Archive for the ‘Social Viewing’ Category

Twitter Restricts Use Of Its API, Could It Charge Next?

In Social Media, Social Viewing, Twitter on February 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Twitter will stop whitelisting applications to its API. What does that mean in English?

Developers can build applications on top of Twitter, like TweetDeck or Klout, by using its API to pull in its data. Some apps take in a lot of data, and up until now Twitter would allow them to be “whitelisted” to use the API more intensively. Now they’ve announced to developers that they will “no longer grant whitelisting requests.” Apps that are already whitelisted will keep their privileges, but if you were waiting until today to apply, tough luck. (Via Regular Geek)

Twitter says if you’re unhappy about it you should try to work harder to make do with the new limitations.

Why could that be? (Bear in mind we’re just speculating here.)

They’re having problems scaling so they want to cool down the API for a while. Most of the activity on Twitter is via the API, since most people use Twitter through apps, whether it’s Twitter’s own apps or third-party apps. Twitter hasn’t said that’s the reason, but Twitter’s scaling difficulties are legendary and this might be the reason. In which case, the move could be temporary.

Twitter has a big enough developer ecosystem now, thank you very much, so it’s going to stop supporting the rest. That’s what Regular Geek thinks, writing they’ve “essentially … decided that they have had enough support from the small developer.” We’re doubtful that’s the explanation — platforms like Twitter are always in competition with other platforms for developer support. And with oodles of cash in its coffers, Twitter can afford to keep supporting developers.

Maybe Twitter plans to charge for its API? That’s always been rumored to be a future business model for Twitter. Right now they’re focused on advertising, but the first time they made money was by charging Google and Microsoft for access to its “firehose”, meaning all of the tweets in real time, and they still do that. As companies like TweetDeck are starting to build a real business, maybe Twitter wants to charge for heavier access to its API.

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What NOT to Do When Advertising on Social Media

In Branding, Business Solutions, Facebook, Social Media, Social Viewing, Twitter, YouTube on January 10, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Note: This article was originally published on Open Forum.

Facebook Deals, Groupon Stores, Foursquare, Gowalla — small business owners can take their pick when it comes to advertising through social media. It takes more than signing up on a few sites to pull in the dough, however.

Savvy retailers know how to use social media tools to their advantage while avoiding the potential pitfalls.

Make sure you’re being smart about how you advertise by not making these errors:

Making Rewards Too Difficult for Customers to Earn

Let’s say you own a hair salon and decide to offer a discount to the person who “checks in” the most often at your shop by a certain date. Word spreads quickly and before you know it, someone has won the coupon and that person continues to be your most frequent customer. The problem is no one else can beat that person for the reward.

If you have a business that requires foot traffic, advertising deals to your most loyal customers can be a useful tool. However, if you make it too difficult for others to earn that reward, they might just go to another salon. A smarter approach would be to offer a variety of ways for customers to win rewards, such as by checking in a certain number of times or by fulfilling other conditions. Here are some suggestions from Foursquare and Facebook Deals:

  • Check-in Specials: when a user checks into your venue a certain number of times, e.g., “Foursquare says you’ve been here 10 times? That’s a free drink for you!”
  • Friend Deal: offering discounts to groups of people when they check in together.
  • Charity Deal: create a Charity Deal to make a donation to the charity of yours or the customer’s choice.
  • Wildcard Specials: requiring your staff to verify some extra conditions, such as customers showing a badge on their smartphone before receiving the special discount.

Failing to Offer the Right Rewards

Perhaps you opened a diner but it’s in a remote location. You decide to reach out to your local community by offering special deals on Foursquare but the response has been minimal. What did you do wrong? Foursquare recently introduced a tool that allows businesses to customize their deals according to a range of real-time data about their venue and their customers. The stats include the number of unique visitors who checked into a place via Foursquare, the time customers arrived, the male-to-female ratio and which times of day are more active for certain patrons. Business owners can also offer instant promotions to try to engage new customers and keep current ones. Not all social media sites offer this feature. For other ideas on how to gauge your customers’ preferences, see the next point.

Not Addressing Customers’ Complaints
Ignore customers’ comments at your own risk. The arrest of Vitaly Borker, owner of DecorMyEyes, is an extreme example of what can go wrong when customers are mistreated. “When people can openly talk with, about, and around you, screwing them is no longer a valid business strategy,” said Jeff Jarvis, author of What Would Google Do? Rather than ignore or attempt to hide your customers’ complaints, engage them through a blog or Twitter account. Dell learned its lesson and now offers IdeaStorm, a site that lets customers discuss and vote on ways for Dell to improve its products and services. Starbucks offers a similar approach called My Starbucks Idea on a website and Twitter.

Figuring out what works best for your company can take some time, but with creativity and research, the benefits can be worthwhile.

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Facebook vs. Twitter: An Infographic

In Facebook, Social Media, Social Viewing, Twitter on December 23, 2010 at 6:15 pm

How does Twitter stack up against Facebook when it comes to demographics and online activity? Digital Surgeons, an online marketing agency, has put together an infographic comparing the Facebook population to the Twitter population, and it shows that while the two are similar in many respects in terms of age, income and so on, there are also some crucial differences of interest to marketers and others looking to mine the data and pick a favorite platform. Among the biggest differences are that Twitter users seem to be more active, but less interested in following brands.

Here are a few of the key findings represented in the infographic, which was based on data from a Barracuda Networks survey as well as an analysis from Razorfish and other demographic breakdowns from a number of sources (although the data on Twitter in particular is a little old — the service now has 190 million users).

  • 88 percent of people are aware of Facebook, while 87 percent are aware of Twitter
  • 12 percent of Facebook users update their status every day vs. 52 percent for Twitter
  • males make up 46 percent of Facebook users, and 48 percent of Twitter
  • 30 percent access Facebook via mobile vs. 37 percent for Twitter
  • 40 percent follow a brand on Facebook vs. 25 percent on Twitter
  • 70 percent of Facebook users are outside the U.S. vs. 60 percent for Twitter

5 Ways to Unleash the Power of Webinars to Grow Your Organization

In Business Solutions, Cloud Solutions, eCommerce, File Sharing Solutions, Growth and Business Strategy, Social Viewing on December 22, 2010 at 10:00 pm


Online meetings are a great way to extend the reach of your business or non-profit organization without increasing your budget.

Lead Generation
Increase your sales by using webinars to generate qualified leads. The best way to do this is to provide webinars that are relevant to your target market. For example, an online marketing agency might produce a presentation with five tips for creating an effective Facebook Page.

Product Launches
Are you launching a new product or service? Get the word out by hosting an interactive webinar to show-off the features and benefits of your product or service.

Product Demos
The best way to sell your product or service is to show how it works. Schedule daily or weekly live webinars that provide a personalized walkthrough of your product.

Webinars provide a great platform to teach employees, volunteers, customers and students. Did you know that the Freebinar survey tool can also be used as a test? When you schedule a webinar, the optional survey section has an option to “enable scoring of questions”. Not only can you provide effective training via Freebinar, you can evaluate your attendees to see how much they learned.

Customer Communication
Town hall meetings, customer round tables, focus groups and CEO chats are great ways to build personal relationships with your customers and learn more about their needs. Traditionally, only big businesses with large budgets could hold these types of events. Through the power of webinars, now businesses of all sizes can engage their customers online.

Do you have ideas on great ways to use webinars that will help the Freebinar community grow their organizations? Let us know by sending an email to

Sell yourself: Invent your very own brand.

In Branding, Business Solutions, Social Viewing, Twitter on December 21, 2010 at 11:02 pm

This is an awesome article that I read on the mycareer section of mymetro, a free hyper-local daily newspaper. I know that not all of my audience is in the east coast therefore, if you’d care to read similar stories to this one go to their website.

Advice by: Dan Schawbel,

Wondering how to brand yourself? Don’t define yourself as either a marketing expert or social media guru. By selecting either of these titles, you’re making it harder to stand out. A little bit of creativity can help you differentiate yourself from the 130 million blogs, 500 million Facebook users and an ocean full of online content out there. When you get creative with your brand, people will be more interested in who you are, what you do and be inclined to work with you.

Here are two examples of people that have invented their own brand and turned it into a lucrative business:

‘Adventure Girl’
Stefanie Michaels became known as “Adventure Girl” by combining her passion for traveling the world and entertainment, by carving her own niche. With over one million Twitter followers, the media now follows her every move, from CNN to E! Entertainment.

‘The Millionaire Matchmaker’
With a background in fashion as well as matchmaking for celebrities and professional athletes, Patti Stranger branded herself as “The Millionaire Matchmaker.” Her brand is also the name of a hit TV show on Bravo by the same name.

Dan Schawbel is author of “Me 2.0,” the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, LLC, and a personal branding expert.

In Business, Early Birds Twitter Most Effectively

In Business Solutions, Growth and Business Strategy, Social Media, Social Viewing, Twitter on December 17, 2010 at 2:56 am

Companies can work wonders before Twitter’s vast interactive audience of consumers, but it’s best to start slowly and build credibility

By Shel Israel

Like so many others, Lionel Menchaca, Dell Computer’s chief blogger, thought Twitter was “fairly worthless for business” when he first looked at it in March 2007, but trying new social media tools was part of his job. Menchaca opened an account and started posting links whenever he posted on Direct2Dell, the company’s oft-praised corporate blog, where he serves as principal author.

The results exceeded his expectations. When he posted a link on Twitter, people clicked on the URL in minutes. They commented often—and at Twitter, rather than on the blog. They were the first viewers to spread word of his new blog posts. Twitter moved fast and sent his words further than any medium he had previously encountered.

But that turned out to be less than half the story. Listening to others turned out to be even more valuable than distributing what he wrote. Menchaca discovered that by using the Twitter Search feature, he could monitor and sometimes join conversations about PCs. “Tweeters,” as they call themselves, regularly posted links to relevant content he might otherwise have missed.

Menchaca’s experience is far from unique. Businesses, ranging from the largest multinationals to home-office practitioners, often come for one reason and are surprised to find greater value in some other aspect they hadn’t considered. The surprise plus can bring help in marketing, sales, recruiting, feedback, support, sales or just getting closer to geographically scattered networks (as has been the case with IBM.)

Business uses for Twitter are proving to be as diverse as those for the telephone or e-mail. They generally break into two categories: ways to follow customers and ways to increase efficiency.

Companies are joining Twitter for the same reason politicians attend the funerals of famous people: It’s where they can find their constituents and hold close, informal conversations with them. For example, CrowdSPRING, a tiny Chicago-based startup, uses Twitter to find buyers and sellers for its online professional graphics marketplace. (Business buyers declare what they want to see in a new logo or website and then, on average, 70 designers bid on each project.)

Conversations start in Twitter and then spread beyond the platform’s seamless boundaries, rapidly reaching customers, vendors, recruits, and partners in a wide variety of markets. You can find potential customers on Twitter and perhaps snag a sale. You can also find conversations with consumers who are unhappy with your products and assuage them quickly and publicly.

Twitter may owe its blastoff to the dive the economy took. Microblogging became a much-discusssed option just as businesses began axing marketing, advertising, and public relations budgets and reducing their participation at conferences and social networking events. Because of those cuts, companies understood they still needed to reach out to customers. Twitter turned out to be a less-expensive and more efficient way to achieve this.

Twitter works well with other social media platforms, such as blogs, video, and audio podcasts, creating a whole new kind of interactive integrated communications solution. It is proving not just faster and cheaper—but more credible. Surveys consistently report that people tend to trust their Twitter friends more than formulated company messages. Users increasingly rely on one another for tips on what to buy, watch, read, or listen to.

While Twitter shares similarities with phones and e-mail, there’s a major difference: It works best in public. Anyone can see real people in a company trying hard to help.

Comcast, North America’s largest cable carrier, has a 10-member Twitter support team. Tens of thousands of tweeters witness employees trying—with customary success—to help customers. Conversely, consumers do not witness call-center conversations and the greatest failures among those interactions tend to make the most noise in the marketplace. Surveys show measurable improvements in Comcast’s customer satisfaction ratings since the company began using Twitter for customer service.

Of course, Twitter is no elixir. Companies who try to use the tool as yet another marketing arrow in their quiver—one that mostly carries targeted, one-way messages—usually fail.

While Twitter has had remarkable results in times of crisis, companies that jump in just when an emergency is breaking have joined too late. Their customers don’t know they are there. It takes time to establish your credibility in Twitterville and you need to understand how it works before that credibility gets tested.

It also takes time to understand how this deceptively simple-looking tool works. Nearly everyone I interviewed in my recent book mentioned how confused and disoriented they once felt. According to Twitter founder-CEO Ev Williams: “People are pretty much clueless when they first try Twitter.”

A smart business will start early. Nearly every company cited in the accompanying slide show stumbled and fumbled for a while before they discovered how Twitter could help business in many ways.

Shel Israel is author of TWITTERVILLE: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods (Portfolio 2009

Social Media Revolution [Video]

In Cloud Solutions, File Sharing Solutions, Growth and Business Strategy, Social Viewing, Twitter, Web Development on December 15, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Statistics so alluring that it leaves the viewer wondering why some even consider social media to be a fad. It is certainly not the social media companies themselves, media companies or agencies that are leading people down this social garden path. Actually it’s people’s thirst for information, friends, acceptance etc (and a plethora of other sociological and anthropological aspects) that is resulting in people driving down more like a seven lane superhighway at breakneck speed resulting in these unprecedented engagement levels.

And when you are driving down a motorway and see a lorry parked side on in an adjoining field with a large ad on the side, do you remember the URL or phone number on the ad when you arrive at your destination? (If you’ve written it down whilst driving – shame on you!)

Yes, you nearly cash into the car in front of you trying to read the ad or slowed down so much that the motorcyclist behind you is now headbutting your number plate, but that’s just it. You read it and it’s gone. No hook, no memory. It’s a bit like an ad on the London Underground using an SMS number as the call to action.

Managing eCommerce: How to Design a Great “About Us” Page on Your Website

In Business Solutions, Cloud Solutions, Growth and Business Strategy, Social Viewing, Uncategorized, Web Development on November 27, 2010 at 4:19 am

Whether you’re starting from scratch or revisiting an About Us page in need of a little TLC, you can take yours from forgettable to memorable by incorporating these tips.

By Chana Garcia | Oct 18, 2010

It’s one of the most important elements on a company’s website and also one of the most undervalued: the ubiquitous “About Us” page—that section on your site that has been collecting virtual dust because you haven’t bothered to read it since, well, you first wrote it.

You may not be paying it much attention, but visitors to your site are. And considering that your About Us page is where the world clicks to learn about your company and the services you offer, which can mean the potential loss or gain of a customer, it deserves a little more consideration and a lot more respect.

“Most of our clients don’t realize how much their About Us page is visited,” says Thomas Harpointner, CEO of AIS Media, an award-winning marketing and interactive media agency in Atlanta. “It’s among the first three pages consumers go to when they visit a site. We’ve worked with both small businesses and Fortune 500 companies, and we spend more time consulting clients on the About Us page than any other. Companies are so focused on the design of their site, their products, and how they’re going to market them that they simply overlook it. It’s an afterthought.”

How to Design a Great “About Us” Page: Make the Human Connection

The primary purpose of your site’s About Us page is to provide information about your business and what it can deliver, so it should include the basics, such as who your company serves, how long it’s been around, and its long-term goals and mission. Don’t forget to include your address. And if your company has multiple locations or does business globally, this is the perfect place to mention that information, or at least link to a page on your site that does, such as your Contact Us page. But don’t stop there, which is a mistake a lot of businesses make. What results is a stale, unoriginal, and downright boring About page.

Fortunately, spicing it up is easier than you think. By incorporating a few strategic components, you can go beyond the yawn-inducing jargon. Simple tactics can make your About Us page a more exciting read and your company seem more accessible, says Lorrie Thomas, aka The Marketing Therapist, a marketing strategist, educator, writer, web marketing expert and speaker, and that can ultimately drive business and increase sales. Avoid writing a soliloquy (too much text is a turnoff) and focus on connecting with your site visitors.

For example, Thomas, who just returned from a 10-day speaking tour on better Web marketing, told her dozen or so employees to write their own bios for her company’s About Us page. Her only mandate was that in addition to providing a snapshot of their professional history, they include personal information, such as hobbies or their favorite activities. Some even set up links to their blogs and personal websites. This might also be a good place to include e-mail addresses for your staff. Readily available contact information shows customers that you want to hear from them and that you have nothing to hide.

“The About Us page needs to reflect the organization,” says Thomas, CEO of Santa Barbara, California-based Web Marketing Therapy. “It’s the story of how a company started, but it should also be the story of who’s behind it. Is the CEO an avid skier? Or a yoga guru? We’re no longer in the world of B to B, or business to business; we’re in a world of what I call P to P, people to people. Relationships are the name of the game. Your clients want to know you, like you, and trust you.”

Dig Deeper: The Weirdest Place to Find a Sales Lead

How to Design a Great “About Us” Page: Show, Tell, and Brag (A Little)

If it’s all about trust and relationships, there’s no better way to build both than by posting testimonials or listing big-name clients you’ve partnered with. That will lend your business a good amount of credibility. You might consider incorporating your clients’ logos somewhere on your page as an added visual element. Mentioning awards and recognitions your company received, as well as community service work, green initiatives, and interesting facts, will also make your business more appealing. And timelines, company history, and major milestones are attention-grabbing.

Harpointner said he once worked with a Philadelphia-based business looking to undergo a media makeover. When he went to the company offices and talked to the owners, he found out that the establishment had been around since the Great Depression, a fact that he says demonstrated its staying power and loyal customer base. Harpointner says he became adamant about publicizing the company’s long history not just on its About Us page but also on all its promotional material.

“I see a lot of well-established companies that have decades of business history, but for whatever reason they’re not sharing it,” says Harpointner, who has appeared CNBC and CNN Radio as an interactive marketing and e-commerce expert. “They tend to be shy about tooting their own horn. They think it’s not graceful to brag about themselves, but your About Us page is the one place where you should be tooting your own horn. For small or new companies, this is especially important, because consumers are just becoming familiar with their business. And if the About page comes up short, then the company looks like it doesn’t have much to say about itself. It’s really a missed opportunity.”

Dig Deeper: How to Get Customer Referrals

How to Design a Great “About Us” Page: Incorporate Social Media

If the digital age has taught us one thing it’s not to underestimate the power of promoting yourself across multiple platforms. Using your About page to post videos of you and your company, link to your blog, and place share buttons to your Twitter feed or Facebook page is not only a good business practice, it’s a smart one.

Social networking sites basically provide free advertising, and they can help attract customers you might otherwise not have had access to. Elizabeth Hannan, president and founder of Blue Blazing Media with offices in New York City, Scottsdale, Arizona, and San Francisco, calls marketing your company through LinkedIn or Foursquare your business’s “soft sell.” You many not see results immediately, she says, but over time, networking sites will become an invaluable tool for your business.

“It’s important that you or one of your employees serve as the social networking ambassador,” says Hannan, who has links to her blog and Twitter feed on her About page. “Potential consumers may come to your site to view your product but not buy the first time around, but they will look at your About Us and connect with you on other sites, such as Twitter, to see what topics you are discussing. It fulfills a need to connect with you and your company. We all want that warm, fuzzy feeling before we buy.”

Dig Deeper: How to Create a Social Media Strategy

How to Design a Great “About Us” Page: Consider Hiring a Professional

Although it’s crucial to integrate all the tech bells and whistles, if your About Us page has wimpy content, it will send the wrong message to your site visitors. Don’t be afraid to turn to friends and clients for help. Ask them to peruse your page and be honest about what works and what doesn’t. Once you’ve gotten feedback, the next best thing you can do, says Thomas, is to nix technology for a while and sit down with a pen and paper. “Getting away from your computer will clear your head. You’ll be focused on the task at hand rather than what our new About page will look like,” she says.

If you find yourself in need of professional help, think about hiring an expert. A good writer can make your About Us page pop with witty copy, catchy headlines, and SEO keywords. It will be money well spent, says Harpointner. “If a company spends money on direct-mail ads, billboard ads, and radio ads, then investing in an About Us page will probably the least amount of money it shells out. It’s up 24 hours a day, so in the big picture, it’s really worth it.”

Dig Deeper: How to Make the Most of Your Public Relations Firm

Four Ways Social Media Will Change Television

In Adobe, Cloud Solutions, Facebook, Google, Growth and Business Strategy, Social Media, Social Viewing, Twitter, Web Development, YouTube on November 14, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Read the full post at:

By Michael Wolf

At NewTeeVee Live, Robin Sloan talked about how Twitter is fast becoming the global TV watercooler. Certainly, the power of Twitter to facilitate real-time conversation during live viewing — as illustrated by Sloan — is impressive. As I discuss in my weekly update at GigaOM Pro (subscription required), there is no doubt that the broader integration of social media like Twitter into and around TV content is creating new opportunities in four areas: viewing, measurement, curation and commerce.

Let’s take a look at each.

Social Viewing

While the early social viewing implementations have largely been Mystery Science Theater 3000 knockoffs, the real action for viewing parties is at Twitter. The network’s real-time nature allows for interaction and surprise for fans who want to engage with others during the live-viewing experience. This isn’t to say that Facebook won’t show up at the shared viewing party, though.


Sloan’s presentation displayed fascinating visuals on how Tweet activity changes in live show windows (for example, the chart below, which shows Tweet activity during the first episode of this season’s Dancing With the Stars). This is a gold mine of information for brand marketers and TV execs looking to understand, down to the minute, how people react to different parts of different shows.

Source: Twitter


While curation is a big topic on the consumer web, it really hasn’t hit the video world yet. Startups like Shortform and Redux are beginning to enable curation of video content, but it won’t be long before personalized video channels will be created for TV viewing. This means not only do we get to look forward to creating our own channels someday, but may have to suffer through some media personalities becoming their own broadcasters.


Much of the hot startup activity in the web world in 2010 has been all about commerce on the computer screen, but it’s logical to think as connectivity goes to the best screen in the house, social commerce will also become social TV commerce. Imagine a social overlay on top of a QVC channel or even a lifestyle channel with a highly desirable demographic. The ability for a brand to offer a TV-based “Groupon” type offer and that also allowed a person to share with their own social graph could be highly compelling.