September 08, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Twitter Tips - URL Shorteners, Blogging & ReTweeting

By Li Evans

This week for our Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing Video, I'm discussing some Twitter Tool that you can integrate into your strategy to get a better handle on what's happening with all those URL's you are tweeting out.

Full Twitter Tips Video Transcript after the jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Twitter Tips - URL Shorteners, Blogging & ReTweeting" »

September 01, 2009

Online Marketing Tips Video: Free Blogging Tools

By Li Evans

It's been a few weeks without a Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing Video so I pulled one that I hadn't yet posted to SMG.  This week its all about tools, free tools for Bloggers and their blogs.  Google's got three really great tools that any blogger can integrate into their blog to take it to the next level.

In today's video we'll discuss Google's Feedburner, Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer.  It's quick and to the point, and maybe it'll help you to decide to install one of these free tools to help improve your blog.


Free Blogging Tool Tips Video Transcript after the jump....





Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Free Blogging Tools" »

April 22, 2009

A Pizza Hut PR Stunt Or a Social Media Blunder Waiting to Happen?

By Li Evans

Yummy-pizza To kick off the work week Twitter was all abuzz with news that Pizza Hut wanted to hire a summer intern to man their Twitter account. The story even made the New York Times. I really don't know what made me roll my eyes more, that the NY Times gave this obvious PR Stunt credibility or that the Vice President for marketing communications at Pizza Hut (Bob Kraut), actually stated "The successful applicant will speak fluent OMG and LOL and correctly use the terms DM (direct message), RT (retweet) and # (hashtag)." to make himself sound cool and hip.

For the record, if you tweeted DM it wouldn't work on Twitter, it's "D" for direct message, let alone they left out knowing how to reply to twitterers with the "@" symbol.

Tom Martin, who writes at Positive Disruption asked if this "Twiternship" was Ethical, its a very interesting look at the situation and a very thought provoking piece if you into marketing, PR and social media.  It kept me coming back to even more questions, beyond asking if this was just a PR Stunt to draw people away from the Domino's video fiasco.

You Seriously Want an Intern Handling Your International Brand on an International Stage?

Pizza Hut is not just a national brand, but an international one.  Twitter isn't just a U.S. based tool, its a world wide tool.  Now, stop and think.  Would any company be crazy enough to let an intern who doesn't know the inner workings of their global brand (carefully crafted messaging they've spent millions on) plan, prepare, run and speak at an international press event that launches your brand on an international stage?

Continue reading "A Pizza Hut PR Stunt Or a Social Media Blunder Waiting to Happen?" »

March 20, 2009

When It Comes to Twitter & Celebrities Its Not About Conversation

By Li Evans

Hollywood-stars-and-wannabes I'm going to indulge in a little guilty pleasure this Friday. I decided to start poking around a few Celebrity Twitter Accounts to see how some of these "stars" are using Twitter.  There's a wide variety of ways it's being used, but for the most part when it comes to Celebrity Twitter accounts, its definitely not about conversations with their communities or fan bases.

Perhaps its just the way celebrities are, that whole "look at me" factor that 95% of them are in the entertainment industry for.  It goes with the territory I suppose, we the adoring fan base waiting on bended ear to hear something great fall from their lips, or in this case, tweet from their fingertips.  Its all apart of the voyeurism of celebrities, if we didn't like to watch these celebrity train wrecks there wouldn't be a TMZ, Perez Hilton of US Magazine.

For the most part a lot of the Celebrity Twitter Accounts I'm going to list are basically just Public Relations or "Handler" controlled accounts (especially in the Music Industry) that are used a just another vehicle to get the word out about new albums, tour dates, ringtones, guest star appearances or pushes to vote for songs.  For other celebrities its about pushing their shows, videos, and guest appearances.  There's a definite difference in how engage some of these celebrities are.

There's also a difference when it comes to how "popular" the celebrity is, and their use of Twitter.  But in rare cases, like that of Jane Fonda, they understand Twitter and actually use some of the technology that's sprung up around it.  Jane uses hash tags to relate her tweets to things going on in the twitterverse, and although she really doesn't hold conversations, you don't get that "fake" PR Handler feel from her account like you would from say country music star's Faith Hill's twitter account.

Continue reading "When It Comes to Twitter & Celebrities Its Not About Conversation" »

March 11, 2009

President Barack Obama & His Social Media Agenda in the First 50 Days

By Li Evans

President-barack-obama Quietly, without trumpets, fan fare, ticker tape parades or walks outside of the limo that give the secret service heart attacks, President Barack Obama has been changing the way the executive branch of the government does business online.  Not only that he's influencing the other branches, in particularly the legislator, both Congress & Senate.

In the first 50 days of his presidency President Obama's team has pushed forward a number of new sites to help citizens of the United States understand better what the President and his staff are doing. This was something we have never seen before, all we ever got before was a static WhiteHouse.gov site that people continually tried to Google Bomb for "miserable failure".

I stated back in November that President Barack Obama was going to be "Our First Social Media President", within the first 50 days of this presidency he's sure living up to that moniker I tacked on him (sure hope he doesn't mind).  We also know that Blackberry is sure thankful for the free press, since he wouldn't give up his and got that super dooper James Bond one.  Besides the Blackberry, in the first 50 days of his presidency, President Obama and his team have launched a number of new sites above and beyond just WhiteHouse.gov and that's what I'd like to focus on today, along with some other things.

Continue reading "President Barack Obama & His Social Media Agenda in the First 50 Days" »

October 26, 2008

Twitter As a Terrorist Tool?

By Li Evans

Terrorism Cartoon by BradFitzpatrick.com I was doing my normal reading of the main stream media sites - CNN, MSNBC and FoxNews and my eyes got a glimpse of a headline that contained the word "Twitter" in it, so of course, curiously I clicked on it. 

"U.S. Army Says Blogging Site 'Twitter' Could Become Terrorist Tool"

*blink*  ..... *crickets* ..... *blink*

Wow, really?!  A terrorist tool?  Now I don't know about you folks, but I tend to give terrorist a little more credit in the secret and brains department.  Ideally these folks don't want ANYONE knowing what they are up to right?  I mean seriously, a terrorist tool?

According a a report by the Agence France-Presse news agency, the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion contains a chapter entitled “Potential for Terrorist Use of Twitter,” which expresses concern over the increasing use of Twitter by political and religious groups.

Am I wrong, are we not in America?  Seriously, isn't this they way that grassroots efforts are suppose to work?  They use tools to communicate a like minded message and join together for a common cause.

I think what the government is missing, very clearly here, is the way social communities police themselves.  If there's a crazy person in the group, or on the channel or in the forum, or espousing crap from their blogs, people either do two things 1) Ignore Them or 2) Look at their blog for the next crazy thing they are saying and laugh.

Twitter is already used by some members to post and/or support extremist ideologies and perspectives,” the Army report said.

Most normal human beings can spot a whack job a mile a way.  At least the type of whack jobs this report is describing.  These whack jobs can say whatever they want on twitter, it's just like they can print whatever they want, too.  It's just like those people with the weird hairdos and clothese at the airport that are selling flowers, or those Scientology members passing out fliers on Market St. in San Francisco.  Unless you want to listen to the music or read the message, you trash the communication device or ignore it altogether - you just don't listen to it.

Hugh_macleod_cool_sheep_cartoon The article goes on ..... "The blogging service and social networking site has previously sent out messages known as “Tweets” faster than news organizations during such major news events as the July Los Angeles earthquake and the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis."

I guess they forget to give credit to Scoble for getting a tweet about the earthquakes in China.  I guess they also missed that Beth Kanter raised over $2,500 dollars for Cambodian Children, in an hour live from Gnomedex.  I guess they missed the thousands of other great things Twitter's been used for and to spread the word about in an instance? 

Maybe Joe the Plumber should tweet his questions to the candidates, and then maybe it'll be worth the candidates mentioning how great Twitter is, instead of our government labeling it a terrorist tool?

What say you?

June 10, 2008

Online Marketing Tips Video: Business Tips for Twitter

By Li Evans

It's that time of week again, and this week, our Tuesday's Tips in Online Marketing is featuring some more Twitter Tips, but this time more geared towards how businesses can utilize Twitter in the best ways possible.

Even though Twitter does have it's issues, lately its been down time and really limiting requests, it definitely has begun to make it's way into the mainstream and companies and small businesses alike are looking for some tips in how to use Twitter.


   

We've also put in a new area in our navigation that features the videos each week, small descriptions with players from various video sharing sites out there, so check out the Online Marketing Videos page here at SMG.

Full video transcript after the jump....

Continue reading "Online Marketing Tips Video: Business Tips for Twitter" »

June 08, 2008

How Do You Find Your Audience?

By Li Evans

Boy looking for something more, Photo Credit Flickr User Poofy"I get I need to go where my audience is, but how do I find them?"

I hear that question quite often, not just in my Social Media Training Classes, but from clients and even friends who are just venturing out into this world of online marketing.  "Where is my audience, how do I find them?!"  is asked, over and over again.

The other night I was sitting in the McDonald's drive through waiting on my  fries to be handed to me, and I saw classic car, after classic car pull by and then park further up in the parking lot of this McDonald's.  By the time I got my fries and went to pull out of the parking lot, over half the parking lot was filled with bright, shiny chrome, classic, muscles cars and some antiques, too.  There was even a smaller group of souped up imports forming as well.  Then it dawned on me, I saw this happening on really warm, clear Saturday nights in the summer at this McDonald's before.

There isn't a sign promoting this congregation of car enthusiasts to come to McDonald's, and McDonald's doesn't do anything to promote it either (perhaps though they should!).  So how do these car owners who love to hang out and discuss engine blocks, chrome and how fast they can get to 60 mph know to come to McDonald's when the conditions are right?

They asked a friend.

Unless you ask, you won't find your audience.  They aren't out there with signs pointing to them saying "Hey! I'm here come talk to me!"  And one word of caution, seriously, no matter how cool an advertising agency might claim that to be in a pitch to you, don't tread down that path. 

My Dad's 1965 GTO ConvertibleAsking a friend, and receiving a response is a form of word of mouth marketing.  You are taking the recommendation of your friend to go hang out with your fully restored 1965 Pontiac GTO Convertible (AKA "The Goat") at the MickyD's and that you'll get along with the crowd there because you have something in common.  You trust your friend, how or why would he steer you wrong?

The same goes for finding your audience online.  Ask your most loyal customers!  Say you are sneaker company launching  a new soccer cleat line and you want to know what's most important in a Soccer Shoe.  Stop and ask your loyal customers "Hey we're trying to find people who love Soccer to get their opinion on helping us develop a new shoe, is there some place you go online to talk about your love of sports (or Soccer)?"

You might be amazed at the feedback. 

There are other places you can ask too.  Ask a search engine, although they don't give impassioned responses as a human would, a search engine can return a list of forums or communities related to your interested, if you ask the right way.  You can ask your blog audience, Facebook friends, or even your Twitter followers (when twitter isn't down that is) and find new places every day.

The point is, you can't expect your audience to tell you where they are.  You have to ask, if you don't ask, you'll never know that they are hanging out at the local McDonald's on a Saturday Night!

*Top Photo Credit, Flickr User Poofy
Check out the other photos in this user's photostream!

May 12, 2008

Twitter Policy - Do You Have One In Place?

By Li Evans

Usando mi camisa twitter - Picture by Flickr User: LuisdrkTwitter is growing at a phenomenal pace.  There's no doubt that as more and more companies adopt new communication platforms like Twitter into their marketing strategies, as well as allowing their employees to use them, some rules should be set up along the way.

Back in December I wrote a piece about "Is Twitter Really Dangerous?", which was prompted by Michael Krigsman's "Twitter Is Dangerous" article.  I was reminded of this again, when I happened upon TwitterLocal.net  (shout out to Drew Olanoff for the tip), and I stumbled across a local user in my area, who actually had his own Twitter policy.  He's just an individual blogger, but he has a link right in his profile on twitter to his policy about who he will and won't follow, and what his guidelines are.

I don't want to put a finger on this person, as I believe he does have a right to privacy, but I just found it fascinating that this person actually took the time to write up his own Twitter policy.  Here's just two of his disclaimers:

  • If you’re twittering more than 10 tweets a day, I may have to stop following just so I can keep up with other folks.
  • If you add my feed, I will certainly check to see who you are, but if there’s zero identifying information on your profile, why would I add you back?

And he's got a few guidelines he himself tried to follow:

  • I’ll post links to things only now and then, since I know Twitter is very often used in (and was intended for) mobile contexts; and when I do, I’ll give some context, rather than just “this is cool …”
  • In spite of my best intentions, I’ll probably break these guidelines now and then, but hopefully not too much, whatever “too much” is.

Now why do I find this so fascinating?  Mostly because major brands are out here on twitter and haven't even taken the time to define a Twitter policy. There's a lot of things to consider when you start an account on a place like Twitter or even Facebook or MySpace.  Thinking about the following items might help you come up with a decent Twitter policy that can define it very easily to your audience how you intend to communicate with them.

  • Who will you follow?
  • How do you hold conversations?
  • What will you talk about?
  • Who is the account with? (Who Owns The Account?)
    • Is it a company representative?  If so who's the rep?
    • Is it a number of company representatives?
    • Is it an authorized twitter account from the company?
  • What's the twitter account's purpose?
    • To hold conversations with an audience?
    • Get feedback on products / services?
    • Promote special sales or events?
  • Why do you "unfollow"?
  • How many tweets do you tweet a day?
  • How do you respond to direct messages or replies? (@'s)
  • Do you promote others on twitter?
  • Is your blog part of your twitter account?

As you can see these are just a few things that companies should think about.  Heck, even popular individuals probably should think about having a twitter policy.  This can help to head off a lot of hassles, headaches and misunderstandings a head of time.  It can also lead to a much better conversation with your community if they understand where you are coming from in the first place.

Twitter Art by Flickr User: jmtucuWhen big companies start a Twitter account these days, sometimes its because they see it as the "latest" thing they should be involved in.  Without even thinking about some consequences, before they know it things can spiral out of control. 

Quite the opposite can happen, like in the case of Delta Airlines.  Delta Airlines has a twitter account but it's not the official account from the company.  Its actually kind of sad, because it is such a great tool and it's just an employee, not an "official" channel Delta customer could speak with.  If you are a big brand, or a popular brand, you should at least snag up that twitter account name so well-intentioned employees don't do it for you.

Twitter is a great way to hold a conversation with your community.  A great way to make sure the conversation stays on track and doesn't get derailed or ended, it to put a Twitter Policy in place.

*Twitter Shirt Picture Credit: Luisdrk, Twitter Art Picture Credit:  jmtucu

April 09, 2008

Olympic Torch Relay Demonstrations Caught by Scott Beale on Flickr, Twitter & His Blog

By Li Evans

Laughing_squid_logo Would you like to see word of mouth marketing at it's finest?  Then you need to check out Scott Beale's coverage of the Olympic Torch Run that happened in San Francisco today (4/9/008).  Word spread like wildfire what Scott was doing, mostly because he uses Twitter.

I'm one of those "lurking" fans of Scott.  I have subscribed to his blog for a long time.  I also follow him on Twitter and was just enthralled with what was unfolding before his eyes and how it was a bit different than what the media was reporting.  This is the kind of "citizen" journalism that has just sprung to life in the last 2 years.  Take a look at what all Scott used to get the "message" out about what was really going on today at the Olympic Torch Run in San Francisco.

Scott didn't just use one medium of communication in the social media spectrum he used 3 different specific services along with 4 different ways to consume the information he wanted to communicate with his followers / visitors / readers.  Twitter started the buzz.  His blog announced his intent and Flickr fed the consumer need.  So, lets take a closer look.

Continue reading "Olympic Torch Relay Demonstrations Caught by Scott Beale on Flickr, Twitter & His Blog" »

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