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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Video Dramatically Improves SEO!

According to new Forrester Research:

"Videos are 53 times more likely than text pages to appear on the first page of search results!"

You can't argue with that...Can You!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

4 Useful Twitter Automation Tools and How to Use Them

Here's some useful information from  Kristi Hines from a recent post on Bob Stelznerss Social Media Examiner.
For you old, that's not Chrissie Hynes from the rock band The Pretenders! Kristi Hines is a social media consultant...maybe even sexier than being a rock star in today's world! :>)
This is a long post but worth the read!

Social media is about engagement, so there’s often quite a large debate about adding any automated elements to a social media campaign. Because let’s face it—no one wants to follow an account that’s essentially a bot. Or do they?
While some automation tools do nothing but make your social media profile look like an announcement board, other tools can be used to sync right into your normal engagement to give it a helpful boost.
Here are some Twitter automation tools, services and tips, which when used the right way, can be a valuable addition to your social media strategy. And when I say the right way, I mean that you should be using these to supplement your regular social engagement and not only using these tools to give your account the look of activity.


Twitterfeed is a service that allows you to set up RSS feeds from your favorite blogs, and whenever those blogs have a new post, it will be tweeted to your account. It can be used to update your Twitter and Facebook accounts.

How to Set Up Twitterfeed

To use Twitterfeed, you simply need to register for a free account and then set up your favorite blogs using the following steps.
1. Enter an easily recognizable Feed Name and the blog URL or RSS feed URL.
Twitterfeed Setup Step 1
Twitterfeed Setup Step 1: Enter the feed name and blog or RSS URL.
2. Use the advanced settings to customize your tweets. I usually change the Post Content to Title Only and include via @username of the blog owner in the Post Suffix.
Twitterfeed Setup Step 2
Twitterfeed Setup Step 2: Configure Advanced Settings.
3. Choose the Twitter or Facebook accounts that you would like to have updated with the blog’s latest posts.
Twitterfeed Setup Step 3
Twitterfeed Setup Step 3: Set to update statuses on specific Twitter or Facebook accounts.
You’ll need to use the “OAuth” authentication for new Twitter accounts and “Connect” with Facebook for new Facebook accounts.

Pros of Using Twitterfeed

So what benefits can you get from using Twitterfeed? If you choose the right blogs that your audience enjoys, you’ll be able to give them the latest news from their favorite sites and they will appreciate it!
Twitter Thank You Tweet
If you choose blogs that your followers like, you will receive plenty of thanks.
Generally, you’ll know if your audience likes them because you see retweets of those status updates or, if you’re really good at choosing the right blogs, you’ll get thank-you messages for posting them, like the one above.

Cons of Using Twitterfeed

So what’s the downside of using Twitterfeed? As far as I know, there isn’t a way to say when to tweet new posts. Sure, you can tell it to only check every certain number of hours, but even then it doesn’t let you say only between the hours of 9am and 5pm, for instance.
Another little quirk is that if you send an update that you want to stay at the top of your Twitter profile for a while, you might be out of luck if one of your blogs in Twitterfeed has recently updated right after your priority tweet.
The last one has to do specifically with affiliate marketers. If you’re promoting an event, such as the Social Media Success Summit, the last thing you want is to tweet a post promoting the same event (with someone else’s affiliate link). But it’s likely to happen if other blogs in your Twitterfeed are promoting the same products or events.

Twitterfeed Best Practices

So what best practices should you follow if you want to get the most out of Twitterfeed? Here are some good tips.
  • Try not to include blogs that update multiple times a day. Nothing will annoy your followers more than seeing 12 updates from the same site in one day. If you feel you must include one of those sites, be sure to use the Advanced Settings and only check the blog once every 4 hours and only tweet one update at a time.
  • Only choose blogs that you can depend on to have quality posts. I find that including blogs like Social Media Examiner which only feature posts on specific topics are the safest, while personal blogs that have the occasional rant post are a little more iffy. The last thing you want is to automatically tweet posts that may offend your readers.
  • Be sure to monitor your tweets regularly to make sure your favorite blogs haven’t veered off topic. Your favorite photo blog may have decided to go culinary which may not resonate with your followers.

Social Oomph

Ah, the dreaded automated direct message. I wish I could greet all of my new followers with a personal direct message or a friendly mention, but it becomes tough to do once you’re getting a high volume of follows in one day.
Plus, it’s sometimes hard to tell which accounts are manned by real people and which are bots, and why would you want to waste precious time greeting a bot?
So yes, I like to use Social Oomph to create an automated direct message for new followers.

How to Set Up Social Oomph Direct Messages

Once you have created a free account at Social Oomph, you can set it up using the following steps.
1. Use the navigation menu and go to Social Accounts > Add New Account > Add Twitter. Be sure to log into your desired Twitter account beforehand and Authorize Access.
Social Oomph Direct Message Setup Step 1
Social Oomph Setup Step 1: Authorize your desired Twitter account.
2. Use the navigation menu to go to Social Accounts > Edit Welcome DM and select your Twitter account. Here, you will find the form to enter your automated direct message and a checkbox to automatically send a welcome message.
Social Oomph Direct Message Setup Step 2
Social Oomph Setup Step 2: Customize your direct message for new followers.
Underneath this setup is also an option to follow your new followers back or place them in a queue to manually approve or reject following them.
Social Oomph Direct Message Setup Step 3
Social Oomph Setup Step 3: Automatically follow new followers back.
I always follow people back for one main reason. As you can see from my automated DM, I give them the opportunity to contact me privately, and if I’m not following them, they cannot do that. In general, I feel that if someone is connected with me, they should be able to contact me privately like they can on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Pros of Using Automated Direct Messages

If done correctly, you can make your new followers feel very welcome and open a good line of communication with them right off the bat. With my direct message, I also have the added bonus of discovering new questions from bloggers and social media users which have led to some good topic ideas for my blog.

Cons of Using Automated Direct Messages

If done incorrectly, you can put off users who are anti-automated direct messaging. I have tried out a few variations of direct messages, and unfortunately have had some that did not generate good feedback. My latest has been all positive though.

Automated Direct Messages Best Practices

The following will ensure that you keep your new followers once they receive your welcome message and not generate a lot of negative feedback.
  • Don’t try to sell new followers anything in your welcome DM. Period.
  • Don’t try to get your new followers to sign up for your mailing list—this includes trying to tempt them with a free gift. I rarely (unless I know the user) ever click on a rogue link for a free anything in an automated DM.
  • The most successful direct messages I’ve tried do not come with any links at all. These are seen as more trustworthy and can open the door to further communication.
  • The second most successful direct messages I’ve used are ones that simply link to blog posts that my new followers would be interested in. If you know that you have an audience following you for blogging advice, then your latest blog post with 100 great tips for new bloggers might be well received.
  • Be sure to check your direct messages regularly and respond to them when necessary. This is a huge trust-builder and will lead to more engagement in the future.

Tweet Old Post

Tweet Old Post is a great plugin for WordPress users. It allows you to connect a Twitter account with your blog and regularly tweet posts from your archives to your followers.

How to Set Up Tweet Old Post

Setting up Tweet Old Post is simple.  Follow these steps once you have logged into your self-hosted WordPress blog and related Twitter account.
1. Go to your Dashboard > Plugins > Add New and search for Tweet Old Post.
Tweet Old Posts Step 1
Tweet Old Post Step 1: Search for the Tweet Old Post plugin in your WordPress dashboard.
2. Click on the Install Now link below the Tweet Old Post plugin by Ajay Matharu.
Tweet Old Posts Step 2
Tweet Old Post Step 2: Install Tweet Old Post plugin from the search results.
After you’ve installed it, you’ll need to activate it on the next screen by clicking on the Activate Plugin link.
3. Scroll down to the bottom of your dashboard and go to Tweet Old Post > Tweet Old Post to get to the main settings for this plugin.
Tweet Old Posts Step 3
Tweet Old Post Step 3: Configure settings for Tweet Old Post plugin.
Here you’ll want to:
  • Sign in with Twitter to the Twitter account from which you want to tweet your post archives.
  • In the Tweet Prefix field, you can set something like From the Archives or similar text.
  • Check the URL shortener box to use shortening services like which will require an API key that you can get when you register for a free account at
  • Create default #hashtags to go with your tweets, such as #blogging or #socialmedia.
  • Set the minimum and random intervals to send tweets, considering whether you want to tweet posts from your archives one or more times per day.
  • Set the minimum age of posts to be tweeted.
  • Exclude particular categories from being tweeted.
  • Save your changes.
4. If you have specific posts from included categories that you want to exclude from being tweeted, use the Tweet Old Post > Exclude Post settings to pick certain posts to exclude from being tweeted.
Tweet Old Posts Step 4
Tweet Old Post Step 4: Exclude specific posts from being tweeted by Tweet Old Post.

Pros of Using the Tweet Old Post Plugin

Chances are, you gain new followers to your Twitter account and blog on a daily basis. Using Tweet Old Post is a great way to point new followers to some of your awesome content from the past. It’s like having a Related Posts section that plugs into your Twitter account.

Cons of Using the Tweet Old Post Plugin

Some followers may not be as open to older content, especially if that content is outdated or they’re simply the type who only likes new and fresh blog posts.

Tweet Old Post Best Practices

To make sure your followers are only getting your best content, consider the following tips.
  • Create a category to house only your best content, then go back through your older posts and add them to that category. This way, you never have to worry about anything that you don’t want to be tweeted from your archives, and you don’t have to mess with excluding posts on an individual basis.
  • Be sure to exclude posts that are time sensitive from your archive’s tweets, such as a special discount that has since expired for a product or event information that has already passed.
  • Don’t overdo tweets to your older posts—you don’t want your stream to look like it’s all about you and nothing else.

HootSuite Scheduling

HootSuite offers an option to schedule updates to specific social media accounts, which can come in really handy if you have items that you would like sent at specific times when you may be away from your computer.

How to Set Up Scheduled Updates From HootSuite

The following will help you set up scheduled updates to be sent from your Twitter accounts linked to your main HootSuite account.
1. Enter your desired status update in the box as you would like it to appear and select the accounts to which you would like it posted.
HootSuite Scheduling Step 2
HootSuite Scheduling Step 1: Enter your status message as you would like it to appear.
2. Click on the calendar button to bring up a scheduling calendar to select your desired date and time to send the status update.
HootSuite Scheduling Step 2
HootSuite Scheduling Step 2: Schedule your status message by date and time.
You will also notice the Schedule in Bulk option.
HootSuite Scheduling Step 3
HootSuite Scheduling in Bulk: Schedule multiple messages all at once.
From here, you need to download a .CSV spreadsheet file so you can enter dates, times and tweets to schedule if you want to do more than one at a time for a specific account or set of accounts.
HootSuite Scheduling Step 4
HootSuite Scheduling in Bulk: Use a .CSV to format your status messages for bulk scheduling.
3. Need to make a modification or cancel a scheduled update? Create a column for your Pending Tweets in HootSuite to see what you have scheduled. Use the Edit link to make changes or the X to delete the update.
HootSuite Pending Tweets
HootSuite Pending Tweets: Edit or delete scheduled messages in this column.

Pros of Using HootSuite Scheduling

Time-sensitive tweets can be scheduled in advanced so you don’t forget to send important messages in a timely fashion. This is great for affiliates who are promoting the last few hours of a discount or special, speakers who want to send a countdown to their upcoming webinar or anyone who wants to keep his or her account updated at a regular rate.
Another great use for scheduling is when you’re reading through article after article that you want to send to your followers. Don’t just send ten articles in a span of five minutes—use the scheduler to space them out over the next few hours instead.

Cons of Using HootSuite Scheduling

If you’re using HootSuite to schedule your messages when you aren’t going to be around the computer, you may miss out on answering people who send quick questions about your latest tweet (if it needs any clarification).

HootSuite Scheduling Best Practices

There’s a big one here that really applies to any automated social media service: Be sure that your account has more than just scheduled tweets. You want to be engaging with your audience, not just broadcasting to them.

One Final Reminder

The above tools are meant to supplement and enrich your social media experience. They’re not, by any means, meant to replace the most important part of social media networking, which is engaging with your followers and fans on a regular basis. Not every status update should include a link!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Managing the "Larger Picture" for Enterprise Video Deployment

In case you were re-thinking "Flash" for your video delivery....Well, wouldn't do that if I were you!
Although this post is probably more relevant to our larger corporate clients it is also of interest to our smaller and medium sized clients.  

The use of online video in the enterprise environment has reached an inflection point. It’s no longer an optional or “nice to have” feature of corporate life. It’s a key ingredient of communication, training, collaboration, and management. This development is not necessarily viewed as good news by everyone involved in the delivery of video in the enterprise, however. While media professionals may be pleased that video is becoming increasingly prevalent, two other stakeholder groups are potentially stressed by the increase in video consumption. Video is often perceived as a costly hassle by the Information Technology (IT) department, which is tasked with delivering video through constrained infrastructure, and line-of-business (LOB) managers who must pay for the infrastructure upgrades necessitated by video. 
While previously, there was a clear correlation between increases in video consumption and infrastructure investment, this need not be the case any longer. 

From Kevin Towes/ Adobe Senior Product Manager & Greg Pulier/President of Media Platform Inc.
Multicast Fusion: A New Solution Approach
Multicast fusion is a new approach to enterprise video based on the Adobe® Flash® Media Enterprise Server. It solves the cost and complexity challenges of supporting both live and on-demand video to the enterprise audience. By introducing a new form of multicast, which combines a secure peer-assisted model of video distribution and IP multicast, a video stream can reach virtually everyone on the network using existing bandwidth and infrastructure. Multicast fusion finally unlocks the full potential for video within the enterprise by combining IP and peer-assist multicast to deliver enterprise-grade streaming media using the most efficient algorithms in a dynamic self-optimizing topology. It radically reduces the correlation between video growth and infrastructure upgrades. As a result, it has the potential to change the terms of the discussion between media professionals, LOB managers, and IT managers.
Multicast fusion enables corporations to keep up with growing video demand while cutting expenses across several cost centers.
Based on the new edition of Flash® Media Server and the Flash® Player 10.1, multicast fusion enables corporations to keep up with growing video demand while cutting expenses across several cost centers. IT managers will appreciate it for the ability to deliver the greatest level of video service while minimizing the need for additional media servers, upgrading networking gear, managing networking configuration, adding edge caching devices, eCDNs, and WAN acceleration hardware. And by having less hardware to install throughout the network, Flash® Media Server promises a shorter deployment cycle than existing video streaming technologies and lower ongoing IT maintenance and support costs.
Multicast fusion is of primary benefit to live video streaming in the enterprise. However, the technology also benefits video on-demand in several ways. The same network efficiencies that multicast fusion confers on live video also work for video on-demand. There is also the added economy and simplicity of having just one server handle all live and VOD traffic.
Multicast fusion provides a further benefit in that Adobe® Flash® technology is compatible with all operating systems, so corporations can now stream video to Macs, PCs, and Linux machines with relative ease. It’s compatible across all popular browsers, making the video experience seamless for users of Internet Explorer®, FireFox®, Chrome®, Safari®, and Opera®. Media producers will no longer have to produce video in multiple streaming formats when a corporate video event is intended for both internal and external audiences, which is potentially a huge money and time saver.

So, the point: 
I wouldn't be counting FLASH out of the game

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Digital marketing: don’t forget the message!

Well, we are just back home after phase 3 of a whirlwind documentary shoot about juvenile detention systems in the USA!
Fascinating stuff that we hope will help rejuvenate the "rehabilitation" of so many troubled young people about to embark on their lives as pertinent individuals
Ok, enough ranting...let's just say that although we have a lot of post production work ahead of us,  it's good to be home! which brings us to the reason for this post.
Upon our return, we had a scheduled meeting with our town's merchant committee They call it the BID standing for "Business Improvement District." This is a group of wonderful business owners in our community that are involved in developing a new website and are investigating how to maximize the potential of their efforts. (Let me just say that if you haven't considered visiting our Village of Greenport, NY, you are missing out on one of the last great places on the planet.) 
Upon our return and message revue we received this message from our friends at "Econsultancy" . After today's meeting it seems appropriate...Here are some key points:

The proliferation of technology enabled marketing tools has been one of the most fundamental changes that has occurred within the ad industry. With all the new toys in the box however, it is important to remember not to be clever for clever's sake.   It’s one thing to provide a product or service, another to market it effectively and quite another to encourage visitors to stay with you.

At its core, good marketing is about relevancy. You want consumers to want to spend time with you and for that you need to be useful.

Two things caught my eye recently.
The first was the innumerable lists of trends and forecasts for 2011. Now I’m a big fan of lists (and we all know its one of the best SEO tricks in the book), but what struck me as interesting was the immense focus on platforms and technology with little said about the message itself. The second was the release of the 2011 Michelin Guide.

Michelin, for example, developed its world renowned restaurant guide as a means of maintaining brand awareness for their tires. The Michelin Guide is now synonymous with quality.
What the Michelin guide did best was advertise its brand  in such a way as to provide a benefit for consumers. Drivers across Europe would always know where they could get a good meal, and the knowledge within the guide was valuable to the consumer.
Of course you don’t need to provide content as it has been traditionally understood. There are great opportunities available with the enormous growth of data available through GPS, social networking and the increasingly embedded nature of location information.
There is certainly a lot of excitement about location based services, the idea that new apps can tell us who of our friends are at a certain place, or enjoy a certain restaurant.
This can even be seen as an extension of the content only model used by Michelin. It’s also great for offering benefits or discounts directly to your best customers, as Starbucks did last year with its Foursquare loyalty program.
Some apps combine the power of crowdsourcing to provide customers with information relevant to them. Expedia has been a great proponent of useful advertising (in fact I may well have first heard them coin the phrase) with their Facebook app, Expedia Trip Companion, which provides relevant content feeds and the collective wisdom of other travelers.
Not only does it give you exchange rates from Google Finance and weather updates from Yahoo!, but it provides tips from TripAdvisor on what to do once you reach your destination.
The key is to ensure that you choose an approach that is relevant to your audience, and to your product.
Whether you’re an information site/service, or an
E-commerce site, in the end you want to have something of value to your visitors. And that means that the key is to engage them in an evolving, useful and interesting exchange.
If you want to develop a long term relationship with your customer in 21st century terms, you’d better find some way to be useful.