Saturday, July 03, 2010

New coupon system holds promise for businesses

Tweapsave: With each new social media network and handheld application that's invented, new business opportunities arise. If you love coupons for free stuff and discounts - and who doesn't - and you have a computer or an iPhone, then Tweapsave could be for you!

Tweapsave is a service that provides opportunities for retailers, restaurants and other service providers who use coupons to attract new customers and build customer loyalty using the power of social media. Companies pay for the privilege of providing the coupons (they would pay for printing or distribution through the mail anyway) and this gives them access to an unlimited number of customers for a set period of time. The number of coupons companies can make available (and for how long) depends on the package deal subscribed to.

This is the perfect coupon service for those who'd rather save trees. You don't have to print the coupon to show the retailer, you just show them the coupon on the screen of your iPhone. Of course, terms and conditions apply in order to prevent abuse. Company founder Lana Hansen tells me that bar codes could eventually be incorporated into the coupons for easy scanning and tracking by retailers.

These aren't your mother's coupons! Gone are the days of getting out the scissors and clipping magazines, newspapers and flyers. However, if you want to print the coupon, too, that option exists. Sign up as a user at tweapsave.com, search for coupons, place them in your cart and you're done. You can use the coupons as you see fit. There's also a very cool Tweapsave iPhone application, as well.

Travelling on a budget or looking for special deals in the place you're visiting? Search for Tweapsave coupons in the city you're in and save some cash for other things... like staying an extra night in a hotel... and then search for a coupon for the hotel night itself. Or save money on a meal in a nice restaurant or at your favourite pizza place.

The great thing about these coupons is that they can be shared through Facebook and Twitter. How cool is that? It's a great way to build a customer base and following.

Lana's technical partner on the new venture is local Moncton company Trimedia Atlantic (trimediaatlantic.com). If your company is looking for a cost-efficient and modern way of sharing coupons through social media, then check out Tweapsave. If you're a consumer looking to save a few pennies without having to kill a million trees using printed coupons, then register at tweapsave.com (it's free!).

Are you a lawyer and want an edge on the competition? Then get familiar with social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Why? Because social media is the new "smoking gun" evidence-wise.

Since the advent of the Internet, lawyers have learned that there's lots of evidence out there that can be found if you dig for it. Many smart cyber-criminals know how to hide their sins. These days, however, with everyone having a home computer, work computer and cell phone with Internet access, people are making mistakes that they are being caught for. And the best thing is - if you're a lawyer - they're handing over evidence to you on a silver platter.

While some people may hide their Twitter feed and have their Facebook privacy settings maximized, many don't. This means that anyone can have access.

According to a recent posting on that Mashable (mashable.com) social media blog, this free and open evidence has proven to be a boon to divorce lawyers seeking evidence to help their clients. Here's an excerpt from the posting based on an Associated Press report: "Consider, for example, the mom who lost custody of her kids because she was playing FarmVille or World of Warcraft when she claimed to be spending time with them, or the husband who denied anger management issues but flamed like a true troll, complete with violent threats, on his Facebook profile."

The posting also states some statistics that may surprise you.

"All in all, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers says that around 81 per cent of its members have had to deal with - or have themselves used - evidence from social media sources, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. And a U.K. site reported that the word "Facebook" alone appeared in around 20 per cent of its cases last year."

Fascinating stuff. So, if you're a family law lawyer, make sure you're "up" on social media and know that it can benefit - or harm - your clients, depending on which side you're on. If they're claiming that their soon-to-be-exes are not being honest about their activities, then they just may rat themselves out via their own social media activity. And since this is activity is posted by the users themselves via a username and password, judges seem to be accepting this into evidence without much hesitation.

Deleting sent tweets on HootSuite: I'm a big fan of HootSuite and use it to manage my activity on Twitter. (And by the way, if you're only using the Twitter homepage, stop right now! Use HootSuite or TweetDeck. Your Twitter experience will never be the same and you'll definitely see its power and potential then - but certainly not through the Twitter homepage. Trust me on this one.)

With that said, I learned a hard lesson this week when I went into the "sent tweets" column on HootSuite and deleted a tweet that I'd just sent. Thinking I'd deleted it from Twitter altogether, I didn't worry about it. But deleting it in HootSuite didn't delete it from Twitter. If you want to delete a tweet you've sent - and we all need to do that from time to time - log on to the Twitter homepage and do it directly there.

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