Francisco Espinosa

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Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Study: Most Brands Still Irrelevant on Twitter

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Marketers Are Certainly Tweeting, but Users Are Barely Listening

Article by: Michael Learmonth
Published: July 27, 2010

NEW YORK ( — Attention brands: Twitter users aren’t talking to you or about you. In fact, they barely know you exist. The most mentioned brands on Twitter tend to be there because they are part of constant daily conversation, not because of anything the brand is or isn’t doing on Twitter.
That’s one of the conclusions of a six-month analysis of the service’s ubiquitous 140-character messages conducted by digital agency 360i and released today.

Despite marketers’ embrace of the medium, brands are finding themselves on the outside of the conversation. Of the 90% of Twitter messages sent by real people — the other 10% come from businesses — only 12% ever mention a brand, and most of those mentions are of Twitter itself.

Further, only 1% of consumer tweets that mention a brand are part of an active conversation with that brand, meaning marketers are, for the most part, conducting one-way conversations — the opposite of the way consumers often use Twitter.

The most mentioned brands on Twitter tend to be there because they are part of a constant daily conversation, not because of anything the brand is or isn’t doing on Twitter. The most mentioned brands on Twitter are, in descending order, Twitter, Apple, Google, YouTube, Microsoft, Blackberry, Amazon, Facebook, Snuggie, eBay and Starbucks.

Embedded in the culture
Snuggie is the surprise brand on the list, but that appears to reflect the brand’s place in the culture, not its own Twitter activity. Official Snuggie profile @OriginalSnuggie has just 591 followers and @WeezerSnuggie, an account set up to promote the once-popular Weezer video, has just 693 followers and has been dormant since November.

After spending six months going over a statistically significant sample of 1,800 tweets, 360i Senior-VP Sarah Hofstetter was struck at just how mundane and personal they were. “They’re mostly doing what people mocked Twitter about in the first place, as in, what I had for lunch.”

The vast majority of real people’s tweets, 94%, are personal in nature. Most tweets, 85%, are original and not re-tweets of other messages. They’re also very often conversational: 43% of tweets begin with an “@” sign, meaning they’re directed at another user, not the sender’s followers at large.

While marketers such as Dell, Comcast, Ford and Starbucks have been, at times, clever participants on Twitter, the majority of marketers use it as a mini press-release service. Only 12% of messages from marketers are directed at individual Twitter users, meaning marketers still see it as a broadcast medium rather than a conversational one.

Showing up isn’t enough
“There is still a misperception that if brands show up, people will listen to them, kind of like Facebook a few years ago,” Ms. Hofstetter said. “Twitter can be used as a promotional RSS feed, but that’s not going to establish a relationship with anybody.”

The study was conducted before Twitter took any advertising, from October 2009 through March 2010. Twitter has since rolled out a series of ad units including promoted tweets and trends. Ms. Hofstetter said the ads are great to help boost things already popular on Twitter. “They are only going to work if they are relevant in the first place,” she said.

Twitter posts are intrinsically navel-gazing, conversational and personal, but they aren’t predominantly self-promotional. Depending on your circle of connections, it can certainly feel, as Wired’s Evan Ratliff noted, that “self-aggrandizement” is “standard fare” on Twitter. But the 360i study found only 2% of tweets were professional updates or career-related.

What do Twitter users talk about? Beyond the 43% of individuals’ tweets that are conversational, 24% are status updates, 12% are links to news or comment on current events, and 3% are seeking or giving advice.

The good news for brands is that when a consumer does mention them on Twitter, they’re usually not complaining about it. Only 7% of tweets mentioning brands indicated negative sentiment, 11% positive and an overwhelmingly 82% neutral.

Written by Francisco Espinosa

July 28th, 2010 at 7:03 am

Posted in Social Media,Tech

U.S. government launches 17 mobile apps

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Article by: Amy Gahran has unveiled a slew of free mobile apps that provide information about product recalls, most-wanted criminals and other federal government information and services.

Most of these tools aren’t standalone software; instead, they use information from interactive websites optimized to work well in “microbrowsers,” the small-size, limited-functionality web browsers that come with many mobile phones.

As far as access to government is concerned, mobile-friendly websites are a very good thing. That’s because, as I wrote earlier, the vast majority of U.S. mobile phones in use are not smartphones with full-featured browsers. Also, mounting wireless network congestion can make standard websites frustrating to use on smartphones.

Mobile-friendly, low-bandwidth sites are based on Wireless Application Protocol standards. Such sites can offer useful, personalized features and functions similar to smartphone apps. However, a vastly larger audience of mobile users can access and use WAP sites.

You don’t need a smartphone, a data plan or even a high-speed data connection (3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, etc.) to use a WAP site, just a phone with a mobile web browser and an ordinary cell network connection.

There are 17 apps listed on To help you decide which app version is best for your phone, I’ve compiled this app directory by mobile platform.

A few highlights:

Most are WAP sites: Twelve of the apps are available as WAP sites, and most of these (nine) are available only as WAP sites. Also, although the Product Recalls app is listed as offering a mobile-friendly site, in fact is a standard website that will display very poorly on most web-enabled mobile phones (non-smartphones).

iPhone apps: The FBI Most Wanted app, the NASA app, the BMI calculator and the White House app are available only as iPhone apps. Two other apps (MyTSA and U.S. Postal Service Tools) offer iPhone versions in addition to WAP sites.

Two Android apps: Product Recalls and UV Index

One BlackBerry app: Only the UV Index app has a BlackBerry version. This is a little surprising, since the RIM BlackBerry is by far still the most popular smartphone in the U.S. But, of course, all the WAP sites will display well on any of the BlackBerry browsers.

More mobile apps are coming as both government agencies and third-party developers find new ways to put government to work in your hand.

Written by Francisco Espinosa

July 6th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Posted in Social Media,Tech

90+ Essential Social Media Resources

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Article by: Matt Silverman

Now you’ve gone and done it. You’ve come across a list so enormous, so useful, and so awesome, our futile attempts to describe it have been lost in the tubes of cyberspace.

We’ll just say this: No matter what you’re into — Twitter, Facebook, Mobile Apps, Business Development, or good-old-fashioned YouTube hilarity — you will find it below.

So put down your barbeque, send out another huge thanks to our men and women in uniform, and limber up your scrolling finger — it’s a big one.

Social Media

* HOW TO: Disable Facebook’s “Instant Personalization” [PRIVACY]
New menus on the Facebook home page this week took users by surprise, and left many concerned about the privacy implications of being suddenly more “connected” to their favorite sites and interests. If you’re looking for ways to opt out of these new features, this guide will show you how.

* HOW TO: Spring Clean Your Twitter Account
An untended Twitter feed can quickly become overgrown with useless tweets and dead weight users. These great tools will help you streamline your Twitter account in no time.

* How Freelancers are Using Social Media for Real Results
Social media can be a boon for those who make their living gig-to-gig. Sheer networking is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to landing work via the social web. We spoke to freelancers in a variety of fields to find out how they make it happen.

* 9 Essential Social News and Bookmarking Sites for Designers
The design community is always hungry for content, inspiration, and tutorials. These nine networks are a great place to discover and share creative resources.

* 4 Ways One Non-Profit Uses Location to Increase Engagement
The National Wildlife Federation has been getting creative with their social media awareness campaigns, particularly when it comes to location-based technologies. This post discusses some of their innovations.

* Tim Ferriss: 7 Great Principles for Dealing with Haters
For all the personal connections and open sharing done on social networks, you’ll always find a fair share of scathing negativity. Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week, gave a talk at The Next Web ‘10 event in Amsterdam, and had these seven points to share on the subject.

* Gowalla CEO Talks About the Future of Social Media [INTERVIEW]
We sat down with Josh Williams to discuss the origins of his location-based network, and what current trends in the space mean for the future.

* 5 Free Services for Pre-Scheduling Your Twitter Updates
Whether for marketing purposes, event promotion, or just keeping your account fresh while you’re on vacation, a tweet scheduler can be a handy tool. Check out these five great ones, all of them free.

* How Twitter’s New Media Blog Aims To Teach By Example
Twitter’s new blog highlights news organizations with smart Twitter integration in the hope of becoming a resource for the media. We spoke with Twitter about their strategies and goals.

* Top 10 LEGO Movie Tributes on YouTube
Those stop-motion goodies are back, this time reenacting our favorite flicks in all their colorful plastic glory.

* Top 10 YouTube Cover Songs
For better or worse, YouTube has become the ultimate repository of musical tributes. From guys in their bedrooms, to a capella cleverness, to guitar-wielding toddlers, this hand-picked list highlights some of the best around.

* 5 Ways to Support World Malaria Day Online
The fight to end malaria in the developing world has become a rallying cause on the social web. Check out these five easy ways you can make a difference online.

* How Non-Profits are Using Social Media for Real Results
Social media has become an essential tool for non-profits in their efforts to spread awareness and raise funds. Check out some real-world examples of how some organizations have put the social web to good use.

* Why Content Curation Is Here to Stay
At times, content creators and content curators have been at odds. But the sheer volume of “stuff” and noise on the web has made curation essential. This post discusses the status of the curator on today’s social web.

* Social Enterprise: 5 Tips for Getting Execs on Board
There’s no longer much question about whether corporations need to be engaged in social media, but convincing the head honchos of the value can be challenging. We spoke to some of the top names in social strategy and got some great tips on bringing the boardroom up to speed.

* How Does Twitter’s New Social Good Initiative Stack Up?
The recent launch of Twitter’s Hope140 campaign has already done some good for important causes, but how effective is it when compared to other social awareness and fundraising campaigns? This post discusses the pros and cons of tweet-based charity.

* 5 Ways Facebook’s Open Graph Will Impact E-commerce
Facebook’s new Open Graph technology could dramatically change how we interact with the web, especially when it comes to online shopping. These five predictions lay out what to expect from your favorite e-commerce sites in the near future.

* Top 10 Wedding Dance Videos on YouTube
If you think you’ve seen some crazy nuptials, check out some of these dance moves, immortalized forever in the hallowed halls of YouTube.

* HOW TO: Find Long Lost Friends on Facebook
400 million people are using Facebook. If you’re looking for someone, chances are you can find them there. Here’s how to do it.

* HOW TO: Make the Most of Your Twitter Profile Page
There’s a lot more to Twitter than just sharing your favorite foods in 140 characters. If you’re looking to make an impression with your profile page, check out these tips.

* 5 Ways Government Works Better With Social Media
Social media has the potential to make government more transparent and accessible. Here are five examples of how the social web can improve public services.

* 8 Tips for a Successful Social Media Cause Campaign
Social networks can provide unprecedented reach to non-profits and their partner companies, but there are some strategies to note before diving into the next campaign. Check out these eight tips.

* 4 Tips for Integrating Social Media Into the Classroom
Education has long faced resistance to new technologies, but social media can be a great resource in the classroom. Here are some tips on bringing it to the fore.

* Top 5 Social Media Tips for C-Suite Execs
While your web-savvy employees may be hip to social media, getting upper management on board can be challenging. We gathered some expert advice, and lay out the value proposition in this post.

* Why the Fashion Industry Loves Foursquare
Lifestyle brand Diesel recently launched a fairly tacit Foursquare campaign that demonstrates the great marketing potential for location-based services. This post details where they succeeded, and where they fell short.

* Why Hasn’t Location Reached the Mainstream Yet?
Despite all the buzz about location-based services, most people don’t use them. Here are some of the reasons why, and a few predictions about the future of the trend.

* HOW TO: Turn Slacktivists into Activists with Social Media
Non-profit Twitter and texting campaigns may be tapping thousands of new cause contributors, but is a $10 SMS really where their engagement ends? This post speaks to how non-profits can deepen that connection through social media.

* Social Media Parenting: Raising the Digital Generation
Who are your kids friending on Facebook, and how much online time is too much? We asked the experts to weigh in on some concrete strategies for raising the first fully digital generation.

* HOW TO: Get Notified When Someone Hacks Your Facebook
Did you know that Facebook can alert you when someone logs into your account from an unknown computer? Follow these simple profile steps to set up this important security feature.

* In Defense of Facebook
With all the vitriol surrounding Facebook’s latest privacy gaffs, this post takes a moment to look at the people most responsible for our online privacy — ourselves.

* How Facebook Makes Edgy Concepts Mainstream
Two years ago, the thought of sharing your location or credit card purchase history online would have seemed ridiculous. Today, it grows ever more mainstream thanks to major social networks like Facebook that make these early-adopter trends more comfortable for the average user.

* Why Twitter Needs to Do More to Save Trending Topics
Twitter recently amended its trending topics algorithm in the hopes of producing more relevant and newsworthy results. But is this an interference in the natural development of popular topics? And is Twitter doing enough to remain a relevant source of real-time news? This post takes a hard look.

* How the U.S. Engages the World with Social Media
You might be surprised to learn that the U.S. Department of State and many of its embassies around the world are having great success shaping America’s image abroad through social media. We spoke with some of the diplomats and officials who are making a difference through Twitter and Facebook.

* 21 Rules for Social Media Engagement
If you’re creating a social media policy for your business, or even your personal brand, these 21 points are a surefire way to stay on track and on message in an online world full of noise.

* 5 Innovative Websites That Could Reshape the News
While traditional journalism remains in upheaval, a handful of startups have provided a glimpse at what the future of news gathering might look like on the social web. Whether these models are sustainable remains to be seen. Check out this post for look at some of these innovators.

* 5 Essential Facebook Privacy Tips
If you’re not cognizant of your Facebook privacy settings, you may be broadcasting things to the world (or even certain groups of friends or family) that you may not have intended. Note these important settings to ensure you stay in control of your social data.

* How Social Media is Changing Government Agencies
Agencies around the world are finding that social media is more than a broadcast medium. Active engagement can serve the public in important ways. Here are some examples.

* EXCLUSIVE: Behind the Scenes at the “Married on MySpace” Wedding [VIDEO]
We got an exclusive chance to go behind the scenes at the actual wedding of winning couple Dehlia and Graeham Ford-Feliz.

* TwitPic Founder Talks About the Future of Twitter Photo Sharing [VIDEO]
TwitPic has become one of the most popular ways to share photos on Twitter. With a recent facelift and a lot of attention from prospective buyers, the company has some big plans in the works. We spoke to the founder, Noah Everett, to get his take on TwitPic’s rapid growth and future.


* 10 Killer Tips for Creating a Branded YouTube Channel
Video is the way to go for businesses on the social web. Be sure to give these rules a run-down before embarking on a branded YouTube adventure.

* 10 Dos and Don’ts for Brands on Twitter
People expect different things from individuals and brands on Twitter, and crossing those streams could lead to a few common mistakes. Check out this list of tips to ensure your company plays by all the right rules.

* 5 iPhone Apps to Boost Productivity
With the right apps in tow, an iPhone can be productivity powerhouse. Check out these five recommendations.

* 5 Tips for Making Your Presentations More Social
Social media has opened up a wealth of opportunities to make business presentations more engaging. These five tips can transform your boring set of slides into a dynamic, real-time force of nature.

* What Twitter’s New Ad Model Could Mean for Small Business
It’s easy to see the potential for large companies like Starbucks to leverage Twitter’s new advertising model, but what about small businesses? This post discusses the options.

* 5 Simple Tools for a Paperless Office
Many small businesses are still beholden to paper for a variety of reasons, but there are some easy changes you can make to your document systems to dramatically reduce that consumption. Check out these tools and apps that can get your business moving in a greener (and cheaper) direction.

* 4 Ways Foursquare Can Improve Your Workplace
Though mainly thought of as a location-based social game, Foursquare is showing some big internal potential for companies. Build camaraderie, enthusiasm, and knowledge among your team. This post can show you how.

* HOW TO: Cultivate Your Brand’s Super Users
The customers who already use and love your product could be the most influential spokespeople for your brand. This post discusses how to identify these super users, and how to make the most of their passion.

* HOW TO: Make Sure You’re Tracking the Right Data
The flood gates are open on social data, and if marketers don’t pay attention to the right things, the volume can easily get overwhelming. Here are some tips for honing in on the data the really matters to your marketing strategy.

* What Facebook’s Open Graph Means for Your Business
Facebook’s latest big changes have big ramifications for marketers and businesses with a presence on the network and the web at large. Find out what these developments mean for your social strategy in this post.

* 10 Essential Tips for Building Your Small Biz Team
Your business’s most important asset is your team, and hiring the right individuals can be a challenge. Check out this advice in your hunt for that new slam dunk employee.

* 5 Ways Small Businesses Can Leverage LinkedIn’s New Features
LinkedIn’s new social feeds mean more opportunities to share and connect on the business network. Here are 5 tips for making the most of these new features.

* HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Offline Networking Events
While online social networking is all well and good, don’t forgo an opportunity to translate your online reach into a meaningful offline connection. This post has some great pointers.

* Why Co-Working Makes Sense for Small Businesses
Co-working is a great way for your small business to save on overhead costs while leveraging the natural synergies between your team and other professionals working out of the same space.

* 10 Must-Have BlackBerry Apps for Small Business
The king of business mobile devices can do a lot more than just send e-mail and make calls. These 10 apps can boost your productivity, and keep you connected on the go.

* The Local Advertising War Will Be a Clash of the Internet Titans
Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and even Foursquare are on track for a cataclysmic battle for location-based advertising dollars. Here’s a look at where we stand, and what to expect.

* 5 Ways Small Businesses Can Use Tech to Save Money
If you’re looking to trim a few dollars from this quarter’s budget, the resources you need may be starting back at you from you from this very screen. Check out these penny-pinching tech tips.

* How Venture Capitalists are Using Social Media for Real Results
While you probably won’t learn the nitty-gritty details of a deal on Twitter, VCs and angels use social media extensively for research, promotion and other purposes. This post explores some of their strategies.

* Which Department Owns Social Media?
Does a company’s social media presence belong to the marketing department? Customer service? Legal? We asked the experts how they categorize the versatile medium for business.

* 13 Essential Tips for Landing a Job on LinkedIn
Are you effectively managing your LinkedIn profile? Here are 13 tips for making yourself visible and presentable on the business network.

* HOW TO: Market Your Small Business With No Budget
The social web makes it more cost-effective than ever to get the word out about your business, no matter what industry you’re in. We spoke to the experts for their cost-cutting tips.

* 4 Tips for B2B Marketing on Facebook
Even if you sell to other businesses, Facebook can still be a great place to engage customers and drive sales. Check out these four strategies.

* Why Your Company Needs to Embrace Social CRM
Social media is changing the rules of customer engagement. Your company needs to understand and embrace Social CRM to meet the needs of the new social customer. This post discusses how.

* 5 Surprising Social Media Business Success Stories
When most think of social media for business, fun, consumer-facing brands come to mind. But what about B2B and niche products? These five success stories may surprise you.

* 5 More Simple Tools for a Paperless Office
Looking for ways to reduce your small business’ carbon footprint and operating costs? Cut your paper consumption with these five web-based services.


* 4 Reasons the iPhone Is a (Video)Game Changer
The iPhone has truly taken the video game world by storm, and there’s plenty yet to explore in mobile gaming. Check out this analysis of the current trends, and what they might mean for the future of the industry.

* HOW TO: Turn Your Android Phone Into a Killer MP3 Player
If you shun the iMusic lifestyle, you can still keep all your favorite tunes at your fingertips with an Android device. This post will show you how.

* Top 10 iPhone Apps for TV Fanatics
Whether you’re addicted to Lost, or have taken up the guilty pleasure of Gossip Girl, there are great TV tie-in apps that will keep you up to date, and tapped into some great bonus materials.

* 8 Best Android Apps for Health and Fitness
Whether you’re looking to get in shape or stay that way, your mobile device can help. The Android Market is full of health-minded apps that can keep you on track toward physical fitness. This post reviews eight of the best.

* 10 Free iPhone Apps To Learn A New Skill In 10 Minutes
Have you ever wanted to learn origami, CPR, or Morse Code? There are apps for those, and many more skills, so fire up your iPhone and check out this list of freebies.

* How Mobile Technology is Affecting Local News Coverage
The news-gathering game has changed, thanks to the ubiquity of smart, multipurpose handhelds. Whether you’re using your own device to report and disseminate the news, or you’re tapping a social web of mobile updates and Twitpics for sources, the mobile-savvy journalist is out at the front of the industry.

* 7 Ways Journalists Can Use Foursquare
While Twitter and Facebook have been established as great places to make and break news, Foursquare’s growing popularity offers some interesting location-based opportunities for journalists.

* 8 Best Android Apps for Photo Editing
Looking to add a few tricks to your Android’s photography bag? Check out these eight apps that will have you cropping, filtering, and snazzing up those mobile snaps in no time.

* How the Next iPhone Will Improve Your Productivity
The upcoming release of the new iPhone and its accompanying OS upgrade means a lot of important changes for power users. Here’s a breakdown of the key features.


* HOW TO: Give Your Inbox a Master Cleanse
If your inbox is bursting with social media notifications, useless newsletters, and unsolicited messages, you’re certainly not alone. Use these tactics to bring your unread count back into a reasonable realm.

* HOW TO: Secure Your WordPress Blog
WordPress is certainly a secure platform right out of the proverbial box, but there are always ways to protect your blog or site from the more nefarious denizens of the web. Heed these tips for more secure blogging.

* 5 Real-Time Location Trends to Watch
The location game is heating up faster than you may think. Keep on top of things by noting these important trends, as relayed by Joe Stump, CTO of SimpleGeo, who spoke at The Next Web ‘10 event in Amsterdam.

* Why Schools are Turning to Google Apps
The state of Oregon has made the bold move to embrace Google Apps for its entire education system. The reasons and benefits are compelling, and could open up a wealth of possibilities for schools around the country.

* 8 Ways to Repurpose Your Old Electronics
Why toss your obsolete gadgets in the landfill when you could transform them into art, data storage, and other useful items? Here are eight suggestions for keeping your gadget habit in the green.

* 5 Quick Tips to Solicit Useful Design Feedback
Designers can (and should) take their work very personally, but this often makes it hard to receive constructive criticism. Here are five easy ways to get the feedback you need to keep a project moving forward.

* 5 Charities for Donating Your Old Electronics
Just because you no longer have a use for your second generation iPod doesn’t mean it should be headed for the scap heap. Take a moment to note these charities where your old gadgets can be put to new use.

* 7 Ways to Customize Your Real Life Online
Sometimes, a startup can offer unique products that a big retailer or e-commerce outfit just can’t. These seven websites will customize all sorts of cool stuff — from shoes, to chocolate, to pet food.

* 10 Awesome Webcam Feeds From Around the World
Live webcams offer a real-time, remote glimpse at some interesting locations. We’ve hand picked these ten great ones for your viewing pleasure.

* How Big Live Promises Big Change for Online Music Fans
The soon-to-be-launched service Big Live aims to bring concert enthusiasts together on a social network-style platform. This post outlines some of the offerings of this ambitious project.

* NFC Technology: 6 Ways It Could Change Our Daily Lives
Near field communication technology, which enables data to be transferred between mobile devices at close range, has been around for some time. Recently, it has been gaining traction as a practical way to shop, do business, and more. Check out these examples that could become commonplace in the near future.

* 5 Great Ways to Find Music That Suits Your Mood
There are plenty of ways to generate a playlist based on artist, song, or genre. But what if you just need a tune-stream for a broken heart, or an energizing workout? These five web apps can do it with a few clicks.

* Why Much of Your Favorite TV Content Still Isn’t Online
With web video consumption growing, why has TV been so reluctant to fully embrace online viewership? We spoke to researchers and TV executives for some answers.

* HOW TO: Add Facebook “Like” Buttons to Your WordPress Blog
This post goes over several ways to implement Facebook’s “Like” buttons and other social plugins into your hosted WordPress blog or website, so that you can hook into the Facebook social graph.

* WordPress 3.0: The 5 Most Important New Features
The official launch of WordPress 3.0 is almost here, and it packs a host of excellent new features. Peruse this list to find out what all the hubbub is about.

* 6 Free Websites for Learning and Teaching Science
Release your inner science nerd and check out some of the web’s wonderful free resources for the pursuit of knowledge about our world. From genetics, to robots, to the infinite cosmos, these sites abound with information for students, teachers, and the just plain curious.

* 10 Awesome Vintage Video Games You Can Play Online
We dare you not to kill some time with these fabulous classics from gaming’s golden yesteryears. Strap in and click through to start reliving your former 8-bit glory.

* 5 Tools For Integrating HTML5 Video in Your Website
HTML5 is coming, and with it the coded potential to displace Flash as a viable medium for web video. These tools will get you rolling with the new format.

* Five Amazing App and Gadget Demos from Google I/O [VIDEO]
Google and its partners are rolling out some amazing new products and toys in the near future. We were on the ground at the I/O conference to get a hands-on video look at some of these developments.

Written by Francisco Espinosa

June 3rd, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Posted in Social Media,Tech

Knitting Together Your Website, Email, and Social Media Content

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Article by: Beth Kanter

You put up a website way back when, then started sending out an email newsletter. Now you’ve added social media. If you feel like your online marketing strategy is made up of a bunch of loose ends, you aren’t alone.

Here are three steps to knit those strings together into an integrated online strategy both you and your supporters will love.

Step 1: Connect Everything
Give yourself some link love! Make sure that you have social media icons connecting to your various profiles in your website template. You can find hundreds of free icon sets online – with styling to match any website — by searching for “free social media icon set.” Add the icons to your email newsletter templates and social media links to your email signatures. Add “share” buttons to your website pages and email newsletters too.

On your social media profiles, include links back to your home page and your newsletter archive and subscribe pages. Where you can, embed your email signup form into your social media profiles.
Ensure that some basic branding (e.g. logos, colors, taglines) are consistent throughout. You shouldn’t try to make your Facebook page or email newsletter look just like your website, but they should match enough that we can tell they represent the same organization.

This may seem like a very basic step, but the reality is that few nonprofits have effectively connected all the pieces of their online presence. Your supporters should be able to effortlessly travel between your website, blog, email newsletter, and social media profiles without having to hunt down those connections. And what they see as they travel from place to place should be consistent.

Step 2: Share Across Channels
With everything connected, now you can start thinking about ways to strengthen the bonds between your online channels, which encourages your supporters to move between them and to connect with you in multiple ways.

The more channels you can use to reach a supporter, the more likely they are to see your updates, to engage in conversation, and to build a positive image of and rapport with your organization.
As you develop your editorial calendar and think about what to say and where to say it, keep in the mind the strengths and weaknesses of various channels. You want to share the same basic message across all channels, but you’ll often vary the specific call to actions.
For example, if you are working on a fundraising campaign, email is a better bet than social media for the direct ask for the donation, with highly visible links back to a campaign landing page and donation form on your website.

But what if you want supporters to connect with others who are also giving to the same campaign? That’s where social media can be highly effective. For example, on your thank-you pages and follow-up emails, you could encourage your supporters to share a story about why they are giving to your cause on your Facebook wall. Both calls to action – donate in email and share in social media – support the overall campaign by capitalizing on the strengths of the two different channels.

Step 3: Reinforce What Works
Track how supporters are engaging with you through various channels online. What are they doing and where are they doing it? What paths are the taking as they move between your website, blog, email, and social media profiles? What types of content seem to work best in your email newsletter versus your blog or Twitter?

Also think about ways you can reuse content across channels. Listen to the conversations and bring what you learn back into new content. Can you post a question on Facebook or Twitter and use the conversation there to guide the creation of a blog post?

You shouldn’t silo your offline marketing from your online marketing, and you shouldn’t silo your website, email, and social media marketing either. Knit those loose ends together and you’ll weave a stronger community of supporters around your good cause.

Written by Francisco Espinosa

June 3rd, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Posted in Social Media,Tech

25 Characteristics of Highly Effective Social Media Campaigns

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Article by: kwame boame

There is so much rock and roll going on involving businesses running social media campaigns. However, there are not many social media rockstars. Their guitars vary. Some rock hard and some… not so hard. Some even have broken guitar strings. We don’t notice the size of their guitars though. What we notice is the kind of music they produce.

There are certain characteristics that differentiate the effective social media campaigns from the boring ones. You need to learn these characteristics if you also want to be effective with your campaigns.

Don’t worry if your ’strings’ are broken. You can fix it.

Here are 25 characteristics of highly effective social media campaigns (from the rockstars) and some tips to help you rock like them.

1) They spread like wildfire. Effective social media campaigns spread very fast. If your campaign is not spreading, it is not effective. Test the waters with micro campaigns. Learn to swim before attempting to ride the big waves.

2) They are not spammy. Don’t just promote your site links; share something insightful about your company or product. Don’t send out the same message to your community. It is spam…and it is very annoying to them. Even to you. Admit it.

3) They provide value. Value can come in the both physical and mental forms. Effective campaigns provide value in any or both of these regards.

4) They are well branded. Clothe your campaign from head to toe with your company’s identity. Use your logo, your USP or slogans, your colors, and any other thing that defines your business’s identity. Add your brand to every video you produce; don’t add just your website address.

5) They are measured. You need to track your social media marketing efforts. Whether you install Google Analytics on your Facebook fan page or you use Post rank to measure your effectiveness, make sure you work with the data.

6) They have excellent copy. Leave a positive impression in just a few words. Using big vocabulary is not the way to go; making sense is what matters.

7) They don’t ‘sell’. Instead of selling, you should work at generating leads with your social media campaign. Sell to those leads later on.

8 ) They build relationships. Don’t just broadcast. Interact. Building relationships helps build even more relationships. It also increases the perception of value and builds loyalty.

9) They build trust. Be as honest in your campaign as possible. Trust is very hard to earn back once lost. Your campaign should build and maintain trust in your build.

10) They are innovative. Regular campaigns mostly go unnoticed. Innovation adds ‘flavor’ to your campaign. It is the aroma of your campaign and the one thing that will convince most people to take action.

11) They have ears. Your campaign will not be successful unless you listen for feedback. People may have something to say so listen and show appreciation or let them know you are working on it. Never delete a negative feedback.

12) They are well organized. Your campaign needs to be well planned. It should have a first step and an nth step (where n is the number of the last step). Follow through from step 1 through to step n. Don’t go from step one to step 3 to step 2. Plan your steps well so it is easy to follow through step 1 to the last step.

13) They are maintained by humans. Don’t rely on automation when it comes to marketing on the social web. It just won’t work. Besides, it destroys trust. Put a human being in front of, in-between and behind all your social media campaigns. I want to talk to a human being not a robot.

14) They are consistent. You need to be consistent with your update (or broadcast) schedules and interact with people who leave replies and comments. If you broadcast once a week and change to 5 times a day, people will begin to question your actions. Unless you give them good reason why you have changed your schedule.

15) They have bait. You need to have some sort of bait to convert visitors into leads. Try eBooks, free products, white papers, discount codes, samples, free vouchers, et cetera. Bait them to get them.

16) They use leverage. They leverage the subscriber bases of their communities and other people’s communities. They also leverage their company strengths.

17) They include a blog. I suggest you have a business blog before you start your campaign. Your blog should be the hub of your social media campaign efforts. Make you install social media sharing buttons to make it easier for others to share your blog’s content.

18) They engage other blogs. You can do this too. Apply as a guest writer for blogs in your target market. Read blogs in your niche and leave thoughtful comments (not just a “thank you”).

19) They are not everywhere. If you want your campaigns to be successful, don’t register for an account on every social media site. That will only burn you out and your campaigns will be fruitless.

20) They have humor. Adding humor to marketing is a cool way of saying “we are a friendly business”. It makes your marketing memorable. A priceless result.

21) They share company events. If your company is being bad mouthed, tell your customers about it. Tell them the truth in it and the lies. Don’t give them the chance to second guess your company. If your company is nominated for an award, tell your community about it. If your company wins the award, tell them. If you lose the award, tell them.

22) They integrate offline marketing. Print some T-Shirts, with your logo, Twitter handle, Facebook fan page URL and your slogan on it and give them out to your customers. Send out paper printed catalogs to your online leads. Add your Twitter and Facebook URLs to your contact address. Integrate offline with online.

23) They use the right networks. Even though Facebook supports videos, video campaigns will do better on Youtube than on Facebook.

24) They use photos and videos. Photos and videos leave a lasting impression on peoples’ minds. The best photo you can use is your logo. When you make a video, put your logo on it.

25) They have a call to action. What is the essence of a marketing campaign without having a call to action of some sort? I suggest you use your social marketing campaigns to generate leads before trying to sell anything. By the way, “signup below” and “call us now” are not the only call to action examples. “Click to view our portfolio” is an example of call to action. Your call to actions must follow a sequence; from your homepage to the last page.

Written by Francisco Espinosa

June 3rd, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Posted in Social Media,Tech

11 Tips You Can Use Today to Improve Your SEM Campaigns

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Omniture Webinar – 11 Tips You Can Use Today to Improve Your SEM Campaigns

How to save time, improve efficiency and drive more relevant traffic. In this webinar, you’ll find 11 search engine marketing strategies that will help you increase your search engine marketing ROI.

Preview of some content:
Mike Deckman, Marketing Manager, Vintage Tub & Bath

Mike Deckman serves as Internet Marketing Manager for Vintage Tub & Bath, an Internet Retailer Top 500 company and America’s largest private retailer of clawfoot bathtubs. Since joining Vintage Tub & Bath in 2007, Mike led his team through advanced in-house SEO, SEM, Affiliate, and SCE tactics that resulted in consistent double-digit growth for the company.

Written by Francisco Espinosa

June 1st, 2010 at 7:14 am

Posted in Social Media,Tech

Five Quick Tips for Successful Online Video Marketing

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Article by: Troy Dreier

Creating great content is one thing, getting it noticed is another. Here are five steps you can take to reach the widest possible audience.

1. Add Subtitles
If you’re trying to reach people in office environments, keep in mind that they may well have the volume off on their computers. Those cloth cubicles don’t block sound and people don’t want to disturb their neighbors. Add subtitles, so the viewer can read along, and they’ll likely watch longer.

2. Make Embedding Easy
It might seem risky to let your videos play on other Web sites, but you’ll get a lot more traffic that way. If you’re offering compelling content, let your viewers share it. The positive word of mouth will do your company good.

3. Remember Metadata
Many of your viewers will come from search results, so make your videos easy to find. Make sure your work is titled well and that you use specific keywords to describe it in the metadata. Leave out the metadata and you’re throwing away hits.

4. Use, but Don’t Abuse, Social Networks
Yes, you should absolutely have a Twitter account to tell viewers about new videos, but don’t make those the only messages you tweet. If you do nothing but push videos, people won’t want to follow you. Entertain with messages about what’s going on in your company or provide information on your industry, as well.

5. Don’t Expect Results
If you’re creating videos to push your company’s products or services, don’t try to turn every viewer into a buyer. That will result in hard-sell videos that no one wants to watch. Instead, deliver content that people will enjoy watching and simply try to create a positive image around your brand.

Written by Francisco Espinosa

May 18th, 2010 at 12:16 pm

The Three Types of Business Videos

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Article by: Troy Dreier

Before you get started creating videos for your business, take a minute to acquaint yourself with the three types of videos you can make. Each has its own purpose and own benefits.

To get a handle on the topic, we spoke to Steve Crow, executive producer and founder of Crow Digital Media, an online video production company based in Palo Alto, California. Crow has been shooting profiles, how-tos, and videocasts for the Silicon Valley area and beyond for three years, and was a web producer prior to that.

Viral videos get the most attention, since the media is constantly latching onto some bizarre new YouTube clip, but they’re the most challenging for companies to create.

A viral video is one that’s passed around from one viewer to the next, building an audience by word of mouth. They’re usually non-commercial, featuring some unusual event from daily life. But ever since there have been hot user-generated videos, there have been companies trying to bring the same heat to their online campaigns.

Even with producers well-versed in viral videos, however, the success of the video is simply out of your hands. There’s no way to ensure that a video goes viral. In the end, it’s up to the audience, says Crow, and he thinks the chance for success is narrow. You can film whatever unusual stunts you want, but you can’t make people recommend your work to their friends. If you’re doing something outlandish, just be sure you don’t hurt your brand. There could be a backlash for something tasteless or controversial, Crow says, although it would likely be only temporary.

Most people creating online business videos are creating conversion videos, where you try to convert a viewer to a buyer, or simply make the viewer take some kind of action, such as clicking a link or requesting information. That defines the category too narrowly, however, says Crow. Creating a positive image of the corporate brand is also a successful result.

Before any kind of conversion can take place, you need to create an emotional or trusting relationship between the organization and the viewer. It’s a mistake to think that online videos work like television commercials or, even worse, infomercials, says Crow. Don’t create a hype-filled, inauthentic campaign.

There are some basic mistakes that Crow sees over and over with conversion videos. Don’t forget to brand the video with your company’s name and logo. You can’t build a relationship if your viewers don’t know who’s behind the video. And be sure to include a firm call to action at the end.

Don’t neglect the educational, or how-to, video, says Crow, because a lot of viewers are searching for them. If your business gives you some kind of expertise, create videos and share it on YouTube and other video hosting sites. The more you share, he says, the more your online reputation grows. When people turn to YouTube to learn how to fix a tire or cook a pizza, they could be getting your branding with the instructions.

This type of video can be done quickly and in-house. Make sure the sound quality is good, as viewers won’t watch something with poor sound, but the production values can be basic. Keep running time to three minutes or less. Use a variety of shots to illustrate your points, and make sure viewers can clearly see what you’re talking about.

Written by Francisco Espinosa

May 18th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Webinar – How to Be a Video Blogging Powerhouse

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Join Steve Garfield and Gary Lombardo for a free webinar
May 20, 2010 at 2pm ET

Video blogging has become a top activity on the web, as online video has taken off as an effective way to communicate with an audience. Steve Garfield, author the recently released book, Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Business, is one of the web’s first video bloggers, having launched his own regular video blog in 2004. Since then, he’s become a leading expert and innovator with online video. Join Steve and Gary Lombardo of Brightcove, as they provide you with insight on what you need to do to be successful in building your business with video blogging.

Topics include:

* What equipment you will need to get started
* Tips on creating great videos and thinking like an editor
* Best practices in producing & publishing video on your blog
* Optimizing your video blogging efforts
* Examples of video bloggers that have become online powerhouses

Register for webinar at :: Click here to register.

Written by Francisco Espinosa

May 17th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Interesting Facebook Infographic

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Facebook Infographic

Written by Francisco Espinosa

May 14th, 2010 at 11:12 am

Posted in Social Media,Tech