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Archive for the ‘tools’ Category

I Have a Bad Reputation!

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

As published in Digital Nashville  Join Today!

“Christine Taylor Nude”…. yes, I Googled myself. Unfortunately I have the same name as Marcia Brady of “The Brady Bunch Movie” fame. Apparently a very nice person, but there must be some scandalous photos floating around out there. That is one reason I try to use my middle initial or middle name in most online profiles.

Depending on how popular and well known your brand is, there may be few or many people talking about it. If you’re looking to start a blog, position yourself as an expert or start networking actively in your desired topic area, then make listening an important research routine. As your brand equity increases, more conversations will be held around your brand name. You’ll spend more time listening and possibly responding to blog posts, tweets, etc. Eventually, you may even need to hire someone to monitor online conversations about you or your company on a daily basis.

Tracking topics on the Web can be a painful process due to the amount of noise and difficulty of filtering it. To help you out, I’ve selected several free tracking tools that go beyond Google.

  • Leapfish http://www.leapfish.com/ Search all the major sites at once. Search real-time social sites. See web, video and image results – blogs, news and video results, plus shopping prices, etc.
  • IceRocket: http://www.icerocket.com/ IceRocket does “Blogs · Web · Twitter · MySpace · News · Images · Big Buzz … API.”
  • Social Mention http://socialmention.com/ Social Mention is a social media search engine that searches user-generated content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos, and microblogging services.
  • Ego Surf http://www.egosurf.org/ Enter your name (or a keyword) and your web site url, and egoSurf will search Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Technorati and del.icio.us for mentions of your site. Select “more options” to run your search on more engines than just Google.
  • MonitorThis http://monitorthis.77elements.com/ With MonitorThis, you can search in 26 different search engine feeds at the same time including blogs, microblogs and more.
  • Same Point http://www.samepoint.com/ It categorizes “Social Mentions, Discussion Points, Bookmarks, Wikis, Network’s B2B Networks, Groups, Life Casting, MicroBlogs, Reviews, Podcasts, Documents, Video, Images, News and Web.” There are tabs that let you drill down to results for each category.
  • WhosTalkin http://www.whostalkin.com/ WhosTalking is a social media search tool that allows users to search for conversations on multiple social media sites surrounding the topics that they care about most.
  • Addictomatic http://addictomatic.com/ Addictomatic searches a wide range of live sites including blogs, micro-blogs, news and video. Search results are displayed in your own custom page. While you can’t get an RSS feed of your search, you can bookmark it.
  • Keotag http://www.keotag.com/ Search engine that allows you to search various social media sites (delicious, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) by tags.
  • BackType http://www.backtype.com/ is a tool for monitoring blog comments. Whenever you write a comment with a link to your Web site, Backtype attributes it to you.
  • Yacktrack http://www.yacktrack.com/ lets you search for comments on your content from various sources, For instance, if you comment on a blog, you can locate other people who are commenting on that same blog post and rejoin the conversation.
  • Scour http://scour.com/ Scour is a next generation search engine with Google/Yahoo/MSN results and user comments all on one page. Users get rewarded for using it by collecting points with every search, comment and vote.
  • OneRiot http://www.oneriot.com/ OneRiot is a social search engine that indexes web pages based on their current popularity with its users, thus focusing on newest and most popular results for a search query rather than a comprehensive overview of the archived web.
  • Pipes http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/ Pipes is a powerful composition tool to aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web.
  • Omgili http://omgili.com/ The Omgili forum search engine lets you find communities, message boards, and discussion threads about any topic.

This list is by no means complete. I am always looking for tools to make your jobs and mine easier. What listening tools do you use?

Foursquare – Super-Charging Word-of-Mouth Through Social Media

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Christine and I went to one of our favorite restaurant/pubs in Green Hills recently.  She checked in to Foursquare, told about 200 of her local friends about the great hamburgers there and got tips from them on other menu items to try.  How cool is that? For the restaurant!

The restaurant was benefiting from one of today’s hottest and most promising social media platforms and didn’t even know it.  What if they were smart enough to actually incentivize Foursquare users to check in?  How cool (and profitable) would that be?

The idea behind location-awareness social media like Foursquare is that people will use the GPS capabilities in today’s smart phones (iPhone, Android, etc.) to check in, tweet, review . . . let their friends know where they are.  Foursquare, currently available worldwide, is self-described as – “50% friend-finder, 30% social city guide, 20% nightlife game.”  Sound silly? Maybe, but Christine is “mayor” of a convenience store in Bucksnort, TN, and is in hot competition with another Foursquare user.  Every time we go by Bucksnort on I-40, she checks in and I buy an ice cream bar.  Not good for my waistline but great for the convenience store!

From the business perspective, think CRM (customer relationship management). Many small businesses have little or no way to track customer behavior. A coffee shop may have a patron that comes in daily for years, but they have no way to track anything. They can capture emails.  They can supply loyalty cards.  Foursquare goes far beyond all of this. The loyal coffee shop patron can be tracked through Foursquare and even incentivized to get a free cup of coffee for every tenth check-in. This is so much better than a loyalty card because it super-charges positive word-of-mouth through social media and provides valuable data on customer behavior.

Like all good social media platforms Foursquare understood the need to integrate with platforms that others already use. Foursquare users have the option to tweet or add a Facebook status update every time they check in. What this means is that a Facebook user with a few hundred friends might expose your business by way of a Foursquare check-in to thousands of Facebook walls.

There are other services that have tackled this basic function, such as Loopt, Brightkite, Gowalla and My Town, but Foursquare turned this activity into a social competition; a distinction that has led to its current role as a leader in this evolving space.

So how much does this all cost?  Nothing right now.  You can visit the Foursquare business page to register your business. The company is still developing its business model – focusing on the infrastructure, expanding the user base (one million as of today) and developing a database of locations.  While it is free for now, charging businesses to become members and providing them customized programs will most likely be the primary revenue stream for Foursquare in the future.

Tasti D-lite has been using Foursquare for some time now. Patrons are encouraged to register their loyalty card (the Tasti TreatCard) online with Foursquare (and Facebook and Twitter) to earn extra points.

Taco Mamacita, a Nashville eatery,has been using it for about six weeks.  If you check in and prove that you are the mayor of Taco Mamacita, you get a free guacamole.  This is amazing stuff!  For the cost of a few pounds of guacamole, Taco Mamacita has people competing to be mayor and telling hundreds or even thousands of other local people about the restaurant’s great menu items.

Should your business join Foursquare? The answer depends on your type of business and demographics of your customer.  Taco Mamacita fits the profile perfectly.  They are located in a trendy neighborhood  (lots of geeks around) and they pride themselves on their authentic Tex-Mex fare and margaritas (plenty to talk about).

Local consumer-oriented businesses that depend on foot traffic will get the most out of Foursquare, especially if your customers are gadget-friendly, smart phone owners. There are a lot of retailers that fit this category – coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores, pubs, nightclubs, apparel stores, spas, hair salons, art galleries, etc.  Don’t be deterred, however, if you are operating a rather “boring” business.  Owner of a dry cleaner store?  Offer an incentive (like dry cleaning coupons) and Foursquare just might work for you.

What is a Twitter #Hashtag?

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Hashtags are a community-driven convention for Twitter for adding additional context to your tweets. They’re like tags or categories, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag.  Hashtags are essentially a simple way to catalog and connect tweets about a specific topic. They make it easier for users to find additional tweets on a particular subject, while filtering out the incidental tweets that may just coincidentally contain the same keyword. Hashtags are also often used by conference and event organizers as a method of keeping all tweets about the event in a single stream, and they’ve even been used to coordinate updates during emergencies

You can create a hashtag simply by appending the hash symbol to a word, like this: #hashtag. #socialmedia,#conferences

How to Utilize Existing Hashtags:

There are a wide variety of already established hashtags — and new ones being created daily — that you can join. Some examples are #musicmonday,#tastytuesday, #followfriday.

How to Find a Hashtag:

Some great site to search hashtags being used are:

What the Trend?: This useful little service makes it really easy to learn about trending hashtags. When something starts trending, What the Trend? will provide a quick blurb on what’s going on.

Twubs: Twubs  uses a wiki system to help disseminate information on a hashtag. It aggregates tweets and imports pictures to help illuminate the topics being discussed.

Hashtags.org: While not the best at helping you understand the meaning behind a tag, Hashtags.org is good at showing you its use over time and recent tweets, which oftentimes is enough to figure out the meaning behind the tag.

Tagalus: Tagalus is a simple dictionary for hashtags. It’s very easy to find information on thousands of hashtags as defined by other users. You can also define a hashtag by tweeting tagalus.

How to Start your own Hashtag

The first step in creating a hashtag is deciding on the tag word itself. You should pick something memorable, easy to spell, and perhaps more importantly, as short as possible. Remember that Twitter gives everyone just 140 characters per tweet, so no one wants half of it to be taken up by an unwieldy hashtag. Once you’ve figured out the tag itself, the next step is simple: start using it and promoting it. Make sure your tweets using the hashtag are worthwhile and add something of value to the conversation.

More resources for hahstag information:

HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Twitter #Hashtags

The Twitter Hash Tag: What Is It and How Do You Use It?

Ultimate Guide to Twitter Hashtags | Search Engine Journal

Find Local People on Twitter

Monday, April 26th, 2010

1. Twitter Advanced Search

Never forget Twitter Advanced Search when you are going to search anything about Twitter. Just to enter your location, and select how far away from the location is acceptable, then you can see the latest tweets from those twitter users near the location. You can also filter the results by languages, including English, Japanese, French and the other 16 languages. Go to Twitter Advanced Search

2. Twellow

Twellow says it has more than 19 million Twitter profiles in their database and let you search those Twitter users by location. You can follow or unfollow the tweeps on the search results, and you can also see their Social Links (such as MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, ect) if any. Go to Twellow

3. TweepSearch

TweepSearch says it has indexed over 13 million Twitter profiles and let you search them by location. When you sign in with Twitter OAuth, you can follow, unfollow or block those Twitter users. The search results can be sorted by last update, screen name, followers or friends. Go to TweepSearch

4. Nearby Tweets

On Nearby Tweets website, you can search anything nearby nearly any city, you can follow or block any Twitter users in the results, and you can also block all the tweets from that location. But you can’t search the keywords with more than one Chinese word. Go to Nearby Tweets

5. LocaFollow

Besides location, you can also search LocaFollow by bio, name or tweets. The search results of the Twitter users will include the numbers of following/followers and tweets, the last tweets, the websites, ect. You can follow the those Twitter users one by one or on one click. Go to LocaFollow

6. Twitter Grader

You can search Twitter users by Location via the User Search function on Twitter Grader, which will show you the first 100 related Twitter users who are sorted by their grades. As you can see from the above image, the search results may be not 100% correct. Go to Twitter Grader

7. Twitterfall

Enter your location in the Geolocation column, select how far away from the location is acceptable, and click Enable, then the tweets posted by the tweeps near the location will be displayed and updated automatically. The Tweets can be sorted by languages. Go to Twitterfall

8. Happn.in

You select a location, then Happn.in will show the twitter trends and 3 latest tweets from your location on Google Maps, and you can click the more detail button to see more Twitter users and tweets from that location. There is a twitter account for every location listed on Happn.in.  Go to Happn.in

9. Geofollow

Just enter your location, then Geofollow will list the Twitter users from your location, you can follow, reply or DM the matched tweeps after login. ,. Go to Geofollow

What are your favorite sites?  Or do you have any other similar websites to search Twitter users by location? Share with us by adding a comment.