Archive for social media

Twitter Is Going Public. Here’s How It Makes Money.

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Posted Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, at 7:21 PM

Twitter is going public.

Twitter is going public.

Photo by Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

As long anticipated, Twitter is going public. It almost goes without saying that the social network broke the news on Twitter. Its announcement came in five characters under the microblogging site’s 140-character cutoff:

The offering is expected to be the tech world’s largest since Facebook went public in May 2012. Analysts valued Twitter at $10 billion earlier this year, and it may be worth a little more than that today. But as my colleague Matt Yglesias points out, the fact that it is filing confidentially implies that its annual revenues have not yet reached $1 billion. Following the lead of Facebook and other Internet companies whose fortunes depend on an enormous user base, Twitter has been cautious about turning its service into a money-maker so far, with ads few and far between on the site. So how does it make money, and why might it be worth so much?

Like Facebook, Twitter makes its money primarily by selling ads, which gain a lot of their value from the advertiser’s ability to target specific groups of users. Twitter’s disadvantage relative to Facebook is scale: It has on the order of 200 million users, while Facebook has some 1.15 billion. But its advantage lies in timeliness and topicality. People check Facebook casually, when time allows. Twitter users tend to use Twitter quite actively, and in conjunction with specific events, like TV shows, rallies, concerts, and breaking news. So advertisers can craft ads tailored not only to a Twitter user’s general tastes and demographic profile, but to what that user is doing at the very moment they see the ad.

The fact that the company broke its own IPO news via Twitter—and saw the news retweeted by thousands of people within minutes—underscores the company’s growing role as a global source of breaking news and instant analysis. It is in some ways the CNN of the Internet—the key difference being that it costs CNN an awful lot of money to produce its content, whereas Twitter gets it all for free from users. A disproportionate share of those users are, in fact, paid journalists for other companies, including CNN. They use the platform enthusiastically, bordering on addictively, as a way to build their personal brands and draw readers to their own sites. The result is that Twitter today is valued at some $10 billion, more than five times as much as the New York Times*—and it has the potential to become more valuable still.

Equally important to its business prospects in the near term is Twitter’s role as a “second screen” that people check while watching TV. That gives advertisers a chance to play off of a program that it knows millions of people are watching, as Oreo did during this year’s Super Bowl. Meanwhile, Twitter has acquired two startups in the past year that analyze social-network activity related to TV programming, raising the possibility that Twitter could raise extra revenue by providing finely grained audience data to TV advertisers. And in May it launched a feature that lets TV advertisers target Twitter users who have just watched their commercials. That gives advertisers a clear path from showing a commercial on TV to getting potential customers onto their website—or, potentially, even selling them a product directly through Twitter.

Finally, Twitter is poised to be a big player in the fast-growing realm of mobile advertising. Just three days ago it splashed a reported $350 million to buy MoPub, the world’s largest mobile ad exchange, which allows advertisers to target users on their mobile devices. That might sound mundane, but in a blog post on Tuesday, former Facebooker Antonio Garcia argued that it actually makes Twitter “the most interesting company in advertising right now.” That’s quite an assertion, coming from the man who built Facebook’s own ad exchange. His full post is worth a read if you’re into this sort of thing, but in short, MoPub will give Twitter a platform through which to sell mobile ads that target users based on data that Twitter has collected from them on their desktop computers. That’s big, because the relatively sparse data available on users’ mobile phones has made such targeting difficult in the past.

In short, Twitter doesn’t make piles of money today, but it has the potential to become a much bigger player in the years to come, especially as people continue to do more of their social networking, news-reading, and shopping on their phones. For further background on the company’s evolution and prospects as a business, check out Joe Hagan’s comprehensive New York Magazine piece. It was written nearly two years ago, which translates to ages in Twitter years, but a lot of its predictions have been borne out in the time since.

*Correction, Sept. 12, 9:35 p.m.: This post originally stated that Twitter has been valued at about the same amount of money as the New York Times. Its valuation is more than five times the Times‘ market capitalization.

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Article: Google Penguin Refresh Completes Trilogy of Search Terror for SEOs

Web Design Trends for 2010

By: Jaqueline Thomas

With a new year on the horizon, it’s time to pack away the old, worn web designs and prepare for the brave, new face of tomorrow. Although trends don’t start and stop on January 1st, there is a definite shift from what we craved at the beginning of the year to what we are seeking tutorials for at the end of the year. Most of the time, this shift is subtle. It’s a perfection or re-interpretation of a currently hot trend. Trends help us evolve as designers. As we master the skills of design aesthetic, we continue to push forward to what’s next or what needs to be fully discovered.

Make no mistake about it, you will recognize the ideas behind these trends. Although this list isn’t a drastic departure from what was popular in 2009, it marks different trends that will be expanded upon and made better as a result. As you think of how you will incorporate new trends into your designs, focus on the main idea of each trend. Be encouraged to dabble into these trends so that you become part of the movement.

1. Oversized Logos/ Headers

Splash pages are so yesterday. To make an unforgettable impression on the visitor, the trend for 2010 will be oversized logos on an equally oversized header. These types of headers can take up the entire screen, but with one important note. Visitors will not need to click anything, just scroll down. Visitors often having a clicking phobia (due to years of poor navigation), so big headers do the job of a splash page without forcing your visitors to click anything.

Main Idea: Huge headers that make your visitors remember you.

2. Sketch/ Hand-drawn Design

Hand-drawn design is not exactly new on the horizon, but we all know that it is still on the fringes of web design. Many designers admire the style but are afraid to create their own sketches because of the “I can’t really draw” attitude. If you look at the most popular hand-drawn websites (and relative to other types of trends, there are only a few), you will notice that most of your fellow designers can’t draw. These designs are not exactly headed to an art museum, but they do convey a sense of whimsy, and blur the line between cold web and personal interaction– the ultimate goal of the internet. If you can doodle, you can sketch for web design.

Sketch in 2010 will become more elemental, and not as much the main focus of a web design. It will be used to personalize standard web copy in new and exciting ways.

Main Idea: Sketch becomes an elemental part of corporate design.

3. Slab Typefaces

Slab typefaces are relatively new, although they’ve been around for over 200 years in traditional media. To get a good visual definition of slab typefaces, think of the old Wild West “Wanted” posters. Those bold letters are slab typefaces. Slab typeface is commonly all capital letters and are bold and imposing. Many designers have shied away from slab typefaces in the past because logos and headers were smaller and more understated. However, combined with the trend toward larger headers, slab typefaces demand the reader to take notice.

Main Idea: Slab typefaces is used to bravely express who you are.

4. Typography

Typography is one of the most difficult trends to tackle which is why it will remain fresh in 2010. With all the cries for usability, web designers are afraid of using new and different fonts. The idea of mixing varying font sizes together is completely unthinkable. Fonts are meant to be explored, twisted, and molded to fit your purposes. With the correct placement, a website that utilizes Typography as its main design element will be more interesting to a reader than overloading the same site with tons of photos.

Main Idea: Typography is young, but will continue to be a part of web design.

5. One Page Layouts

One pay layouts challenge you to edit away what’s unnecessary. In 2010, this trend will move away from the quirky navigation and become more minimal in its approach. Think of these websites as business cards. These websites will be more of a one-stop-shop for how to locate you and your work on various other sites– your blog and your social media hangouts.

Main Idea: One page layouts will be more about personal profiles and less corporate.

6. Huge Images

A close relative to the oversized logo/ header, the huge image does much the same thing. It creates an visual impact that the visitor won’t soon forget. Unlike the oversized header from above, huge images are not part of the site’s branding. Instead, these images draw the visitor into your site, if not for their content then for their humongous size. In 2010, web designers will find themselves more comfortable using these big statements in their design to convey the site’s tone.

Main Idea: Huge images will be used to invite visitors in.

7. Change of Perspective

As we’ve discussed before, the desktop perspective has been done to death. 2010 will see a definite change in perspective to a more realistic view. There may also be a move toward side-shot aerial.

Main Idea: 2010 will play around with different perspectives.


8. Interactive/ Intuitive Design

Flash has seen better days. There was a time when you couldn’t visit a website without running into an annoying Flash interface. These days Flash is a lot more relaxed and much more professional. Although some designers prefer jQuery for forms and popups, Flash still has its place in design, especially when done subtly. Flash still has no equal to its interactivity. In 2010, web designers will move toward the more redeeming elements of Flash. Because the average visitor is more web savvy these days, designers will also create sites that are slightly more intuitive than in the past.

Main Idea: Interactive design will make a come-back.

9. Modal Boxes

Modal boxes are a trend that’s picking up steam and will be virtually everywhere in 2010. A modal box is like the popup’s more sophisticated older brother– it’s smooth, good looking and popular. Modal boxes are so easy to design and easy to use, making them the perfect solution for any designer concerned with usability.

Main Idea: Modal boxes will continue to pop up in 2010 designs.

10. Minimalism

Forget the old school minimal websites. Websites of 2010 will continue to feature lots of white space but with bold typology and surprising color schemes. Not all minimal websites will agree with the notion of black and white simplicity. Although minimalism is by nature muted, it will also showcase fresh colors. Minimalism isn’t cold, it’s warm and too the point.

Main Idea: Minimalism will venture into typology.

11. Oversized Footer

Oversized footers may be everywhere already, but 2010 will find them even more exaggerated. The footers of tomorrow will be less of an after-thought and more of an integral part of the design. Look for footers that feature contain random information, such as feed updates from various social media, daily polls, and Flickr feeds.

Main Idea: Oversized Footers will feature less important, but more personal information.


12. Retro

Retro designs are here to stay. Although a lot of the design community admires retro web design, it can be difficult to fully embrace this style without coming across “undone.” The key to retro designs is to be inspired by its tone and underlying playfulness. In 2010, retro design will be expanded as designers find new ways to honor vintage art.

Main Idea: Retro is new.

13. Intro Boxes

“Hi, my name is…” will find an even bigger stage in 2010 as designers recognize the beautiful simplicity of introducing yourself to your visitor. If you’re struggling with making a creative “About” page, the intro box will be your best bet. It forces you to condense who you are into a relatively small about of space. In 2010, intro boxes will push its own boundaries. Instead of the boring hello, designers will find new pick-up lines. And, instead of the left-flanked intro block, 2010 will see boxes in unusual placement, perhaps even in the middle of a page.

Main Idea: New ways to say “hello.”

14. Magazine Layouts

As more and more people migrate from the comforts of traditional press to online infotainment, designers are challenged to welcome them in with an easy transition. There is a move toward the magazine layout, where information is carefully organized on a single home page, giving the visitor an opportunity to explore as interested. The familiar layout will appeal to appeal to anyone who’s ever read a magazine or newspaper, but it will also be easier to use– no flipping pages! In 2010, magazine layout will become very huge for blogs in particular.

Main Idea: Magazine layouts will be used for infotainment sites.

About the Author

Go MediaJacqueline is an artist and a writer who spends an inordinate amount of time playing Super Nintendo and watching Star Trek. You can find out more about Jacqueline on her website, and follow her updates on Twitter.

How to Get Found

By: Guy Kawasaki

Brian Halligan is the founder and CEO of HubSpot, an Internet marketing software company that helps small and medium-sized businesses get found on the Internet and converts website visitors into leads and customers. He is also the author of Inbound Marketing: Get Found In Google, Blogs, and Social Media.

It used to be that you could efficiently grow your businesses by interrupting potential customers with outbound marketing methods like cold calls, email spam, and advertising. Today people and businesses are tired of being the targets of so much outbound marketing and they’re getting better and better in blocking it out.

At the same time, people and businesses have fundamentally changed the way they shop and learn, turning more and more to Google, social media sites and blogs to find what they want. Inbound marketing helps companies take advantage of these shifts by helping them get found by customers in the natural way in which they shop and learn. The following are Brian’s five steps to help you get “get found.”

  1. Be remarkable. Ten years ago you needed to spend gobs of money on PR and advertising to spread the word about your idea. Today the friction that marketing must overcome is very low for remarkable ideas such that they can spread on their own. Unremarkable ideas languish unfound regardless of how much PR and advertising you do. So make sure you have a unique, remarkable offering as it will spread like wildfire on the Internet if it’s truly different.
  2. Create content. Once you have your remarkable product or service, start creating lots of content about it—including blog articles, videos, podcasts, and tweets. Remarkable content about your remarkable product gets hyperlinked from other websites. Those links send you traffic, and they also tell Google that you should be higher in the rankings.
  3. Optimize content. Before publishing your content, you need to “optimize” it for Google and for the people on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc who will spread it. For Google, you should include some of your “keywords” in the title of your content piece so it will be easier for Google to find it. For readers, you should make your titles as irresistible as possible. A good model for this is this blog that uses titles like “The Art of Schmoozing,” “MBA In A Page,” and “The Top 10 Lies of Venture Capitalists.”
  4. Promote content. Once you have a remarkable piece of content that is optimized, start spreading it. Post it on your blog, email it to your newsletter subscribers, tweet it, update your Facebook fan page and LinkedIn profile with it. If the content is remarkable, others will spread it for you. As that content spreads, you will have more people follow you or subscribe to you, so that the next piece of content you publish will have a wider audience in the future.
  5. Measure results. You need to measure your results for each channel. For example, you should compare your results for Google organic branded search, Google organic non-branded search, Google paid, blog, email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn group, and tradeshow campaigns to each other. For each campaign, you need to track visitors, leads, opportunities, and customers over time. Then double down on the campaigns that are working and kill the ones that aren’t.

The fundamental way in which humans shop and learn has changed dramatically the last five years because of the increased power of word-of-mouth and search. Therefore, you need to change the way you market your products to match the way people learn and find out about them.

Getting Your Blog Noticed

By: Matthew Lyle

It’s tough to make a blog. You can write all the great content you want, but if nobody sees it then what’s the point? Luckily there are a few things you can do to help make sure people become readers of your blog.

1. Trackbacks

Not all blogs allow these, but trackbacks are comments that are automatically sent to a blog when it’s been referenced. If you’re talking about something, and somebody else has written about it, reference it! Either directly in the post or at the end put a “Further Reading” section and put links there. This will not only get you a (most likely nofollow) link out in the blogosphere, but there’s a chance the owner of the blog you referenced will check the site out.

2. Social Networking

This topic has been done to death, but make sure you’re doing it. Especially Twitter. It’s “hawt” as hell right now. Also make sure that you’re reading other blogs and being active in the blogging community by leaving comments etc.

3. Social Bookmarking

Putting your links up on social bookmarking sites can get your website out there in the internet world, and if you get lucky, get you massive amounts of traffic. Don’t count on that, but it doesn’t hurt to try. Add a plugin like Sociable and it will make it easier for you to rise the ranks at these social bookmarking sites.

Some popular social bookmarking sites:
Digg
Stumble Upon
del.icio.us
Reddit
Technorati

4. Search Engine Optimization

Ok, it’s almost 2010 now, and if you’re NOT doing heavy SEO then you need to start over with your internet exploits. There’s no reason not to make effective headlines, have keyword rich posts, and get backlinks. I’m not going to go into SEO because that’s a whole blog on it’s own, but make sure you’re aware.

Some SEO tutorials:
Search Engine Optimization 101
8 tips to enhance your WordPress blog SEO

Some SEO forums:
Digital Point SEO forum
Wicked Fire traffic & content forum
Warrior Adsense/PPC/SEO forum

5. Link Exchanges

Not as popular as they once were, but participating in a link exchange can have some definite benefits. This isn’t just limited to Google Juice either; you’d be surprised at how many clicks I have gotten just from having a website listed in the Blogroll section of some sites. Just email all the websites you would like to exchange links with. You’ll be more successful with smaller sites, but don’t be afraid of emailing some bigger ones. The worst that can happen is they say no and you’re where you are now.

Secret Tip #6: Write! I can’t say this enough: The more content you have, the more people will talk about it. Keep writing.

35 (Really) Incredible FREE Icon Sets

http://www.smashingmagazine.com

When it comes to icons, web designers and graphic artists have an excellent opportunity to showcase their craft, prove their experience and explore their creativity. A sweet, nice icon set is a perfect showcase of designer’s work and a powerful instrument to build up your reputation online.

In fact, designers make use of it, creating absolutely amazing icon sets and offering them for free download. The result: hundreds and hundreds of sets available almost everywhere, usually not that well executed and often duplicated from other sets. However, there are indeed free high-quality icon sets. And this post is supposed to prove exactly that.

Below we present 35 incredible free icon sets which you can use for your web designs or your desktop to spice up your posts with some nice illustrations or enrich your desktop with outstanding dock icons. Some of the listed icons can be used in web designs, some of them are supposed to be primarily for desktop. So hopefully everybody will find something useful.

You might want to take a look at the following articles we’ve presented earlier:

Please notice: not all listed freebies can be used for commercial projects, however you can use all of them in your private projects of for you personal purposes. Please read the disclaimers carefully before using the icons – they’re changing from time to time.

Free Icons For Your Web Designs

Bagg & Box Telecharger Icon Pack
70 high-quality free icons released under a Creative Commons license. You can use them as illustrations for your posts or as buttons on your weblog.

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Mammoth Icons
4 freeware icons inspired by prehistoric Mammoths. They might fit perfectly to spice up your blog with some pretty funny character.

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Dino Icons
6 freeware icons of cute dinosaurs and cavemen.

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Cemagraphics Icons
Includes .png and .ico in sizes 512px, 256px, 128px, 64px and 32px.

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Wifun Icons
Website navigation icons.

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City Icons
The City icon pack contains 16 high quality (256×256 pixels) icons; PNG and ICO formats. This package includes: Hollywood Ticket icon, Umbrella icon, Hot Dog Car icon, Mail icon, Bench icon and more.

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Irish Icon Pack
26 Irish icons which you can use to brighten up your blog with some unique and beautiful icons.

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Simpsons Mail Icons
The Simpsons: 7 512 × 512px .png and .ico icons.

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Free Web Applications Icon Set
There are 20 icons designed specially for web applications (e.g. Charts, Profile, Search, Add, Delete, Email, Print, Warning and etc…). Icons come in 3 sizes; 48×48 px, 32×32 px, and 24×24 px. All of them are in PNG format with transparent background. Web Application Icons Set is completely Free for both personal and commercial projects in any way you like.

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Knob Buttons Toolbar Icons
These are 39 icons in PNG, ICNS, TIFF and ICO formats, Mac and Windows compatible, 32×32 pixels dimensions only. You are free to use these icons on your software application or website.

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Monofactor Free Vector Icon Set
The first part of the set contains 25 scalable Illustrator format icons. You can open the .ai file with any version of Illustrator above 8.0. With earlier versions, you might loose some of the effects on the icons.

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Polaroid Icon
512×512px .PNG.

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TV Icon
Perfect for an occasional blog post related to TV.

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Apple Mail Icons

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Sticky Pack
38 icons, 128×128, png, psd.

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Feedicons 2
33 impressive RSS-feed icons. Released under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works.

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Users Icon Set
11 user icons with functions like add, chat, edit, offline, remove, send, upload, user, user group, video chat, voice chat.

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RSS-icons
9 icons.

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PI Diagona Pack
400 (200+200) icons are included in PNG format.

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Free Icons For Your Desktop & Dock Icons

Niome Icon Pack
This pack contains 90 high quality (256×256 pixels) icons; PNG and ICO formats. This package includes: Disc Icons, File Icons, Folder Icons, Hardware Icons, Network Icons, Other Icons, Start Menu Icons, Symbol Icons and more.

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iVista Icon Pack 2
This pack 2 contains 92 (256×256 pixels) icons; PNG and ICO formats. This package includes: Alarm Icons, CDs & DVDs Icons, Devices Icons, Files Icons, Folder Icons, Network Icons, Other Icons, Start Menu Icons and more.

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Flat Panel Monitor Icon
128px desktop & application icon. Don’t forget to check out the PDP Panel Icon.

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Green Icon set
9 icons.

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Onibari + Onibari Light Icon Packs
Two sets of desktop icons released under a Creative Commons license. More icons.

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iMac Icon
The package includes both PNG & ICO format.

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Vista Aero Pack
135 full sized Windows Vista icons, in large .png formats for free. Our 256×256 PNG images rival most sites that give you only small ICO files that can not be used for other things than icons.

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Simplistica
The set includes useful application and web icons which come in the sizes 16×16px, 32×32px, 48×48px and 128×128px and 32-bit transparency PNG file format. PSD’s are included as well.

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Simplexity File Icons
Includes 120 different file extension icons in both png and icon format (31mb). All major file extensions are included.

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Black Pearl
39 black pearl file pngs, containing almost all popular file formats. All pngs in 256 × 256px. Not for commercial use.

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Adobe Work Folders
.PNG format and vary in ranges from 256, 128, 96, 64, 32 & 16 pixels, .ICO (win) format and vary in ranges from 256, 128, 96, 64, 32 & 16 pixels, al in 32 & 24 bit color, .ICNS (mac) format and vary in ranges from 128, 96, 64, 32 & 16 pixels in 24 bit color (*.icl format library included for Windows)

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HP Dock Icon Set
1024px, 512px, 256px. All file types are .PNG.

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HOW TO: Win Friends and Twinfluence People

December 19th, 2008 | by Mark Drapeau

In the last year or so, microsharing service Twitter (Twitter) has grown by leaps and bounds, in terms of both popularity and usefulness. Regardless of the precise companies or services that become the most popular in the future, forming and utilizing decentralized social networks through microsharing is most likely here to stay, because it is fun and useful.

But the lack of structure, bounty of third party applications, and global sources of expert advice can also be daunting to newbies. So, for those who are new to Twitter, here are 10 things I’ve learned about winning friends and twinfluencing people:


Win Friends


1. Be unique, but be yourself

Just like in everyday life, if you want people to notice you, somehow you’ve got to stand out in the crowd. Twitter is a complicated and growing mess of feeds and it’s difficult for people to find each other. However, always stay true to who you really are – don’t “peacock” just for the sake of attracting people to bizarre behavior. Marina Orlova uses her brains, beauty, and natural charm to teach people about history and linguistics in a really fun way. Broaden your horizons, but don’t fake it.

2. Participate in conversation

Twitter is inherently a conversation. By using search tools, reading blogs, etc., find people who are talking about things you’re interested in, and join the conversation in a respectful and hopefully unique way. Tireless blogger and new media business consultant Chris Brogan is a great example of this. Find something good to add to the conversation – or stay quiet; don’t just be a nag, a yes-man, or a me-too person.

3. Provide value to a community

walt

People get on my radar when they selflessly and repeatedly add value to a community of readers. Some people are funny, some provide free services, some give out advice. Music enthusiast and online guitar instructor Walt Ribeiro provides awesome value to his online community, and has turned his talents into a tiny empire of popularity. People like this slowly turn into rock stars.

4. Attract loyal followers

There are all kinds of ways to ‘game the system’ and attract followers, like you-follow-me-I-follow-you and following bots that auto-follow and then unfollowing them. But what does having 8,000 followers mean when they don’t know you or care about you? By making solid connectons over the years, Peter Shankman has built a loyal following of “hacks and flacks” who can be mobilized at anytime through his “Help a Reporter Out” (HARO) network. By participating in conversations and adding value you will accumulate followers that will help you when you need it.

5. Mix microsharing with other outlets

You can’t just Twitter; it’s too one-dimensional. Mix it up with whatever you like doing, whether that’s blogging about tech, short videos of you pimping your hot rod, taking nature photography, or attending black-tie galas and appearing in magazines.

Through running a family business, producing online video shows, and headlining social media conferences, wine expert Gary Vaynerchuk “brings thunder” to everything he does. Doing and cross-referencing different activities online creates feedback loops that increase viewers and can get people talking about you and your activities when you’re not there to participate yourself.


Twinfluence People


6. Find the influencers:

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It’s easy to find out who the popular and influential people are on Twitter – they’re giving keynotes at events, they’re at the top of the TwitterGrader and Twitterholic and other lists, and mainly, people talk about them. Self-styled geek blogger Robert Scoble is an influencer – the “Scoble Effect” can literally crash new startup websites with a rush of traffic. Learn who influencers are, what they do, and why people revere them. Imitate some of their behaviors when relevant, while still being yourself.

7. Become an authority

It’s nice to be good at something. It’s better to make yourself invaluable. If your tweets disappeared, would anyone notice? If you make yourself an authority on some topic being discussed in the Twitterverse, people will seek you out to be in the conversation – and that is evidence of influence. I can’t name many information technology or social software analysts, but I know Jeremiah Owyang – through his listening, writing, and conversation – he has made himself an invaluable part of the Twitter community. Find your niche and own it.

8. Be creative

Invent a contest. Conduct a poll. Document an exciting trip. Wear funny scarves on a YouTube (YouTube) channel. The innovative Sarah Evans founded both the popular Top 50 Tweeples contest and the frequent #journchat discussions that have bridged the gap between traditional media, bloggers, and public relations professionals. Surprise people with new ideas – anything novel that builds community, increases participation, and allows people to have fun is a winner. Don’t be boring.

9. Reward with shout-outs

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When you see someone doing something awesome, give them a high-quality shoutout. But be stingy and make it count. Here’s a shout-out that I gave to Army public affairs guru Lindy Kyzer for the great tweets she was sending from a conference she was attending. Everyone loves hearing that they’re doing something awesome – and they also remember who thought that in the first place. Put a virtual smile on someone’s face.

10. Always have fun

People use social media for many reasons, some more serious than others. But no one is immune from enjoying themselves. If all you do is post links to your latest influential blog, or link to current news stories you’re reading, you may be adding value, but you may also be boring everyone who follows you. Toss in an unexpected joke, complain about your dog, announce your engagement. Colleen Graffy, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, has a serious job – but that doesn’t stop her from showing her funny side. If you are enjoying yourself it will rub off on others.


The Bottom Line


There aren’t any secrets. You get out what you put in. Work hard, add value, and don’t rest on your laurels. Note what’s happening in the news, and in life. Always evolve; adapt to your environment. Embrace trial-and-error and a spirit of lethal generosity. Take risks. Be surprising. Be awesome.

10 Twitter Tools to Organize Your Tweeps

June 9th, 2009 | by Josh Catone

As Twitter surges toward an estimated 12 million registered users by year’s end (though some new stats may disagree), some of us are starting to deal with what we recently dubbed “followholism.” You’ve followed so many people, it’s hard to keep up, and it’s probably time to do a little housekeeping. But where do you begin? Twitter (Twitter)’s own tools for managing followers are subpar. It’s nearly impossible to figure out who among your followers are following you back, and the interface for paging through followers is clumsy and difficult to use. Fortunately, Twitter’s API has given rise to a vast universe of amazing third party apps. So we’ve assembled a toolkit below of 10 services that can help you take control of Twitter and organize your followers. If you know any other tools that would be helpful for organizing tweeps, add them in the comments.

Find Out Who You’re Following

twittergrader

When I first joined Twitter, I started following people right out of the gate in order to get some utility out of the site — after all, the only way to join the conversation is to start following it. After I got used to Twitter, though, I had the urge to clean up my follow list. Eventually, I found that some of the people I had initially followed as a way to get into the community weren’t necessarily people that I was interested in continuing to follow. Here are some tools to help you investigate your tweeps and make an informed decision about whether to keep following them.

1. Twitter Grader – Using a detailed 5 piece algorithm, Twitter Grader assigns every users you run through its system a grade from 1-100. Using this tool you can investigate how engaged the people you’re following are and that can help you decide if you want to keep following them.

2. Twinfluence – Twinfluence is a scientific approach to measuring the influence of Twitter users. It’s another set of metrics you can use to help you figure out who you want to follow.

3. Tweetcloud – One of the most important factors when deciding whether you want to follow a Twitter user is what sort of content they tweet about. If someone tweets mostly about topics you don’t care about, they might not be the best person for you to follow. Tweetcloud creates a tag cloud of a person’s tweets to give you a bird’s eye view of the type of things they tweet about.


Find Your Friends


twitterkarma

Not all relationships on Twitter are equal. Unlike many social networks, Twitter allows you to follow (most) people without their permission. There might be a bunch of people who are following you that you aren’t following back, and likewise there are probably some people you’re following who aren’t reciprocating. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — if their content is good, then you shouldn’t worry about whether they follow you back. But knowing who your friends are is helpful when you’re trying to organize your Twitter follows.

4. Twitter Karma – Twitter Karma is a great app that lets you sort through all of your follows and see who’s not following you in return, who you have a mutual follow/follow-back relationship with, and who is following you that you’re not following back.

5. Friend or Follow – Friend or Follow does essentially the same thing as Twitter Karma, helping you figure out who your friends, follows, and fans are on Twitter. The difference is in the presentation, and it might be a little easier to use for those with a large number of follows or followers.

6. Qwitter – Once you’ve done your initial cleaning, Qwitter is a nice app that will update you via email whenever someone stops following you. It will even let you know what you tweeted that caused them to stop following you, which could be useful (if you lose five followers every time you tweet about your cat, for example, that might be a hint to stop talking so much about your cat if you want to retain followers).

UPDATE: We’ve had some reports that Qwitter hasn’t been as reliable lately as it had been in the past. An alternative service that also notifies you when you lose a follower is Twitterless. If you really want to keep on top of when your followers jump ship, it might be a good idea to sign up for both services to make sure you have all your bases covered.


Get Rid of Inactives


nestunclutterer

According to a recent study, 80% of Twitter users have less than 10 total tweets. That might not be a bad thing — some people might join Twitter specifically to follow others and track their updates. But inactive users might also not be the best people for you to follow. Here are two tools that can help you weed out the inactives.

7. Nest.Unclutterer – Nest.Unclutterer will automatically block Twitter users who are following more than a certain number of people or who have been inactive for a certain number of days. You can specify those thresholds and white list certain tweeps so that they are exempt from the cleaning. Nest.Unclutterer is actually less about who you’re following, and more about making sure people following you are actually friends you want to be associated with.

8. Twitoria – Twitoria scans through your Twitter account and finds anyone who has been inactive for the past week, two weeks, month, two months, six months, or year.


Manage it All


tweetsum

Now that you’ve cleaned up your Twitter follow list, you’ll want to keep on top of things from here on out. Here are two apps that will help you better manage new follows and followers.

9. TweetSum – TweetSum digests all your new followers, rates them using what they call the DBI (”Douche Bag Index”), a number that supposedly weeds out Twitter users likely to be annoying, and then lets you easily follow them back or categorize them as tweeps you don’t want to follow. You can see a list of recent tweets for each new follower as well, which is helpful.

10. Tweepler – Tweepler is a new follower management application that lets you make quick, one click decisions about whether to follow people back or drop them into an ignore pile (out of sight, out of mind). In addition to being able to view recent tweets, Tweepler gives helpful stats about new followers, such as average tweets per day.

Social Media. It’s Time for Ad Agencies to Be Creative

By: Michael Gass (FUEL LINES)

www.fuelingnewbusiness.com

As ad agencies, we don’t need to apply old media applications to the most exciting new medium to emerge in decades. The real opportunity is for us to do something as new as the medium itself. The art isn’t in what social media does, it’s in what we do with it. What will it be? 

I was recently introduced to Edward Boches through Twitter. He sent me a nice complimentary message which mentioned that he was with the Mullen agency.

I had gone up against Mullen on a number of occasions for new business pitches so I checked out his Twitter profile. I was impressed to learn Edward is the Chief Creative Officer for Mullen (There aren’t a lot of agency creative directors that I’m aware of who understand or participate in social media).

From his profile I discovered the link to his blog “creativity_unbound.” Reading through his posts I was very impressed by his understanding and passion for social media. Then I came across a post that he had written, “Twitter. It’s time for brands and agencies to get more inventive.”  

My first impression after reading his post. Here is a creative director who get’s it. Who not only has a good understanding of Twitter but also social media.  Edward realizes that brands and agencies have been slow to get on the bandwagon but I get a sense of his excitement knowing what is going to happen when more agencies “get it” and we allow our creative juices to flow for how social media can be used

A few excerpts from Edwards post:

While there are plenty of brands already using Twitter – GM, Comcast, JetBlue, Dell, and Starbucksto name a few– many of them are simply applying old media applications to one of the most exciting new mediums to emerge in decades.”

“Sure you can do all the things you did in other media on Twitter … the real opportunity is to do something as new as the medium itself.”

“Nearly 2500 brands have taken the initiative to tweet and connect. But as with any technology the art isn’t in what Twitter does, it’s in what you do with it. What will it be?”

My second impression. I’m not sure Edward knows how brilliant his post is from a new business perspective. Hopefully you’ll “get it” when you read it. Let’s just say if I were LowesBarnes and Noble or UnderArmor I would make contact with Edward ASAP!

If they are social savvy they would be monitoring what is being said about their brands, have already read his post and made contact.

40 Ways to Take Your Ad Agency’s Blog to the Next Level

By: Michael Gass

 

trajectory1

 

As important as it was for your ad agency to have a website, it is now equally important that your agency have a blog. A blog is the gateway to your agency.

Many agencies have a blog to be able to say, “yes, we have an agency blog.” But their blog’s content  is all over the place. No focus, no target, no purpose and therefore no traffic.

Here are 40 ways to help take your agency’s blog to the next level:

  1. Make your target audience crystal clear. 
  2. Build a community that keeps coming back for helpful, relevant content.
  3. Consistently deliver original content.
  4. Be personal and conversational in your tone. This isn’t an academic exercise.
  5. Post consistently but don’t post just to post. Make sure your material is worth the read.
  6. Asks questions, enlist feedback. You’ll build a loyal audience if they can contribute.
  7. Get your own unique URL. This is critical if you are on a site such as WordPress.com, Typepad or Blogger and you decided to change platforms.
  8. Have a clean layout that highlights your content, not a bunch of sidebar widgets.
  9. Highlight your best posts based upon your blog’s analytics, with a Best Of or Most Popular Posts page.
  10. Have a “cornerstone” post that is a summation of your blogs purpose, your point of differentiation, your stake in the sand.
  11. Start out with WordPress.com, an easy platform to upgrade from without dependency upon someone from your IT department and allows you to concentrate on the most important part of your blog, the writing.
  12. Dominate a few key words that your target audience will most likely use to find you. 
  13. Your blog’s design and layout should be configured for SEO.
  14. Get in the habit of checking your blogs analytics frequently. Keep it simple, but know at least daily the number of unique visitors, page views, top posts, how people got to your blog, search terms and incoming links. 
  15. Provide links to and from your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.
  16. Include your blog address on your business cards as well as your email signature. 
  17. Allow your blog to become the “gateway” to your agency.
  18. Become the face of your agency. We are in a relationship business. Your blog should be your central platform for online engagement with your prospective client audience. People want to work with people they know, like and trust.
  19. You don’t have to be naked but be transparent. 
  20. Repurpose your blogs content using Twitter and Twitter tools such as Tweetlater.
  21. At the bottom of a post provide “Additional articles that may be of interest” and have a bullet pointed list of relevant articles as a convenience to your audience.
  22. State the purpose of your blog in the header. Don’t force people to have to dig to find out what your blog is about because most often times they wont!
  23. Don’t sell! The moment you start to sell on your blog is when you will most likely lose your audience.
  24. Show that you have a genuine compassion for your audience and a willingness to help with their marketing challenges and obstacles by “giving away your thinking.” 
  25. Always lead with “the nugget, the takeaway” of the post. Use an inverted pyramid newspaper style of writing.
  26. Identify who your audience is in your post titles. This is especially helpful when you repurpose your content on Twitter and an important part of SEO for your blog.
  27. Always take the time to link when writing about another person, company post or website. 
  28. People reading differently online so write for “scan-ability.” 
  29. Have a disciplined, organized, strategic approach to your online reading by using an RSS Reader. I recommend using Google Reader. Stay committed to it until you get through the awkward stage.
  30. If you are using WordPress.com, in the Tool Section of your Dashboard add “PressThis” button to your browser bar. It will simplify adding new material to a draft that you can later turn into a posts.
  31. If you are referencing resource material that isn’t specific to your target audience, in your intro paragraph “bridge the gap” so that they understand how it is relevant to them.
  32. Take time to develop your post titles. Great titles will generate traffic.
  33. Mix up your blog with occasional videos, podcast interviews, write something more personal that your audience might not know about you.
  34. Include search tool at the top of your blogs side bar to make it easier for your audience to find content.
  35. Be sure and list your blog site on Google, Yahoo and Technorati.
  36. Include your blog feed in your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.
  37. Make it easy for people to contact you. 
  38. Encourage dialogue, feedback and engage your with audience. Allow for differing points of view. Remember to, “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
  39. Comment on the well known blogs that your prospective audience are reading. This will help generate interests and traffic back to your blog.
  40. Make sure your blog’s URL is on all of your other social platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

 

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