Archive for the ‘Social Media/Networking’ Category

Twitter Power Tools

Now that the hype has settled and the new website smell has faded, let’s take a look at Twitter and how to maximize it’s effectiveness via third party Twitter tools.  These tools come in various forms; from websites, desktop apps to mobile phone applications, there are many ways to get your tweets in order.

Seesmic Desktop, along with Tweetdeck, is one of the exciting Adobe Air desktop apps to try for Twitter.

Seesmic Desktop, along with Tweetdeck, is one of the exciting Adobe Air desktop apps to try for Twitter.

Multi-Account Management

Twitter is a great tool, but their website is pretty simple – and that has it’s pros and cons.  The pros being the ease of using it.  For casual Twittering, it handles most of what you need.  But what if you have a personal Twitter account and a work Twitter account – or even more Twitter accounts to promote various aspects of your business.  Now having various browsers open to manage all those accounts at once is not efficient – time for a tool that allows you to manage multiple accounts at once in one user interface.  Their are numerous choices out there, but the ones I recommend looking into the most are HootSuite.com, TweetLater.com, TweetDeck, Seesmic Desktop and Twhirl.  All these tools are fantastic to easily post a tweet from different accounts without switching browsers or logging in and out of the Twitter website.

Beautiful interface, great features, lots of fun to use - HootSuite is a hoot!

Beautiful interface, great features, lots of fun to use - HootSuite is a hoot!

Following more than a few hundred people on Twitter but have only a handful whose tweets you really want to read?  TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop let you group those you follow into smaller more manageable lists.  You could create a list just of family members and friends, just of business contacts or whatever other criteria you wish.  Then you can just view one of these lists so it is easily to see these posts without them getting lost in the Twitter stream.

One of the biggest problems I have with Twitter is having the time to Tweet.  My day is busy and I can’t spend my time at work managing my Tweets.  This is where TweetLater.com and HootSuite.com shine.  You can load up a number of interesting tweets when you have 15 minutes available and schedule these tweets to get spread out throughout the day.  Now you can look like you’re busy tweeting throughout the day!  Busy Twitterers are more likely to gain more followers and get more visibility within their current Twitter network.  HootSuite.com even allows you to track stats of your post’s links so you can find out how many people are clicking on the links you are sharing.

Manage Followers/Unfollows

When you get to hundreds of followers, at some point you’ll realize you are following a lot of people you don’t really need to be following.  Maybe you followed them simply because they followed you.  But their posts have nothing to offer you or are so infrequent you never see them.  You try and track them down in your followers list, but all that scrolling through pages is not an effective use of your time.  With a tool like Twitter Karma, you can easily see all your followers and those you are following on one page.  And unlike the Twitter website, you can see at a glance if the following is mutual.  What’s that, that person you were thinking of unfollowing is not following you anymore anyway – Twitter Karma is a good way to find those tricky individuals that follow you first to get you to follow you back only to then unfollow you afterwards to make their numbers look better.

Twitter Karma is an easy way to manage your friends and followers on Twitter.

Twitter Karma is an easy way to manage your friends and followers on Twitter.

Grade Your Performance

What is your influence on Twitter?  How do you rank overall?  Hubspot has a clever little tool to help you get an idea of your level of influence on Twitter.  Go to http://twitter.grader.com to see how you stack up.  This is mostly for fun, but you can pick up some tips on increasing your Twitter influence and find other Twitter users of interest in your area.  Best of all, it gives you a goal to try and beat which encourages more Twitter activity.

Secure Your Tweets

You have to have a backup plan for when things go bad.  That Twitter Fail Whale could surface at any moment and eat your tweets and followers.  Stories have been told of users accounts getting wiped out, either in full or partially, for no other reason than a Twitter technical issue.  So, if you are investing valuable time in your Twitter account, then it makes sense to get it backed it just like any other valuable data you have.  A tool to do this easily is TweetBackup.com.

Share Media

Yep, you can do more than just share 140 characters on Twitter.  The most well know media sharing tool for Twitter is TwitPic which lets you share photos.  TwitVid.io is a newer one that lets you share video.  The video you share can be an uploaded video or one you take on the spot from your computer’s webcam.  You login to TwitVid.io using your Twitter login and post you video to Twitter directly from the TwitVid.io website.  Another cool service is TwitDoc.com which allows you to share files on Twitter.  It works in the same manner as TwitVid.io, but it also has a Desktop Application available.  Say you want to post a PDF document of a business flyer up for your followers to see, TwitDoc.com allows this – just make sure if you’re on the receiving end of a TwitDoc that it’s from a trusted source.

TwitVid.io - a good site to share video on Twitter.

TwitVid.io - a good site to share video on Twitter.

Take Your Tweets With You

On the go a lot?  Have a smart phone?  Then get a Twitter application for your phone so you can Twitter from anywhere.  I can only speak for iPhone apps as that’s the phone I use, but I’m sure if your phone is smart, it has a Twitter app available.  The iPhone Twitter app I like best is TwitterFon.  It is easy to use and even ties into TwitPic if I want to tweet a photo from my phone.  Many of these apps are free, so try a few and decide for yourself.

Promote via Twitter

Got a great blog post or webpage?  Use TweetMeme.com to make it easier for your viewers to retweet the content by placing a TweetMeme “retweet” button on your blog or webpage.  If a viewer likes your info, they just need to click the “retweet” button to broadcast the content to their followers on Twitter.  In addition, your TweetMeme retweets get tracked and if you get enough viewers clicking on your TweetMeme retweet button you will get extra publicity on the TweetMeme website (can you say “Digg.com”).

Build Community

If you really want to connect with your Twitter community, try Mr. Tweet.  This is a great tool for two reasons; 1) you can recommend other Twitterers (people love getting recommendations) and 2) you can get recommendations of other Twitterers that you may wish to follow but aren’t yet.  When you recommend someone on Mr. Tweet, it is recorded on the site and you can also have your recommendation tweeted on Twitter.  Also, Mr. Tweet only looks to recommend people you should follow that have recommendations from others you already follow – in other words, recommendations from Mr. Tweet are really recommendations from those you already know on Twitter.  This leads to having a higher quality of overall friends in your Twitter stream.

I pity the fool who don't use Mr. Tweet.

I pity the fool who don't use Mr. Tweet.

Got More?

This is a very short list of all the Twitter-related tools that exist.  You may find some that work best for you differ from this list – if you do, tell me what it is and how you’re using it?

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Twitter for the Middle Ages

Surprisingly, it is not the kids that are doing all the Twittering – far from it.  New research shows it’s the middle age sector that is using it the most, and that means business – kids rank at the bottom of the list as the most common users of Twitter.  Full article from Web Pro News here:

http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2009/04/08/what-twitter-search-can-mean-for-businesses-0

High Ranking Social Media Profiles

A co-worker talked you into setting up an account on LinkedIn, which you briefly did, but then forgot about it and never followed up on it further.  It has a minimal amount of basic content on it and maybe you only linked up with a few other people at best.  Well, that basic profile is likely now one of the highest ranked webpages for your name in Google.  That’s a good reason to revisit that profile and freshen it up.

Social media websites are really starting to dominate search engine listings.  Social media profiles are getting top spots for individual names.  This is particularly true if your name is a somewhat less common.

Since your social media profile is likely one of the first things that will pull up in Google if someone is searching on your name, then make sure your profile is up-to-date and and complete.  If it is LinkedIn, they use a handy percentage meter to let you know how complete your profile is and what you need to fill out next.

The Brent and Brandi Show

bbshowlogo1Last Friday was the official launch of “The Brent and Brandi Show” – a collaborative online talkshow/podcast I am doing with Brandi Pierce, a website and branding specialist located in Seattle, Washington.  I met Brandi online on Biznik.com, a social networking website that is gaining popularity.  Brandi came up with the idea of a co-hosted podcast and was looking for the right co-host to help out.  Somehow I stuck out to Brandi and the invatation came my way.

Brandi first floated the idea to me in December and since then we have been working on putting the show together.  To actually have our first episode up is quite a treat!  What has been particularly interesting is the fact that we are located at extreme polar opposite ends of the country, so working through a 3 hour time difference via phone and email can sometimes get confusing.  But it makes for a nice East/West or even North/South contrast that makes things more interesting than if we were in the same location.

Our first show was on blogging for business – yep, it’s a business oriented talkshow that focuses on how to improve your business results via online marketing.  We already have growing list of guests for the show and a stockpile of information to share.  I hope you will join us live or check out our recorded shows after the fact as they become available.

The show is scheduled for every other Friday at 4pm PST and 1pm EST.  It is being broadcast on Talkshoe.com.

Facebook Faceoff Goes Facedown

Facebook spent this week doing damage control for their over bearing change to their Terms of Service agreement.

Facebook Faces Member Smackdown

Facebook Faces Member Smackdown

Basically, they where stating they changed their terms of service and any content you as a member have posted to the site, whether currently up or previously deleted, belonged to Facebook. There was no advance warning, just an “I’m sorry, it’s ours now”, so even if you didn’t agree with the new terms and quit, you were still out of luck.

So what’s the deal?

Likely it is just a move to protect themselves from lawsuits, in case someone’s content that isn’t supposed to be on Facebook is still cached somewhere in their network.  But others have questioned whether it is a huge power grab of content.  Either way, Facebook’s new terms of service agreement doesn’t add up, and most members concur on this fact.  So much so, that it appears as of this writing that the previous terms of service agreement is back up.

This will be an interesting case study for a while to come on content ownership on social media websites, brand management and the power of a large membership to influence business decisions.

15 Second Pitch – Slow in Baseball, But Not Networking

Ok, I know this is a blog geared towards website development, SEO and online social media, but here is a cool tool that you can use for when you are meeting with new people at a networking event.  You know you are going to get that question “So, what do you do?”, so why not prepare a quick reply that sounds interesting, yet short and sweet.  It is easy with the Pitch Generating Tool from 15SecondPitch.com – just go to their website and follow the step-by-step directions.  In 10 minutes or less you’ll have an effective introduction to give at the next conference, Chamber gathering, business lunch or any other social occasional.

Can You Join Too Many Social Media Websites?

Can you join too many social media websites?

Yes.

But how many is too many will vary from one person to the next.  There are so many new gotta-join-it social media websites that start up each day, it can be hard to keep up.  Focusing on which ones work for you and limiting yourself to those will yield you better results than being spread too thin on too many.

The important thing is that you are on at least one.  If you can handle 26, that’s great too!

Alert – YouTube Displays Competitors in YOUR Videos

After all my touting of how great YouTube is of promoting your company online they go and get sneaky on me when I’m looking the other way.

YouTube has been great for promoting businesses online because it doesn’t take much effort and expense to produce a decent video that showcases a customer testimonial, a new product you are working on, highlights from a tradeshow or interviews with key staff members.   When you post a video to YouTube visitors to the site can find your video when using search terms that match keyword tags that you apply to the video.  In addition, YouTube generates HTML code for the video that you can copy and paste to embed in your website, blog or various social media websites.

Now YouTube has added an extra “feature” – before, when your video was finished playing, it would display a “replay” button for the user to play it again.  Now, instead of just providing this replay button, YouTube also is displaying related videos that users can click to view.  That means if are a real estate agent and you post a video of some of your property you are selling in your area, another agent’s video from a competing agency might show up at the end of your video.  Or if you sell sporting goods out of a small mom and pop sporting goods store, a video from Target or WalMart might show up at the end of your video for their sporting goods department.  Or even worse, you use YouTube videos to promote your church and somehow, due to a strange use of tagging, a pole dancer video shows up as a related video.  Really bad idea from YouTube.  And worse yet, it is retro-active to all the vidoes you have already posted and may have embedded on your website or blog already.  And as an added bonus, I have found no way to turn this off in my own YouTube account.

I did a little poking around the and found some code that you can add to your embed code – however, it doesn’t work if you have a WordPress blog – I tried it myself to confirm.  Also, it is supposed to be easy for users to embed their YouTube videos on their websites – having to add HTML code to embed code to fix the issue is not very user-friendly.  Anyway, if you are up to it, here is the code you add at the end of your embedded code that YouTube provides:

param name="rel" value="0"

I’m going to continue following up on this topic and will report any updates as I find them.  Not having control over content that plays within your own site is just not acceptable.  You may want to look into Vimeo.com as an alternative for embedding your videos in your online marketing.

Duck – Incoming!! Inbound Marketing Puts Your Site in Customer’s Sights

Hubspot has a nifty article explaining inbound marketing that I wanted to share.  If you are not aware of inbound marketing, it is a concept you will want to know more about as it will help put the value of your website’s marketing potential in perspective.  Instead of seeking out customers with traditional methods of marketing, inbound marketing makes customers seek you out instead.

Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing Article

The Best Social Media Platforms For SEO

I saw an interesting poll on SEOmoz.org where they asked what social media platforms netted the best SEO return on investment.  An informal poll, but the results are interesting none the less. Here is the results so far:seopoll

Social bookmarking websites, such as StumbleUpon, was the big winner followed by social networking websites and social news websites coming in a close third.  Social Microblogging is just squeaking in a 4th place ranking, but expect this platform to continue to increase as sites like Twitter become more mainstream.