Tag Archives: twitter

New year, new app: Wibiya social bookmarking

WibiyaIt’s getting easier and easier to add those nifty social features that make it easy for anyone to Tweet a post, grab your RSS feeds, visit your Facebook page, and all the other features that supplement a bulk-standard blog.

Wibiya is a service that allows you to add all this functionality to a toolbar at the foot of your blog within minutes. Literally minutes.

I run WordPress and the steps were this simple:

  1. Setup an account on Wibiya
  2. Choose your theme
  3. Choose which applications you want on your toolbar
  4. Download the WordPress plugin
  5. Upload the WordPress plugin to your blog
  6. Activate the plugin and enter the ID in the settings (under ‘Appearance’)
  7. View your blog to see the new features you’ve now added!

At this stage, you can go back to Wibiya and change the theme or add any new features as necessary. You can see it in action at the foot of this blog.

One big advantage of using a toolbar like this is that if you relegate these elements to this footer toolbar, you can save some real estate on your navigation: all those links to the RSS feed, Twitter, and other services can be dropped (I’ll keep mine for the time being).

One thing that would be nice to see is some kind of API so that the applications listed on the bar could come from popular services such as ShareThis or potentially Disqus.  It will be interesting to see how this service develops…

(BTW, I should point out that Wibiya is not a new service in 2010 – however it is a new feature on CagedEther 🙂

Social media game at IBM Impact event

IBM is currently hosting its annual SOA event at the Venetian in Las Vegas. In order to promote the event and to encourage collaboration between attendees and those who couldn’t make it this year, IBM have launched a number of social media iniatives.

One promotion that particularly caught my eye is the social media game, whereby anyone who actively shares content around the event is entered in a competition to win free entrance to next year’s conference. So whether you blog, post videos on Youtube, pictures on Flickr or engage in any one of the following social media tools, you have the chance to win.

Activity Points per Activity More Information
Register at SOAsocial or the Impact Social Network* 10* points (for both, earn 20) SOAsocial.com
Impact Social Network
Tweet about Impact 1 point www.Twitter.com (include hashtag #ibmimpact to tweet)
Blog about Impact 5 points Any blog post related to Impact will count, as long as the tweet includes a link to the post and the hashtag #ibmimpact
Pic posted to Twitter (using Twitpic, Flickr™, etc.) 2 points Any picture related to Impact will count, as long as the tweet includes a link to the picture and the hashtag #ibmimpact
Post a 12 second video about Impact 2 points 12seconds.tv
Post YouTube Video about Impact 5 points YouTube.com
Attend a Tweetup at Impact 5 points See details above.

RSVP for Monday

RSVP for Tuesday
RSVP for Wednesday

Grab a ‘scavenger prize’ 10 points Be sure to follow @smartSOA on Twitter for clues to scavenger prizes

A leaderboard around the event lets participants know where they stand and the winners will be announced on the last day of the conference.

This looks like a great idea to encourage participation in social networks and I look forward to following up with the team after the event to gauge the success of this initiative. For more on this and to see how else IBM is using social media the Impact event, check out the Impact Communities page.

(In the interests of disclosure, I should point out that I am an IBM employee)

How do you track leads from Twitter posts? The bit.ly URL shortening service is one way

The very sharp Sandy Carter asked a question today that had been playing in the back of my mind but being the weak marketer I am, I never really fully got my teeth into: if you put out a promotion on Twitter, how can you measure the effectiveness of that tweet?

Twitter, like every other web presence, should allow for easy measurement. So if your promo attracts 1,000 clickthroughs from your well-crafted tweet you should know about it. Right? Unfortunately those wonderfully effective URL shortening services that that help you keep your Tweets under 140 characters can get in the way.

For instance if the shortening service uses Javascript for the redirect, this can show odd referral data in your web logs. Another scenario is where you use the same link across different Twitter accounts (say, if you hit that magical pulse and find yourself heavily retweeted).

If you use any of the Twitter clients out there, you’ve probably noticed that many offer a host of shortening services. Each of these has its relative merits. So if you are in the position where you really want to know how many clicks emanate from your wonderfully crafted Tweets, some services work better than others.

I thought I’d ask my diminutive Twitterverse what they thought were the most ‘trackable’ URL shortening services. Richard Barley proved most helpful, pointing me in the direction of bit.ly.

A key advantage of this service is it doesn’t matter whether or not you create an account: you can still have access to the excellent stats, which start off like this:

bitlyThere are further stats on geography and which accounts have used the shortened URL and crucially you can see if there are other bit.ly codes for the long URL.

The advantage of creating an account is that you see all your links collected under one interface (great for comparison). If you sign up for a premium account you get even more features such as detailed referrer stats. Interested? Here’s a few examples of how the service works:

Twhirl and bit.ly

To use bit.ly with the Twhirl desktop client you need to setup a bit.ly account. Then go into the tools section and find the API key. Twhirl will ask you for this information when you try to shorten a URL. This is great because all the URLs you post using Twhirl will be listed in your bit.ly account.

Tweetdeck and bit.ly

Tweetdeck takes a different approach by not asking you to sign in (for the record, bit.ly is the default URL shortening service in Tweetdeck). This makes it easier to shorten URLs right off the bat without having to setup a 3rd party service. But then how do you track links? bit.ly has a nifty use for the ‘+’ sign. Append this symbol to any of the bit.ly URLs to receive stats on that link. Here’s an example:  http://bit.ly/45dHIx+.

Web browsing and bit.ly

You can incorporate bit.ly with any web browser. Once you set up an account, you can drag the boomarklet to your toolbar and use this to shorten the URL, with the option to post directly to Twitter.

There are other uses of the service and it integrates with other clients (and I’m sure the iPhone), so if you have more information, feel free to comment. Now let me drift into speculation on the power of bit.ly and what it means for the web.

Taking on Friendfeed

I’ve been a heavy user of Friendfeed for some time: it’s a great tool for taking content from anywhere (including Delicious links) , aggregating it, and posting it on to Twitter/Facebook (for the uninitiated, here’s an explanation of Friendfeed). However, Friendfeed has gone down the route of concentrating more on engaging discussion around the content and does not yet offer publishers decent stats on which links have attracted most clicks. Is this a potential Achilles heel? It’s making me reconsider recommending the service for business/marketing purposes.

Taking on Digg

Beware Digg, you mighty news aggregation service: there could well be a significant player in town. Gigaom recently reported that bit.ly has received $2 million in funding – interesting given the statistics bit.ly offer could turn it into a compelling Digg-like service. When people use bit.ly to shorten a link, they are indirectly voting for it (in much the same way Google treats a link from one site to another as a vote in the PageRank algorithm). If you pull all this information together, you have a great social bookmarking system. Those links that have created the most stir (eg. through retweeting on Twitter) will be ranked the highest. I haven’t seen in practice and there maybe some kinks to iron out (how do you categorize links?) but the idea is intriguing.

Taking on Google???

OK, so we’ve stated that these links become votes. You could also argue these links are more social than the ones that Google tracks by looking at website relationships. Bit.ly already has a search engine, but this could bloom into a major feature if the service becomes widely adopted. It’s been noted that Twitter is replacing Google for certain queries (I received better information for this article from Twitter than from Google), and as bit.ly is a link between Twitter and the wider web, the service is in a good position to show which web pages are most useful to people. Why doesn’t Google report on these links too? At the moment many of these services fall outside of Google’s domain given that the Javascript tracking they use can render links invisible to the major search engines. This goes for most URL shortening services: not just bit.ly (although some services are beginning to offer more Google-friendly links).

Will Twitter get into the fray?

As a final point there is much speculation floating around about how Twitter will moneytize its service. Offering premium services to corporate customers seems highly likely. Could one of these services be the kind of statistics that bit.ly dishes out, if Twitter gets into the URL shortening business?

I, for one, think the URL shortening space is looking increasingly interesting, and at this point bit.ly is well poised as a major player.

An SEO perspective | Corporate blogging news digest

If you are involved in setting up or running a corporate blog, you are probably well aware that one justification for the effort is the love Google will probably show you for your regular, fresh content and wonderful referrals (links) from the blogging community.Using a blog to garner links is growing in popularity as SEOs find that old methods such as obtaining sponsored links are becoming more and more difficult.

As SEO Ninja points out: ‘As link building becomes a more exhaustive and costly task, blogging is an area of the web, where savvy webmasters show a more kind-hearted approach to providing links. A blog can be positioned within or out with a company’s primary domain name, meaning that any residual page rank can be distributed to the sales page from highly content-relevant material.’ Read the full post

News highlights

Google Reader now allows direct commenting
Google Reader now allows you to add comments to the blogs you read directly within the interface. These comments are viewable by your Google Reader friends and at the moment can’t be exported out of Google Reader (to say, Friendfeed). Beware: yet another reason for your feed-reading audience not to visit your blog.

Twitter Is the ‘Five-Tool Player’ of the Social Web (Forrester)
Twitter can be used by businesses in a variety of ways, writes Josh Bernoff of Forrester. The multi-purpose tool can deal with everything, from customer support, to brand energizing to research.

Twitter grows 33 percent over the past month
The Social Times reports that Twitter is currently going through a massive growth spurt. Note that 8 million of the 10 million visitors are based in the US.

Spam-to-Content: A Ratio of Junk (Gartner)
This problem plagues us all. Personally, I find Akismet a useful solution to strip out most spam. This post raises another point: how far do you go with comment moderation?

Timing Your Tweets for Success (Twitip)
Timing is everything. Especially in the Twitterverse, where your 140-character nugget can easily get deluged by the stream. This is a big issue for Twitter, given the reliance of this broadcast medium on instant communication.

Corporate Blogging Guidelines (Brian Hurley)
You know you need them (and we’ve covered the issue of corporate blogging guidelines before), but check out some great examples from Brian Hurley. Yahoo, Plaxo and IBM are included in this list.

Scoble recommends use of low-cost cameras eg. Flip Mino HD (which costs about $200) for online video
If you want to turn your blog into a vlog (video blog) consider Flip Mino HD, which costs about $200. Robert Scoble shot almost all of the recent videos on Fast Company TV using one.

Mashable innovates with new Twitter ad format
A new kind of advertising is born: let brands post their Tweets on your pages. Will Twitter work this into their business model? Tweetsense?…

10 ways to measure social media success (Econsultancy)
Ever wonder whether all the effort you’re putting into social media is pulling any results? Some say it can’t be done, but Chris Lake approaches the subject of how you can measure social media success.

Robert Scoble’s Corporate Weblog Manifesto
More like a historical document rather than news, this is still earily accurate 5 years later. My personal fave: ‘If your life is in turmoil and/or you’re unhappy, don’t write.’

15 Useful Twitter Hacks and Plug-Ins For WordPress (Smashing Magazine)
If you are a WordPress user who happens to Tweet (who doesn’t?), here are some plugins and code samples that will help you synch your blog with Twitter.

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Get your message re-tweeted | Corporate blogging news digest

I should make it clear that this digest is as much about corporate microblogging as it is about corporate blogging. Why? The two are becoming inseparable. We’re rapidly getting to the stage where every blog needs a link to a Twitter profile (although not necessarilly vice-versa).  Twitter is also beginning to show up as a major traffic referrer for many blogs.

In terms of measuring the effectiveness of your tweets (Twitter posts), a big test is to look at your re-tweets: the people in your network who like a particular Tweet and forward it to their network. The better your posts, the bigger your chance of being re-tweeted. The Tweetdeck client is great for measuring re-tweets.

How do you get your messages re-tweeted? Social Computing Magazine have some great tips: think about content, headline, size and your position within your network, among other things.

News highlights

Three Questions to Ask (& Answer!) Before Starting a Customer Blog (SocialComputingMagazine)
Really think about your audience if you are at the stage of starting a blog for your customers. Make sure you have knowledgeable writers and find out what your customers want before you start writing.

How to Pitch to Bloggers – 10 Tips (Andrea Vascellari)
Slightly different to the normal tips that I feature, this centers on how to engage bloggers you would like to feature your brand or product. Bloggers are a special bunch, so need to be treated differently from other groups (such as traditional press).

Google Friend Connect Hooks Up With Blogger (sorry if this is old news)
Google Connect is now available on Blogger. The idea? Don’t just write one blog – participate in many and keep all your activity in one neat place. Will Google fulfill the Web2.0 dream: one social network that arcs over any platform. Perhaps if they patch things up with Twitter (this week Google CEO Eric Schmidt made news by declaring Twitter is little more than jumped-up email).

Evan Williams on what’s behind Twitter’s explosive growth (YouTube)
Beyond lifestream updates, people are using Twitter to send out news (including LA Times), event twittering and a Taco truck that lets you know where it is. “Twitter was designed as a broadcast medium”. People developed the syntax (eg. Retweeting, hashtags). The search wasn’t originally intended to be part of the service!

Media 2.0 Best Practices wiki
An attempt by industry experts to define what are best practices for communicating in this Web2.0 world. The wiki will be opened to a wider audience soon, so you can be a part of shaping a code of conduct for this industry.

Forrester Says Paying Bloggers is OK Provided There are Disclosures
Would you accept money to blog on a given topic, or for a particular brand? Open disclosure is key, says Forrester. Somehow I think this doesn’t completely clear up the debate.

Who Is Really Writing Those Twitter Feeds? Ghost Twittering article from Newsweek
First we had ghost-writing on blogs. Now the thorny issue has jumped over into the Twitterverse.

What would you put in corporate Twitter usage guidelines? (Currybetdotnet)
I’m sure this is timely (given I had already attended one meeting on this topic prior to reading this post), but companies will have to start thinking about Twitter in the same way they think about blogging: by devoting a guideline doc to it.

Corporate Blogging Rules (AB Strategic)
The emphasis here is on designing an interface that doesn’t detract from the real prize: your content.

Great tips for using Twitter to promote/engage users at events/conferences
There was a time live blogging stole the limelight. Looks like that mantel has been handed to Twitter. Some great observations here on how to use Twitter as an online aid to events.

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Write consistently good blog posts | Corporate blogging news digest

David Caolo offers some great tips as much on writing as on blogging. Don’t over-edit in the early stages, be prepared for inspiration from anywhere and setup a writing den, are gems in this list.
Tips for consistently good blog posts

News highlights

Twitter will remain online free for all (Which? News)
It looks like there will not be a paid ‘pro’ version of Twitter. So how exactly will it generate revenue? Ads on twitter.com could force people onto 3rd party clients. Ads in Twitter feeds could force people off the network, full stop.

Crowdsourcing journalism: but can corporations play a part? (Recovering Journalist)
This list focusses on grassroots use of social networks to go beyond what was previously available through traditional media channels. Would we ever get to a stage where corporations could create similar environments (say, to challenge existing industry analysts)?

Twitter Is What You Make It (NYTimes.com)
A great post if you are new to the medium. Number one rule of Twitter: there are no rules. As Ewan Williams (the creator of the popular microblogging platform) points out, you really can use the service for anything.

Why Do Corporate Blogs Usually Fail? (HighTalk)
There’s a common thread through this post: stop talking about yourself but comment on your customers/industries: “To be successful corporate blogs need stop focusing inward and start to look outward.” I’d argue this isn’t necessarily true for technical blogs. For instance, experts that normally publish academic papers could well find an audience in the blogosphere. Still the core point is a good one: remember a blog is as much Media as Marketing.

What Corporate Blogging Isn’t (Comm Unplugged)
We see countless blogging tips but here are some major pitfalls to take into account. Don’t just copy, don’t just talk and make sure there is some light moderation. All good tips, although some of these are still contentious (eg. whether some form of ghost-writing can be legitimate).

Social Media Consultant or Snake Oil Salesman?(WebWorkerDaily)
Looking for a social media expert? Here are some pointers. Particularly interesting that there is a strong focus on blogging and Twitter: from the corporate perspective, these initiatives are currently hogging the limelight. Will they remain popular as time goes on?

Corporate Blogging Emerging in Pakistan
Last week we heard about the growth of blogging in Africa. This week a side we don’t normally hear about Pakistan: 1.9 million blog readers, and growing. Main point here: bear in mind this is a global phenomenon.

Your blog on the newsstand?
Aaron Kim on a move to present blogs on a different medium – namely paper. There are a number of projects that are taking the online world offline.

How soon do search results come to a new blog?
Douglas Karr of Compendium Blogware claims that according to their stats, it takes around 60 blog posts to start seeing a good level of traffic come through to your blog. So, don’t be discouraged in the early days of your corporate blog. Keep working on your craft and eventually the rewards will come.

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An academic book list | Corporate blogging news digest

Cornelius Puschman is undertaking some interesting research into corporate blogging and computer-mediated communication. He’s published his formidable bibliography. Great if you’re looking for academic literature around corporate communications… now where’s that extra time I put aside for reading?
Read more

News highlights

Why Should I Create a Business Blog? | Chief Ingredient, Inc.
A nice concise round-up of the key features and benefits of corporate blogging. Kind of techie but does offer benefits like ‘easy social networking’.

Would You Trust This Blog? – CopyWrite
CopyWrite goes to town on the issue of blogs and corporate trust.

Fibre optic cable to pave way for corporate blogging – Business Daily Africa
“Borrowing from the West, far-sighted private sector CEOs and government leaders are gradually turning to corporate blogs to connect with their constituencies, further strengthening an emerging culture of openness.” the corporate blogging revolution is making strides into the developing world.

Company Blogs: Most Valued Social Media Tool | WebProNews
When considering different social media tools, blogging generates most leads. 31% of respondents (by far the highest percentage) said they find corporate blogs critical to their business.

Setting Strategy, Goals and Targets for your Corporate Blog
Goals for your blog: mission, vision and objectives. Do we sometimes forget about these?

Fanboy.com ” Blog Archive ” Social Media “Experts” are the Cancer of Twitter (and Must Be Stopped)
A contrary opinion on those providing info and building networks on Twitter. The service is so open it really can be used for anything. I’m sure this debate is going to keep on running.

TwtQpon Helps Retailers Push Coupons Across Twitter
This service helped Dell make a $1 million over the holiday season. I’m sure we’ll see more in this line of innovation: companies using Twitter to communicate direct marketing messages. Obviously measurement of the results of this approach is also key.

Twitturly – cagedether’s Twitter Linking History
See which sites you’ve linked to and how viral these are ie. total tweets for each link.

181 Free Twitter Buttons, Badges, Widget and Counters to Help You Find Followers
If you link a corporate blog to Twitter, why not let your users know? This is a great collection of some of the best buttons and badges out there. This is my fave.

Twitter improves service and base; next steps, revenue
SFGate in San Francisco covers the rise of Twitter as a serious communications tool and the moves over the next few months to turn it into a profitable enterprise.

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Earning back trust | Corporate blogging news digest

This week, there continues a flurry of posts offering advice in the wake of Forrester’s report on the lack of trust in corporate blogging. The rub here is how to maintain transparency and fair-mindedness on a blog that on one level is a corporate communications tool.

Meanwhile, a web communications researcher within Daimler, the German car maker, has been looking at whether blogs follow the Gartner Hype Cycle. Early indications suggest a correlation. Is this what you see on your corporate blogs?

News highlights

IBM Social Computing Guidelines
IBM takes Web 2.0 transparency seriously: they even publish the social media guidelines all employees of IBM are asked to adhere to. A great template if you manage social media or corporate blogs

Magpie – advertising on Twitter feeds. Is this a good thing?
Would you let ads be ‘occasionally’ inserted into your feed? Seems to me like this conflicts with Twitter etiquette, but monetization models around Twitter are only going to increase.

Top 25 Ways to Tell if Your Social Media Expert Is a Carpetbagger
Social media experts are springing up everywhere, but how can you weed out the fakes? Here are some pointers, although I’m not convinced on all of these, especially the points around blogging. Eg. personal blog posting frequency.

Corporate Blogging is not the same as Blogging
Short post that raises one important question: ‘Do you blog to inform or to express [yourself]’? My question: can you do both?

Is a CEO blog is right for your company?
Business Blog Advice discusses the thorny subject of whether or not it makes sense to let your CEO pen a blog.

Blogging obstacles: views from a seasoned IBM blogger
If you feel the blogging devil on your back, or suffer from blog writer’s block, Aaron Kim has a few words of advice for you. Don’t treat a blog post like a magazine article, but rather like reading and writing emails. Dip in and dip out, but just keep on posting.

Blogging strategy – pick experts and use social media for distribution
Pivotal Branding offer a few words of advice on maintaining a corporate blog. “If you have a blog and its not generating the interest you are expecting, try tweaking your approach. If you can make your content more personal and accountable, you could turn that extra web page into a community of loyal customers.”

Corporate blogging follows Gartner Hype Cycle: Daimler research
According to a PhD student researcher, the Daimler blogs follow the Gartner Hype Cycle when measured against Technorati authority. It would be good to see some more research around this before jumping to any conclusions.

Top Five Rules for Creating a Successful Video Blog for Business: MarketingProfs
As more and more companies are producing multimedia, a blog can be a great outlet for some of this content, particularly video. Brent Altomare of video production firm Groovy Like a Movie offers his top tips for producing content. Remember to be yourself!

How Obama Will Use Web Technology
There’s a lot we can learn in the corporate world from the use of social media in Obama’s presidential campaign. This looks set to continue into the presidency, including the ‘fireside’ chats on YouTube.

Writing tips from writing coach Joanna Young
Looking to perfect your P’s and Q’s? Keep up with Joanna Young’s tips on bold writing. (I’m sure she’d have a thing or two to say about my mushy prose).

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