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Why Foursquare Is The Next Social Network

foursquare.jpgIf you’ve been following me on Twitter for any length of time you’ve recently seen some funny updates like, “I’m at LAX Terminal 3” or “I just became the mayor of Finnegan’s Wake on @foursquare”.  Some people know what this is, most do not.  These updates are being pushed over to Twitter from the new social network Foursquare, a service that I signed up with a couple of months ago.  I believe it is the next service to watch, and I want to tell you why.

First of all…I referred to Foursquare as a social network, but inside the business walls I’ve been calling it a “location aware ad platform”.  There are implications and advantages for both the average user as well as business, and I’ll break it down for both after a brief introduction.

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My New Role In Social Media Marketing and Strategy

logo-v1Those of you that have been following my adventures for a while know that I put my heart, soul and mind into social media.  Since writing my own blogging platform a decade ago (the billion dollar idea that I never capitalized on…) to my almost-obsessive fascination with brand interaction on channels like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, I am constantly observing and strategizing ways to make the interaction and engagement between companies and customers better through social media. I have spent quite a bit of time over the last couple of years consulting businesses of all types and sizes regarding their engagement (or lack thereof) within these online communities.  From Fortune 100 companies that distribute hardware all around the world to non-profit agencies that are doing their best to make a difference in the world, I have worked with groups to lend insight, support, ideas and action to social media programs. Given all of that, I’m quite pleased to announce that I have taken a new role within the industry.

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Interplay Between Search Marketing and Social Media

SM Funnel GroupM Search and comScore, Inc., (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, announced today the results of the first study ever conducted by comScore looking at the relationship between social media exposure and search behaviors. Conducted in tandem with social media agency M80, the study, “The Influenced: Social Media, Search and the Interplay of Consideration and Consumption,” reveals the dramatic correlation influenced discovery of brands through social media has with search behavior, including more lower-funnel searches and increased paid search click-through-rates (CTR). A white paper exploring the results and implications of the study is available on the GroupM Search blog, SearchFuel.

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Did You Know 4.0 [Video]

With so much information moving around online communities these days, it’s not often that I watch and then re-watch a 5 minute video. This morning I did just that, with the video embedded below called “Did You Know 4.0”.

You won’t see babies rollerskating or a funny wedding entrance in this…what you will see in a lot of data coming at you quickly. Data that talks about the changing communication landscape, the convergence of media and the massive impact that social networks are having on day to day life. I think it’s all incredibly fascinating, and is a brilliant and useful follow-up to another powerful video, “Shift Happens”. If you are connected to media, social networking, marketing or crowd communication in any way, please check this out and let me know what you think in the comments…not just about the video (which is top quality) but about the concepts and statistics brought up in it.

Zune HD Goes Social

Zune HD deviceZune, the mobile music device from Microsoft, is starting to heat up in the world of social media with the Zune HD giveway sweepstakes.  Considering the very social nature of the Zune track sharing, it’s good to see this happening.

If you’re been around these parts for long, at some point or another you’ve heard me talk about my love of the Zune.  I’m usually met with responses like, “oh, so you’re the guy that bought one!” and other cheeky remarks.

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Why You Must Deal With Negative PR

One unhappy customer has created a PR disaster for United Airlines

One unhappy customer has created a PR disaster for United Airlines

Have you seen the uber-popular YouTube video “United Breaks Guitars”?  I’ve embedded it at the bottom of this post so you can, it’s well worth 4:36 of your time to see this creative and funny look at poor customer service.  Seems Dave Carroll from the band Sons of Maxwell had his guitar broken while flying on United Airlines, and just a handful of days ago released a music video detailing his complaint. If we take what he says as truth, he spent a year trying to get some resolve and was repeatedly told “no”.  Personally I believe him because I’ve dealt with similar issues while traveling, and the corporate “no” is just too common.

If you run a business, big or small, you need to pay attention to what is happening in the world. The days of burying customer complaints are over, you need to develop a social media strategy to handle social media issues.

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How To Retweet And Be Retweeted

Tweet and Retweet: A great way to share information with others

Tweet and Retweet: A great way to share information with others

UPDATE:  I changed hosting companies since originally publishing this article, and ironically it removed the number of reweets from the plugin at the top of the post. You have to love technology sometimes!

One of the fastest and most effective ways of spreading information through Twitter is to retweet somebody.  When you see “RT” followed by a username in an update by one of your friends, that means they are retweeting somebody else…taking that person’s post and redistributing it to their own followers.  It’s rampant on Twitter, and one of the most common questions I get asked is, “what are some guidelines for retweeting, and how can I get retweeted more?”  I want to address both of those with some simple guidelines and suggestions.

How To Retweet

Retweeting somebody’s thoughts, links or pictures is the ultimate compliment on Twitter.  It says that you think enough of what they have written to share it with your followers, a pool of people that may be completely different than those of the original tweeter! It is a fantastic way to share information and ideas.  Of course you are free to retweet whatever you want, but here are some general guidelines that I think make it easier for you and those that follow you.

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Digg Creates Specific Twitter Feeds

 

Digg_2000 on Twitter

Digg_2000 on Twitter

As Twitter‘s popularity continues to rise, a lot of businesses are finding creative ways to use the service.  Although I’m on record as saying that I view Twitter as a cocktail party and not a lecture, I also think it’s a great place for business to get involved with their communities as long as they offer value and don’t just try to shove stuff down people’s throats.

 

Enter Digg, the social news network where news is made or broken by Diggs (votes) from people all over the world. I love what they did with Twitter recently; they created several accounts that aggregate information and post them on Twitter depending on the category or amount of activity. What makes this so cool is that it is obviously and opt-in service, the tweets are only going to go to those that are wanting the info.  For example, I started following @digg_2000 that only posts stories that get 2,000 digs or more. This is a great way to get signal from noise, to let the community pick the best of the best and then send it my way.  An excellent use of social media!  Other categories include Apple, Offbeat and Political News.  For a full list, go check out the post on the Digg Blog.

Tweetdeck: Traffic Control for Twitter

TweetDeck with Notes TweetDeck with Notes (click to enlarge)

At least once a day, sometimes more, somebody tells me that they don’t use Twitter because they can’t keep up with it, that it’s too fast, too “now”.  I understand what the sentiment is, but really it just doesn’t make sense.  Twitter is too good for communicating with groups and individuals, for learning new things from like minded people, and for getting useful information.  So, if you are using Twitter but aren’t sure how to make the most of it, or if you are thinking about diving in, this article is for you.

Did you know that you don’t have to use the main web page for your Twitter communication?  There are some neat applications available to you for free that will help you sort things out.  My favorite desktop application by far is Tweetdeck.  You should go download it right now, install it, sign in and then come back and read this.

Are you finished installing?  Good. Let’s move on.

If you click the picture above you will get a much larger view of the Tweetdeck layout. I’ve made notes on the page in red text so you know what you are looking at. I’m going to bullet point a few of the features that make this product such a must-have for anybody that uses Twitter.

  • The ability to easily view replies and direct messages.  The replies (in the picture it is the 2nd column from the left) are from people that use your screen name in  tweets.  It doesn’t matter where in the tweet it is (beginning, middle or end), Tweetdeck does a great job of picking them up.  This is really handy so I don’t miss something that may be said to me or about me.  I like to try to respond to most comments.  Afterall, Twitter is interactive like a cocktail party, not one way like a lecture.
  • Creation of custom groups.  This is huge for me.  Although I follow a lot of people, I certainly don’t know them all personally.  I created a group called “Friends” (in this picture, 3rd from the left) that is exclusively for people that I know personally.  I like to keep an eye on this so I can see what is happening in the lives of the people that I know the best.  As far as I know, you can create as many groups as you want.  I also have groups called “Tech SFO” and “Tech LA” so I can keep track of goings-on by geography, and some other groups that are related by the type of person that I am interested in keeping track of.  While the public stream on the far left (All Tweets) is like the entire newspaper, the individual groups are like sections of the newspaper (sports, business, etc.) The newest release of Tweetdeck has a little button (+) that you can click in an individuals tweet that adds them to a group of your choosing.  I love this feature!
  • TwitScoop.  I keep this column open because it shows trends that people are discussing on Twitter.  This particular screenshot has an interesting mix of boobies, congress and earthquake.  Mashable is squarely responsible for putting boobies up there for the first time that I’m aware of, with their article about Victoria’s Secret coming to mobile phones. You can click on any word to be taken to a web page that will show you different people that are using the particular word.
  • URL Shortening.  Have you seen all those links people put up on Twitter that look odd like http://is.gd/3IZL ? That is a shortened URL.  Since Twitter only allows 140 characters at a time, you don’t want to take up all of your space with some crazy long link to a website.  Using Tweetdeck, simply copy/paste your link and press “shorten” and it will automatically be truncated and added to your message.  Pretty slick!
  • Create search groups.  The night of this writing, I am heading out to Mindshare LA.  I was curious who is going, so I easily made a group in Tweetdeck that searches the public timeline for anybody that says “Mindshare”.  Within a few seconds I got a list, and it continues to update as new people mention it. This is a great feature for anybody that wants to keep track of their brand or product, or to find new people to follow that may have common interests as you.
    A search group in Tweetdeck.

    A search group in Tweetdeck.

There are several other features that you will find when you play around with it (integration with 12seconds.tv, favoriting tweets, etc.) but this is a good start for now.  Of course you can find the creater of Tweetdeck, Iain Dodsworth, on Twitter here and you can also find official Tweetdeck support on Twitter here.
I have yet to hear of somebody that uses Tweetdeck for a few days and doesn’t love it.  I often see suggestions tweeted about how to improve upon the already great app, and they are responded to (and often implemented) quite quickly.  Go check it out and let me know what you think.

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