Monday, October 03, 2011

Networking on LinkedIn & Why You Better Be Doing It - WebProNews Video

In today’s economy, people understand that networking is important. Whether it is in-person or through social networking sites, for the most part, people try to take advantage of networking.


However, because people often associate LinkedIn as a place to find jobs, they forget about how powerful it can be for networking. Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s Connections Director, told us that the professional network could actually be a game changer in terms of a person’s career.

As she explained, LinkedIn is a platform that is full of credentials and qualified referrals that people need to be utilizing. Through products such as LinkedIn Today, users can keep up with the latest developments and events in their related industries. Additionally, the company recently introduced Causes to allow users to get credit for their volunteer efforts.

Williams said that both these areas, among others, create great networking outlets, which could lead to potential job opportunities. Are you taking advantage of them?


Friday, August 12, 2011

Video: The Potential of Google+, the Newest Social Network - WebProNews Video

Video: The Potential of Google+, the Newest Social Network

Google+, the latest social development from the search giant, is continuing to gain extreme hype. WebProNews recently spoke with several search and social media leaders including Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing, Steve Rubel of Edelman, Li Evans of LiBeck Integrated Marketing, Barry Schwartz of RustyBrick, Loren Baker of BlueGlass, and speaker and author Mari Smith to see what they thought about Google+.


While they all believe that it is definitely Google’s best attempt at social, they equally agree that there is still a lot that needs to be done to it. For instance, they would like to see further integration of Google products, an improved mobile experience, and better sharing capabilities, to name a few.

View Video at WebProNews

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to Create a Local Twitter Account - WebProNews

How to Create a Local Twitter Account from WebProNews

Most of the the tutorials on the web dealing with growing your Twitter followers, don’t pay any attention to location, and are more concerned with raw numbers. I recently started a local travel website and wanted to focus on gaining local followers from that city and surrounding areas. While I can’t reveal the profile, this tutorial will walk you through how I did it.

First the background: this was a travel related website in one of the top 20 metros in the United States. The goal of the account was to build brand recognition by being a curator and online guide that answered people’s questions. The account extended some good will by retweeting the tweets of other non competing hospitality related accounts or other local focused stories. The account would be used once every 1-2 weeks to push out a linkbait, social media, lead gen, or sales tweet.

Next I decided what sort of activity level I want for the account. In this case I aimed for 3-6 informational or news based tweets per day (non self serving tweets). These tweets would usually happen between 12-5pm in the prime timezone of the account. Using in account lists, I aimed for 2-4 retweets per day. I started with a list of 12 terms that would be checked 2-3 times per day to see if we could answer any questions people had. The account had one tweet per day if there was a new post, and the posting schedule was 2-3 posts per week. The account also had an 18 hour archive tweet rotation (I use tweet old posts to accomplish this). While this may seem pretty mechanical, I’m a big fan of letting humans use tools and automation to be more efficient and get more done (aka nap time by the pool on a sunny afternoon).

… you still can’t get a good haircut over the web, and it’s unlikely people hundreds of miles away will ever come to your hair salon…

With my Twitter posting goals in place, I started out tweeting at about half of my desired rate, for the simple reason that no one was following me yet. I wanted new followers to see a history when they decided if I was worth following or not (I’ve been doing this for too long and am far too jaded to be objective about what non marketers really look at when deciding to follow you on Twitter or not).

I started out with a list of social media gurus who were running automated accounts that follow everyone who follows them. I knew I was never going to get their attention, but I was interested in the social proof of having some followers and not being seen as a spammer. Once you have about 50 of these, you should have the basics covered.

Next I made 4 lists for hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and other travel/hospitality businesses and their web addresses. I sent this list to oDesk to have someone find the Twitter and Facebook profiles for each of the businesses. If you are bootstrapping, you could do this yourself. You can use the information a second time down the road for a who’s who in social media in the area ego link bait post.

A few days later, when the work came back completed, I followed all of the accounts and created separate lists on Twitter for each of the categories (this made retweeting others easier).

After the base accounts were followed, I started mining the followers (see How to get more followers on twitter). This is where it becomes more an art than a science. Look for people who are important in the space. You should follow them even though they probably won’t follow you back. Second, look for conversationalists who tweet back and forth about your niche topic often. Third, look for people who are “promoters” or who have an “agenda” but are likely to retweet you if you have retweeted them. Lastly, look for real people who live in the area you are targeting. These are people who will probably never retweet or link to you, but they will click your link, read your page, fill out a lead gen form, or buy something from you.

Adding new followers is a bit of a game. You follow them, wait a few days, and unfollow the people who didn’t follow you back. If you’re used to playing in a social media friendly space you can build up 2,000 followers in a matter of days. In the normal world, you’ll have to go a lot slower. You can follow up to 2,000 more people than are following you, but I recommend never getting that far ahead. I recommend never following more than 200-300 more people than are following you because it just makes you look spammy. I used managefilter and check all in Firefox to speed up the unfollow process.

When you are adding followers, one of the things you want to look at is the number of followers. You want to have an idea where the high bar is and where the average is. In this particular case, most of the accounts had between 500-1000 followers. Some of the accounts with a high brand recognition factor had 2,000 followers. The account with the highest number of followers was just over 6,000 followers.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How Bing Is Growing, Innovating, and Competing from WebProNews Video

How Bing Is Growing, Innovating, and Competing...

In an effort to contend in the search race, Bing is continuously rolling out new products and initiatives. The search engine’s efforts appear to be paying off since recent data from Experian Hitwise, comScore, and Compete all show that Bing’s market share is growing. Google, on the other hand, lost a small percentage of its market share.


At SXSW, WebProNews spoke with Stefan Weitz, a director with Bing, about this growth and what the search engine was doing to leverage it. According to him, the search industry is not a “zero-sum game.”

"For us to win, somebody else doesn’t have to lose,” he said.

In other words, he believes that all the search engines can expand on one idea and take it in new, and multiple, directions. Competition is tight, but as a result, it produces more new concepts and experiences. Bing, for example, has recently introduced several new projects. The search engine partnered with DealMap in order to bring great deals from popular sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial to users.

Bing has also launched Project Emporia that puts a new approach on personalization. The project is powered by its Matchbox technology and enables the engine to build profiles that offer better recommendations to users.

Weitz told us that Bing would continue to pursue these areas, along with social search, mobile search, and more, in order to provide a simpler and better user experience.


Friday, March 11, 2011

What’s Your Klout Score Telling You? - WebProNews Video

A new space is emerging that hopes to measure social influence online. The concept is promising but is still very new. One player, in particular, that is making progress in the arena is Klout.

As a service that measures how influential people are on the social Web, Klout looks at the content that users create and analyzes what it is they’re talking about. From there, it examines how people react to that content, thus finding the influence.
“For us, when we think about influence, it’s really about the ability to drive some sort of action,” explained Klout CEO Joe Fernandez to WebProNews.

This new metric has been referred to as an equivalent to Google’s PageRank for the social Web. Because Google continues to tweak PageRank, we can understand how a similar metric for the social Web would be an ongoing challenge as well. For example, one person might be very influential to another person but may not have a very high Klout Score, since Klout measures data for efforts across the entire social Web. 

Fernandez pointed out, specifically, that, according to their data, Justin Beiber is more influential online than President Obama is. While that is hard for some people to swallow, he said that a video of Justin Bieber gets considerably more clicks and links than a video of President Obama gets.

“We just kind of let the data speak for itself,” he said.

In addition, Jeremiah Owyang recently released a report that found that, while Klout is a useful metric, it offers an incomplete view of customers for brands. Fernandez said that, while Klout is a critical data point that adds value to customer service and targeting decisions, businesses should consider other data points as well.

Fernandez also acknowledges the challenge of spam and said that the company takes it very seriously.

“It’s something that we’re going to have to continue to face, and honestly, we have to do a better job at it,” he said.

For people and businesses that want to boost their Klout Score, Fernandez recommends being consistent. Klout Score largely depends on how much the person is involved in the conversation and whether or not he is adding value.

Klout currently measures influence across Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but it hopes to expand to other social platforms this year.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Video: How IntoNow Socializes the TV Experience - WebProNews Video

Video: How IntoNow Socializes the TV Experience

Numerous tools and applications are developed today in order to connect aspects of our lives. IntoNow is a new iOS app that fits into this category. It hopes to socialize the TV experience while answering the question, “What are you into now?”

As Adam Cahan, the company’s CEO, explained to WebProNews, television programming takes up 62 percent of consumers’ leisure time, which, besides sleeping and working, is the largest activity that people partake in. In addition, studies have shown that around 60 percent of people are also on the Internet while they are watching television.


For these reasons, the company wanted to create a way for users to be able to easily connect with their friends around the content that they are watching. The app does this by identifying television programs after only hearing a few seconds of them. Cahan said that the app allows users to look at their social connections, find out what they share in common, and start conversations around those areas of interest.

“For us, what was really exciting was the ability to establish those connections to say you and I both share the same show, and therefore, start a conversation around it,” he added.

Although the app is fun and interesting (it was even named Apple’s App of the Week last week), WebProNews asked Cahan why people would really be drawn to it since many of them already talk about their TV experiences on Facebook and Twitter. In response, he emphasized that IntoNow is not trying to own the conversation.

“It’s about getting recommendations and about getting a sense of your tastes, your friends’ tastes, and then starting to come back to you with ideas around things that we think you should like,” he said.

The technology that enables this experience is based on IntoNow’s SoundPrint platform. Cahan calls the process “fingerprinting,” since it takes the audio signal layer from a snippet of content and translates it into an algorithmic representation of the audio signal.

SoundPrint records 130 channels of live television continuously and is always adding to its catalog. It also has a “back catalog” that includes about 5 years of television, which equates to roughly 2.6 million individual airings.

Cahan told us that IntoNow has several ideas for monetization and is currently talking with one of the largest television manufacturers about embedding the service into TVs. He also said that we could expect an Android version and a Web application soon.


Friday, February 04, 2011

Video: What Quora Is and What It's Not - WebProNews Video

Have you jumped on the Quora bandwagon yet? A lot of people have and are calling it the next big social phenomenon. Others are relating it to Yahoo Answers and Wikipedia. Some people are even saying that it will replace online forums. So, what is it?

According to Patrick O’Keefe, the author of Managing Online Forums, “Quora is more or less a forum.” However, some people don’t agree with him because they associate forums with things of the past. They, instead, want to associate Quora with something like Facebook or Twitter.
“I think that sometimes people want to see evolution, or something along those lines, in things that maybe don’t need it, or in a way that’s not really fair,” he said.

He compared forums to bread stating that, while many people think bread hasn’t evolved, it really has. Today, there are many different types of bread, and it is used in numerous ways. O’Keefe believes the same principle applies to forums.

These online communities are, essentially, threaded text-based conversations, and interestingly, he points out that this same type of conversation is the backbone of Facebook. He believes that Quora not only has this feature, but that it also has social features.

“The reason Quora is good is because they have taken these features, and they have put them together in a very attractive, very slick, very good way that makes a lot of sense… and really the people aspects of Quora are why it’s successful – the people contributing and the people behind it,” said O’Keefe.
He went on to say that Quora was useful from a business perspective. Although actual brands are not permitted on the service, individuals from companies are allowed and could monitor certain keywords and also answer questions. Companies could potentially receive extra search engine favor since these questions are indexable.

Just like any other service, people are always wondering where it will go in the future. While O’Keefe is not sure, he did address a few challenges that the company would face. First of all, there is the issue of too many basic questions. Another challenge is the fact that people will ask the same question over and over. Thirdly, Quora will have to find a balance in its userbase since it has had the privilege of having people such as former AOL CEO Steve Case answer some questions. However Quora handles these challenges will likely determine its future.

So, what is your take on Quora?