Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Twilk: Create a Twitter Background of Your Friends - WebProNews Video

While at SXSW, WebProNews caught up with Kyle Mulka of Congo Labs. Mulka is currently working on a Twitter application called Twilk that is quickly gaining popularity.

Twilk is a Twitter background generator that takes a user’s followers on Twitter to create a photo collage out of their icons. The application sorts followers based on how much the user tweets about them and gives prominent placement to the people tweeted about the most.

Many people are using Twilk as a way to reward their followers for following them. Others just like seeing their friends’ faces on their background. For businesses that use the application, Twilk allows them to exclude certain people such as competitors and other people that they do not want to show up.

Mulka told WPN that they would like to develop the background to the point that it is clickable.

For more information on Twilk, visit their site.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Secret to Viral Videos - WebProNews Video

Everyone wants their video to go viral, but is it really possible? According to Margaret Gould Stewart of YouTube, people need to, first of all, understand what types of videos go viral.

As she explains, most viral videos happen by accident. There is, however, another category of content that could go viral. People producing this type of content create it on a regular basis in order to build a sustained audience.

When it comes to actually creating viral content, Stewart says, “It really is about great content. It’s really difficult to make content that is not interesting or exciting go viral.”

Another factor in creating viral content is knowing your audience. Content producers need to understand who their audience is and build sustainable relationships with them. In addition, Stewart points out the importance of attaching metadata to the content.

Just as SEO is important for Google, it is also important for the second largest search engine, YouTube. Ideally, the best content is at the top, but you can help it by making titles clear and direct and putting in the right tags. If you do this, searchers will be able to find your content easily when they search for it.

Lastly, content producers need to make sure they are enabling the embedding capability on their video. Stewart says that as a video starts to go viral, the largest amount of traffic comes from other sources in the first 48 hours.

In the end, all viral videos do not receive one million viewers. For businesses especially, a video can be viral as long as it reaches its target audience.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

How Business Models Determine Success - WebProNews Video

Determining what it is that makes a business successful is difficult, especially in this economy. Is success measured in numbers or profitability? As Matt Chasen of uShip explains, many businesses take a backward approach to finding success.

When he started uShip 6 years ago, he says he was very focused on proving out their business model. Unfortunately, a lot of businesses in the Internet space tend to create a business around hype and users and consider the business model later.

Chasen advises entrepreneurs to focus on small, niche industries that maybe aren’t very “sexy.” uShip, for example, is an online marketplace for transportation services. It combines a relatively “old school” industry with new technology. Entrepreneurs need to realize that there are vast amounts of opportunity in areas such as this.
In addition, Chasen suggests that if entrepreneurs are going to fail that they need to fail quickly. He says it is inexpensive and quick to prototype new businesses and business models, so it shouldn’t take too long to find something that works. According to Chasen, the quicker you figure out how you are going to make money, the better your chances are of being successful.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Is all Press Really Good Press? - WebProNews Video

Traditionally, public relations agencies have considered any press good publicity. However, in this day and age of new media, that standard has changed. Sam Ford of Peppercom calls the traditional viewpoint “a major mistake.”

In an interview with Abby Johnson at SXSW, Ford explains that communicators should think qualitatively in terms of what people are saying, instead of quantitatively.  In addition, now as brands are getting more involved in social media, they need to realize that they might not like the feedback they receive.

If you are not ready to hear honest feedback, then maybe new media is not the place for you. Ford says, “Engagement only works if you’re prepared to engage on your side as much as you’re expecting the audience to engage.”

He also points out the harm in a brand “over-promising” its ability to engage if it cannot. Unfortunately, many Web 2.0 business models are built off of strategies for engaging the audience, but if the brand is not providing anything in return, it is essentially asking for unpaid labor to build its business.

Once a brand is involved and is ready to engage, Ford says it automatically thinks that the only way it can react to negativity is by responding. Instead of focusing on what to say next, Ford suggests that brands find solutions for the real problems. He said hearing is not listening.

If a brand wants to produce positive press, a brand should send a message that is additional material for the conversation the audience is already having. In the end, this will make the message spreadable.

Are you actively engaging your audience and truly listening?