There is a seemingly endless (and growing) list of Internet marketing tools and platforms available to the brands. However, finding the platforms that work best for your brand can prove to be a bit challenging.
The diagram at right outlines some of Bicycle Theory’s favorite social media tools for brands and how we the can be incorporated into a broader Internet Marketing strategy. And for additional reference, the list below provides a brief description of each tool – from the source – as well as some practical examples for how they can be leveraged.
ConstantContact – “Email marketing tools and solutions from Constant Contact make it easy to reach, engage, acquire, and retain customers or members.”
ConstantContact is a leading email-marketing platform that provides a cost-effective entry point for small businesses and non-profit organizations. Tools include mailing list management, email tracking, user segmentation, and archiving tools. BT recommends brands use Constant Contact, or a comparable platform, for creating and managing HTML email marketing campaigns.
Facebook – “Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them.”
As the world’s largest social network, it is arguably the best social media platform for connecting and communicating with your audience. BT recommends that all brands have a presence on Facebook and include a website link to their Facebook page, as well as adding a “like” button to content you would like your audience to share.
Flickr – “Flickr is almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world.”
Flickr is a great way to collect and share photos from and about your brand. You can set up groups that others can contribute photos to. And photo sets can be easily shared or embedded into other platforms, like blogs. BT recommends including a website link to your brand’s Flickr profile and/or group.
Google+ – “Google+ aims to make sharing on the web more like sharing in real life.”
As the world’s largest search engine company, Google+ may not have the same social clout as Facebook, but it can still help you communicate and connect with your audience, as well as have a direct influence on Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). BT recommends that all brands have a presence on Google+ and include a website link to their Google+ page, as well as adding a “+1” button to content you would like your audience to share.
Google Alerts – “Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries.”
As a content monitoring and aggregation tool, Google Alerts are particularly useful for keeping tabs on specific keywords – like your brand’s name – so that you can monitor and even share what is being said on the Internet. BT recommends brand use Google Alerts as a tool for monitoring what others are saying about them.
Google Analytics – “Google Analytics lets you measure your advertising ROI as well as track your Flash, video, and social networking sites and applications.”
Google Analytics is arguably the preeminent (free) tool for tracking website traffic and interactions. BT recommends brands utilize Google Analytics as the primary reporting for your websites and blogs.
Pinterest – “A content sharing service that allows members to “pin” images, videos and other objects to their pinboard.”
Pinterest is a wonderful tool for collecting and sharing images and videos that inspire your brand. And the ‘Pin It’ buttons allows users of your site to collect and share images from your website. BT recommends brand use Pin It for product and image-based websites.
StumbleUpon – “StumbleUpon is the easiest way to find cool new websites, videos, photos and images from across the Web.”
StumbleUpon is a great resource for aggregating content related to your brand. The recommendations provided by StumbleUpon – based on your interests – can be used to inspire new content and ideas. BT recommends brands use StumbleUpon to archive and share content related to them.
Twitter – “Instantly connect to what’s most important to you. Follow your friends, experts, favorite celebrities, and breaking news.”
The Pepsi to Facebook’s Coca-Cola, Twitter is one of the best social media tools for connecting and communicating with your audience. It’s also an incredible tool for aggregating content and ideas. BT recommends that all brands have a presence on Twitter and include a website link to their Twitter profile, as well as adding a “tweet” button to content you would like your audience to share.
VenYou CMS – “VenYou is Bicycle Theory’s proprietary Content Management System (CMS).”
Bicycle Theory created VenYou as an alternative to all of the off-the-shelf open-source solutions on the market. As a result, VenYou offers the level of scale, quality, and control that competitors like Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress are hard-pressed to match. BT recommends the VenYou CMS to brands with greater need for custom websites and Web-based applications.
WordPress – “A semantic personal publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability.”
What started as a blog platform has quickly evolved into a Content Management System (CMS) for ‘traditional’ websites as well. WordPress is particularly useful for blog applications and provides a great ‘starter CMS’ for smaller brand websites. BT recommends WordPress for blogs and to power the websites of smaller brands.
YouTube – “Share your videos with friends, family, and the world.”
YouTube is a great way to collect and share videos from and about your brand. It allows others to easily find your video content, which can be easily shared or embedded into other platforms, like blogs. For brands that can and do leverage video more extensively and want a wider reach, BT recommends YouTube.
Vimeo – “Vimeo is the home for high-quality videos and the people who love them.“
Vimeo is arguable the best video alternative to YouTube. It’s generally considered a ‘higher quality’ video platform, but doesn’t have nearly the same reach as YouTube. For brands that can and do leverage video more strategically, BT recommends Vimeo.
About Bicycle Theory
Bicycle Theory is a brand marketing company located in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, MN. Bicycle Theory provides strategic and tactical brand marketing services, including Web design and development, Internet marketing, brand strategy, and identity building.