Social media design roundup: 9 stellar tools for small businesses

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Remember when, say, five years ago when “social media” was just a buzz-phrase tossed around by the kind of people who camped out in front of Apple stores the night before the release of the very first iPhone? (Yep, that was June 29, 2007!) Nobody predicted that sites like Facebook and Twitter would ultimately revolutionize the way businesses and customer bases would interact via the web and mobile mediums.

Pinning down exactly what social media means can be a challenge – here’s an interesting list of 30 definitions from a wide variety of expert sources, courtesy of marketing expert Heidi Cohen. What is certain is that a company’s savvy use of tools like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Google +, Pinterest, blogs and a host of other platforms to build conversations with customers can have a big impact on business. We’ve seen an influx in cool companies using 99designs to launch design contests relating to social media strategies, services and events. (And where better to share them via our Customer Blog, one of our own social media platforms?)

#1 - Social Media Crisis Academy

Winning Design by windski

Feeling a bit bitter about Twitter? You’re not alone. It’s an unfortunate reality that even if you’ve carefully mapped out your social media strategy, there’s always a chance you’ll find yourself smack dab in the middle of a social media firestorm – and that’s where the Social Media Crisis Academy can help. Snap up founder Melissa Agnes’ series of audio modules to help protect your company from day one and guide you out of the digital woods when disaster strikes.

You can see Social Media Crisis Academy’s logo design contest here.

#2 - My Beak Social Media

Winning Design by Design Mammoth

The blog of Vancouver-based social media maven Laura Lee Walker provides insightful tips and resources for maximizing small business branding through social media and for implementing efficient and effective strategies. The banner ad she sourced through 99designs says it all – so think about it: what has your blog done for you lately? If you’re not sure, you may want to take advantage of the Walker’s $99 blog review service

You can see My Beak Media’s banner ad design contest here.

#3 - Forum Forest

Winning Design by roihim

Forum Forest is – you guessed it – a one-stop shop for helping businesses small and large navigate the complex world of online forums and build effective modules to foster customer engagement. The Berlin-based company tackles marketing, management, development, SEO optimization, consulting and design.

You can see Forum Forest’s logo design contest here.

#4 - Social Media Rocketeer with Sara Nguyen

Winning business card design by eyezdesign

Australia-based social media marketing guru Sara Nguyen recently launched her own shop to aid small businesses in their new media world exploits, with an emphasis on Facebook and YouTube. Check out her site (and her blog) for some excellent tips to get you going (including free “Facebook  Marketing Cheat Sheets”)!

You can see Social Media Rocketeer’s business card design contest here.  

#5 - Glocu

Winning Design by wm design

As social media becomes more pervasive – with everyone from prospective employers to exes to your parents trying to secretly scope you out – limiting who sees what is more important than ever. Glocu to the rescue! A free app (available here on iTunes), the service allows you to share your day-to-day musings and adventures with a close inner circle of up to 60 friends, maintaining a safe distance from your broader social media network.

You can see Glocu’s icon design contest here.

#6  Social Media Days 2012

Winning logo design by cubainfo

Social Media Days 2012 brought together some of the top social media experts in Oslo, Norway, to deliver a crash course in utilizing various social media resources. The event, hosted by Kampanje and iQualify, included an entire seminar dedicated to Facebook and a social media awards ceremony.

You can see Social Media Day 2012’s logo design contest here.

#7 –  Vyral Marketing

Winning Design by jcontreras

Are you a small business seeking an affordable social media marketing solution? The folks at Vyral deliver an information-packed (and fun!) video-centric program about how to effectively maintain powerful communication with customers via social media and video to generate referral upon referral in no time. (You can check out a free video to get a taste of the program here.)

You can see Getvyral’s packaging design contest here.

#8 - Social Media Brasil 2012

Winning Design by MarkMarmite

The Social Media Brasil conference celebrated its fourth anniversary with a dazzling foray of real-world examples to demonstrate how effective social media strategy can be a game changer for your company.  This year’s conference tackled gamification, sustaining social engagement, strategic relationships with blogs and SEO/SEM insights. (And it certainly makes sense that Brasil would tackel the topic – the country recently overtook India to become the second biggest country on Facebook!)

You can see Social Medial Brasil 2012’s web page design contest here.

#9 - Garious Social Media

 Winning Design by fmthoangan

Brand new to the social media scene? Garious has literally written the book on how to develop a fitting social media strategy for your business. The guide touches on important first steps like identifying your target market, creating a content schedule and finding the key analytic tools to help you measure your social media goals and successes.

You can see Garious’ landing page design contest here.

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