Archive for November, 2011

Bosses stalk Facebook before hiring

Facebook thumb1 Bosses stalk Facebook before hiringMore than a quarter of Australian employers use social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook before hiring staff, according to new research.

Telstra’s Cyber-Safety survey found that almost half of those employers who admit to checking candidates’ social profiles have turned down applicants based on something unfavourable they’ve seen online.

The research also revealed over a third have hired staff based on a positive experience stalking someone online.

The findings serve as a reminder to Australians to consider their ‘Cyber CV’, said Telstra’s Officer of Internet Trust Safety Darren Kane.

‘According to the findings some of the biggest Cyber CV faux pas candidates make include posting inappropriate pictures (with 31 per cent of employers saying this counts against applicants) and posting discriminatory comments (37 per cent),’ Mr Kane said.

‘Given the impressions comments and images can create, Telstra recommends job seekers think twice before posting, tagging and uploading pictures and status updates this Christmas.’

He has advised job applicants to ensure any content on Facebook or Twitter that is able to be publically viewed is ‘positive and professional’.

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How Blogs Influence Purchases and Recommendations

blog thumb How Blogs Influence Purchases and RecommendationsBloggers comment on brands and post to social media, expanding reach

Bloggers, from hobbyists to professionals, often write about brands, and their growing influence should make brand representatives continually evaluate the relationships they have with these bloggers.

Most bloggers write about brands in some way or another. According to the “State of the Blogosphere 2011” report from blog directory website Technorati, 38% of all bloggers post about brands that they love or hate and 34% write product or service reviews. Professional full-time bloggers or part-time professional bloggers who write as a way to supplement their income are more likely to blog about brands than their hobbyist, corporate or entrepreneur counterparts.

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Bloggers are increasing in their influence over readers and other bloggers. Last year’s Technorati “State of the Blogosphere” reported that 29% of bloggers are influenced by other blogs they read. This year, that number jumped to 68%.

As bloggers gain influence and write about brands, the relationships between blog writers and brand representatives are important for companies to focus on. Most bloggers have a good relationship with brand representatives. Nearly half of all bloggers (49%) characterized their interactions with such representatives as somewhat or very favorable. Only 3% said their interactions were not at all favorable. However, 40% of all bloggers said they didn’t know how to characterize their interactions with brand representatives.

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This large group of unsure respondents could have mixed feelings about the communications they receive from these brand representatives, affecting their relationships with the reps and their brands. Of all bloggers, 17% said brand representatives had asked for things that would compromise the credibility or content standards of the blog. This is roughly the same percentage of those that said the representatives were knowledgeable about their blogs and content (14%), are genuinely interested in building a relationship (16%) and provide information that has value for readers (23%).

As bloggers continue to grow in influence, their coverage of brands and their interactions with brands’ products, services and employees will be of greater interest to companies. Brand representatives who connect with bloggers must be sure to work with these writers to keep the relationships thriving.

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‘Tis the season to manage your mortgage

Xmas thumb ‘Tis the season to manage your mortgageTop tips to saving more this Christmas

As households prepare their budgets for festive season shopping splurges, now is an ideal time to unwrap the financial strategies that help borrowers gain greater control over their home loan situation, according to Australia’s largest independently-owned mortgage broker, Mortgage Choice.

Company spokesperson Kristy Sheppard said, “Ensure Christmas costs don’t hamper your ability to meet home loan and/or other debt commitments, by proactively managing your money. It’s not hard.”

“Staying on top of financial obligations, in conjunction with careful pre and post silly season budgeting and planning, will without a doubt put you in a better position to achieve your property goals sooner. It should also give you more confidence to properly enjoy the festive season.”

Here are five tips to help improve your mortgage management in the countdown to Christmas:

‘Tis the season to bring budgeting back on track. Get your Christmas and new year budget underway if you haven’t already. Be sure to include seasonal spending estimates for gifts, treats, catch ups, celebrations and other holiday outings.

‘Tis the season for a home loan health check. Are you making the most of your loan? There may be features attached to it you are not utilising or are paying a premium for. A regular home loan health check is a great way to see if you are making the most of your existing loan or if you are better suited to a different lender and/or product. Before switching, carefully weigh up the pros and cons by comparing loan features, rate, repayment type and frequency, accessibility, fees and more.

‘Tis the season to keep repayments steady, despite recent rate cuts. If your loan’s interest rate has recently dropped, get ahead by continuing to repay at the original, higher rate. For example, take a loan of $300,000 at 7% over 30 years. If your rate reduces by 0.25% to 6.75% and you keep repaying your loan as if the interest rate was still 7%, you could shave over two and a half years off your loan term and save more than $54,000 in interest owed.

‘Tis the season to go one step further and round up repayments. If the monthly repayments on the above mentioned loan maintained at the higher rate are rounded up from $1,996 to $2,100 from day one, it is possible to cut a further three years and seven months off the loan term and save an additional $55,000 in interest owed (if all loan aspects remained the same). The total savings would equal $109,000 in interest and a reduction in the loan term to 24 years and 8 months.

‘Tis the season to turn up the frequency of repayments. Depending on your loan and lender, dividing your monthly minimum repayment in two and making fortnightly repayments instead may also save you interest owed and reduce the loan term. There are 12 months and 26 fortnights in one calendar year; by paying fortnightly, you make the equivalent of 13 monthly repayments. The savings on the above mentioned loan equal almost $100,000 in interest and almost six years off the loan term.

For home loan tips, trends, facts, data and other information, visit MortgageChoice.com.au,

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Study: Half of all social media campaigns fall flat

Trash thumb Study: Half of all social media campaigns fall flatBefore you launch your next big social media campaign, you may want to ask: Is anybody really listening?

A new TNS report reveals that as many as half of all social media marketing campaigns are going unnoticed.

Matthew Froggatt, the company’s chief development officer, says in a press release that 57 percent of consumers in developed markets do not want to engage with brands in the social sphere. The number is as high as 60 percent in the U.S., while 61 percent in the U.K.

TNS’s Digital Life study drew on findings from 72,000 consumers in 60 countries. It also revealed that 54 percent of people admit that social networks are a good place to learn about products.

Fear not—there’s hope for us yet.

Froggatt has advice for social media marketers:

“The key is to understand your target audience and what they want from your brand — social networks aren’t always the right approach. If consumers in one market don’t want to be talked to, can you use an alternative online method — creating owned digital media platforms, targeted sponsorship or search campaigns — to engage in an appropriate way that will achieve business results without adding to the digital waste pile?”

Story source: www.prdaily.com

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What Encourages Facebook Engagement?

Facebook thumb What Encourages Facebook Engagement?Brands that include photos and calls to action see higher engagement rates with those posts

Companies on Facebook and other social sites are always trying to determine what to post to get fans engaged. While each brand is different, and its fans will respond to different things, there are some common threads that companies can keep in mind when planning social media posts and status updates.

Digital marketing agency Web Liquid analyzed 16 brands and more than 1,500 brand posts from March to May 2011 to see which Facebook posts saw the most engagement, such as comments and “likes.” Web Liquid found that Facebook posts with photos saw a 0.37% engagement rate, higher than posts with videos (0.31%), text only (0.27%) or links (0.15%).

133951 What Encourages Facebook Engagement?

Momentus Media, which provides marketing software for use within Facebook, came up with similar findings, even when analyzing the top 20,000 Facebook pages and between 10,000 and 250,000 posts overall. Facebook posts with photos saw a 0.21% engagement rate, while videos saw 0.11% engagement rate and links saw 0.07% engagement.

Within the text of a post, companies can encourage action by asking fans to “like” or comment on the post. Momentus Media found that Facebook status updates that contained the word “like” saw a 0.38% engagement rate and those that said “comment” saw a 0.14% engagement rate. Text updates without “like” or “comment” saw 0.11% engagement.

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While these statistics are interesting, brands should determine which tactics work best for their Facebook page and their fans. Additionally, the upcoming changes to Facebook’s Timeline feature and brand pages will change the way consumers interact on the social network.

Facebook’s new Timeline relies heavily on photos, so it seems that posts with photos and videos will continue to perform well for brands. And as Facebook introduces more verbs beyond “like,” companies could develop interesting ways to increase engagement on their pages. By testing different types of posts and continuing to learn what spurs a reaction, marketers can keep up with what content fans prefer on their brand Facebook pages and keep engagement up.

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Superannuation tax rule eased to allow upgrades to property

Supperannuation thumb Superannuation tax rule eased to allow upgrades to propertyINVESTORS will be allowed to improve properties in their self-managed superannuation funds, following a tax office move to abolish a ruling that banned the practice when money had been borrowed to buy the property.

Investors have always been allowed to maintain their properties, but they were banned from changing them because it would negate the concept of the "single acquirable asset" that the Australian Taxation Office had come up with to more clearly identify assets in SMSFs.

Ken Reiss, a director at accounting firm Chan & Naylor, said the new ruling was a "huge win" and would turn around a situation where investors had lost the desire to use their SMSF to use debt to buy property.

He said the previous rules meant, for instance, that "if an SMSF had used debt to buy a property in Queensland that was destroyed in the recent floods, the insurance proceeds could only be used to pay down debt rather than rebuild".

"In that case, the investor would be left with a block of land that they had no option but to sell" because any reconstruction, even an identical one, would be classed as a new asset.

The new ruling still insists that the improvements be paid for by cash resources in the SMSF rather than by borrowing.

The draft ruling will not, however, allow SMSF investors to buy and bulldoze houses and put up units using borrowings, for example. Allowable changes include pools, extensions and bigger kitchens, but they must not "fundamentally change" the property.

It also gives owners more room to move when buying a rundown property that needs more than maintenance, although, again, the new work cannot be financed by borrowing.

The decision caps a succession of policies that used to allow borrowing to buy property in super funds until June 1999, which was then banned except for existing arrangements until September 2007. The ATO brought in the no-improvements rule last year.

Story by Andrew Main, source: www.theaustralian.com.au

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Most Social Shoppers Trust SocNet Reviews

Social Shopping thumb Most Social Shoppers Trust SocNet Reviews

performics social shop influence.thumbnail Most Social Shoppers Trust SocNet ReviewsA majority of social shoppers trust user reviews and recommendations on social network sites more than other sites, according to a study released in October 2011 by Performics and conducted by ROI Research. Data from the “2011 Social Shopping Study” indicates that among participants who use social networks at least occasionally during the shopping process, 58% trust the recommendations they find on social networks more than other sites. Shopping sites (57%) and deal sites (53%) follow closely as trusted sources of product recommendations. According to the study, about one in 2 social shoppers are positively influenced by favorable reviews and recommendations. This compares to roughly 45% of social shoppers adversely influenced by negative reviews.

Shopping Sites Most Important During Process

Almost three in 4 (72%) social shoppers consider shopping sites to be an important part of the purchase process, about 25% more than those who report deal sites (58%) to be an important factor. Just four in 10 (41%) find social networks to be a significant part of the shopping process.

1 in 5 Use Sites Daily to Find Deals

performics social shop daily.thumbnail Most Social Shoppers Trust SocNet ReviewsAmong active social networkers, nearly one in 5 (19%) turn to deal sites to find specials, coupons, or deals on a daily basis. Social networks (18%) and shopping sites (17%) follow closely as deal sources. While 15% of social shoppers use social networks daily to learn about new products, only one in 10 use social shopping sites on a daily basis for other key stages of the shopping process, including to research product information, read product reviews, compare products, and find product availability.

Shopping Sites Most Popular Before Purchase

Although social networks are most frequently used to learn about new products, the vast majority of social shoppers (87%) turn to shopping sites while searching for a product, while 83% use these sites right before committing to a purchase. This compares to roughly two-thirds of social shoppers who frequently use social networks or deal sites prior to purchasing a product. After the purchase, however, the focus shifts to social networks: almost six in 10 (59%) frequently share their experiences on social networks after the purchase, compared to 57% for shopping sites and 51% for deal sites.

Other Findings

  • Almost seven in 10 (69%) social shoppers visit Amazon at least once a month, making it the most popular shopping site, ahead of eBay (53%) and retailer websites (52%). Search sites fare less well: just 27% visit Google shopping on a monthly basis, followed by Yahoo shopping (23%) and Bing shopping (13%).
  • Close to half of social shoppers (47%) have a Groupon account, far more than those with a Living Social (27%) or Eversave (15%) account.

Nielsen: SocNet Users Most Trust Info from Consumers

Social network users are most likely to trust product and service information provided by other consumers, according to data released in October 2011 by NMIncite and The Nielsen Company. Sixty-three percent say consumer ratings are a preferred source for product information, while 62% say consumer reviews are a preferred source. Company websites come in a distant third, preferred by 50% of social network users for product and service information. Call center (47%) and email (45%) closely follow. Interestingly, company Facebook page (15%) and company Twitter (7%) are among the least preferred product information sources.

About the Data: The Performics survey was conducted among 1000 participants who were required to have an active social network account and use social networks at least occasionally in the shopping process. The online survey was in field from 9/27/11 to 10/4/11.

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Blogger told to take Speedos off porn site

domain names thumb Blogger told to take Speedos off porn siteThere is a lesson to be learned for all companies in the following story, as Internet marketing consultants, we are constantly advising our clients to ensure they have secured all variations of their domain names, and given the very cheap cost of these valuable pieces of on line real estate, you would think it would be one of the first marketing tools they would secure.

However a lot of companies do not understand the value of a domain name and do not secure them.

They only have themselves to blame for this, so now you have been told, get online and make sure you own every variation of your trademark or domain name, it’s a very small price to pay to ensure that this type of problem does not impact your company or brand.

You can check wether your domain names have been secured by checking our Really Cheap Domains registration web site! 

 

“A NSW man has been ordered to shut down several pornographic websites featuring Speedo swimwear and using the company’s trademark.

Speedo Holdings took Central Coast blogger Dave Evans to court claiming he had used the trademark under aliases and without the company’s consent.

The company claimed the websites and the use of the company’s trademark as part of his domain names could damage the "valuable reputation and goodwill associated with the name and trade mark Speedo".

In the Federal Court of Australia on Thursday, Justice Geoffrey Flick ordered Evans to stop operating and registering any domain name containing the name Speedo.

He was also restrained from operating websites featuring any sign of the Speedo trademark.

Evans, who didn’t appear in court, was ordered to transfer the domain names to Speedo within 21 days.

If Evans doesn’t comply, a registrar of the court will be appointed to transfer the domain names and Evans will liable for substantial damages to the company.

He was also ordered to pay the swimwear company’s legal costs.”

Story source: www.ninemsn.com.au

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