool that you can use in Facebook is the ability to let you add applications in your profile page. Here, you will be able to add games and other applications in your profile page, which can be great in attracting other people to visit your profile page.

As you can see, Facebook will be able to create a great potential in internet marketing. The website already has the numbers in terms of traffic, and it also has the tools necessary for you to market your products or services effectively.

It is just a matter of knowing how to use these tools and also know how to effectively market your products or services. By creating a great profile page in Facebook, you can be sure that you will be able to attract a lot of targeted traffic.

So now you know a little bit about marketing on Facebook. Even if you don't know everything, you've done something worthwhile: you've expanded your knowledge.

About The Author
Check out more information on Marketing On Facebook at our website http://www.bestmarketinfo.com/marketingonfacebook

How to Use Myspace Comments and Bulletins to Grow Your Business
By Jackie Lee

Using Myspace comments and bulletins can be an easy and fun way to keep in touch and build relationships with your myspace network. This article will describe how you can use Myspace comments and bulletins to do just that.

Myspace Comments:

Comments are a great way to stay in touch with your friends. You can send text comments or you can look around the web and find beautiful pictures to send to your friends as a comment. When people receive a comment it shows up on the control panel of their myspace. They will go look at the comment and most likely they will click on your page to see who you are and possibly to comment back to you. This becomes another chance for them to get to know you better.

When I send out comments I also set the intention that they will be received by exactly the person that needs them on that day, another fun LOA game. I can't tell you how many messages I have received from people who were truly touched by a comment I sent. By sending out warm wishes and good thoughts I have touched others. In return they visit my page and I again have the opportunity to let them know more about me. Maybe that will be the day they will see something on my page that moves them to ask me more about it.

You will receive birthday reminders for people in your network. It's a great idea to send people birthday comments. I know how great I felt when I had comment upon comment wishing me happy birthday this year.

The last thing I want to mention about comments is this: they stay on the person's page indefinitely. Everyone gets to see your comments. So this is where it is appropriate to end your comment with one short link to a website. If you use your keywords as your anchor text you will have a powerful backlink from a site with a page rank of 8 which is really goo. By doing this you provide a quality feel good comment, and then you get a quick link. Not only will the person you sent the comment to appreciate your comment, but anyone who stops by their page will as well. Now you are not only getting exposure to your network, but the entire network of your network. This is often times where people will find you and request you to be their friend. Which adds to your network.

Myspace Bulletins:

This is the area I use the least, but it can be very powerful.

When you gather a group of friends you are allowed to send them 'bulletins' because they are part of your network. You can write whatever you want in your bulletin, and you can use html coding in them as well. When a new bulletin is posted it will appear, to everyone in your friends list, on the left hand side toward the bottom of the page in the bulletin section. People can click on the title and then read your bulletin.

I'm sure it goes without saying, but DO NOT make bulletins about your business. Although I suppose if you were running a special and wanted to let people know, that would probably be appropriate. Myspace is really cracking down on spam. Just about anything that comes to your page now has an option to mark as spam. It is really easy for people to report spam, which leads to deletion of your account.

Just keep in mind that you want to provide people with quality. You might send some pictures of a new baby/dog/flower garden, or maybe your favorite quote. Those are some of my favorites. Just make sure you have a catchy title so people will be moved to click on it. Each time someone clicks on your bulletin they will also have an option to click on your picture which takes them to your page to learn more about you.

The reason I don't use bulletins as much as I could is this: they move really fast. If you have a large network with people that bulletin a lot your bulletin will move down the list very quickly. However, you can see all the bulletins you have received by clicking on the bulletin button. I'm not sure how many people really read the bulletins, I know I don't unless something in the top 10 catches my eye.

However, if you want to get an instant message out to your network bulletins are a quick and easy way to do that.

As you can see, using myspace comments and bulletins can be an easy and fun way to connect with your myspace friends. It continues to be another way to form relationships with people which in turn may develop into partnerships. If you continue to post comments in the hopes of making people feel good, you will also get something for yourself. All those backlinks from Myspace will help your SEO.

About the Author
Jackie Lee is a gifted wife, mother, photographer, writer and online marketer using a unique marketing philosophy called vibrational marketing of her own design. She has been using the Law of Attraction to attract "perfect" clients and drive traffic to multiple projects for the last 5 years which allows her to be a stay at home Mom to her spirited daughter. Jackie is thrilled to share what she knows and help others who want to experience the same kind of freedom and success that she enjoys. If you'd like to learn more about using Myspace to optimize your business go to http://squidoo.com/how-to-add-more-friends/

A Blogging Solution For those Who Have Little Time to Blog
By Marie Ynami

Microblogging has been the "hottest" thing these days in cyberworld. What is it exactly? Well, the shortest and simplest definition I can think of is that microblogging is like text messaging except - instead of sending your text to just one person, you are sending it for cyber-world to see. Note though that you have an option of having your microblog posts available to everyone on the web or a selected private group.

So ... how do you microblog?

While a traditional blog requires you to log-in and post your entries online, you can "microblog" using both your cell phone or your computer - thus microblogging presents that benefit of portability. One thing to remember though - microblogging only allows you to blog brief posts (usually limited to 140 to 200 characters) at a time. So before you start typing your post, you need to really think about how you can make the most out of your words. You can microblog as often as you want as long as you do not post spam. You can even build a following or your own microblogging community. You can connect with other microbloggers and get quick replies to your microblog posts. The fun thing about microblogging is that you can send your messages in text, audio or even video.

Below are some advantages of microblogging:

- It is very easy to post your thoughts in cyberspace using microblogging. Microblog to share your events, promote your business or just to share links worth checking out.

- You can build your own community by microblogging and have others subscribe to your feed - a great way to promote yourself. You can then make a connection with others.

- Microblogging is portable. You can use your cell phone and still be connected to your community even if you are on the go.

- You can microblog using text, audio or even video so there are a lot of possibilities here - you can let your creativity come out!

- The fact that there is a 140-200 character limit in microblogging, you do not have to worry about providing lots of content in your microblog post.

There are some disadvantages too and they are listed below:

- It can be really addicting and if you do not use it properly, it could be a great time waster.

- If you are not careful about what your post on your microblog - for example posting about your "ideas", your subscribers can easily "adopt one of your ideas and pass it as their own".

- If you work online and are microblogging for the most part of the day, it can be really disctracting and it can take away your focus on projects that you need to complete.

About The Author
Ready to start microblogging? Let Marie Ynami show you how. Here is a free video on how you can get started - www.ynami.com/ad/microblogging.php

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