Twitter is a news junkie’s drug. I can’t stop. All the headlines (with attached articles) are in a convenient, easy to read, portable and instant format – how can a girl resist?

I am able to follow all my favorite media outlets, PR, photography and journalism news all in one place. Twitter allows a platform for just about anything to be shared from articles, pictures, videos to inappropriate photographs of a congressman’s private areas. Oh Anthony Weiner, you make us laugh.

I would like to again point out that with new opportunities come new challenges. The freedom of Twitter allows people to share their thoughts and also embarrass themselves. We saw this with the Casey Anthony verdict last week when Kim Kardashian tweeted, “WHAT!!!!???!!!! CASEY ANTHONY FOUND NOT GUILTY!!!! I am speechless!!!” The irony behind these comments is her father was a major part of the defense team that helped get O.J. Simpson a questionable not guilty verdict as well.

Read an interesting article about the Casey Anthony verdict social media uproar, “Social networks rage over Anthony verdict,” by Doug Gross, http://edition.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/07/05/casey.anthony.web.reaction/.

One business, the Entenmann’s baked-goods company used the social media attention of the verdict to get an brand message out there by tweeting, “”Who’s #notguilty about eating all the tasty treats they want?” According to the article posted above, this comment by the baked-goods company was found insensitive and the company quickly removed the post.

Twitter has also become an instant news source for the recent flooding that has hit the plains this summer. Up-to-date news on the floods in Minot, ND can be found on Twitter with the hashtags #Minot and #MinotFlood. The same is true for Nebraska, my university has a Twitter account @UNLFlood to keep people informed on the current flood situation.

Read more about social media being used during disasters like the flooding in Minot, http://jnlpr.blogspot.com/2011/06/minotflood.html.

Twitter has swept the globe. From uprising in the Middle East and Northern Africa to believe it or not even toll booths are now on Twitter, check it out, http://twitter.com/#!/TollBooth2.

 

 

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Got YouTube?

Baseball was the American pastime – now I would go as far to say as YouTube is the new American pastime. I’m sure baseball fans would exile me for such blasphemous remarks but YouTube’s numbers speak for themselves.

In the spirit of this chapter I decided to dig of some of my favorite YouTube videos that are just great. They are worth it trust me: “Weather Man Anxiety Fail Full Version,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yt_IP93B2QE (Oh boy), “Alexander Marcus – Hawaii Toast Song,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHHAR1S_eKA (this video has almost 4 million views – pure genius).

Businesses should build their social media portfolio by taking advantage of YouTube’s popularity and start making videos. Companies should analyze what audience they want to communicate with, and then evaluate what kind of videos would attract this market. Remember that it’s all about building up your companies Google Juice and getting you message to your audience.

Imagine the costs companies  would pay for a traditional television commercial spot that would viewed by millions. Nine million is the rumored amount Chrysler spent on their 2011 Super bowl ad featuring Eminem, http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2011/02/super-bowl-ad-tracker-chrysler-eminem-proclaim-detroit-is-still-alive.html. Yes, they paid the 9 million for the record breaking 2 minute ad spot but the true return of investment was the over 12 million views on the commercial’s YouTube video after only 5 months. Was their investment worth it? I think yes. When you are a powerhouse company like Chrysler and have that kind of money to spend on advertising you might as well get your money’s worth.

For smaller companies it isn’t necessary to spend that kind of money. Start out small with creative YouTube videos and see where it takes you. Drive traffic to your company’s YouTube channel by promoting it on you other social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, your blog, Google+, podcasts, everywhere you have Google Juice.

Make sure to use tags that your customers would use to search for on Google or YouTube – this will improve you return of investment.

The more invigorating an experience the more humans understand and retain the information presented to them. This fact is leading to an increasing popularity in video podcasts or vlogs.

This idea was reiterated in The Social Media Bible when the author said, “When two humans want to express an idea, thought, or concept, 55 percent of the communication comes from body language, 38 percent from voice, and only a mere 7 percent from the words.”

Adding video to podcasts makes them more engaging and increases the chances of viewers staying with the podcast to the end. The book points out an inspiring example of using vlogs as a marketing tool with “Will it Blend?” Here’s one of my favorite episodes of “Will it Blend?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29qOT4JozSw&feature=relmfu.

The “Will it Blend?” videos have gotten millions of views on YouTube. Within 24 hours of the videos going viral the blenders sold out of stock. This was basically free advertising for the blender company (besides the items destroyed in the blender).

Another vlog campaign I thought was very affective was the “Swagger Wagon” videos for the Toyota Sienna on YouTube. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/toyotaUSA/?x=1sienna. The Toyota’s YouTube video has close to 10 million views in a little over a year.

Rather than paying for traditional 30 second advertising spots companies can, with creativity, obtain just as many views without the ridiculous price tag.

The Social Media Bible says that in 2010, YouTube users were uploading 13 hours of video every minute and more than 1 billion video downloads per day. Like all social media statistic, I am sure these numbers are outdated and have probably doubled in the last year.

This chapter also highlights the fact that as Americans our government does not currently censor online videos (except for child pornography). The FCC is responsible for monitoring the internet, but they have chosen to for the time being to leave it uncensored.

For now vlogging remains uncensored and available to anyone with the technology and talent. Once again I kick myself for mentioning Justin Bieber, but YouTube is responsible for his big break into the business. Now come on if the Biebs can do it, anyone can.

Got iTunes?

iTunes is an audio sharing behemoth. A recent TechCrunch article says there are approximately 225 million iTunes accounts already armed with users’ credit card numbers ready to buy. Read the full article with more Apple statistics, ‘The Best Overlooked Numbers and Subtle Features from WWDC 2011,’ http://techcrunch.com/2011/06/07/wwdc-highlights/.

I should say iTunes is the ultimate sharing behemoth because it is not limited to music and podcasts. They have a library of books (and audio books), a staggering variety of apps, TV shows, movies, podcasts, videos and even college classes. Now that is what I call a one stop shop.

Clearly there is a marketing opportunity within the smorgasbord of opportunities that iTunes presents. For this blog post I will limit the commentary to discussing sharing audio podcasts. Another good place for podcasters to start is at is Podbean (podbean.com).

Of course the philosophy of integrating podcasting into a company would be different for each company depending on what they sell.

A hypothetical business I could see benefitting from podcasting would be a concert venue. After concerts at the venue they could podcast an interview with the band, concert reviews and audio clips from the show. This sort of marketing would set a venue apart from their competition by giving their concert patrons a little something extra.

Put podcasting in your arsenal of social media marketing tools. It is yet another way to build your or your company’s Google Juice. You want to saturate the market with accurate messages that support your brand.

My road rage would be even worse if I didn’t own an iPod. I am rarely in the mood to hear radio morning show chatter and advertisements on my morning commute. Especially when I can just plug-in my iPod Touch and jam out to my favorite tunes – most importantly commercial free.

iPods are not just for music, you download anything from books, TV shows, movies, apps and podcasts. You can download and listen to a podcast about anything you desire. Whether it is keeping up with news in your community, country, world, profession or hobbies, you can find a podcast about it.

I browsed the Podcast section of the iTunes store to evaluate their selection and I was pleasantly surprised. I now have an extensive list of podcasts I need to subscribe to. You can learn to speak a new language or chuckle along with your favorite comedian for free by subscribing to podcasts.

Podcasts are a useful tool companies should utilize to get their message heard. According to a report in The Social Media Bible, 75 percent of journalists prefer rich media, like audio and video podcasts, over print. Another report said that rich media is also a more effective tool for teaching. Depending on the business, companies can use podcasts to communicate with consumers or employees about their products, services message or brand.

Successful podcasts give listeners valuable takeaways and present a strong “What’s in it for me?” An affective podcast shows listeners that you are an expert in your field and create a loyal following. Casey Kasem was the king of sharing obscure trivia with his listeners on his radio show. These helpful tips and facts made him a radio legend, well that and his soothing voice.

Podcast servers like iTunes allow listeners to comment and give feedback to the author. Podcast authors should monitor their listeners’ comments to improve future podcasts and ultimately acquire more followers.

When creating a podcast it is necessary to remember four steps: planning, recording, editing and publishing. Write an introduction and a sign-off. Write out a list of talking points to keep you on track. Now that you have the basics, get started.

Photo sharing has stormed the nation – whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, Flicker or one of the other countless sites that promote sharing photos – people do it. Whether it is a high school girl posting pictures of her prom or proud parents posting photos of their child’s first birthday, photo sharing is the new way people share moments and memories with the people they know.

As a amateur photographer, I know the value of an online photo portfolio. Many photographers start out as entrepreneurs picking up wedding gigs or taking portraits to earn money until they can find a steady job. Photo sharing sites like Flicker, WordPress or Photobucket allow photographers to post their portfolios and resumes online as free advertisement to accelerate their business.

Companies should use photo sharing sites to show the company is reliable, trustworthy and upfront with customers. A company needs to put themselves in the shoes of their consumer and anticipate what the consumer will search for when looking for their product.

Photo sharing is an easy and cost-effective way for your company to gain exposure. The Social Media Bible suggests companies taking photographs of their products, headquarters, customer service installation, tech support, repairs in progress, employees or happy customers. Each company should tailor their photo sharing strategy to fit their company.

The real rise of photo sharing sites came in the wake of the digital camera craze in the late 1990s. It seems like every time there is an advancement in technology it comes with a whole new set of challenges. For instance, the trouble with photo sharing involves privacy and piracy.

Like I mentioned earlier I am a photographer and I refuse to put most of my favorite work on sites like Facebook because a photographer signs the rights away to their photograph the second you put them on Facebook. Many other photo sharing sites are making necessary changes to protect the privacy and ownership of the photographer’s photographs.

One of the keys to a company’s success using photo sharing as a marketing tool is to be interactive with the viewer. The Social Media Bible gave an excellent example of an interactive marketing campaign using a site called Brickfish to launch “Design a Coach Tote.” Not only were consumers able to participate in the competition they were also a part of the decision process by voting on their favorite designs.

I remember the days when Wikipedia was not to be trusted and was considered inevitably inaccurate due to its user generated content. Times have changed; due to monitoring and editing Wikipedia is a go to source for millions of people around the world.

Searching Wikipedia is an immediate response to answering just about any question. The phrase ‘Wikipedia it’ often is the resolution to arguments about obscure trivia in my family.

The word wiki comes from the Hawaiian word for fast or quick. I believe that wikis definitely live up to their name. The Social Media Bible says that,  because of how quickly it gets updated, Wikipedia is not only used as a reference but also as a news source. The author of the book, Lon Safko, also credits the site by saying, “Wikipedia was an invaluable resource for the aggregation of information in this book.”

Of course there are other forms of wikis besides Wikipedia but it’s my favorite. According to the Social Media Bible, corporations like Pixar use a private wiki to store company information and resources from management and training.

In the chance that a user vandalizes a wiki page, editors are able to reset the page back to its originally stored information – to get rid of unwanted editing. For these reasons most wikis require users to be registered before editing an article.

When The Social Media Bible was published in 2010 the site contained 15 million articles and visited by 59,123,362 people. I thought it would be interesting to look up Wikipedia on Wikipedia to get some more recent statistic regarding their size. Currently, Wikipedia has about 19 million articles and 365 million readers. The full Wikipedia article about Wikipedia (wrap your mind around that one): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia.

Companies should Wikipedia themselves (yes, I used Wikipedia as a verb). If nothing comes up on Wikipedia for your company, create a page. If there is already a wiki page for the company, make sure the information is accurate and up-to-date.

The use of wikis is yet another building block to creating a companies social media presence or Google juice.