Posts Tagged ‘Neal Schaffer’
Will Google+ be a “Facebook killer” or just Google’s next failed social network? It’s certainly gaining traction, with over 500 million users now on board, already half of Facebook’s total. Then again, the average Facebook user spends nearly seven hours per month on the site—compared to just three minutes for the average Google+user.
Many of this year’s best posts about Google’s newest social platform were written early in the year. Since then, though the user base has continued to grow, enthusiasm seems to have waned. While Marty Weintraub offers a more provocative metaphor below, it almost seems like Google+ is becoming the colonoscopy of social networks: everyone agrees it’s vitally important, but few people really want to talk about it or spend any more time on it than absolutely necessary.
“Ghost town” or not, many experts agree that Google+ is here to stay, and it’s valuable for b2b marketing, SEO, personal branding, and reputation management. So what makes Google+ special? What are the best practices for business use of the platform? How can an individual or organization most efficiently grow a following there? And will Google+ end Facebook’s domination of social networking—or will it “break the Internet”?
Find those answers and more here in two dozen of the best Google+ guides, tips, rants and raves of the past year.
Google+ Guides and Tips
5 Things Google+ Offers Brands That Facebook Doesn’t by Sprout Insights
Susan Gunelius outlines five social networking features unique to Google+, including circles (which enable you to “separate your customers from your colleagues and online influencers from your business partners”) and hangouts (which can be “used for things like small-group webinars, question and answer sessions, and more”).
Why brands will lose if they ignore Google+ by iMedia Connection
Though he calls Google+ a “half-baked invention,” Daniel Flamberg nevertheless advises that “savvy marketers should use Google+ these five ways,” including experimenting with hangouts, expanding social assets and audiences, and optimizing branded search: “Link owned digital assets to Google+. Use the +1 and encourage your followers to do the same. Plant +1 badges on all your assets to take advantage of the Direct Connect tool that automatically brings customers and prospects searching in your category to your page.”
6 Steps to Getting Started With Google+ by Social Media Examiner
For marketers who are either still on the fence about Google+ or just haven’t done much with it, Marc Pitman provides an excellent guide to the basics like filling up your links “While you’re editing your ‘about’ page, be sure to pay attention to the ‘other profiles’ section…(consider adding) links to other social media networks, links to your business sites (and) links to special pages on your website.”
The First 5 Things You Should Do With Your Google+ Business Page by WindMill Networking
Once you’ve finished with Marc Pitman’s post above, Mark Traphagen presents a five-step process for taking your business presence on Google+ to the next level, starting with 1 four-item list on optimizing your page for SEO followed by upgraded the visual appearance of your page and filling your stream with quality content.
3 reasons Google+ is not a social network by iMedia Connection
Lauren Friedman explains why she thinks Google+ is not a social network but brands should be there anyway–for example, for SEO purposes: “The best way brands can take advantage of Google+ is to amp-up their SEO. Each time a user clicks the +1 button, it helps with that brand’s SEO and the content getting served to users above other content. Search results are personalized based on the +1s of those in your circles, and as a marketer, that changes the game. Search results are still based on Google’s proprietary algorithms, but sites with more +1s will appear to be more relevant and thus ranked higher.”
3 Successful Google+ Pages and Why They Work by Social Media Examiner
Lisa Peyton highlights three examples of successful Google+ brand pages such as the NASA page, where “The active space and science community on Google+ may support speculation that platform users are mostly tech-savvy early adopters. This finding contradicts the fact that the TOP Google+ profile belongs to pop star Britney spears. However, her page garners less engagement based upon the number of followers than the top brands outlined in this article.”
Google+ for SEO? Don’t Focus on Your Brand Page! by B2B Digital Marketing
Contradicting popular wisdom, Eric Wittlake argues that “Google+ Brand Pages are not the ticket to SEO success. In fact, if you focus your Google+ efforts on your new brand page, you will miss the most important search benefits of Google+.” He then outline three strategies he says are designed to improve search rank and traffic.
6 Reasons Why Adding Google+ to Your Web Presence & SEO Strategy is a Good Idea by iMedia Connection
Krista LaRiviere of web presence optimization software vendor gShift Labs offers six reasons for brands to embrace Google+, among them fresh content (“Google+ is just one more place to publish your press releases, blogs, testimonials, case studies and news. The difference with Google+ is that your content, if found, will be listed at the top of Google personal results mixed in with traditional search results”) and the fact that Google+ produces social signals which factor into Google’s ranking algorithm.
32 Totally Free Google “Search Plus Your World” #SEO Resources by aimClear Blog
***** 5 STARS
Frequent best-of honoree Marty Weintraub compares Google+ to a dominatrix (it makes sense the way he writes it), offering short-term pleasure (search rank improvement) at the expense of long-term frustration. Still, he thinks it’s worth the effort to chase the temporary bump and so shares an excellent list of nearly three dozen how-to articles from writers like Lisa Barone, Matt McGee and Stephanie Cain.
Reputation Management: How Google+ Can Be Your Best Friend or Your Worst Enemy by Business2Community
Contending that “PageRank, Google’s ranking scoring system, is profoundly impacted by these (Google +1) votes,” Danny DeMichele provides a simple four-step process for using Google+ as part of a broader reputation (personal or brand) strategy.
20 Google+ Terms and Definitions You Need to Know by Sprout Insights
Susan Gunelius (again) presents helpful definitions of basic (e.g., “Chat: Using the Chat feature, you can notify people in your Google+ Circles that you’re online and available for an online chat from within Google+”) and advanced Google+ terms (such as “Data Liberation: Use this feature to download and backup the content in your Google+ Account, which is available through the Google+ Settings option [the gear icon in the upper-right corner of your screen when you’re logged into your Google+ account"]).
How Google’s +1 Button Affects SEO by Mashable
Keith Kaplan explains that although “The +1 has an indirect effect on your site’s search rank. This does not mean the more +1’s a link has, the higher rank it achieves in traditional search results,” it can indirectly help with SEO by making a piece of content more likely to be clicked on and shared on other social networks—which does actually affect rank.
How to Effectively Create a Google+ Following of 10,000 Engaged Fans by Search Engine Watch
Eric Siu shares advice from Fraser Cain, publisher of the Universe Today space and astronomy news website, on how to build, maintain and engage a large following on Google+. Eric contends that Fraser’s success, based on unique content and active network, belies the notion promoted by some (such as Austin Carr, below) that Google+ is a “ghost town.”
Build Your Google Plus Page Following with Topical Pages by WindMill Networking
***** 5 STARS
This tip from guest blogger Mark Traphagen (again) is almost too good to share. “What if you could create opt-in subscription lists on Google+? You can! Here’s the wonderful secret: you can create a Google+ page about virtually anything, including a topic. It doesn’t necessarily have to be connected with a brand name.” He then details a “simple strategy for using Pages to create opt-in subscription lists about specific topics.”
Quick Tricks to Make Your Google Plus Business Page Sparkle by ZD Design Blog
Again arguing against the “Google+ is a ghost town” thesis, Donnie Bryant here provides a handful of helpful tips for getting more performance out of a Google+ business page, from creating a short URL and maximizing the use of photos and video to encouraging sharing.
The Marketer’s Guide to Google Plus by KISSmetrics
Zach Bulygo offers a highly detailed and richly illustrated guide to marketing on Google+, from the basics of business page setup and getting a verified name to optimizing your tagline, use of photos. Google+ author tag and the +1 sharing button.
How to Use Google Plus for Personal Branding and Establishing Author Rank by WindMill Networking
Neal Schaffer quotes Mark Traphagen (one last time), who calls Google+ a “powerhouse” because of its “tight integration into Google search. Google+ posts are easily indexed by Google search, and unlike tweets or Facebook posts, are treated much like regular web pages. That means a well-constructed G+ post (with a main keyword in the first sentence/title and a good amount of engagement) can rank well in Google search and, unlike other social media status posts, actually stay ranked for a long time,” and explains why Google authorship is important and how to set it up.
Google+ Rants and Raves
Google+ Is Going To Mess Up The Internet by ReadWrite
Jon Mitchell is not a fan of Google’s latest social network and isn’t afraid to say so. He writes, “Google tools used to enhance the Internet. But as Google ships ‘the Google part’ of its new Google+ identity, it’s breaking the Web it once helped build,” and then offers half a dozen specific reasons why.
Danny Sullivan details the use and results from the “Don’t be Evil” browser bookmarklet, stating that “The companies behind the tool feel Google’s hasn’t focused on what’s best for its users with Search Plus Your World. They have a good point. But the tool makes this point better than all the debates that have happened so far around Search Plus Your Word, because it shows what Google could have done to better serve searchers, if it had wanted to.” He also explains how some features of Google+ are part of the problem.
How Google+ Is Encircling Your Brand by MediaPost
Though he believes “Google+ is emerging as a great way for brands to connect directly with consumers,” Gavin O’Malley also notes that a disproportionate share of interaction is driven by a few aggressive, early adopting brands on the platform, and points out “Google+ still has less than 1/100th the number of total consumers interacting with the top 100 brands that Facebook has achieved.”
Austin Carr reports on the findings of a study which paints “very poor picture of the search giant’s social network–a picture of waning interest, weak user engagement, and minimal social activity.” Among te research findings from RJ Metrics, “Roughly 30% of users who make a public post never make a second one” and “Even after making five public posts, there is a 15% chance that a user will not post publicly again.” The author concludes that Google+ “might indeed just be a ‘virtual ghost town,’ as some have argued.”
Think You Don’t Need Google+ in Your Business? Think Again! by Rebekah Radice
While acknowledging that Google+ has its shortcomings and that many marketers remain (not entirely unreasonably) skeptical about the platform, Rebekah Radice nevertheless offers half a dozen reasons to embrace Google’s social network, such as the circles and hangouts features and the B2B networking value.
Tom Cheredar explains how Google+ Communities work and how this capability compares with Facebook groups: “There are a few notable (notable differences between Google+ Communities and Facebook Groups), including the ability to start a Google Hangout video chat with the community and sharing things specifically with G+ communities from any +1 button. That’s pretty cool, and something that might actually attract people to use it over Facebook.”
Writing that “While Google announced Google+ reached 500 million users, the bigger announcement by far was the roll out of Google+ Communities,” Steve Hart explains what Communities are, how they work, what they can be used for, and why they are “a BFD.”
Twitter isn’t just for the birds anymore. According to recent social media research, Twitter now has more than 165 million users, and is attracting nearly a million new users each day. Twitterers collectively post a billion tweets every three days. 62% of the Fortune 500 companies have at least one Twitter account, and the average Fortune 100 firm maintains 10 separate Twitter handles to support different product lines, divisions, functional areas and geographic regions.
Find the answers to those and many more questions here in more than two dozen of the best Twitter how-to guides, resources, tools and reviews of 2012 so far.
Twitter Tips for Newbies
A Beginner’s Guide to Twitter and the Twittersphere Culture by Creative Marketing Channel
Catherine Lockey helpfully walks new Twitterers through the process of getting started and building a following on Twitter, from opening an account and creating lists through DMs, retweets, hashtags, post frequency, following back and more.
Beginner Tips For Your Corporate Twitter Publishing Schedule by Social Fresh
Writing that “Twitter provides an opportunity to mix structure and spontaneity in your business communication,” Brad Shorr offers guidance on scheduling tweets without going overboard on automation, from picking the right scheduling platform to categorizing the content you want to tweet to using repetition (carefully).
How to Grow Your Twitter Following
4 Ways to Grow a Twitter Following That Matters by Social Media Examiner
To grow a relevant and productive following on Twitter, Rich Brooks recommends avoiding shady tactics and shows how to do it right, starting with creating a strong profile (including your real face, detailed bio and physical location) and using third-party tools and directories to find interesting people to follow, and progressing through promoting your Twitter account through other channels (your website, email signature, etc.).
10 Ways to Build Your Twitter Following Like Big Brands Do by iMedia Connection
Contending that “it doesn’t take a big team and millions of dollars to get attention on Twitter,” John Manoogian III recommends emulating 10 strategies used by big brands, such as polishing your image: “Customize your background with something that fits you. Use a large image or a tasteful pattern. Check out Themeleon or Pixelgirl Presents for ideas.” Also on his list: staying positive. “Big brands typically emphasize positive things and never go on a stream of consciousness rant. When necessary, present thoughtful criticism but keep it professional.”
WTF? Twitter Abbreviations
OMG! Over 40 Twitter Abbreviations You Should Know by Social Media Today
If you’ve spend any time on Twitter you know what an RT is, and you’ve perhaps responded to an amusing one with LOL or even LMAO, but are you familiar with MT, OH, OMW, SMH and HtH? If not, check out this big list of Twitter abbreviations from Tammy Kahn Fennell.
Top Twitter Abbreviations You Need to Know by Social Media Today
Want even more Twitter shorthand? Bliss Hanlin provides a list of about 140 (how appropriate) examples of Twitter shorthand ranging from the obscure (CX = correction) to the borrowed-from-the-military (SNAFU, FUBAR) to common hastags (#FF for follow Friday).
Tips for Twitter Brand Pages
4 Ways to Leverage Twitter’s New Brand Pages by iMedia Connection
David Clarke explains four ways that businesses can capitalize on Twitter brand pages, including enhanced customization, “turning Twitter into a more sustainable channel of its own. It’s easier to promote hashtags, Twitter chats and special promotions specific to the brand.”
Mart Prööm explains half a dozen things companies can do with Twitter brand pages, such as using calls to action and promoting limited time offers, and includes 12 examples of famous brand pages including Disney Pixar, Audi, Pepsi and Red Bull.
4 smart tactics for brands on Twitter by iMedia Connection
Jon Elvekrog details “four concrete strategies to use social advertising to deepen your brand impact on Twitter” for brands, among them getting your content “in front of connected fans. These Twitter users are active sharers — spreading ideas, offers, and messages among their own followers and people aligned with their interest graph. If you get your paid campaign in front of influencers, they’ll spread your messages for you — and bring them to many more people than you originally targeted.”
Noting that “first impressions matter. So if you’re trying to build a remarkable social media presence, you can bet that the look and feel of your brand pages in social media will make an impression on new visitors who know nothing or little about you,” Pamela Vaughan showcases examples of brand pages that visually capture the reader’s attention including Spotify, Target and Zipcar.
General Twitter Guides, Tips & Tactics
How To Build Your Professional Twitter Brand by Heidi Cohen
According to research cited by Heidi Cohen, “the most positively received tweets are asking your followers questions, sharing useful information, and letting people know you’ve just created new content…By contrast, the least liked tweets are those that let the world know what you’re doing and broad greetings with no added information.” Among her top 10 tips for building your Twitter brand: dress your Twitter profile for success, offer meaty Twitter content, and give digital shoutouts to colleagues and others.
How To Optimize Twitter: Be Real, Profiles, RT, Hashtags & More by Search Engine Watch
Noting that’s it’s getting tougher to stand out on Twitter now than it was in the less-crowded early days of the platform, Lisa Buyer provides several tips for brands and individuals, such as “keeping it real” (showing personality as well as business content), optimizing your profile (with specific best practices), and using hashtags carefully.
Rocking the A to Z of Twitter and Tweets by Resume Bear
***** 5 STARS
Shirley Williams creatively offers 26 Twitter tips alphabetically, from A (“Audience – Followers that connect with you because they believe you do interesting things and/or have interesting things to say”) to Z (“Zed Carpet – …Listerious is a great site to get acquainted with the Who’s who of Twitter by all kinds of categories”).
Secrets of Becoming a Pro B2B Tweeter by Social Media Today
Do you wonder how your Twitter presence looks to others? Kevin Jorgensen recommends using TwitCleaner (a recommendation I strongly endorse) to check your own Twitter profile for sins like excessively retweeting, too many links, too much self-promotion, too much use of automation and other sins. Then he provides several tips for improvement such as participating in Tweet chats and actually conversing with people.
The Top 10 Reasons You Need to Use Twitter Lists Now by Bad Redhead Media
Rachel Thompson offers 10 reasons for using Twitter lists, such as that you can use them to categorize up to 10,000 followers, they can help increase your Klout score, and “Lists are a perfect way to attract followers to your stream. People are flattered you’ve added them to a list. It means you care enough to take that extra step (which takes seconds). It’s like you invited them to an exclusive party.”
Tailoring Twitter: The ROI of Curating Content on Twitter by Successful Blog
Liz Strauss explains the benefits of curating content on Twitter and how to do it well, closing with “The ROI of curating content on twitter is the influence gained from incrementally staying in sync with the tools and the culture while still listening.”
Wondering what type of information, timing or tactics will garner the most retweets? Dan Zarella shares half a dozen research-based tips for maximizing pass-along on Twitter, including “Say Something New. When I compared the ‘commonness’ of certain words in retweets versus the ‘commonness’ of words contained in a random sampling of non-retweeted tweets, I found that retweets tend to contain much rarer words. People don’t want to retweet the same things that everyone else is saying, they want their tweets to stand out!”
Twitter Tool Reviews
4 Twitter Analytics Tools For Your Business by Social Fresh
Amy Moczynski provides helpful, detailed reviews of four tools for Twitter analytics: SocialBro (which she calls “the most comprehensive tool for analyzing Twitter data that I’ve found…after entering your Twitter log in information, prepare for your mind to be blown”), TweetStats, TwentyFeet and PostPost.
Want Guest Post Links? Find Them Via Twitter [TOOL] by The Daily SEO Blog
If you’re ready to get your geek on, this post from Ethan Lyon presents a tool and instructions for finding blog guest posting opportunities via Twitter. The tool pulls an RSS feed into “Google Docs, finds all of the t.co URLs, enlarges them, eliminates duplicates based on domain, and presents them in a nice package.” For the slightly less ambitious or technical, try Blogger LinkUp.
The Top 20 Twitter Clients being Used in 2012 by WindMill Networking
Neal Schaffer serves up brief reviews of the top tools for tweeting. Not surprisingly, HootSuite, Tweetdeck, and Twitter itself top the list. I would have expected Buffer to show up a bit higher than #13, though as Neal notes, it’s not strictly speaking a Twitter client but rather “a perfect complement to help you schedule your posting on Twitter.”
12 Most Clever Twitter Tools by 12 Most
The ebullient Peg Fitzpatrick reviews a dozen top Twitter tools for various functions, including Tweepi for cleaning up your Twitter following with following/unfollowing help, Formulists for organizing and managing your community through smart Twitter lists, and Twitalyzer for analyzing the Twitter influence of anyone on Twitter.
5 Best Analytics Tools for Twitter Search by DreamGrow Social Media
Tom Chu offers brief reviews of five Twitter analytics tools including The Archivist (“This tool works in just the way it sounds. You download the desktop app and it archives search results for you to go through later. The search will find as many results as possible, and then you poll those results without you having to monitor it”), Twitter Counter and What The Hashtag.
A Silver Lining In This Cloud by THINKing
Harry Hoover recommends using SocialBro to create word clouds revealing the terms that your friends and followers tweet about most frequently. “You might discover new topics with which to engage your friends and followers. Further, you can drill down by tags to find out specifically which friends or followers are talking about that word.” You can also use TweetCloud to see which terms you use most often.
More Twitter Tools
Per the website, Itweetlive’s “Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) search engine uses advanced Natural Language Processing (NLP) and clustering tools to gather similar status updates, provide response suggestions based on real-time Twitter analytics, and measure engagement levels. In this way, we build a smart conversational tree that actually suggests the best statistical responses for status updates received in the future.” Basically, it lets you use statistical rules to talk “personally” to many people at once. Interesting concept.
A slick little low-cost tool that enables you to store up to 25 different search phrases for Twitter, identify potential followers / people to follow based on those searches, manage your follow/unfollow activity, and direct message any or all followers (up to Twitter’s daily limits).
A free or low-cost Twitter management tool that provides Twitter use statistics, weekly email digests, scheduled tweeting, conversation tracking, sorting of friends and followers, and an activity feed. Paid versions add features like bit.ly integration and the ability to manage up to 60 Twitter accounts.
The original hashtag wiki. Search for any phrase and see a collection of hashtags associated with it.
One Final Twitter Stat
Andres Silvaa shares an infographic from Klout which shows the expected half-life of a tweet based on the tweeter’s Klout score. For users with Klout scores under 40, activity tends to die off after 25 minutes and a handful of retweets, while those with scores of 75 and above can expect hundreds of retweets over three to six hours.
Innovation is alive and well in the development of cool free and low-cost web-based tools and apps. It’s great to find a tool that automates some little process or provides a new capability you’ve been looking for, and fun to find a tool you didn’t even know you needed.
How can you quickly find out how far a link has spread on Twitter? Surf the web securely and anonymously when using pubic WiFi? Manage all of your social media accounts from a single login on your iPhone? Back up your Gmail account? Make more productive use of your time on social networking sites?
There’s an app for that—or cool web tool. Find tools to do all of the above and much more in this collection of helpful business, online and social media tools, apps and reviews.
Update 4/15/2013: I unlinked several tools that are no longer offered. This economy sucks.
Cool Social Media Tools
A slick service that enables you to easily add a QR code to your business card which links to your LinkedIn profile and contact information. Anyone scanning the code can conveniently contact you without entering any additional information. And when you log in to PingTags, you can view analytics like how many people scanned your card and which links they clicked.
Buffer is a tool for automatically posting content to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. As the site puts it, “Fill up your Buffer at one time in the day and Buffer automagically posts them for you through the day.” It’s available at three price/service levels: free, Pro ($10 per month), and then a big jump to Premium ($99 per month). Nothing replaces real social media engagement of course, but used carefully and in conjunction with real-time monitoring, automation tools like this do have their place.
One of the easiest ways to import an online store into Facebook, even incorporating translation and foreign currency support for buyers in other countries. Plans have a monthly fee (with the most popular priced at $30-$50 per month) but you can try it out for a week free.
Four51 offers two sets of tools for local business and consumer brands. FanTools uses “knowledge gained from across the FanTools network of small businesses to deliver plans” that enable local retailers, restaurants and other types of businesses to use exclusive coupon offers mixed with other content across their social networks to drive engagement and purchases. It’s priced for small business at $50 per month with a 90-day free trial offer to try it out. CommerceTools uses cloud-based technology to help companies streamline the distribution of products, supplies, services and content to individuals or groups by simplifying and automating order and fulfillment processes.
***** 5 STARS
ALOT is a catalog of free “apps for your PC” in a range of categories including entertainment (comic books, TMZ, The Onion, IMDB search), food, games, travel, music, news (The New York Times, CNN, Fox News, Stock Market Watch), reference, social networking (e.g., apps for Facebook, Twitter and Evite) and more.
ShortStack is a tool that helps businesses customize their Facebook Pages with “contests, sweepstakes, videos, custom forms and more.” Yes, it is “Timeline ready.” The tool is free for pages with up to 2,000 likes, with pricing starting at $30 per month above that level.
Mywebees lets you display your website on your Facebook page. It’s not a copy of your site, but your actual site—displayed in a Facebook iFrame. It’s a very cool, easy way for small businesses to increase the interest and value of their Facebook presence. No word yet though on how this may be affected by Timeline.
Cool Twitter Tools
How many people saw that link you tweeted? Tweeted or retweeting it themselves? Which Twitterers exposed it to the largest audience? Find out in a snap with TweetReach. In just a few seconds, I discovered that a recent post I wrote on social media storytelling for PR reached 56,689 people via 25 tweets—over 10,000 people just through Jim Dougherty.
This free tool graphically shows peak Twitter activity for any Twitter handle. It takes a few minutes to load completely, but once fully loaded shows activity on your network by day of the week and time. I wasn’t surprised to learn that most of the activity on my network happens early in the morning, but it was interesting to note unexpected spikes in activity at midmorning on Monday and Tuesday and around lunch time on Wednesday and Thursday.
An automated free tool to help “flush” Twitterers you are following who aren’t following back, follow those who are following you, clean up inactive users (requires paid “premium” subscription), force spammers to unfollow you, and find interesting new tweeps to follow.
Other Cool Web Tools
A free tool for clipping, saving and sharing just selected parts of web pages such an image or a selection of text. Clipped content can be kept private, shared only with friends or shared publicly.
Concerned about your web browsing security and privacy when you’re away from home and using public WiFi? AnchorFree’s Hotspot Shield is a free (or optionally ad-free low-cost) VPN encryption service that provides secure, private web browsing anywhere. It works on desktops, laptops, and mobile devices. On mobile devices Hotspot Shield enables data compression, increasing the amount of data a user has under their mobile data plan and thus saving users money on mobile data. Hotspot Shield also protects users from over 3 million malware threats, phishing sites, and spam.
A simple app that syncs contact information, emails and appointments between Google and Salesforce, eliminating time-consuming copying and pasting. After a 14-day free trial, the service is priced at $10 per month (or less per user for larger teams) with a 50% discount for non-profits and schools.
A free online project management and collaboration tool, similar to Basecamp, that lets users switch between projects with one click, delegate tasks, track task changes, subscribe to tasks and receive notifications, and manage people on projects with groups.
The new way to present—way beyond PowerPoint. Prezi is an online presentation tool that lets you pan and zoom around your presentation “canvas,” present online or offline, easily collaborate with teammates anywhere to develop a presentation, and add a timeline using “frames and a path to create a cinematic journey.” Pricing ranges from free (though your “Prezis” will be public and include Prezi branding) to $159 per year for the Pro version (your own logo, lots of storage space and more).
Cool iPhone Apps
A free app for Apple iOS devices that enables users to manage multiple social media accounts at once. A users can post to his/her Facebook wall, send a Tweet, share photos to Flickr and TwitPic, upload a video to YouTube, post a blog entry and manage other social accounts all from a single login and tool.
A free iPhone app for discovering what events are happening in your area, who you know that’s going to each, browse ideas from nightclubs to museums to movies (along with ratings), connect with others who are attending the same events and share thoughts and photos.
5 Awesome Spreadsheet Apps for the iPhone by Search Engine Journal
Frequent best-of honoree Ann Smarty reviews five spreadsheet apps for the iPhone that “allow you to look at anything from profits and annual earnings, to employee checks and monthly expenses” anytime from anywhere. She notes that there are many others available, but calls these “arguably the best around.” All are priced at $10 or less.
250 best iPad apps: social media apps by The Telegraph
Brief reviews of top social apps for the iPhone including Flipboard—which “takes the activity from your social networks—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and plenty of others are supported —and presents it in an attractive magazine-style layout…This app is must-have on all iPads”—Gowalla and Spout.
Social Search and Social Media Monitoring Tools
Billing itself as a real-time social search engine, Topsy is reasonably good at finding topical and brand references across the social web. While it’s no threat to professional monitoring tools like Radian6, it’s a decent, free, quick-check tool for smaller companies and one-off searches.
Synthesio is a powerful, professional social media monitoring system that combines technology with human assistance for global brand reputation monitoring, topic monitoring, influencer rating and social community mapping. It is multi-lingual, customizable and filters out much of the “junk” picked up by other monitoring tools. This power and flexibility comes at a cost, however, as pricing is based on the number of search returns and starts at $1,500 per month.
A social media analytics and engagement tool that incorporates search, analytics and engagement capabilities. Within “engagement,” for example, you can evaluate the “degrees of separation” between a company and its audience, schedule tweets, and assign tweets to different team members for response / follow up. Pricing starts at $150 per month, but you can try it out first with a 14-day free trial.
Chatmeter bills itself as “the first and only Local Brand Management service—the only platform that informs with daily alerts to monitor and respond to customer feedback from across the web combined with a dashboard to see the real impact on how customer experience is affecting online visibility for each location.” Priced at $40 per location per month (volume discounts for chains), Chatmeter purports to save chains thousands of dollars in lost revenue by improving marketing effectiveness and providing the tools to easily respond to customers immediately for each of location.
Inefegy’s Social Radar is known as a social media monitoring platform that is powerful, fast, has an outstanding user interface, and “now tracks some 40 million Web sites, including blogs, forums, image sites, news sites like CNN and the BBC, Twitter and more.” You can “request” a free trial, and the pricing is flat rate (you can run unlimited searches for one monthly fee), but specific pricing information is difficult to come by.
Cool Tools for Creating Infographics
10 Awesome Free Tools To Make Infographics by MakeUseOf
***** 5 STARS
An outstanding article by Angela Alcorn which provides guidance on how to create an infographic, followed by helpful, illustrated reviews of 10 free tools to assist in infographic creation, such as Stat Planet, Hohli, Creately (which also supports collaboration and easy flow chart creation) and Inkscape.
The 5 Best Free Tools For Making Slick Infographics by Fast Company
Noting that “It’s not enough to simply write about data any longer; the world wants visuals. While there are many professional information designers making a name for themselves, such as Nicholas Felton of Feltron.com, the majority of these digital artists are up to their eyeballs in high-paying work. Where does this leave you?,” Amber Mac reviews five free tools for creating infographics—four of which were covered in Angela’s article above, plus a new tool, Visual.ly.
Reviews of Cool Social Media Tools
Introducing PeerIndex: A New Companion to Klout for Social Media Influence Measurement by WindMill Networking
Neal Schaffer reviews PeerIndex, a competitor to Klout for social media influence measurement. Klout had an opportunity to become the standard before it stumbled badly in October 2011 when it radically changed its algorithm, calling its validity into serious question, then arrogantly refused to apologize and reverse course. A newer and (possibly) more accurate influence metric site is Kred, which is also worth checking out.
Is HootSuite Pro a Smart Investment? by Social Media Examiner
Nichole Kelly answers the question many of us HootSuite fans have been asking: is it worth it to upgrade to the Pro version? And after detailing the differences between the free and paid versions, her conclusion is…probably not, for most users. But it’s worthwhile (and HootSuite could make it more worthwhile, with a little work) for agencies and larger companies.
How to Back Up Gmail by Time Techland
Worried that Gmail could crash and lose all of your email history? Doug Aamoth details five different methods to protect yourself from just such a possibility, ranging from easy and free (e.g., Gmail Backup) to harder but free (forward to an email client such as Microsoft Outlook) to other slightly more involved but still free alternatives.
Search Social Media More Efficiently with Greplin
Josh Peters reports that Greplin is a powerful tool for topic-searching across your “personal social graph,” to find instances of people you’re connected to talking about topics you’re interested in. “Greplin social media search can access more than just your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. With a basic account (free) you can also include your DropBox, Gmail and Google docs accounts to the search to include content you’ve created. With a premium account ($5 / mo) you can include Evernote, Yammer, Basecamp, Highrise, Google Apps, and Salesforce accounts with more to come.”
4 Great (free) Tools to Measure Social Sentiment and 4 Important Stats by Social Media Today
After highlighting four important statistics (among them: “53% of people on Twitter recommend companies and/or products in their Tweets, with 48% of them delivering on their intention to buy the product”), Nick Bennett reviews four free tools for measuring social sentiment, including Twendz and Twittersheep.
Content Tools: This Week in Social Media by Social Media Examiner
Cindy King reviews a handful of fairly new tools, including Storify, a content curation tool that “gathers content from various social media platforms to create your own story. You can then create a widget of this story to embed it in your website” and 23press, a low-cost tool that simplifies the process of moving a blog from one host to another.
Free analytics tools you should be using by iMedia Connection
Josh Dreller advises marketers to “Check out some of the following free tools that can help you collect, analyze, and take action on data. In fact, a combination of all these systems would certainly push your data-driven organization to another level. With these free analytics platforms, any company could truly compete with the advanced data tools and tactics of even its largest competitors”) the reviews eight free tools including Quantcast for demographics, 4Q for free survey analytics and TubeMogul for video analytics.
5 Productivity Tools for the Busy Social Media Manager by Social Media Today
***** 5 STARS
Leo Widrich shares five of his favorite tools to optimize his time on social media, including Refynr, which lets you “Create a social savvy filter of keywords you want to have included…(then) creates a ‘refyned’ news stream for you with only the most relevant tweets”), Triberr (an invite-only community of bloggers), and Tungle for setting up meetings.
48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools by DreamGrow
Priit Kallas reviews four dozen free social media tools in two groups: one including the tools he uses most often (e.g., HootSuite and Social Mention and one arranged alphabetically from Addictomatic for searching “the best live sites on the web for the latest news, blog posts, videos and images. It’s a tool to keep up with the hottest topics” to WhoUnfollowedMe which enables the true Twitter paranoid to “check your unfollowers on your schedule, every 15 minutes.”
17 Alternatives to Klout by ReadWriteWeb
Acknowledging the Klout trainwreck and noting that no influencer rating measure will ever be perfect, David Strom nevertheless runs through 17 alternatives for Twitter influence measurement, Facebook metrics, Google metrics, tools with a multi-site focus (e.g., PeerIndex, which is “probably the closest competitor to Klout” according to David), and sentiment analysis tools such as Kred (which has since emerged as one of the top alternatives to Klout).
7 Apps That Rocked My Work by iMedia Connection
Jason Harty reviews his favorite seven work-related apps, including Editor by Pixlr for easy online photo editing (“If MS Paint ain’t cutting it and Photoshop is over your head, give Editor by Pixlr a look”), Evernote for online and on-the-go note-taking, and Jing for quickly capturing any portion of your computer screen.
Nine companies B2B marketers should know about by Velocity Partners
Doug Kessler provides brief reviews of nine marketing products/tools for B2B professionals, such as EPiServer (web content management for the .Net platform), Reevoo (a social commerce platform for brands and retailers) and Marketo (marketing automation software).
TradePub has just launched its first report in a series for 2012, the Social Media Wrap Up report. Each report will highlight a selection of the best social media posts from leading authors published the preceding month.
The inaugural report includes posts from authors such as marketing agency veteran Drew McLellan; Marc Meyer, digital and social media strategist at DRMG; and author, speaker and SVP of Social Strategies at Social 5150 Neal Schaffer.
The topics covered range from social media strategies and hiring a social media agency to guidance on Tweetchats, blogging and measuring social media ROI.
Again, a new summary of some of the best social media blog posts will be published each month in 2012. You can grab the first free report here.
In just a few short years, Twitter has transformed from an odd little sort of public IM service where people posted what they just ate for lunch or what their cat was doing at the moment into one of the big four social networks and a significant channel for news, PR & marketing, politics and more. It has enabled revolutions in real life as well as in digital marketing.
Twitter’s 200 million users collectively tap out a billion tweets per week. Nearly 3/4 of active Twitter users are bloggers. More than 80% of U.S. governors, senators and congressional representatives use it, as do 87 of the Billboard Top 100 musicians. Twitter users are twice as likely to purchase from companies they follow than are Facebook users.
So how can marketers and PR professionals use Twitter more effectively? What’s the best way to build a quality, relevant Twitter following? Of the hundreds of third party Twitter tools out there, which are really worth utilizing? How can Twitter to used to support SEO efforts?
Discover the answers to those questions and many more here in 45 of the best guides to Twitter tips, tools and tactics of the past year.
Twitter Tips, Tactics and Techniques
40 Examples Of Creatively Designed Twitter Backgrounds by Tripwire Magazine
Got a boring Twitter background and need some inspiration to help you liven it up? Dustin Betonio here presents 40 “awesome and creatively designed Twitter backgrounds which use various and innovative illustrations to create a visually attractive and appealing look to their profiles” to get your creativity kick-started.
25 Suggestions For How To Use Twitter by Dave Fleet
Dave offers “25 ideas for ways you can get value out of Twitter, with a mix of business and personal focus,” such as meeting new people, staying on top of the news, influencing the influencers, and re-purposing content.
10 Twitter Features You Might Be Missing by GigaOM
Top 7 Ways to Save Time on Twitter by OPEN Forum
Noting that the top barrier to increased business use of social media is a lack of time and resources, Leyl Master Black shares “seven Twitter tricks from the pros that allow you to spend less time on the mechanics and more time engaging.”
20 Guidelines for Twitter Success by Global Copywriting
Sarah Mitchell presents 20 tips for success on Twitter, divided into four categories: Always Try To (e.g., answer every mention), Never Fail To (e.g., say “thank you”), Things NOT To Do, and “Keep in Mind.”
The Ultimate Guide to Twitter Marketing by Copyblogger
Curating the curator here, as Gabrielle Conde links to and summarizes 100 educational posts about Twitter, covering the gamut from setting up a Twitter account to using hashtags to marketing and prospecting strategies, from authors like Marian Schembari, Michael Brenner and the ebullient Diana Adams.
12 Most Stimulating Twitter Chats by The 12 Most
If you’ve never sat in on a Twitter chat, it’s quite an experience. If you have, you understand the metaphorical meaning of “drinking from a fire hose.” Think of those people-talking-over-each-other Sunday morning political talk shows and multiply it by a large number. In some cases, a very large number. Among the 12 best Twitter chats chosen here by Daniel Newman are Blogchat, hosted by Mack Collier; GetRealChat, moderated by the exuberant Pam Moore; and LeadershipChat, hosted by my fellow Lebronian Lisa Petrilli and Steve Woodruff.
The Right Way to Build Brand(s) via Twitter by iMedia Connection
David Sonn recommends a strategy combining a corporate Twitter account with accounts from key executives and other (properly trained) key individuals within a company to maximize credibility, interaction and business impact.
55 Tips to Get Retweeted on Twitter by ZoomFactor
The awesome Pam Moore supplies an extensive list of tips for getting retweeted more frequently and consistently, such as using your real picture, knowing your audience, knowing Twitter lingo, and making people laugh, cry, or learn something.
The Hidden Guide to Using Twitter Effectively by KISSmetrics
***** 5 STARS
The delightful Kristi Hines digs deep into Twitter, explaining how to do things like deleting a “Recent Image,” create customized RSS feeds from Twitter, use Twitter’s Advanced Search, search Twitter results using Google, get the most out of your Twitter bio and more.
Twitter: Marketers Still Struggling To Understand Social Channel by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Laurie Sullivan summarizes a report from Forrester Research outlining the challenges and opportunities marketers face in using Twitter effectively. One key finding: “Forrester analysts believe it’s not only the 1 billion tweets that matter, but rather the 6.2% of online adults creating 80% of the influence from impressions. The research firm calls these users Mass Connectors…Along with Mass Mavens—representing 13.8% of online adults creating 80% of the posts, comments, rating—they are small in number, but strong in power when it comes to influencing others.”
Twitter’s New Look and Feel
Jolie O’Dell summarizes the changes in Twitter’s new interface, such as the “new Activity tab, which shows all the non-tweet activity from people you follow. You can see new follows from your friends, friends’ retweets and their favorites.” Overall, the UI is an improvement—with the exception of losing the ability to see how many lists a person is on. Hopefully, Twitter listens to user feedback and restores that feature.
David Foster summarizes Twitter’s design changes and new capabilities, including four-tab navigation and the ability to embed tweets on any website.
Twitter and SEO
The Tweet Effect: How Twitter Affects Rankings by The Daily SEO Blog
In this somewhat long-winded but thoroughly researched post, John Doherty describes a number of experiments he ran to determine the effect of Tweets on a page or blog post ranking. The conclusion? Even a single tweet helps a page or post get indexed more quickly, though it has little effect on rankings. Retweets from relevant and highly influential Twitters, however, can have a significant impact on ranking.
7 Key Ways to Optimize Twitter for Search by HubSpot Blog
Anum Hussain details seven techniques for optimizing your Twitter presence for search, among them, “Don’t completely believe the “nofollow” warning…both Google and Bing (have) confirmed that tweeted links are in fact a signal for a search engine’s organic and news rankings,” create a special list of Twitter keywords, and use 1-2 core keyword phrases in your bio.
Finding Twitter Followers and Interesting Twitterers to Follow
How To: Get More Qualified Followers on Twitter by Social Media Today
Tracy Gold suggests eight tactics for increasing your Twitter following the right way—gradually building a relevant group of followers by using best practices such as hashtags, retweets and replies, as well as creating and adding followers to lists.
How to Find Twitter People that Don’t Suck by Soshable
JD Rucker presents a series of steps, starting with defining your goals on Twitter, to help find quality people to follow on Twitter. Each section is divided into guidelines for personal accounts and for business.
How to Get More Followers on Twitter by Graywolf’s SEO Blog
Michael Gray lays out an effective seven-step fan for gradually building a relevant Twitter following, starting with “raiding” the accounts of competitive and complementary Twitter accounts and using tools like Raven Event Tracking and manageflitter.
Twitter for B2B Marketing
5 Ways Twitter Can Be Leveraged for B2B Search Engine Marketing by Search Engine Watch
9 Twitter Tips for B2B Marketing Success by Modern B2B Blogs
Maria Pergolino shares nine tips for B2B marketing success on Twitter, such as sharing the workload for the corporate Twitter account among several people, sharing valuable content, and using Twitter tools (see below) to maximize productivity.
Twitter for PR and Media Pros
9 easy steps to add Twitter to your PR mix by ragan.com
The illustrious Anne Deeter Gallaher lays out a nine-step path to Twitter expertise for PR professionals, including using TweetDeck to follow multiple topics of interest simultaneously.
4 Ways to Build Your Influence on Twitter by Laura Kinoshita
When building influence on Twitter, start by following 10-20 people with modest follower counts (which makes it easier for you to stand out) who are connected to a key influencer in your market, then gradually build an influencer map for your industry.
Twitter Launches Twitter for Newsrooms by BizCloud
A review of the Twitter for Newsrooms guide, designed to “help reporters get the most out of the micro-blogging service. The guide contains valuable resources that will educate journalists and media organizations on how to best leverage various Twitter tools for finding sources, publishing their stories, and also for promoting their content.” Something PR professionals may want to take a look at as well.
Though his English is a bit spotty, Richard Darell provides helpful reviews of eight tools corporate recruiters can use to evaluate potential hires (and the rest of can use to evaluate anyone) on Twitter, including Retweet Radar and Twitalyzer.
These Two Twitter Clients Are The Best Conversation Agents for Digital Marketers by iMedia Connection
Noting that “88% of small businesses and 74% of midsized organizations now use Twitter as their social media application of choice. However, marketers do have a preference when choosing their conversation agent,” Courtney Wiley reviews her two favorite Twitter clients.
15 Useful Twitter Tools for B2B Social Media by Social Media B2B
Frequent best-of contributor Adam Holden-Bache reviews 15 helpful tools for managing Twitter, including Twtpoll for polling, Tweetreach to see how far your tweets travel, and Backtweets for better Twitter search.
The Top Ten Twitter Statistics and Analytics Tools by Dead Dinosaur
Two Great Twitter Visualization Tools: Twiangulate & MentionMap by Affiliate Marketing Blog
Geno Prussakov reviews two helpful tools for finding relevant new Twitter followers. Twiangulate, which looks very cool, lets you “see the biggest (or the most influential) followers of any two or three Twitter users, as well as mutual followers and mutual friends, compare lists, and do much more,” according to Geno.
5 Great Twitter Track Tools to Organize Followers by Search Engine Journal
Noting that unlike other social networking sites, Twitter is an “open-format chat setting that invites communication and connections with anyone who happens by. This is why you might need a little extra something to help keep track of all of your followers,” Ann Smarty reviews five helpful tools to help accomplish that task.
Leo Widrich outlines the features of 10 popular Twitter tools (including his own Buffer App for scheduling tweets) as well as what makes each one “killer.”
Twitter Noise Reduction: The Twit Cleaner by Social Marketing Forum
Jim Ducharme review Twit Cleaner, a handy tool to help keep your tweet stream clean by identifying people you follow who are Dodgy (spam phrases, @ spamming, duplicate links etc.), Absent (o updates in a month, or fewer than 10 tweets), Repetitive (igh numbers of duplicate tweets or links) or guilty of other Twitter sins. You can also have the tool evaluate your own behavior to make sure you aren’t crossing any lines.
6 Ways To Monitor Your Brand On Twitter by OPEN Forum
Organize Your Twitter Following with Formulists by Business2Community
Kristi Hines explains the features of Formulists, “a service that will allow you to create customized Twitter lists and automatically update those lists with new followers that fit your specifications”—ideal for organizing large numbers of Twitter followers without manually picking through all of your followers.
Angela West looks at how Twitter analytics (based on their acquisition of BackType) work and the key benefits they provide to business users.
The 11 Twitter Tools and Apps I Use Every Day in 2011 by Business2Community
14 Twitter Tools for Enterprise Business by Sprout Insights
In a slightly different twist, Susan Gunelius presents 14 useful Twitter tools based on the function that would benefit from them (Marketing and Customer Service, Human Resources, and Communications and Networking).
10 Tools to Significantly Increase Your Twitter Efficiency by arkarthick.com
Guest poster Leo Widrich details his top ten tools for Twitterers to “check out to step up your Twitter game and significantly increase your efficiency,” including Twinbow, Buffer, Tweriod and PeerIndex.
Twitter Facts and Stats
Twitter Growth Skyrockets, Settles Privacy Case With FTC by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Laurie Sullivan reports on some interesting Twitter statistics, such as that Twitter users now collectively post about one billion tweets per week, and mobile use has increased 182% in the past year.
Twitter Stats that will 100% get you tweeting by Carvill Creative
Michelle Carvill amplifies some stats to win over Twitter skeptics, among them: there are 200,000,000 registered Twitter users,with 450,000 new accounts created each day. There are 1.6 billion Twitter search queries every day. The majority of twitter users are between the ages of 30 and 49. And 67% of users are likely to recommend a brand they follow to others.
Big Brands Tested On Twitter Effectiveness by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Mark Walsh reports on an experiment by a digital agency “not to see whether corporate Twitter hands could answer tough questions, but to find out if they would engage in a conversation at all.” Among the findings: of the Fortune 50 companies in the study, 16 apparently don’t have corporate Twitter account. of the remaining 34, 23 responded to the test tweets, with GM, UPS and Best Buy responding most quickly.
Guest author Shannon Downey extols the virtues of Twitter for enabling Tweetups and shares some interesting stats showing that brand followers on Twitter are roughly twice as likely as brand fans on Facebook to purchase a brand after following, and 50% more likely to recommend it.
Twitter’s Changing Complexion by iMedia Connection
Daniel Flamberg shares some fascinating intelligence on Twitter users, such as that:
- • 72% of active Twitter users are bloggers
- • 61% write at least 1 product review per month
- • 56% write articles for third-party sites
Twitter By The Numbers: Are You Listening to 100 Million Voices? by B2B Marketing Insider
Michael Brenner makes the business case for using Twitter, answers some common questions about the network and shares a selection of stats like: 84% of U.S. state governors, 82% of U.S. congressional representatives and 83% of senators use Twitter. 87% of Billboard’s top 100 musicians are there. And more than half of all Twitter users log in daily.