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Who will take over the world first? Facebook or Walmart?

27 Oct

Don’t people work anymore? Just when you thought you were sick enough of Farmville and Mafia Wars,  it looks like you’ll be seeing a lot more of the social gaming phenomenon come holiday time because credits will now be sold in Walmart.

Already available at Target stores, the social networking site is set to offer the credits -– which can be used for in-game purchases in games like FarmVille –- at Walmart and Best Buy too. Walmart will offer $5, $10 and $25 versions of the gift cards, while Best Buy will sell them in denominations of $10, $25 and $50.

A Facebook spokesperson tells Mashable that, “As we approach the holiday gift-giving season, we’re happy to expand the availability of Facebook Credits gift cards to Walmart and Best Buy. More than 200 games and applications accept Facebook Credits, giving people a fun, convenient and secure way to buy premium items, and making Credits gift cards a unique gift for the holidays.”

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Hi, I’m the new Twitter.

15 Sep

So the question has been asked all day, “Have you met the new Twitter?”

I took the time today to get know the new Twitter and explore it’s changes. To quickly sum up the changes being rolled out on to your nearest viewing screen: multimedia will be integrated in to your stream.

What does this mean? Aside from the new design, here is exactly what will happen with the biggest and most important change being first.

View photos, videos, and other media content

Now, it’s easy to see embedded photos and videos directly on Twitter, thanks to partnerships with Dailybooth, DeviantArt, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, Photozou, Plixi, Twitgoo, TwitPic, Twitvid, USTREAM, Vimeo, Yfrog, and YouTube.

Discover related content

When you click a Tweet, the details pane shows additional information related to the author or subject. Depending on the Tweet’s content, you may see: @replies, other Tweets by that same user, a map of where a geotagged Tweet was sent from, and more.

Mini profiles

You can click a @username to see a mini profile without navigating from the page, which provides quick access to account information, including bio and recent Tweets.

So what does all of this mean for Twitter?

As Mashable perfectly put it, it’s sort-of like the “Facebookification” of Twitter. Meaning that, you can view all of your content on one viewing screen. You will never have to actually leave your Twitter stream page to view any multimedia. The big question is, will this be the Desktop Client killer? For the average Twitter consumer, I’d say yes, there is no point in downloading any applications like Seeismic or Tweetdeck anymore. In fact, the new Twitter blows most of the downloadable applications out of the water. But for the industry folk like myself, who manage multiple accounts, our desktop apps will remain intact. Either way, this is a positive change for Twitter and I think most “Tweeple” will enjoy it.

One more point for ” The Web is Dead”.

Haters & Hackers

23 Oct

haterade

As I was watching the Today Show this morning, Billy Ray Cyrus (Don’t break my heart, my achy-breaky heart) was talking about his daughters (Miley) choice to cancel her Twitter account and he actually said something that made sense… when you make yourself so easily accessible to the public you have to be prepared for “Haters & Hackers”. This holds true whether you’re involved in Social Media personally, or for your business.

Social Media must be monitored as often as possible so here are a 2 ways to keep your name and your brand under close watch:

Google alerts!!! – Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. I personally use this to track all of my clients, news stories I’m interested in and much more.

Twilert – Twilert is a Twitter application that lets you receive regular email updates of tweets containing your brand, product, service, well any keyword you like.

While the positives of Social Media far outweigh the negatives, it’s important to remain aware of what others are saying because the sooner you catch a Hacker or Hater, the easier and quicker you can put the kabosh on it.

Social Media Standards

14 Oct

social-media

With Social Media become more and more widely accepted in the corporate world, some standards must be set. Employers should encourage their staff to be brand representatives and using the social web to help grow your company and engage with your customers. But with this new age comes uncharted territory and some standards MUST be set.

You need a social media policy that sets the foundation of your expectations, empowers your employees to tweet or blog without fear, rewards social media problem-solving, and educates staff on things to avoid in both personal and professional status updates. It’s smart business to have a social media policy.

But with the trend so new and fresh, each company must decide for itself what is deemed appropriate for YOUR business. What works for one company may not work for another. I recently came across the Online Database of Social Media Policies. Business like IBM, America Red Cross, and ESPN are making their policies available to the public to view.

Check out the database here to help jump start your companies Social Media Policy. Don’t have time to browse through them? No worries… I’ve listed three that have set the standard for an effective S.M. plan.

1. Kodak – The Kodak Social Media Tips document is available for download as a PDF.

2. Intel – Intel, a very active and social brand, has their social media guidelines published online.

3. IBM – Considered innovators in the social media guidelines space, IBM was one of the first big companies to publish a social policy document and make it available to the public online.

Facebook is making big moves…again.

7 Oct

Just when the dust settled from the previous user-interface changes that Facebook implemented earlier this year, new changes will soon be appearing in your nearest FB Home page.

Before you get all upset and nervous, I forwarn, no need to fret. The changes are going to make Facebook a little more streamlined and user-friendly.

Change #1:

Upon inspection of the images (included below), you’ll notice two interesting changes: the Facebook Publisher has been drastically minimized and there’s a new prominent filter for News Feed stories, called Top News.

fb-design

top-newsIn a strange move, the Status Update button almost seems to have disappeared, moving to a much less prominent spot on the upper right side.

Change (or addition) #2:

Facebook Lite – a whole new version of Facebook itself. They’ve made a “lessened” version of Facebook in an effort to evolve towards a more user-friendly interface. Personally,  I dig it. You lose a lot of the clutter and cut right to the voyerism chase. Want to test it out… HERE! (You’re welcome) Check out some screen shots below. Please share your thoughts and comments.

fb-lite

facebooklitehome

facebook-liteprofile1

Twitter 101: Tips

24 Aug

twitter_128x128To continue my series on Twitter, I offer some beginner tips on how to use Twitter. (It’s important to remember Twitter is not just for business… and not just for consumers. It is a way for both to interact with one another and use Twitter to each of your benefits).

1. Once your Twitter is registered and set-up, download a Twitter management tool. AL Marketing’s preferred choice is TweetDeck. Other great applications exsist though such as Seesmic Desktop. Search the net for “twitter management tools” and see what the best fit for your needs are.

2. In addition to a desktop tool,  you may want to download a mobile application. There are tons of them out there, so search your mobile App store. (I’m big on “Tweetie” for iPhone these days). Some are free and some are inexpensive… both are equally as user-friendly.

3. Now you’re all set up! So who do you follow?

If you’re a business: Follow industry experts and other sources of interesting (and relevant information). For                     example: the AL Marketing Twitter page, we follow those who are also experts in marketing, design, search engine            optimization, etc. This is so I can “retweet” (or RT) all of this valuable information to my network and vice versa.               This allows be to become a relevant source of information among my industry peers, as well as clients.

If you’re a consumer: Use Twitter to your advantage. Follow those who provide interesting information that is                    relevant to YOU and those brands/services you use. You will find great deals, bargains and special offers on Twitter.

4. Maximize your Twitter feeds: Get the most of your Twitter exposure by marking “keywords” with hashtags (#). “Huuuuh?” Say I send out a tweet, “Check out AL Marketing for the latest #SEO, #socialmedia and #marketing news and tips”. Now, you go to twitter search and type “social media”… my tweet has been indexed and will pull up under the search results.

Another, more advanced, use for the hashtag is aggregating feeds to add to your own source (since twitter is an open-source tool) – for an example, check out #blamedrewscancer.

Want to learn more? E-mail/comment me for other topics you’d like to see covered. Want to become a pro? AL Marketing is always available for private and group lessons!

Back to Basics: Twitter 101

14 Aug

As I met with a new client yesterday, I was rambling on and on about Twitter and it’s benefits. I quickly realized that I needed to take a step back and explain the basic fundamentals of what Twitter is and how it can benefit you and you’re business. So here it goes, your Twitter 101 lesson of the day:

What is Twitter?twitter-bird

Twitter is a tool that lets you write and read messages of up to 140 characters, or the very length of this sentence, including all punctuation and spaces. The messages are public and you decide what sort of messages you want to receive—Twitter being a recipient driven information network. In addition, you can send and receive Twitter messages, or tweets, equally well from your desktop or your mobile phone.

When you combine messages that are quick to write, easy to read, public, controlled by the recipient and exchangeable anywhere, you’ve got a powerful, real-time way to communicate. And real-time communication is turning out to be ground-breaking for users and businesses alike.

How can my business use Twitter?

Twitter connects you to your customers right now, in a way that was never before possible. For example, let’s say you work for a custom bike company. If you run a search for your brand, you may find people posting messages about how happy they are riding your bikes in the French Alps—giving you a chance to share tips about cyclist-friendly cafes along their route.

Others may post minor equipment complaints or desired features that they would never bother to contact you about—providing you with invaluable customer feedback that you can respond to right away or use for future planning. Still others may twitter about serious problems with your bikes—letting you offer customer service that can turn around a bad situation.

You don’t have to run a bike shop or a relatively small company to get good stuff out of Twitter. Businesses of all kinds, including major brands, increasingly find that listening and engaging on the service leads to happier customers, passionate advocates, key product improvements and, in many cases, more sales.

A key benefit

One of Twitter’s key benefits is that it gives you the chance to communicate casually with customers on their terms, creating friendly relationships along the way—tough for corporations to do in most other mediums.

But Twitter isn’t just about useful immediacy. The conversational nature of the medium lets you build relationships with customers, partners and other people important to your business. Beyond transactions, Twitter gives your constituents direct access to employees and a way to contribute to your company; as marketers say, it shrinks the emotional distance between your company and your customers. Plus, the platform lends itself to integration with your existing communication channels and strategies. In combination, those factors can make Twitter a critical piece of your company’s bigger digital footprint.

For instance, let’s say you run a big retail website. In addition to learning more about what your customers want, you can provide exclusive Twitter coupon codes, link to key posts on your blog, share tips for shopping online, and announce specials at store locations. And you can take things a step further by occasionally posting messages about fun, quirky events at your HQ, giving others a small but valuable connection with the people in your company.

Can I see some examples of companies use Twitter effectively?

Sure! Check out the following:

@Dell – Dell has the set the bar for big corporations and use of Twitter. Dell has used Twitter to offer discounts to customers and in result has sold millions of dollars of product over the last year.

@NakedPizza – Naked Pizza, a New Orleans establishment, became an instant overnight success due to one sign outside of the store that told passerby’s it’s Twitter name. Their Twitter feeds offer specials to it’s followers driving loads of people to the shop nightly.

@coffeegroundz – This Houston-based coffee shop lets customers order their to-go orders via Twitter.

@JetBlue – Jet Blue Tweets out airfare sales, flight delays as well as other useful information to travelers. They also use their Twitter feed as an additional way to manage their customer service inquiries, complaints and suggestions.

Stay tuned for more Back to Basics information! And don’t forget to follow AL Marketing on Twitter: @AshL1123