The time between the holidays before the new year, are for most of use a time to reflect on the last year, to catch-up with reading list or new developments in the business world. We all do this in one way or other when we set our goals for the next year or next weeks.
Twitter has been a great resource tool for me and our team to learn about new tools, insights in other people’s work or great articles around the Internet on the curring edge between marketing and technology. Over the last few weeks I have used the Amplify Plattform to create a ongoing record, use their features to share not only articles but also comment on them as to why this is an important piece of information and why I like to share it. Here are the articles for the last week I would like to share with you.
Whether your goals are advertising, informing, galvanizing advocates or garnering Facebook “likes”, the QR code is ready to link up your audience to
Advanced Twitter Insights: @Joseph Stop following me Getting overwhelmed with the stream? Joseph Haslam gives you a fast insight in how he set-up the flood gates (Twitter Tools). A great graphic is posted on top of this blog. A still from the movie: Forest Gump running on a bridge with his followers.Clipped from www.phoenixstrat.com Twitter makes me feel a little like Forrest Gump. Who are […]
Don’t overlook your fans! This is were engagement with followers and fans really pays off: If you are able to motivate your most engaged followers to post your content, like the shared link, comment on your blog & retweet your twitterstream. Find a few ideas on How to Activate Your Brand’s Super Influencers
Rich Tehrani’s 9 Social CRM Tips For 2011 Most initiatives stop at #4 – However there is more. A great list of actions and questions by Rich Tehrani – Chairman of this year’s ITExpo in Miami Beach Convention Center Feb 2 + 3, 2011.
If you want to build truly influential relationships online, you have to find places where you can consistently add value, spend quality time and have engaging conversations with members of your target demographic. LinkedIn Groups offers one of the best ways to make the most of your social media engagement time, but you must adopt […]
A few days ago Groundswell author Josh Bernoff posted an updated version of the Social Technographics Ladder, the method to catogorize the activities intensity levels for Internet users on the participatory online space. With the update also came a change to include Twitter as a microblogging environment of it’s own kind, that seems to change engagement levels, in the eyes of Josh Bernoff.
The Social Technographics Ladder was first published in April 2007 introducing the concept and the first % for the various levels of activities on the Web 2.0 environment. The participatory online space covers sites that allow user generated content, such as the whole blog-o-spere, review sites like Yelp, content sharing sites, like Flickr, YouTube, social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, online forums, wikis and usage of aggregation and syndication.
The levels were:
Bernoff and Li stressed that these categories are not exclusive. There are overlaps and depending on the site and interest of the user, individuals move up and down the ladder. “People participate in multiple behaviors, and not everyone at a higher level on the ladder actually does everything in the lower rungs.” writes Josh Bernoff. This month’s announcement added the “Conversationalists” between the Critics and Creators, which makes it harder to compare previous published data and follow progression. The Internet space does not stay still. Or does it? It seems that the Inactives are subsiding from almost half to a sixth of the online adult population. Almost every one got the bug and the buzz. The Spectators seem to have reached the plateau around 70% and so have the Creators around 25%. The levels in between are fluid and with introducing a new category, are also not quite helpful any more. This Ladder seems to have run it’s course. It was interesting to watch the development over the last 3.5 years, when the socialnet, Web 2.0 finally went mainstream in about six, seven years of coming.
Below graphic shows the various activity levels in their development from April 2007 to October 2009 and January 2010.
Each Twitter Search has it’s own RSS Feed. Enter the keywords, click on the “Feed for this query” link and add it to your RSS Reader. TwitterSearch is probably the best way to familiarize yourself with Twitter, by searching for a topic of interest. Just entering a few keywords will show you a set of Twitter users, talking about your chosen topic. Click on their Avatar (= profile picture) to check out the “ppl” (= ackrynom for “people”), and their other tweets (= posts to Twitter).
Sometimes a group of people (ppl) tweeting about a topic agree on a so-called hash (#) tag and a twackrynom, to post together on a particular topic. Southwest Florida Twitterers (also called “tweeple”) post under #swflorida or #swfl. A trending topic right now is “#iranelection”. Tomorrow starts the AAUW Bi-Annual National Convention, and you can follow #aauw09. If you would like to review the Google I/O conference (end of May, 2009), search #googleio.
Take any RSS feed and auto-tweet it with TwitterFeed and add a bit.ly link to it to keep track of click actions. Twitterfeed.com will auto-post any RSS feed you deem fit to post, and will do so automatically. The feed can be from your blog, from a client’s blog or from any other RSS feed. Twitterfeed allows you to prefix and postfix the tweets. If you have an account and an API key for your url shortener, Twitterfeed will use it to shorten your blog url, and it will allow you to keep click-through statistics for your posted Twitter links.
RSSFriends allows you to look at your followers, friends and favorites differently. The twitter.com web site is so rudimentary, that there are literally hundreds of twitter applications out there that make up for the short comings of twitter.com.
Many people actually do not speak of twitter as a web site, but as a platform, and there are rumors that extending the API (application programming interface) for commercial use might be a better business model than plastering advertising all over it.
Take a walk with Birgit through the maze of Web site analytics options as she shows you how to track the effectiveness of your Web site for little or no cost.
Utilizing Technology For The Success of Your Business Shelly Osterhout, Founder CSA, Inc.
Shelly answers your questions on topics ranging from determining what type of computer system is best for your business needs to the changing state of technology and how to harness its power to grow your business.
Getting The Monkey Off Your Back Charlie Ingram, FounderVeritas Employer Services You started your business because you enjoy your business not all the administrative stuff that comes with it a lot of it legal or regulated, thereby required. Explore ways to free up your time while stillkeeping up with the paperwork? and making all those deadlines.
Using Social Media As A Tool To Build Your Business Theresa Ayers, Owner Get Smart Women Theresa shows you how to incorporate internet technology, creativity and innovation to maximize your company’s Web presence through the use of social media.
Do You See What I SEO? Mike Ricker, Owner Management Specialties Web Services, LLC Mike understands what it takes to maximize yourWeb site presence through the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and will answer your questions regarding ways to improve your standing on the Internet.
A few days back, I found this short post in my news feed on Facebook. I was already familiar with PACE Center for Girls, and was interested, but I found the post sharing the good news a bit anti-climactic. What happened was that my friend used a tiny link for the sharing. And, it was minimal information. If I want to be an advocate for an organization I care about, I want to be able to do better for them. I would like for my Facebook friends to have a richer experience and, by showing more enthusiasm, I have a better chance to convince my friends to also care about causes important to me. At the very least, I would like to give more information about the organization and the link, so they can make an educated decision about this post.
So, I followed the Tiny link, and landed on the archive page of PACE Center for Girls newsletter at Constant Contact.
On the top of the page, I found a Facebook sharing link, which I clicked on.
Another window opened with the Facebook postÂ section and information already filled in.
You’ll notice that Facebook pulls various pieces of information from the web page:
The page title
A short description from the page
An thumbnail of an image it found on the web page
Select arrows to switch to different thumbnails of images found on the web page
Hopefully, both the page title and description provide my friends with relevant information about the page. And, that an image illustrates the post as much is it illustrates the web page.
Let’ take a closer look at the image section of the post: Left of it, you see a picture grabbed from the web page. We all know how a good picture or graphic can augment information or a message we would like to convey. Facebook collects all the pictures it finds on the linked web page, and makes them available to browse through. It displays the first one, and then you get previous/next picture arrows, that let you browse through the whole array.
The same process happens if you don’t find a Facebook share button on a particular web page, but copy and paste the URL from your browsers address bar into the link box and click onAttach?.
Now that we’ve managed the link part, we can add our opinion and write about the reasons my friends should be interested in this web page. I can add a tag to the PACE Center for Girls’ Facebook page, too, and my facebook friends can stay on Facebook and find out more about the organization on their page. More ways to interact with the organization.
This a so much richer sharing experience; ultimately it serves your facebook friends as well as your favorite organization. Your facebook friends read more information on your profile, and also helps the organization you care about, by offering a richer representation on your profile.
Depending on the organization’s Facebook page settings, they might allow others to post to their page and show to their community of people who liked? it. In this case, the organization has opted to not allow for others to post to their page.
Be a better advocate! Share your trips and tricks in the comments, and let us know if your have questions.
Don’t you love how some website display PDFs stored on their website like books the flip pages right there in the screen and you can actually see two pages at a time just like in a magazine? We tested a few online tools, that have free versions. We find they all are very easy to use and thought out. And we thought we can as examples display our eBooks the same way. What features were we looking for:
Allow an easy upload PDF, Doc, PPT or other formats,
Provide HTML code to embedd the uploaded document in basic FlipBook for on a webpage, and
In previous posts, we’ve talked about how to create a more dynamic Facebook experience through tagging, and more effective ways to share information with your friends about the organizations and causes you care about. Now, we’ll address how to setup your Facebook page so that it appears more approachable, and is more interactive.
To access your page settings, click Edit Page:
First setting: Post to Wall
These are the most interactive and inclusive settings for a Facebook wall:
Under View Settings: The Default View for the wall is set to All Post?:
If you use the setting Only Posts by Page?, only those users who are admins are able to post, and they won’t be able to post references to your Facebook page on their personal profile. For instance, I am the admin for Naples Free-Net , a new page with about 12 people that “like” it. If I post on the Naples Free-Net wall, it will only reach 12 people. On my personal profile, I have 354 friends, roughly 50% of them are in Southwest Florida. Of course, and especially in the beginning stage, I would rather post under my own profile when I want to share something about Naples Free-Net, but I also would like the shout-out be posted on the Naples Free-Net wall.
This is the post from my personal profile, including the comment a good friend and a long time volunteer posted:
At the same time, it also appears on the Naples Free-Net page:
(Note to self: Tagging does not work in comments, only in wall posts.)
Another good example of this is the Golden Gate Civic Association (posted on my profile), with “Golden Gate Civic Association” tagged:
Because I am among the people who “like”, my tagging shows up on the Golden Gate Civic Association Facebook page. As soon as you click on the link, you will go directly to the Golden Gate Association page, as they have their wall page set as default view, you will see other postings by the association as well as other people interested in it.
We compared three web-based applications that support you in your quest to produce works for your various writing assignments. And, yes, nowadays everyone has writing assignments, from letters to clients, a seminar curriculum, a how-to blog post, or a story about your favorite non-profit. However, as soon as I sit in front of the computer, with all the windows open on my computer screen, (i.e., e-mail, browser, facebook, etc.), fighting for my attention, I get distracted. Sometimes, I just need to write and shield myself from the world. It seems I am not alone. There is, yet, another software available.
Here we start with DarkCopy. You can start using it from the very first page. Very quickly, I found the full screen mode button, so everything else on my computer screen disappeared, and I only saw my green on black letters, filling the screen. It feels like channeling a time traveler who is stuck in the eighties with a monochrome screen. I wonder, to myself, if I can change the green to amber? Nope.
No fluff, no features. Just go to the site, hit the full screen button, and start writing. Click on Save as file? and your text is saved on your hard drive. If your browser is set to save downloads into a default directory for download, that’s where you will find it afterwards.
No login, no registration. Easy, fast and focused. A rare, refreshing experience.
Next one up: Writer. Again with the neon green on black background retro look. And, again, the question, does this come in amber? Yes. Under Preferences, you can select different font colors, select from three different line spacing settings, and select from a list of a few different font families. OK. Go crazy, and procrastinate once more, (he, he, he).
The links on the bottom of the writing box disappear after a few seconds, until you hover over to explore and use them. Writer is a little more advance for the everyday writer. It gives you word and character count. I tested it for postings to the Twitterverse, however, this revealed that character count doesn’t help; it doesn’t count spaces, which do count towards your 140 limit in Twitter. It also gives you a rudimentary version control/auto-save on the bottom of the page. It prevents you from loosing your text in the heat of your writing frenzy. You’ll get a little more options, apart from the one click save we saw in DarkCopy. This one actually seems to save it on the site’s server and you can send it, download it, .pdf it (nicely done!), and print it right from the space there. On the bottom underneath the writing box you’ll find a running list of documents you created, with information on size, modified date and shared status. Shared? No, not social-media-shared. Keeping it easy, basic, it converts the document into a public web page.
Some of the feature, of course, can only be used after you create an account, so your choices can have a more permanent existence. The link “Lost your document?”, which is supposed to give me peace of mind, scared me a bit. Â Now, I need to download. The download ended up again in my default download folder on my hard drive, but only with the filename “document.txt” which makes it easy to overwrite as soon as I download another file. But, my browser is smarter, and it automatically changed the file to document(1).txt.
Creating an account, works painlessly. You don’t have to give out your e-mail address, type in your username and password of choice. No fiddling with password #%@%&*I rules. Despite the basic and prehistorical look, this program is more than a mere typewriter. If you write on a project for more than one session, it makes sense to register and create an account. Depending on the cookie settings on your browser and the state of the web, you might loose your fragmented text, brilliant thoughts and collection of ideas, otherwise. This was also a pleasant experience. With just enough customization options to not be a big complicated application, it is also very focused in letting you do your work.
Now the last one, seems to be the odd one out. On the first screen/page of the application, I can read all about how simple it is supposed to be, and what I can and can’t do. And, for attention holding purposes, there are some icons next to each bullet. Well, it’s not that easy. After DarkCopy and Writer, I was spoiled, I wanted to get down to the writing matter immediately, and be able to do it. Not with this one. First, have to have a Google account in order to use it. On login, I was assured not to worry about giving my Google password to this developer, as it wouldn’t be shared with the application, and only my e-mail address would be saved. Although, I knew about the Google App Engine, and that this is very well the case, but anybody else would not be so sure if she proceeded at this point. This assurance feels a little creepy. Now, that wouldn’t be all that bad for a simple application, but this is way too much hassle. And, I noticed I am not able to test it while writing this review. I am already a hundred words into my thoughts about the start up before I am able to do what I came to do: just write.
Once logged in, I have this space, and, at first, I missed it the retro eighties monochrome look. In comparison to the silent dark space, where my lettere appear magically in neon color, this black on white is very bright. It comes back to the early web days, when it was considered too bright to use white background, and one considered light letteres on dark background much easier to read. I haven’t thought about this for a long time. It seems it’s still true, when you want to concentrate on words. It has big buttons like Save/Print and revision history, which remind me of the document writer in Google Apps, and if I am that far, I would rather use that.
When I tried to use the full screen mode, it wanted to open a new window, and, of course my pop-up blocker busted it. And, that was it. My text file is not in the league of the other two programs, DarkCopy and Writer, which support the mere writing task. It does get in the way a lot. This is a total disappointment.
Just writing this post, while reviewing the three web applications, made Writer by BigHugeLabs.com the clear winner. It gets out of the way quickly and the set of features is exceptionally well balanced. Just enough to make me feel at home, and not too much to get me all distracted with a large number of decisions to make. It is a role model in application development: focused, direct and complete.
The web isn’t the only place that houses ˜distraction free writing tools”, and it’s not everyone’s favorite environment.
Here is a list of desktop applications, also free of charge.
We had very lively and interesting discussions throughout the 90 minutes presentation. Participating business owners contributed good questions and conclusions. As promised, the slide deck is published on slideshare.net for your self-study and for following up on all links mentioned during this event. Harry Looknanan and I also discussed some more ideas regarding an upcoming Social Networks Bootcamp for Business Owners. If you have particular topics or questions that you would like included, please post them in our comment section below. Also if you are interested in attending the Social Networks Bootcamp session, let us know and we will make sure that you will be notified.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011 11:30 am – 1:00 pm in Bonita Springs.
Crexent Business Center
27499 Riverview Center Boulevard, Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Register Now: http://goo.gl/8yeJ8
You will learn how to streamline your workload and how quality content can assist you with Search Engine Optimization, Email Marketing, Facebook, Twitter and others. After the workshop you will know how to make your website the central hub for yourÂ online activities.
Which Blog Software is right for me? How do I get started? Who can help me?
These are all valid questions! And there are no easy answers.
Most of the time your decision will depend on a few variables you will need to consider. And, sometimes, after writing (blogging) for a year or so you may decide your original assumptions are out of date or have changed.
What does one do then? Start over? Shell out more money to convert your original site?
Our team deals with a variety of different software writing/blogging packages – and we’ve tried many more. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. The world of Internet communication is filled with trade-offs.
So let’s get started…
My number one software for about 3 years is WordPress. It lets you start out as a small site, get up and running fast and keep growing. With the help of the community of this open-source platform, you are able to grow and increase the features set and sophistication of your web presence.
In 2012, there are 60 million websites built on top of WordPress. Fifteen percent the new domain names (URLs) set up last year use WordPress. It’s an easy choice when you have a new business and need a website: build it on top of WordPress, self-hosted.
But what if you have had a website and don’t have the time or funds to convert the site? Using a subdomain (blog.yourdomain.com) with any of the free services will get you started. When the time and circumstances are right, you can migrate the whole site into one content management system.
WordPress.com & WordPress self-hosted (WordPress.org) come from the same stable of open-source developers and migration from one to another is easy when your site matures.
We published last week an info graphic by WPBeginners that illustrated the main differences between a WordPress.com and a self-hosted instance of WordPress for your website. Read more here:
So the two top spots, in our view, are taken by WordPress self-hosted (WordPress.org) and WordPress.com.
There are two more free services that have a long history as well as a lot of users. One is Blogger, the blog engine run by Google, which just recently received a total overhaul and is now equipped with small business level features, like integration of AdSense and site analytics as well as some great layouts.
Blogger was, a long time ago, the distant cousin in Google’s software family. It’s one of the oldest blog engines and has had a large following, especially among individuals and personal blogs. Only recently with the arrival of Google+ has it experienced a major feature upgrade and was integrated with other Google services. Various themes are available but, of course, not as vast as for WordPress.com or Tumblr. Whoever stuck it out on blogspot.com has been rewarded with an interesting upgrade. For serious businesses, connecting it with a domain should be obligatory.
The other free Blog service that made it onto this list is Tumblr which had its greatest year in 2011 when it went from 11 million users to 90 million users. Tumblr is a blog engine with a restricted set of features but what it lacks in options or integration it makes up for with social network integration, ease of use, mobile integration for visitors and contributors and search engine visibility. The themes are mostly customizable with a few clicks and settings. The range of out-of-the box features allows for a fast set-up and wide distribution over the social webs. It also has a great array of social features called like”? and “reblog”? to spread the work.
Yes, you can integrate it with your own domain name or subdomain of your exisiting website. Our Social Media Bootcamp blog is built on Tumblr and helped us assess the blog engine in a real life setting that requires rapid updating from various locations.
Compare 17 individual features to find the right solutions for you.
All four blog engines allow you to update and post via mobile applications, be it from your smartphone or tablet. That feature is important these days and, for us, is a serious qualifier for this list.
Below, you will find a list of features, an overall comparison of the four engines. We have the three onsite free services stacked up against the WordPress self-hosted installation.
A comparison table features/ advantages and disadvantages for Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr. If you see the symbols, (++) ,next to a feature, it means you shouldn’t start a blog without it, even if you work with your web developer, who might have a different preference. When you see this link, (How?), the link will take you to a page that explains how to implement a particular feature on the blog platform. I didn’t research all features for their ease of implementation but I was curious about a few and checked them out. Underneath the feature matrix you’ll find brief explanations for each feature listed.
What do the features listed entail and why they are important?
The costs mentioned here are the initial set-up fees. Depending on your level of comfort with configuring your own account settings and the settings of your blog, you still might need to hire a professional for the initial set-up. The costs referred to here are only the initial costs to have an account and start a blog. Some of the other features mentioned in this comparison chart will incur additional charges.
Are essential and needed to reach the widest possible spread of your posts around the internet. Either your integration service set-up will use them or your readers will use them. Around this blog and on Above the Noise we have a whole series of RSS related posts. On your blog, you will need to have categories in smaller groups to help your readers find relevant content. (++)
As a business owner, you need to make sure that all your online activities support your brand and market your domain. Even if you use one of the free systems, you should invest in your own domain and connect it to your blog on WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr. (++)
A Blog becomes much richer if you include others from your staff and or associates as authors on your blog. The burden of coming up with new content can be spread around and for your readers the experience is so much richer when they can hear multiple sides of an issues or different ways for problem solution or just different opinions. All blog software allows for multi-author set-up. All you need is an account, either on the service or on your self-hosted WP, for example. ‘
Most people won™t have a need for multiple blogs. It’s hard enough to fill one blog with good, relevant and engaging content. But, sometimes as a business owner in a niche market it might be useful to team up with strategic partners and create a multi-topic blog and be great resources to each other’s customers. It also is helpful when you are part of a networking group with a decent online presence that you can guest post on the networks site, i.e., also on the same system.
Post via Email:
Sometimes it’s just easier to think about writing an e-mail than posting to the web where you have to login, get accustomed to a new interface, when technology distracts from the thought you want to jot down. WordPress programmers recognized this very early on and built in a way to post to our blog via e-mail. (++)
In order to make posting to social media less of a chore after you posted to your blog, you might be able to add your twitter account and your Facebook account to the settings page and authorize your site to post as you to the social networks.
By the end of 2012, it’s estimated over 50% of mobile subscribers will have smartphones, it’s imperative that your website/blog is recognizes when a mobile device is used to access your site and presents a different view of the site, optimized for mobile viewing. (++)
The big advantage of using free and low cost services is the feature set includes provisions to pack-up and leave when you find a more viable system or when you reach the point that you move on. In our 10 year experience as web consultants, the biggest hurdle to successfully moving on is the difficulty clients have in untangling content from the stronghold of hosting services or web developers. Setting up initially on WordPress.com and, later, moving to WordPress/self-hosted (WP.org) is definitely the easiest transition path. The export from the Tumblr, or Blogger will have its challenges.
At first it might not be all that interesting for small business to have ads on their website. But it might prove beneficial if you participate in affiliate marketing or for a publishing company that decides to monetize parts of the site.
As a user on the networks of WordPress.com, Tumblr.com and Blogger.com you can follow other users, like their posts and re-blog their posts with a few easy steps. You will not be able to recreate easily this kind of on-site connectivity with a stand-alone self-hosted wordpress site or other content management systems.
A row of icons on the bottom of each article that allows for on-click sharing on the most popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and also some of the lesser known ones like StumbleUpon, Reddit or Delicious. (++)
Spam Filter for Comments:
Your blog won’t be able to survive long without enabled comment spam filter. This can be accomplished with a built-in feature or by allowing a third-party service to monitor your comment section or prevent spam from being posted. (++)
Allow third-party comment system:
For a richer comment administration, you can consider using an external service for your site. Disqus.com, Livefyre, IntenseDebate are the most popular systems, and provide their own community of people engaging on different kind of sites.
Itâ€™s the opposite side of moving between the worlds. One part is the export of existing content and then you need the new software to have mechanism to import your content from another system
Post via Mobile Apps:
Your site might benefit from real-time posting while you are on the road or at an event. Mobile apps on the smartphone or tablet platforms will make it possible to post photographs right from your camera to your website/blog.
Please make sure to post your questions and thoughts in the comment section and what your experience is using any of the mentioned systems. Are features missing? What else would you need to know?