Archive for Social Media

Feb
14

Wikis as a Support Channel

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Wikis have been in the public eye for quote sometime. Whether they are micro wikis for various subjects such as those found at Wikia.com or they are the mother of all wikis, Wikipedia, wikis can give quite a lot of information in a cross-reference-able format.

The ability in fact for cross-reference using key terms is quite probably a wiki’s best feature. Couple this by using categorization, multiple editors (or even open public editing), requests for future articles and a lot more, wikis are a very versatile medium.

Some companies such as Superb Internet, have their wikis server their shared and dedicated hosting solutions.

Superb sites their reasons for switching their old knowledge base to the wiki format and these same rules hold true for any company, not just Web Hosts:

  • Easy to Update
  • Easy to Maintain
  • Advanced Cross-Referenced
  • Allows User Participation
  • Allows Users to Request Articles
  • Better Organized than Most FAQs and Knowledge Bases

Two other areas that are good about wikis is the discussion and history sections. An editor or user can see the history of edits on the article and these can be used for editing or personal reference. The other discussion portion can create opportunities for discussions on various topics.

Wikis are a good means for presenting information and can get your customers involved. As a support channel, wikis give an amount of depth not normally seen in the average knowledge base.

Categories : Social Media
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It might not come as a surprise that many of the world’s top CEOs still are not onboard with the whole social networking thing. What is most interesting though is the percentage of CEOs who don’t care. 2 CEOs from Fortune magazine’s top 100 companies have Twitter accounts. Does this mean that Twitter has no future in successful companies? You make the call.

According to Hitwise research, Twitter sends traffic to social networks. In fact, it can almost be considered a social networking search engine. Search engines send less than 10% downstream clicks to social network sites, while Twitter drives around 20% of its visitors to social networks. So what does this mean? If you have a blog, wiki, Flickr, Facebook account for work you should have a Twitter account as well. It therefore follows that the development of your Twitter network, you can develop your social networking platforms.

Building and Developing Your Twitter Network

Twitter networks go though stages and when comparing these stages it is not unlike cultivating a garden. When growing flowers you don’t dump tons of fertilizer and water on them, you slowly nurture them over the course of weeks if not months. Making a successful Twitter network requires time, but it does not require a large amount of work.

The first stage of your network is getting your initial 50 to 100 followers. Your account should include your picture or your company logo (if this is a company account). Your Twitter profile page should be linked to your most important site (personal blog or company site; index page, basically whatever is on your business cards). Promote your Twitter account by adding the profile to your forum, blog, and email signatures. This right here is the gift that keeps on giving. If you are already a prolific writer or social networker you don’t have any extra work to do in this aspect. When you do add tweets make them useful and timely, but do not over do it. Having no tweets and then slamming the channel with 30 tweets in a row is overkill.

Now that you have your followers it’s time to keep them. Take an active role in those who follow you and those who reply to your tweets. Follow those who follow you, if they link to places then go ahead and read them. This is all about common courtesy and since they are trying to hold on to their followers as well, you will probably find something useful. If you especially like the link, the link to it with your blog. This is networking after all

On a special note, using cool scripts to update Twitter is nice, but those who follow you on Twitter probably follow you on other social sites and having something spam multiple sites can be a put off. Essentially it tells your network they aren’t worth your time to address. If you want consolidation, then by all means using something like Ping.fm, but post separate messages on your different sites, even if you are posting about the same thing, make different messages. The extra steps will be rewarded.

Now the final stage, is basically maintenance of your Twitter network and using it in constructive ways. I want to stress that Twitter is two way street. If you want value out of Twitter you need to put value in it. Up until now, we have been interested in gaining Twitter followers and keeping them. As you go you have been discussing things that you are doing with your company, while providing useful information about yourself, your company, and things you find interesting. Now is where we kick it into high gear not just for your site, but for your followers.

How to Use Your Twitter Network

Your Twitter network should be mutually beneficial. At its most basic, Twitter can be used to direct traffic to various links and in this manner send traffic to your social networking sites. This is the obvious usage and if you are using Twitter than you should be taking advantage of this facet. However, there are many more uses to Twitter and all of them can provide quite useful for your business.

Twitter can be used to bounce ideas and brainstorm. This is especially good when you are using a private Twitter network (say for your company or maybe for a professional network). The ability to bounce off ideas around the world from something as convenient as your mobile is a very powerful thing. Along with brainstorming there are many project platforms such as Hudson that have Twitter plug-ins. So you can be alerted when a new build or version of your project is done and then talk about it with your network.

You can use Twitter to perform research. Marketing, product, technology, and company research can all be performed using Twitter in either a private or public network format. You can also use it for QnAs of which there are many examples that have worked wonders.

Most blog software allows tweets to go straight to the comment section. Blogs are already a hot topic for linking from tweets, with a little modding you build a symbiosis between linking a blog in tweet allowing you network to discuss the blog in tweets.

Twitter can also provide the ultimate in transparency in customer and company feedback. Say you had a server and you had 50 clients on it. You give them all a twitter account to hookup to, for the sake of being generic we will call it Server110. Now all your clients on that server are on the Server110 channel. If the server has a problem the technician can tweet an update here saying the server has a hard drive problem. Other people can do an @Server110 and say tweet about a support problem. In this manner, a constant line of communication between the technician and the clients is opened.

Lastly, if you watch the news, by now you know that Twitter is a great means to provide live coverage of events.

I hope by now, if you weren’t of the opinion already, you are all beginning to see the power of Twitter and why this is not something that a successful business should blow off. Instead, I challenge you all to develop your Twitter networks and find new ways for one of the fastest and most convenient ways to communicate in the world today. And while you are at drop me a line at my Twitter account, David_WHM.

Categories : Social Media
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Dec
02

9 Ways to Make Your Vlog More Professional

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Video blogging can be used for a wealth of different things. They can be used to set up interviews, get customer recommendations, discuss topics, present news… well the list goes on. However, from what I have noticed video and sound quality is quite horrific and often times many vblogs instead of coming off as laid back and easy going end up taking a one way trip to Amateurville (which is right next to IHaveNoIdeaWhatIAmDoing City located in the State of Denial).

1. Stay focused and advance the topic. You only have so much time to make you point and be memorable. Don’t waste it.

2. Make it interesting. The last thing anyone wants to see is a video that is boring and the last thing you want to see is comments saying this wasted the viewer’s time. Keep it interesting. If you don’t know if its interesting enough have outsiders view before you publish.

3. Prepare Talking Points or a Script. In order to keep things focused an interesting preparing talking points and questions for interviews ahead of time is essential. If the vlog is a tutorial of some sort, do several walk-throughs of what you want to do before the camera rolls. If you are doing something such as a mini movie then have a script.

4. Quality Ingredients produce a Quality product. Camcorder, external microphone, lighting, get them.

5. Keep it Short, 5 mins or less. Keep it short and simple and to the point. 5 mins or less. If it is going to be longer break it up into segments.

6. Brand your vlogs. If you want professional then you should brand every one of your vlogs. Use a logo or maybe a small text block.

7. Use editing software. Editing software is essential to make sure the colors, contrast, brightness, and resolutions are solid. Also you should be editing you work, cutting out bad points, or errors, and splicing in corrections you might have filmed later.

8. Lighting lighting lighting. Lighting makes or break video. More lighting is better, you want to reduce the amount of shadows in your production. There are a lot of resources online and off on the use of production quality lighting. If you are serious about vlogging you should study them.

9. Don’t be afraid to cut stuff out. When it comes to video no one keeps all of the film to final production. For a five minute video you are looking at ten minutes of film, at the least.

Follow these rules and you too shall enjoy professional vlogs. Until next time, happy hosting!

A few good resources:

Life Hacker: 8 Ways to Shoot Video Like a Pro

BlogBloke: How to Make Professional Podcast Videos for Your Blog

MetaCafe: Production School

Categories : Commentary, Social Media
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Oct
09

Can it Go Viral?

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Social marketing can be a very fickle fiend. When a company decides to advertise all it takes is a simple plan, build the message, select the medium, craft the pitch, then let it rip. But how do companies go about making something viral?

Viral messages are those messages that are so different, so amazing, or so funny that they get picked up by the population. An infection through casual contact, the viral message moves form person to person till tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people view the message.

So how does one make a common blender go viral? Well what can a blender do and what would make in interesting?

Blendtec had an answer. A blender blends, chops, dices, juices, etc. It takes stuff and breaks it into smaller stuff.

But blending the normal things Mr. Popeil would on some infomercial would not do. Watching raspberries getting turned into a fruit smoothie is not interesting. What is interesting is anything that is labeled don’t try this at home. The element of danger, but what to blend?

Howabout an iPhone, or a remote control… perhaps a Rubik’s Cube?

Blendtec decided to build an interesting Web site around the question, “Will it blend?”

Add some cheesy music and man who looks like engineer from the back room of some laboratory and you have the makings of a message that blows from one end of the world to the other.

You might ask how do I apply this to web hosting? Well that is for you to do. A viral message is the essence of creativity. The true definition of thinking outside of the box. They do not come simply because you want them to. Viral messages come because the message is deeply in-tuned with the audience (for instance a blog that puts down Windows and glorifies Linux is good linkbait for Digg) and is a must see.

The biggest question is once you have a viral message, how do you capitalize on it? But that is an answer for another time. Until then happy hosting!

Categories : Commentary, Social Media
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Oct
06

How to Reinvent Your Online Wheel

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Interesting to note that this time of season seems to be filled with web sites where the powers that be have decided its a great time for a redesign. Unfortunately, it also seems to be a time where the users are screaming bloody murder and protesting the companies to change everything back the way it was.

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