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Posts Tagged ‘Google Alerts’

My working list of cool interactive tools for fun and business.

Many are free or almost free except for the time needed to program, write, and monitor them. Here’s a great video (38 minutes) if you are really interested in working in social media.

Pinterest — an online, virtual bulletin or pin board. It’s akin to liking something on Facebook that a friend shares with you. Login is via a Twitter or Facebook account. Different from Facebook, it curates your collections and makes them manageable

  • For use by:  a business or anyone with something they are passionate about
  • Purpose:  sharing what’s visually important to you
  • Method:  sign in with your Twitter or Facebook account, add “pins” which are visuals (photos, graphics etc.) that link to the web source, arrange pins in groups, called boards
  • Marketing Use:  drives people (traffic) to your website share your brand
  • Technology Requirements:  computer with internet
  • Consumer Issues:  none really. It’s incredibly easy and simple
  • Business Issues:  invitation only still…

Here’s some expert advice from HubSpot and the Nonprofit Tech 2.0 blog.

Paper.li — A Twitter newspaper and content curation system where you can publish on any topic you like

  • For use by:  a business or anyone with something they are passionate about
  • Purpose:  sharing what’s important to you and an easy place to read all about it
  • Method:  sign in with your Twitter account and then base the newspaper off of the posts of people, lists, keywords, and hashtags you follow.
  • Marketing Use:  a great tool to build followers
  • Technology Requirements:  computer with internet and a Twitter account
  • Consumer Issues:  none really. It cleans up the overwhelming native Twitter stream and presents new writers/experts that you may not have heard of.
  • Business Issues:  be specific with your curation settings if you are concerned with offending anyone. Here’s an example of a paper.li I manage for Good Ground Press.

Google+ — A new social network

  • For use by:  a business or anyone with something to say, see Mashable on Google +
  • Purpose:  sharing — a lot like Facebook with added utilities:  better targeted sharing to subsets of one’s followers (aka “Circles”), chat feature (AKA “Hangouts”), multimedia sharing with photo manipulation similar to Instagr.am
  • Method:  Sign up with your Google account, share, build your network by adding people to your “circles.”
  • Marketing Use:  similar to Facebook for sharing and Twitter for news searching. Can also be used to conduct informal focus groups via “hangouts.”
  • Technology Requirements:  computer with internet
  • Consumer Issues:  can be confusing if you have more than one Google account and there is presently no way to combine them
  • Business Issues:  Time, mostly. How many networks do you need to be on? If your company is very techy and innovative, then this would be a good tool to use.

Flickr – A photo-sharing service.

  • For use by:  a business that has something to show
  • Purpose:  awareness, share photos
  • Method:  post photos of business related work, e.g. framing jobs, new artists, new materials etc. for Frameworks, tag with business name, subject, location; as well as make albums
  • Marketing Use:  to keep one’s business top of mind, can also be used for contests, e.g. “Take a photo of yourself and product XYZ and post it to Flickr where ever you are in the world.” Should be referenced and linked in other social media and the main website.
  • Technology Requirements:  digital camera and computer with internet
  • Consumer Issues:  must have an account to upload photos
  • Business Issues:  Time, mostly. Can be quirky to link to a WordPress blog.
  • Example:  Element Six Media

Instagr.am and others– photo sharing and manipulation via Twitter or Facebook; iPhone app

  • For use by:  a business or anyone that has something to show
  • Purpose:  sharing of photos
  • Method:  download app (free) from iTunes, share via Twitter and/or Facebook account
  • Marketing Use:  post photos of business related work, e.g. framing jobs, new artists, new materials etc. for Frameworks. Use Twitter handles and hashtags for business name, subject, location
  • Technology Requirements:  iPhone
  • Consumer Issues:  only available on iPhone:  Instagr.am, photogram, hipstamatic, GLMPS, Smugmug, Camera+ other platforms:  Posterous (Android, too), MobyPicture (almost all phones),
  • Business Issues:  much easier and faster than Flickr, but lower quality. Still, time to manage is always an issue. Click here to read why they are so popular.

Foursquare – A location-based service. That means it only applies to a business that has an identifiable, physical presence that people come to.

  • For use by:  stores, restaurants, service providers, schools, libraries, etc.
  • Purpose:  build loyalty
  • Method:  “gamify” the act of visiting a place to make a purchase or do something
  • Marketing Use:  to encourage repeat business, reward customers who visit x number of times, become the most frequent visitor (aka the Mayor), or visit at specific times
  • Technology Requirements:  smart phone
  • Consumer Issues:  time-consuming to “check in,” can become irritating to constantly receive friends’ updates until you know how to turn that feature off, poor rewards
  • Business Issues:  not rewarding customers, setting up the account and then ignoring it, not integrating it into other marketing efforts, not responding to consumer comments

Google Places – Google references businesses that people search for. Businesses can “own” these pages and update them with specific information.

  • For use by:  any business with a physical address
  • Purpose:  to be found
  • Method:  business owners let Google know that they own the business. Once ownership is verified by Google, the business owner can upload photos and adjust the map settings.
  • Marketing Use:  to encourage consumer searchers to click on your actual website and easily find your business on  a map. Business owners can also ask happy, loyal customers to review them. Positive reviews may sway potential customers.
  • Technology Requirements:  computer with internet connection
  • Consumer Issues:  owner provided pictures could be misleading
  • Business Issues:  owners should periodically update their listing, or at least check it, and monitor customer reviews.

Online Business Directories — Many businesses are indexed (listed) by other businesses or service providers to help consumers. If a business has many alternates and is a type that is frequently searched, then strategically, the business should request to be included in any lists they find.

  • Examples:  http://www.mnschools.com/SchoolFinder/Preschools/index.htm#st.paul lists preschools in the St. Paul, MN area,  http://saintpaul.areaconnect.com/churches.htm lists churches, and Pauly’s List that lists senior-friendly businesses in the Twin Cities.
  • Purpose:  be found
  • Method:  business owners search lists online and then email list owners and ask to be included
  • Marketing Use:  simply to be found, but also found on influential lists
  • Technology Requirements:  computer with internet connection
  • Consumer Issues:  information can be outdated
  • Business Issues:  owners need to maintain a database of where they are listed and update the list owners as needed

Google Alerts:  A Google service whereby one provides a search phrase, such as a business name to Google and then one is notified via email when Google runs across that phrase.

  • Examples:  I have one set up with my name, so that anytime references me on the internet, I’m informed
  • Purpose:  Monitoring or per Google:
    • “monitoring a developing news story
    • keeping current on a competitor or industry
    • getting the latest on a celebrity or event
    • keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams”
  • Method:  visit http://www.google.com/alerts
  • Marketing Use:  to manage one’s reputation
  • Technology Requirements:  computer with internet connection
  • Consumer/Business Issues:  turn around is slow — i.e. it make a few weeks for Google to let one know what they find.

Yelp – an online review service

  • For use by:  any business that deals with the general public, i.e. B2C
  • Purpose:  word of mouth marketing in an electronic system. It’s a virtual place for consumers to read reviews from real people, share their positive opinion of a business, or vent their anger. For businesses, it’s another opportunity to “listen in” on what customers say about the business and, of course, manage their reputation.
  • Method:  Consumers can search without having an account, but an account is required to post a review. Business owners can claim their business in a similar fashion to Google places.
  • Marketing Use:  Word of mouth recommendations are highly trusted by consumers. Business owners can manage their reputation and interact with their customers.
  • Technology Requirements:  computer with internet connection
  • Consumer/Business Issues:  Negative reviews can potentially really harm a business. The best strategy for business owners is to bring the issue offline for resolution, i.e. never fight in public. Secondly, owners should encourage happy customers to review them on Yelp, to bury the negative review.

Email Newsletters  - HTML emails

  • For use by:  Any organization
  • Purpose:  Opted in communication with an interested population
  • Method:  Encourage customers to sign up and provide email addresses, clearly state the privacy policy, reward consumers for providing this information
  • Marketing Use:  Share news, promote new products, thank customers, ask for feedback from the target population
  • Technology Requirements:  Computer with internet connection, email account, and/or an email marketing service account, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact
  • Business Issues:  Managing frequency (once a week is almost too much), providing content that customers are interested in, can be time-consuming to create the newsletter
  • Consumer Issues:  Information overload, tendency to simply delete all messages if too frequent or if the message is not compelling

Blogs  - first person website, where writers share their opinions

  • For use by:  Anyone
  • Purpose:  Establish expertise, improve search (content quality and authority, social media links and content freshness.)
  • Method:  Open a WordPress account, buy a branded URL, learn the software, plan your topics, gather your writers, start writing, THEN start reading and commenting on blogs that relate to yours
  • Marketing Use:  web presence optimization (dominating the search results for your name and unique tagline), core of most social media strategies, to be found (see Purpose)
  • Technology Requirements:  Computer with internet connection, WordPress Account
  • Business Issues:  maintaining a regular publishing schedule of information that is appealing to your customers
  • Consumer Issues:  Information overload, the need to establish the accuracy of the writer

Twitter – microblog to meet and connect people and organizations of interest

  • For use by:  Anyone
  • Purpose:  share news, learn things, talk with people, meet people
  • Method:  Set up account, learn the tool, start following people/organizations, share news/content (don’t sell), talk to people
  • Marketing Use:  Monitor what customers are saying about you or your company, or your interests; talk to consumers, respond to problems
  • Technology Requirements:  Computer with internet connection, Twitter account
  • Business Issues:  Time to Tweet frequently, finding  your voice (tone, subjects etc.)
  • Consumer Issues:  Information overload

Facebook – Social network where people connect with people they already know, very personal

  • For use by:  Any organization
  • Purpose:  Opted in communication with an interested population
  • Method:  Engage with customers in their private space (vs. Twitter)
  • Marketing Use:  Share news, promote new products, thank customers, ask for feedback from the target population
  • Technology Requirements:  Computer with internet connection, Facebook account
  • Business Issues:  Managing frequency, providing content that customers are interested in
  • Consumer Issues:  Information overload, tendency to “unfriend/unlike” if feeling interrupted

LinkedIn – online resume and network builder

  • For use by:  Any professional organization or person
  • Purpose:  Establish credentials, connect with colleagues, vet potential business contacts
  • Method:  Create personal and/or business account, populate it with accurate information that is found on a resume (person) or product offerings (business). Also join interest groups
  • Marketing Use:  Share news, promote new products, establish expertise, see purpose
  • Technology Requirements:  Computer with internet connection, email account
  • Issues:  Updating information, sharing news on a regular basis, participating in groups that one is a member of

Groupon, Restaurant.com etc. — email/web-based heavily discounted offers to opted-in consumers

  • For use by:  An organization with something to sell
  • Purpose:  Create awareness, seek new customers
  • Method:  Create account with Groupon, PlumDaily, etc., design an offer that will entice consumers and not bankrupt the business
  • Marketing Use:  see Purpose
  • Technology Requirements:  Computer with internet connection, email account
  • Business Issues:  Must have limits on the offer because offer fulfillment can bankrupt a business
  • Consumer Issues:  Boredom with the offers

RSS –  Really Simple Syndication

  • For use by:  Anyone
  • Purpose:  Simplified system of subscribing to content (website, blogs, newsletters, etc.)
  • Method:  Plugin to website or blog
  • Marketing Use:  Make it easy for consumers to opt in to regular information from you
  • Technology Requirements:  Some knowledge or access to expertise to set up
  • Consumer Issues:  Information overload, tendency to simply unsubscribe if too frequent or if the message is not compelling

YouTube – Video blog

  • For use by:  Anyone
  • Purpose:  Establish expertise, appeal to people who prefer to watch and listen vs. read
  • Method:  Record and brand video, upload
  • Marketing Use:  Similar to blogging
  • Technology Requirements:  Computer with internet connection, video recorder
  • Business Issues:  maintaining a regular publishing schedule of information that is appealing to your customers
  • Example:  Element Six Media

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