Friday, September 10, 2010

Facebook Places

Facebook is entering the world of location-based marketing, similar to Gowalla, FourSquare, and Yelp, with Facebook Places.  Facebook Places was recently launched in the US and is being deployed world wide.

Location Based Marketing, including services such as Four Square and Facebook Places is a fairly new addition to the Internet Marketing toolkit and has enormous potential for businesses, in particular businesses such as restaurants, coffee shops, bars and other "social" businesses where the general public gather.

A service like FourSquare is a fun web and mobile application that allows registered users to connect with friends and update their location. Points are awarded for "checking in" at venues. 

Facebook Places, similarly, will allow users to let others know where they are.  This video that was published on the Social Media Examiner page explains what Facebook Places is all about.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Get Organized this Fall

As we leave summer behind, we get into work and school mode with being organized on of the top items on the list.  Here are a few tips to make it easier...

Get it out of your head and onto paper.
Many competing ideas in your head will drive you crazy.  Paper is tangible, so get it out of your head and onto paper.  From there you can underline, colour code, connect certain items, stick it on the wall or share.

Set up space in the clouds to store information.
Upload documents to space on the Internet where they are accessible and secure such as Microsoft's  Skydrive, Apple’s Mobileme iDisk, Dropbox.  Store your client contact information online in Google Contacts (need a Gmail account or in Apple's Mobileme.)

Flag your to-do items for follow up.  
Often emails contain a reminder to do something or to follow up on something.  In Microsoft Outlook, use the Flag feature to flag those emails for follow up or in Google Mail, use the Star feature.

Online collaboration saves time.
Use Google Docs to take minutes in meetings.  Save, format and share with others.  It saves paper and time. Zoho is a service that rivals what Google has to offer and Zoho Docs is worth looking into.

Search, not File.
As a time saver, use a mail program that lets you search for information in stead of organizing information into folders.  Google Apps is a must for your small to medium sized business.

Keep track with an online calendar.
Google Calendar lets you store multiple calendars in one, it syncs with other calendars (Microsoft Outlook, iCal, iPhone) and it can send you a reminder by SMS or email.  Your Google Calendar can also easily be shared with others.  And above all, you can access it from wherever you are.

Get an iReader.
Carry multiple books with you, save paper, add notes and bookmarks electronically and see what other readers highlighted in a book. My favourite is the Kindle app on my iPad.  iBooks on the iPad is equally as nice. The Kindle app will also let you read books on your PC or Mac.

So you have any time saving organizing tips to share?  Let us know.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

13 Things to Do at the End of the Tourism Season

For Tourism Operators:

Labour Day Weekend in North America signals the end of summer for many and with it, the end of family vacations, visits and travel.  June, July and August is peak tourism season in the northern hemisphere and tourism operators work like bees to create a good time, comfort, memories and great experiences.

With the end of this busy season in sight, the list of work continues as things are getting wrapped up.  Here are a few marketing ideas to consider:

Manage Contact Information
  • Organize your list of names and addresses of guests and customers that you collected during this past season.
  • Segment your contact lists (couples, families, boomers... whatever is suitable for your business).  
Follow Up
  • Send a follow-up e-newsletter with photos from the summer and a bit of news to encourage happy memories to linger a bit longer. If it makes sense in your business, create different version of your e-newsletter for different segments of your list, i.e. outdoor enthusiasts; theatre-lovers; families, honeymooners etc.
  • Send a sincere thank-you note or card - make sure your business gets a fond spot in the email box, on the fridge, album or notice board.
Continue the Relationship on Social Media
  • Invite guests to become a part of your social community on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or YouTube.  Continue conversations with your guests on these social channels.
  • Search for photos, tweets, blogs or videos that were posted by guests or visitors to your region, establishment or town and comment, link, "friend" or "like" the content.
Freshen up your Website
  • Update your website with photographs and images for the new season to encourage a few more weeks of travel during the shoulder season.
  • Post photos to your website and invite your guests to provide their favourite pictures for your site. 
Create Packages

  • Plan travel packages with other tourism operators in your area or a location along the route for the new season.
  • Update testimonials on your site and invite your list to submit testimonials to sites like Canada Select and Tripadvisor.
Learn and Network
  • Plan for your own professional development and register to attend one of our workshops! You may learn a few new things but also network with like-minded people.