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Archive for the ‘Social Brand’ Category

Twitter or Identi.ca?

Micro-blogging has become a big thing when it comes to promoting your sites, network or keep in touch with your friends.

But which host do you prefer?

Identi.ca is a microblogging service where users post short (140 character) messages which are broadcast to their friends using the Web, RSS, or instant messages.  While similar than Twitter in both concept and operation, Identi.ca provides many features not currently implemented by Twitter, including XMPP support and personal tag clouds.

Identi.ca allows free export and exchange of personal and friend’s data based on the FOAF standard; therefore, notices can be fed into a Twitter account or other service.

Identi.ca is an Open Network Service. Their goal is to provide a fair and transparent service that preserves users’ autonomy. You deserve the right to manage your own on-line presence, they say. The service reached 1 million postings on November 4, 2008.

Users say it trumps Twitter by leaps and bounds in terms of features. But with these features comes an uncharted territory, much of which is sometimes getting abused.

Identi.ca is as close to Twitter as you can get. Instead of Tweets they call their massages ‘dents’. In fact it’s almost identical to Twitter….”almost” because Identi.ca was built with OpenMicroblogging in mind. This means that it is built on an open platform that can be shared with anyone who wants to host their own federated version of the software. So unlike Twitter, which hopes to monetize the service in order to turn a profit, you can host a Laconi.ca server, sharing ‘dents’ with any identi.ca accounts as well as with anyone else running the same software. This means no more down-time.

Twitter is close, and more popular, but identi.ca is robust, more reliable, and simply an ALTERNATIVE and a CHOICE.

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Why call a service Mister Wong? It comes from the term “Wong the Web!” a reference to the practice of wonging, card counting strategy in Blackjack.

Mister Wong is a creation of a German company that initially wanted to take on Google. Started in 2006 the website allows customers to bookmark their favorite sites and use that list as a basic search engine. To find a site that is not on your list, you can search the bookmarks of other people. It is a peer recommended search engine that is meant to weed out the less interesting ones.

With their services users can:

  •       Search and find the best website of a certain category.
  •       Save and manage their sites.
  •       Access the bookmarks from any computer.
  •       Connect with Twitter and import links.

Management of the bookmarks can be done by accessing the website or by downloading a toolbar that allows you to bookmark without leaving the current page.

A relative newcomer, the service is available in German, French, Russian, Spanish, Chinese and English, and is the leading social bookmarking service in Europe with over 50 million users in 2009. They claim to be the second largest bookmarking service in the world.

Mister Wong has a different approach than Del.icio.us for example. Mister Wong’s variation is more to the point with users creating groups on top of the groups created by tags. Here, just like in Reddit, users can vote with thumbs up or thumbs down, and the recommended site will rise or fall from the top of the list. You can also make friends through the site, create user profiles and show your latest stream of bookmarks and links.

Mister Wong is another website that uses human recommendations to get a site ranked. Unlike Google for example, where new information is scanned and placed by machines, Mister Wong and other bookmarking sites concentrate on allowing you to search less cluttered result pages in an attempt to save you time and compete with the big search engines.

Their dream, to be an alternative search engine, is not yet fulfilled. With more users, and more recommendations they eventually might be able to do just that. Another great visibility opportunity.

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Promoting a Small Business Without Breaking The Bank

How do you promote your small business while staying afloat? All you need is a little ingenuity!

The classic promotions options are print, television media and direct campaign. You might think that all these options will cost money, and that you need a large budget to get your message across. Without spending an incredible amount of money, you can attract customers, and have ready to use custom recorded video content for future use, as follows:

  • Cut costs by using your own employees in place of models for print and television Ads. It’s more believable and you stand a better chance of being noticed and remembered.
  • Obtain a database of email address and send your company’s information with links to your site via emails for direct campaign.
  • Put up your promotional videos on your website, with additional content and offers that people can read and watch. Always make sure that your website loads fast, and don’t use too many graphics and heavy content that might slow down the experience for your customers.
  • Spend a little to ensure more traffic to your website. With more traffic you can usually expect more sales.
  • Use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to advertise your products and services. Even though too many companies are doing this nowadays, you can still garner eyeballs if you package your company’s identity realistically.

What you need to do is to combine guerrilla marketing with traditional advertising strategies to gain exposure and get paying customers by letting the current technology work for you instead of against you. Create interesting and entertaining under 3 minute videos and post them on your site; while you’re at it, you may as well upload them on video sites such as YouTube. Most video sites are free; by posting your videos online, you can create exposure for your company.  Make sure that your video titles contain keywords that are commonly searched by people.

Focus on your demographic; who do you want to target? If you know this already, well and good. If not, consult a good advertising agency to help you define your correct demographic. When you’re on a budget, focusing on your exact target audience will get you more paying customers.

Optimize on television broadcasting by purchasing media time in any locality on any cable network. By doing this, you can run a local cable television advertising campaign in many different cities at the same time. For example, if you know that most of your customers live in large cities, focus only on them. By doing this you can bring down your advertising budget. A national television campaign is way more expensive than a cable TV campaign, and is not as effective either.

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Many sites are actively advertising in search engines for the most valuable search queries. This high level of competition tends to result in high advertising costs which make it difficult to find attractive advertising opportunities. Resource sharing provides new ways of organizing and sharing information on the web and provides advertisers with another way for Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

BibSonomy is a social bookmarking system that allows users to bookmark and share their favorite sites and publication in a collaborative manner.

The bookmarking is easy, just as it is done on the regular browser, but it saves all the bookmarks to the BibSonomy site, which enables accessed from any computer. Users tag their ‘finds’ and can look at what others have tagged and viewed, in a social networking manner.

The uniqueness of BibSonomy is that it goes further than just being a social bookmarking system. It allows for publication sharing. It is what they call ”A team oriented publication management”.

It offers users the ability to store and organize their publications and supports exchange and integration of different people by offering a social platform for literature exchange.

Both bookmarks and publication can be tagged to help find information. A description can be freely chosen. The assignment of tags from different users creates a new vocabulary called ‘folksonomy’. It evolves from the participants of research groups, individual users and learning communities organizing their information needs. Folksonomies became popular on the web in 2004 as part of social software applications. The word is a mix of the words “taxonomy” and “folk” and allows an intuitive structure for navigating the data.

Developed by a team of students and scientists at the “Institute of Knowledge and Data Engineering” and is hosted by the University of Kassel in Germany.

While about 55% of visitors to the site come from India, it is also popular in the Philippines. The use of this site in the United States is at about 8% only, but is growing rapidly.

Another great visibility tool.

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Mixx is a user-driven social media site that combines social networking and bookmarking with web content, blogging and personalization tools.

There is so much information of the web these days that we don’t have the time to find the good stuff that interests us or is important to our business. Who knows better than you what informs you, what makes you think, what makes you laugh?

With Mixx you can be in charge. Using YourMixx you can tailor the content categories, specific users and groups and see the top-rated content as chosen by you and people who share your passions. It is like whipping up your own version of the web. Just tell the site how you like it and they’ll deliver the best the web has to offer—whenever you want it. You can create a personalized blend of web content that includes text-based articles, images and videos, using either free-form or pre-determined meta tags to define items by subject matter or geography.

The content on Mixx comes from various online sources. Mixx is in partnerships with a growing list of online publishing outlets that include CNN.com, USA Today, Reuters, The Los Angeles Times and The Weather Channel.

Mixx users can also follow other users with whom they share common interests, as well as create, join and invite other Mixx users to private groups to further share and discuss relevant items among peers.

There are a few methods you can use Mixx: –

Mixx Channels – Publishers of content must fight to be noticed.  Mixx Channels enable companies to gather topical chatter and shared stories, photos, and videos into one place, an experience that cuts through the noise and delivers relevant content and information.

Mixx Sitebox – Promotes increased engagement and recirculation. It allows users to get a box of their favorite news channel and see what others have chosen and how much interested the news bit has generated.

Mixx Sifter  – The Mixx community gives direct feedback on advertising. The better ads will get impressions – not based on how much is paid, but on how positive the feedback is from users.

An advertiser uploads five different ads, in virtually any format. Mixx then invites its frequent users to review those ads, rate them and provide direct private feedback. The most popular ad is then run on the site. Mixx is highlighting the value of direct feedback to advertisers.

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Using the big search engines; Google, Yahoo, and Bing has become a way of life for us. Google became a verb in the English language. The problem with the search engines is the amount of information they present. If you want something specific it is sometimes like searching for a needle in a hay stack.

The main reason, apart from the wealth of information, is the indexing system which is done by machines. What will happen if all those pages were vetted by humans, not machines?

Social Bookmarking provides that vetting.

Social bookmarking sites allow the users to choose the website they like, bookmark them, tag them, categorize them and share them with others. Other users can pass them on to their groups of friends, and the word spreads. It is a way for like-minded users to rank and store websites, articles, blogs and videos.

Blinklist is one of those sites that proved to be very affective.

With an extremely simple and free registration, Blinklist installs a button on your toolbar. In a few quick steps you export all your existing bookmarks to their site.

You have entered a world of human interaction. You can see what others have bookmarked, you can check what is the most bookmarked page in a certain topic, you can see what your friends found interesting and you can rate their finds.

And by going to their site, you can access your bookmarks from any computer. That is a great feature when you want to show your friends, your coworkers or your boss something interesting you have found.

Blinklist enables you to save a copy of the web page on your computer. If the website disappears or is blocked you still have a copy. You can bookmark articles you are interested in reading later, a copy is saved on your computer and you can read it even when you are offline.

Social Bookmarking has become a great way to increase the visibility of your website, articles, blogs or product and is increasingly incorporated in an effective marketing campaign. It provides an instant statistics tool that enables you to measure, assess and learn what is working and what does not.

To use social bookmarking to your advantage you need to know which sites cater to your target audience, especially if you are dealing with affiliate marketing programs, or specific blogs. Birds of feather flock together, they say, and so do internet users.

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Another way of finding what’s new and interesting on the World Wide Web, is call Reddit.

Launched in 2005 by two 22 year old graduates from the University of Virginia, Reddit is a social network news website, for, as they call it “News before it happens”. Users can post news that is happening right now in their area, before it gets to the big news organizations. They can post links to content they like on the internet and comment on what others have found. They can also comment on the comments and rank them. With a simple response of like or dislike users mark their interest in the story posted. Every positive reaction gets a +1, every negative reaction -1. The more positive reactions a comment or link gets, the higher up the link goes. The front page is constantly in motion as new stories are uploaded and voted on.

Since 2008, Reddit is an open source community of more than 370,000 where postings get indexed not by crawlers as is the case with search engines, but by users, based on interests, not keywords.

Reddit content is divided into sub-categories;  pics, funny, politics, WTF, gaming, science, world news and more and is a good place to find popular articles or have a discussion. It is a place where you can market your own blog and get instant reactions.

The effectiveness of Reddit has been tested after the earthquake in Haiti.  The community of Reddit users raised $185,000 for the victims of the earthquake.

Another example is about to happen. In September 2010 a Reddit poster started a campaign to persuade Stephen Colbert to have a rally in Washington DC. The idea was described in a post talking about a dream the poster had.

The idea resonated with the community and webpages and Facebook groups have been created. Social networking machine started spreading the idea. Colbert acknowledged the momentum and the followers, to prove that they are serious about it, managed to raise $100,000 in 24 hours to support a charity where Colbert sits on the board of directors.

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are heading rallies in Washington DC on October 30, 2010 – a direct result of a campaign that started on Reddit.

Colbert challenged the community even more. He wanted to help teachers around the country get supplies for their classrooms, something that used to come out of the teacher’s pockets. Within 3 days the community raised $250,000.

The power of social networking sites has become a force to be reckoned with. Reddit in particular leverages its own network to rank and recognize the validity of what’s being shared. This gives Reddit added value to those looking for information that is relevant based on real user reviews and not spam.

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