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Comments Off on VIDEO BLAST: Great new offering from BGAmedia and Bob’s Computer Service

VIDEO BLAST: Great new offering from BGAmedia and Bob’s Computer Service

by Robert B. Gelman

You’ve seen the videos. They are on YouTube. They are on Facebook, MySpace, and web sites all over the Net. They show customers offering testimonials. Or product demonstrations.  Or simply a background piece on the owners of a small business.  There is no limit to the way you can use video today to promote your business or venture. But most small business owners think, “That is just too expensive for me to invest in.”

That would be a mistaken impression now.

There is a solution available and we are offering it, at an amazing price. Instead of paying a videographer $500-$1500 to shoot and edit a video, then paying a similar amount to a web developer or marketing agency to post the video online, you can buy a package from BGAmedia that includes all of that, at only $200 (for a limited time).  Have a video and just need it put online? That’s just $100.  Same low introductory price if you want a short video shot and do not want it put online.

This article details the principles involved in succeeding with online video.  The good news here is that you don’t need to worry about most of that.  We’ll guide you all the way and you are guaranteed a professionally shot and edited piece, presented in the best possible way on your web site and if desired, YouTube, Facebook, or other social network that accommodates video. Also, we recommend a content strategy, as described in this article.

What are you waiting for?

Act now to find more or get started.  Call 209-588-8055 today, no obligation. Ready to start now?

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Comments Off on Avoiding Web Site Doom

Avoiding Web Site Doom

by Robert B. Gelman

Not to be a fear monger, but it happened again this week.  One of my hosting clients who had experienced the loss of her site before, once again needed to restore her site to the way it as before she accidentally lost one of her key WordPress plugins . It’s wrenching when this happens because it was an avoidable problem.

More serious is the situation where a site gets accidentally blown away by a misstep, or intentionally vandalized by hackers. You need to have a plan for minimizing the impact of these kinds of things, because it is only a question of when your time will come.

Think if it this way:  what if your life insurance policy could actually bring you back to life when you died?  Everybody would have a policy then, right, no matter the cost. Well, a backup and recovery plan for your web site (or your home computer for that matter) is exactly that kind of policy. Many of the choices you have for this plan are free or inexpensive, so I most certainly recommend everyone reading this message get started today, if they don’t already have something in place.

Here is a list complied by Kevin Eklund of

WordPress Backup Solutions

WP DB Manager – Created by Lester ‘GaMerZ’ Chan, this is the most popular WordPress backup plugin to date. The plugin permits the WP blog owner to schedule automatic backups of his site’s database (via email or server backup) or manually download it. It also allows the admin to select which database table items to backup and either optimize, repair, delete, or restore the database. Perhaps the most enticing aspect of this WP backup plugin is that it is very easy to install and use. The major drawback of this plugin however, is that it merely backs up your database and not your entire WordPress blog.

WP DB Backup – Created by Austin Matzko, this backup plugin for WordPress lets you schedule an automatic database backup of your WP website. It’s very much like the WP DB Manager in that it can be scheduled to backup as frequently as you want and the backup file can be sent to an email address of your choosing.

Backupify – Backupify is a service that backs up your online data across numerous popular online services (i.e. Flickr, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Their WordPress backup plugin is not a complete WordPress backup solution as it only backs up your WP database.

VaultPress – Automattic, owner of WordPress, now offers its own backup service for self-hosted WordPress sites. Future plans for this service includes the ability to monitor your WP blog and alert you when it identifies a potential security threat or any suspicious activity. Further development of this WordPress backup service also includes automatic security updates. The service itself is projected to cost approximately $15 to $20 per month.

BackupBuddy – Available from iThemes, this premium WordPress backup plugin is designed to not only backup your entire WP site but to help you restore it and migrate it elsewhere when needed. As suggested this plugin backs up everything associated with your WP website including plugins, themes, widgets, and the database. Users can schedule backups either daily, weekly, bi-monthly or monthly. Once the backup is completed, it will then be stored via email or an FTP account depending on the admin’s preferences. The WordPress blog restoration and WordPress blog migration features are powerful time saving functions that make this plugin particularly useful. The cost of this premium WP plugin is based on the type of plan you choose; personal ($25), business ($75), or developer ($150). Membership plans include automatic upgrades and access to online forum support. The only disadvantage I can see to this service is that the support and upgrades access is limited to only one year. Thus, once the membership expires, you’d have to essentially buy the plugin again to extend your membership for another year. However, compared to the monthly reoccurring fee VaultPress charges for such a complete backup solution, this pricing seems very reasonable.

blogVault – A premium WordPress backup plugin that backs up all files, themes, plugins, comments, widgets, posts, and pages associated with your WP blog. The blogVault plugin creates automatic backups of your entire WP site and saves it to blogVault’s Amazon S3 servers. The blogVault service will cost you between $25 and $99 per year depending on the amount of storage you use.

WordPress Backup – Developed by Blog Traffic Exchange, this free WP backup plugin permits admins to create backups of directories containing images, themes, and plugins. Users can schedule WP backups to automatically occur every day and have the resultant zip file sent to an email address.

Here’s a recent article to help you compare and contrast services on

Non-Wordpress Site Backup Options

The first thing I’s recommend is to see if your web hosting service offers a backup and restore application that you can access via your control panel.  Ours does, at only $15 per year, but it is limited to files stored, not including your SQL databases. Of course you can manually backup your files and databases (export and download to your harddrive), but this is not a great solution since most people forget or don’t store the exported files properly in a remote location.  So I recommend an automated solution such as one of those detailed below (by Amit Agarwal).

Online Backup Services with Free Storage

If you only have a limited amount of data (< 2 GB) on your computer that you want to store in the cloud, any of the following backup services should solve your problem without you having to shell out a penny.

free online backup plans compared

All the above online backup services (except for SkyDrive) work in a similar way – you download a small client to your desktop, mark the local folders that you want to backup online and the tool will automatically monitor and upload files from these folders to the cloud. Once your files are backed up, you can also access them online except in Mozy.

Of all these services, my favorites are SugarSync and ZumoDrive. They offer almost an identical set of features and are extremely easy to configure. SugarSync is available for Mac and Windows while ZumoDrive also offers a Linux client.

While Dropbox is also an awesome service for file synchronization and online backup, it has one major limitation – it will only backup files and folders that are placed inside the Dropbox folder. Hopefully this will change in future versions. Continue Reading

Comments Off on Tracking Search Marketing Conversion Rate ROI

Tracking Search Marketing Conversion Rate ROI

Robert B. Gelman

Here at BGAmedia, we talk a lot about “Return on Investment” for you marketing dollars. From our standpoint, it’s the only way marketing or any aspect of doing business makes sense. But since marketing and sales are a moving target for every business, it is most important that they be tracked and evaluated on an ongoing basis. Change happens too fast these days for there to be gaps in your feedback loop.

One of the key metrics to track is your conversion rate.  And what is a conversion?   It could be many different things, depending upon what and how you sell. For example, if you are using pay-per-click advertising, it could be the number of clicks on your ad after viewing a search page. Or more relevant might be whether they looked at specific additional pages on your website, or actually bought something.

Google Adwords (and now Facebook advertising) allow you to track conversions to keep an eye on whether you are getting enough return on what you are spending.  Determining this is of course different for every business, but here are some factors you might want to consider.

  • Not all conversions are worth the same to you. A visit to a page on your website may not have a value, but a sale there might be worth $100. Identifying the value of conversions lets you track your ROI on specific keywords
  • Example:A keyword may cost $1 per click, but a conversion from that keyword is worth $100. If you’re getting a conversion out of every 10 clicks, that’s an ROI of $90.  A good investment.  If you’re only getting a conversion for every 75 clicks, it’s marginal, and maybe not worth the money.
  • Cost-per-click is critical too and needs to be a part of the equation

We counsel our clients to start their campaigns with a brief, low-budget test period to get a sense for both how much traffic is generated by their keywords, and the bid cost for those words.  You have the option to give a value to any one of your conversions during the set up process.  And, if you’re selling multiple products with different prices, you’ll need a single conversion page that has variable conversion values.

If you are interested in this type of activity to enhance your business (or the less costly Search Engine Optimization process), we encourage you to call us for a no-cost and no-obligation conversation about how a Search Marketing Campaign might work for you.

The logical extension of our conversation about ROI for Search Marketing Campaigns is a discussion of what it takes to create more customers (or conversions) out of the traffic you are already getting.The answer involves testing and modifying your web site or other online tools to become more effective.

We’ll address this in an upcoming post.




Comments Off on Avoiding a Data Catastrophe With Your WordPress Web Site

Avoiding a Data Catastrophe With Your WordPress Web Site

Robert B. Gelman

Is your web site built with WordPress blog software?  95% of the sites built by BGAmedia in the past year are just that. And unlike conventional html web sites, WordPress (and other CMS platforms) are produced with a stack of files stored in a complex hierarchy and one or more databases that are often not even on the same server.

So what happens when you accidentally screw up your pages and need to revert to a previous version?  Or what about the scenario when your site gets hacked and your host doesn’t have a decent backup to restore from?  How do you resolve these critical business issues?

One of our clients recently experienced the hacking scenario.  We were able to restore the files in the the WordPress installation, but the content that went along with the site (which lives in a remote database server) was not able to be restored.  This client had to pay someone to manually recreate pages that had already been built.

You’ve heard the saying that it’s not a question of “whether” this will happen to you, just “when.”

We’ve begun backing up theme files and content on local drives with a plugin you can get called “Backup Buddy.”  This tool lets you backup your entire WordPress install, including the widgets, themes and plugins. Backup to your server, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, or email.  You can also quickly and easily restore your site on the same server or migrate to a new server with a different domain and database.

One of the more valuable uses of the tool is the ease with which you can move a WordPress site from one host to another.  This is not a trivial task done manually, but with Backup Buddy, it’s easier.

Interested in learning more?  Here’s the Backup Buddy video to give you the highlights.  If you would like to kno more about how we can help you with your WordPress site, either setting up a backup regimen, a site move, or a build or a rebuild, please contact us.

by Robert B. Gelman

I am frequently asked these days about how clients can move more readily from maintaining a solely physical (postal address) mailing list, to one that includes email addresses and enables a more contemporary approach to media.  The answer is essentially twofold:

Communicate With Your Existing Customers – ask for their email addresses.
This method may entail sending a card, letter, or other direct mail vehicle to them offering an incentive for them to give you their address, such as a special price on a hot item, or the chance to win an incredible prize.

If you choose to offer a prize or other “chance” incentive, you should be aware that you are trading off some number of those who don’t believe they really have a chance to win, against those who just might not be interested in the item you are offering a great price on. Your best results would come from creating a “loyalty club” wherein they have a serious discount on everything (or many things) you offer going forward, but members must give up a valid email address.

To be sure I’ve covered all bases, I should also note that having someone call your customers and ask for their email addresses is highly effective as well.  It also gives you the opportunity to gather feedback that you can use to improve your service or expand your offerings.

Hire a Professional Data Firm – a newly affordable option
It used to be that data warehouses and list brokerages were not viable options for small businesses with lists of a few hundred to under two thousand prospects. That’s generally no longer the case, and there are services that list houses offer that can enhance your own database in ways that will save you money now and make you more successful down the road.

One such enhancement is simply to have a list firm append your current mailing list with email addresses. In some significant number, people have opted-in to a product or service where they have given permission for associated companies to send emails to them. These are people who are generally less protective of their personal data but if they are already on your mailing list anyway, will have little surprise when they start getting emails from you.

Their counterparts, the “personal data protectives” have still given you implicit permnission to communicate with them, by being your customer.  You should be more respectful with this group however and make your first message to them one in which you ask their permission to continue to send them valuable offers like the one you are sending at that moment.

Of course ALWAYS offer an easy unsubscribe to your list which does not remove the email address, but prevents sending of unsolicited promotions there.

More About Email Append

Email is increasingly the go-to method for communicating with your customers. It’s cost-effective, maximizes response rates, and personalizes your marketing efforts.  Several list management firms offers email append services to add business and residential email addresses to your database.

How many emails? Common match rates are 15% to 20% on average. I invite you to be in touch with us if you are interested in seeing how many email addresses are available for your customer and prospect lists.

Choosing a provider for email matching should be guided by these points:
• High accuracy rate
• Multi-sourced data for more detailed information
• Thoroughly tested data for reliable results
• Only pay for matches to maximize cost-efficiency

And while we’re discussing this process, it’s relevant to add that email addresses are not the only data that are now available to match with households or business addresses. Phone number acquisition, changes of address processing, deceased removal and other “list cleaning” services can be implemented by these same companies.

Comments Off on Can Facebook Grow Your Business?

Can Facebook Grow Your Business?

by Robert B. Gelman

As readers of this blog know, I am a skeptic when it comes to the value of Facebook (and other social media) when it comes to promoting local, small businesses. That’s not to say I don’t believe it can or will work.  I just prioritize it lower than other methods proven to effectively increase sales and market share.

That said, I recently ran across an online survey that honestly evaluated my potential return for investing time on a Facebook with 10 short questions.  It’s at  I recommend you take 30 seconds and give it a try. My score was just 4.8, supporting my decision to invest my time in this website rather than Facebook’s. But that may not be the case for you.

If you have not tried PPC advertising, it is truly the most logical type of advertising to do for businesses that need to make every penny count. And next to Google’s search network placement, Facebook is the best place to do it, according to several studies.  In a post on the ROI Revolution blog, Ben Ronnenberg gave us insights into the results of one of his anonymous clients that can be instructive.  He called this company “Client A.”

“The following story is about a lead generation client (Client A, for anonymity), but Facebook would certainly be worth testing if you’re in an e-commerce space too.

We created Client A’s Facebook account back on January 26. He’s a local advertiser, only seeking clients within a close radius of a heavily populated metro, so we set the Facebook geo-targeting to just 10 miles around his city.

Within 18 days his campaign spent just over $500, generating almost 600 clicks, but these numbers don’t tell the whole story yet:

When we dig into our Google Analytics reporting for Client A’s Facebook PPC traffic, we can see that his $500 in spend produced 11 highly valuable customer leads:

By highly valuable, I mean that Client A knows his customer lifetime value and has been able to determine that each new customer lead is worth $600 to him.

So for a ~$500 cost, with 11 new customer leads worth $6,600 (11 x $600), we’re talking about a superior ROI from Facebook in just 18 days!

It’s important to note here that Facebook is only producing 5.5% of the overall leads from our top 5 traffic sources, so it’s not going to replace Google AdWords anytime soon. Facebook is however, turning out to be a solid supplemental lead source for Client A.

Tips for setting up a Facebook campaign

1. Track your conversions with a reporting service like Google Analytics.
2. Utilize Facebook’s demo/geographic targeting to focus on a niche audience.
3. Set your bid price within Facebook’s suggested CPC bid range.
4. Use a captivating image in your ad (you can combine an image with text).
5. If you generate a strong impression share initially, but then it trends downward over time, you should rotate new ad creatives to keep a fresh message in front of your audience’s eyes.

6. If you are unable to generate any substantial impression share at all, then try experimenting with different or fewer demographic segments. You can also try targeting a larger geographic area to boost your ads’ reach.”

Comments Off on Targeting Placements in Adwords Pay-per-Click

Targeting Placements in Adwords Pay-per-Click

Robert Gelman

Pay-per-Click advertising, and Google’s adwords in particular are an ongoing topic in this blog. To best determine how such campaigns will perform for you, we recommend testing, and more testing. One thing you can test is whether the search results pages bring you as much traffic as the “content network” a placements (pages and sites which carry Google ads dynamically).

We recently learned of another placement niche for your ads, on people’s Gmail pages. For whatever reason, they call it the “Funbox.”

The ‘Funbox’ is a little known reference to the top ad spot in gmail, and guess what? You can target it as a managed placement in your AdWords content network campaigns.


So how do you target the fun box? The fun box is not found in the placement tool, so you need to add this in manually as a managed placement (in the networks tab):,Top center

Also, one of the most common mistakes is to try and target gmail by adding ‘’ as a managed placement. It’s important to know that to target gmail, you need to add the following as a managed placement:

If you see gmail is performing well for you, it’s best practice to create a separate campaign that targets only gmail users.

Here are the benefits of creating separate gmail targeted campaigns:

  • Write specific ads tailored to Gmail users
  • Develop keyword themes around Gmail messages (advanced strategy)
  • Controlled budgets
  • Transparency of performance

It’s not necessary to create gmail targeted campaigns when you are first testing out Google’s content network. The best strategy is to first start with a keyword targeted (or contextually targeted) content campaign, and monitor the performance of on the networks tab. If you see traffic and conversions are high, it’s a good idea to go ahead and separate out traffic into a separate campaign.

If you need help understanding or implementing pay-per-click advertising, BGAmedia is here to help.

Portions of this post excerpted from ROI Revolution Blog

Comments Off on Social Media? No Way. Social Middleware? Oh, Yes!

Social Media? No Way. Social Middleware? Oh, Yes!

Introduction by Robert Gelman

As we’ve watched the Social Media virus spread faster and wider than Swine Flu, this blog has focused primarily on the nagging questions of Return on Investment.  This is central to our mission. But the  issues around liability and corporate proprietary information are also vital and may in fact put your company in far greater risk than the loss of a few hours a month spent on Facebook.

In an effort to address this subject area, we’ll be bringing some local and global expertise to these pages over the next few weeks. The first article I’d like to call to your attention addresses a new area of software designed to help the enterprise manage its Social Media presence in a way that limits liability and exposure of confidential information. Written for IT primarily, Alex Williams’ article gives you a sense of the types of things that are of concern and how they can be managed.

More on this area in upcoming posts, including a guest article by Beth Brascugli De Lima of HRM Consulting, in Calaveras County.

Social Media? No Way. Social Middleware? Oh, Yes!

by Alex Williams at ReadWrite Enterprise

Socialware-Logo.jpgIn the word of IT, social buzz words can be a real way to kill any interest in adopting applications that give the enterprise access to the consumer web.

You have to speak their language. Social media? No way. Social middleware? Oh, yeah – now we are talking!

Socialware talks in language that IT can understand. The company is offering social middleware products that help companies integrate social networks with a level of control that makes them comfortable that the access is compliant with government regulations and IT policies.

In may ways, companies have set up their own iron curtains to keep social interaction to a minimum.

It’s also fair to say that many companies are eager to let their employees engage with the social web. But they want the risk managed, especially when it comes to interacting with social networks.

Socialware believes the missing component for the enterprise is a bridge layer that helps companies connect its people, processes and systems with the open, social web.

Socialware offers feature access control to social networks. An admin panel allows the IT manager to block access to different features on social networks such as Faccebook, LinekdIn and Twitter.

Socialware Admin Console.png

For example, users may access LinkedIn but there may be features that the employee is not permitted to access. The feature is flagged with a message that tells the user they do not have permission to use it.


Socialware provides the security layers and controls that give corporate IT the comfort that the risk in exposing social networks can be managed with rules that reflect the policies of the organization.

Socialware is funded by Mike Maples, Jr., who is an investor in Twitter. They are funded by Silverton Partners and G51. The management team have backgrounds in Web 2.0 and the enterprise.

That’s a mix which can make for a winning combination in the enterprise space. Socialware’s technology is reflective of that experience. We’ll be interested in seeing how the company develops in the year ahead.

Comments Off on 5 Ways to Create Cross-Media Synergies With Social Media

5 Ways to Create Cross-Media Synergies With Social Media

A compilation of notes from Marketing Profs webinar by Jay Baer, with input from copywriter, Aliza Bornstein and Bob Gelman

In our ongoing quest for meaningful, actionable information to help small businesses navigate the murky waters of online marketing, we attend webinars, subscribe to news and research services, and work in this realm every day. The material in this article really focuses on an important aspect of any media campaign: synergy. We think it’s good info and will be useful to many of our readers.

What We’ve Learned: The shift in social media is fundamental—it transcends tactics. The old way of marketing is archery. The new way of marketing—lead by social media—is much more conversational. You engage customers by trying to build preference and brand kinship.

Combining social media with traditional marketing tactics is your best bet for ultimate marketing success.

Increase Social Media Success Through Cross-Media Optimization
Conversation marketing is transformative, but inefficient, because you’re only reaching out to a few, as opposed to many. Social media doesn’t work well by itself, either. Think of social media as an ingredient in the marketing programs you’re already active in. Start with a strategy list, then move onto what social ingredients you can add to your existing marketing, and then the new social media programs you can create from scratch.

1. Social Media + Search Marketing
This is the most fundamental and the most required. An October 2009 research report revealed that consumers exposed to a brand in social media are almost 3x more likely to search for that brand’s products.

Integrate Social & Search
The three components of inbound marketing:
• Content (making content that people can consume on the Web; blogs, videos, white
papers, Ebooks).
• Social Media (promoting that content and developing relationships on the social Web;
Twitter, Linked-In, Facebook, forums, blogs).
• SEO (search optimizing the content to make sure people can find it; on-page,
off-page, link-building, keyword analysis).

The trick is to think of your marketing program and your social program as bait in the water—get found! Why? Because it works!

Content = Traffic
Creating content—and having that content yield Web site traffic—works. According to a recent study HubSpot did of 1200 of their customers, companies that have a blog receive 55% more Web site traffic on average than the companies without a blog.

Content isn’t King—Optimized content is King
It’s not just blogs. Every piece of content that you create on the social Web needs to be optimized for search. You have to ask the question, “How are people going to find this?” Google is the world’s most important reporter and most important customer—you have to be thinking clearly about that from the very beginning.

2. Social Media + Email
Social media and email are much more similar than they are different. Both try to develop relationships between brands and consumers. Historically, bad email and bad social media looked a lot alike.

Promoting social presence in email
Tactically, the first way to cross-reference your email and social media programs is to let people who are on your email lists know you have social media outposts.

Enabling social sharing in email
Embed into your emails some sort of sharing tools where your email subscribers can put their cursor over. This social sharing concept is much more relevant and successful because it saves time.

Content level sharing
You can share right from the email instead of going to a social media site by adding a sharing button to the top or bottom on your email, or better yet, a specific component inside the email. Encourage people to share at the content level, not the email as a whole. Adding a social sharing tool like SWYN (share with your network) can expand the traffic on your site.

Subscriber segmentation
An exciting aspect of social sharing is that you can use the results to segment your database. You can take the information and create segmentation by coding your subscribers as coming from Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, etc. and tailoring an email newsletter to specifically target this group.

List growth through social media
Growing your subscriber list directly on the social Web is very easy to do.
Tagging new subscribers as coming from social media is the easiest way to do this. You can put a widget on a social media or sharing page for subscribers to sign up for something like a newsletter. All subscribers from this widget will then be coded.

Social media/Email content development
You can also use your social media program to help form the actual content of your email newsletter. Take the best content from your Facebook page, and the best content from your blog, and put it in your email newsletter. The premise is you’re going to put a lot more content and frequent updates on the social Web than you will in your email newsletter. So why not use your social Web activity as the trial balloon (idea for initial conception) for your email content?

3. Social Media + Virtual Events
The third way to create cross media synergy with social media is through virtual events, like this webinar. It’s not about who your audience is today. What webinars and virtual events make possible is the ability to garner an audience over time. The amount of people involved in the live event is almost irrelevant. It’s how many people are going to consume the content down the road (tomorrow, a month from now, a year from now). Your content is always there because there is no expiration date. If you do a good job of search optimizing it, it lives on.

More is more. Atomize your content.
Creating content and putting it out on the social Web yields traffic back to your Web site if it’s search optimized. The idea is you need to atomize your content. The old way to do this would be to put your newest white paper on your Web site and wait for people to come and download it. But that’s only one piece of bait in the water. The new way is to take your idea and perpetuate it in as many social media forums and fashions as you possibly can, because each of those content types are going to attract traffic. Social media continues to pay dividends over the long haul.

The following are examples of combining a virtual event and social media outreach:

Twitter + Webinar = Twebinar
A Twebinar is an integration of a webinar and a live Twitter chat where people can ask questions. At the same time the webinar is happening, people on Twitter are discussing it amongst themselves.

Twitter + Interview = Twinterview
You take something as mundane as an interview and add social media to it, and it becomes a virtual event people tune in to listen to.

Twitter + Group Chat
At a specific date and time, everyone tunes in on Twitter to discuss blogging tips, strategies, advice, etc.

4. Social Media & Live Events
The fourth way to combine social media is with live events. Creating a real world component of any social media program is a best practice. By taking something 2-dimensional and making it 3-dimensional, you’re expanding your marketing platform and making it that much more powerful.

5. Social Media + Marketing Research
Ask your fans for feedback and keep it simple for them. They can create products for you that you never even thought of developing! Twitter research can be done by survey or poll. Think of what you can add to your marketing tactics. Social media works best when it’s part of something bigger. Are you ready for something bigger? Start your synergy audit today!