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Category: theTools

Hip to be Foursquare? Maybe for Some…

Mar/Wed | Category: theTools | 

 

I believe that you always have to give something a shot before you say you don’t like it.  That’s why I recently signed up for Foursquare to test it out.  However, I admit that before I signed up, I had some preconceived thoughts about Foursquare both good and, well, not so good:

1. Great Potential for Business: If you had the means to track who’s checking in at your store all the time and reward them in a consistent manner for doing so, it can inspire brand loyalty and evangelism and keep them coming back for more.  There’s also being able to advertise to those people directly and allow them to become a deeper part of the brand.

2. Annoying Status Updates: I love my friends, honestly I do.  However, I really don’t need to know when they arrive at work, visit Starbucks or are at the local watering hole.  The people among my friends that use it (granted, there aren’t many) check in places all the time and I’m constantly being updated on both Facebook and Twitter about it.  Like I said, I love them but it’s a little annoying.

3.  Potential Security Risks: For individuals it can notify burglars when you’re away from the house or where you’re dropping off your kids.  It can also tell your stalker when you’ll be at the local bar.  (of course, if you’re the stalker then this could be a great tool).  Kbuzz posted a hilarious music video on this today which you can view here.

4.  Fun Game to Play: Some people have fascinating lives and check in at really interesting places that I might want to ask them about.  It might also remind me that I’ve been meaning to see that play or movie or try that new restaurant.  Plus, the whole badge idea could be cool if badges get you something in real life.

 

Preconceived notions taken into account, I created an account, found a few friends and began checking in.  After a few weeks I came to the following conclusions (and, please, feel free to chime in with any of your own thoughts):

1.  Definite Potential for Business: As I’d thought – huge opportunity to get creative with Foursquare if you’re a business, but you’ve got to be in the game and figure it out.  It’s like any other customer loyalty program – find ways to reward those that visit the most and make them into evangelists to help you grow business.  I think it will be great if Foursquare figures out how to add some functionality to the platform to support this.  My guess would be they’re thinking about that already.

2.  Control Status Updates: In creating an account, I discovered that I can choose what I want to share and where so I’m not always updating people with my trips to the grocery store.  I can instead focus on using it to share little gems I find with my network.  You can also add a little commentary – “this place rocks. Totally recommend it.”  That’s pretty cool, but I already use Yelp for recommendations and that works for me.  Bad part?  I realized some of my friends aren’t doing this which made me a little more annoyed.

3.  Security Risks are Real: Definitely something to think about.  However, going back to my last point, you can control your updates, so, like anything, think before you post.

4.  Not for Me: While I can see using Foursquare as a company, and we’ll definitely use it when the Social Media Training Center opens, it’s just not for me personally.  Like Mafia Wars, Farmville and lots of other games, I just don’t have the time or energy.

 

My final thought? While I am not all that interested in it personally, there are plenty of people that will feel differently and more than one million people already do.  As a marketer, it will be interesting to see how Foursquare can integrate people’s “check ins” with the ability for companies to give rewards and perks.  If they figure out how to add that in the platform, then it has some serious potential to become the “airline miles program” of the future and all of those Ryan Bingham types will be quick adopters.

Have you tried it? What do you think?

 

 

What’s in My Purse? Essentials for a Social Media Enthusiast

Jan/Wed | Category: theFunStuff, theTools, theTricks | 

Today Apple announced the iPad – a very cool tablet which has lots of great functionality.  In chatting with people about the launch, I found a lot of discussion about how it was a Kindle killer or a Netbook killer and for me, that’s definitely not true.  I have a handful of gadgets that go EVERYWHERE with me so that at any moment I can connect, engage and share.

So, what’s in the purse of a social media chick that always needs to be prepared?

 

Here’s the list of gadgetry I consider essential:

 

Motorola Droid - phone, camera, navigation system and web good enough for basic connectivity

 

 

 

 

Dell Mini - tiny notebook able to tackle creation of spreadsheets, presentations, and more advanced computing needs…almost as good as my laptop

 

 

Amazon Kindle - for reading books and blogs when I don’t want the interruptions of the web.  Much better than lugging around even one book and easier on the eyes than the computer.

 

 

 

Cannon Elph Camera – great for larger, hi-res photos and even a little video.

 

FlipHD Video Camera – HD video on the go – who could ask for more?

 

 

 

Accessories – wall plug and car charger both with USB adapters (almost all of the devices can be plugged in with this), mini tripod for video and photo (same one fits both), 2 USB cords, 2-3 flash drives (just in case)

 

This little group of goodies plus some lip gloss, my wallet and a few hair ties is just about all I need to get by on a daily basis to be engaging with anyone from anywhere and on any network.  While it doesn’t all fit in a clutch, a nice medium sized purse works perfect.

How about you?  What’s in your social media bag of tricks?

 

BubbleTweet: Twitter-friendly Pop-up Video

Jan/Wed | Category: theTools | 

Tool:  BubbleTweet

Social Network:  Twitter

Best for:  Short video-based tweets

While watching the social action at CES 2010 unfold, we came across a contest by Dolby which they used a short video hosted on BubbleTweet to tell consumers how the contest works.  This is the first time we’ve stumbled upon BubbleTweet but loved the interface and the way it popped up quickly and was much simpler than having to go to a YouTube or Facebook page to view the video.

This tool is a great way to add a personal touch to your tweets.  If you have something that needs some explaining or a short statement to make, you can upload an existing video file or create directly from your webcam.  If you really love the format, BubbleTweet also has a sister product BubbleGuru which allows you to upload videos to add to your website directly.

We’re going to give this service a test run later this week and we’ll post more on our learnings soon.  Have any of you tried this?  If so, what did you think?

 

Tools: Twollo Delivers on Promise to Turbo Charge Twitter Followers

Jan/Mon | Category: theTools | 

Tool:  Twollo

Social Network:  Twitter

Test period:  4 weeks

Grade:  B+

 

Do a simple search for “more twitter followers tool” and up pop more than 31 MILLION his.  There’s litterally an army of applications out there to help you get thousands of followers.  However, as you know, at the Social Method, we are all about a method.  Therefore, some spambot type tool that follows random people and racks up more numbers than the population of Rhode Island isn’t going to work for us.  Or you.

 

After all, it’s about having the RIGHT followers and following the RIGHT people.  People who care about your infomation and people who are important to your company, brand or product.  Enter Twollo.

 

Twollo (pronounced “tee-wallow”) advertises itself as the leading way to automate getting more targeted followers – more followers, keyword based, fully automated.  And…we agree!

 

A few weeks ago we signed up with a basic membership to give it a try for just $5.99/mo.  After signing up, we selected a couple of key words that fit those we were looking to reach.  For us, people talking about “learning social media” “social media training” and others were among the terms we were after.

 

Once you’ve defined these terms you simply set the limit of how many people to follow per day.  We keep ours at 20-30 so we can check each one and ensure they are indeed the right people.  They offer a simple control panel to allow you to see the follows done as well as take a look at those not following you back.  It’s also easy to edit, pause or delete your key words from this home page.  If someone pops up that you want to ensure you don’t follow, you can also add their Twitter handle into the “Do Not Follow” list.

 

The only thing we wish the tool had was the ability to unfollow someone directly from the “Follows Done” list – it’s a bit inconvenient to go back to the front page to do this.  Also, the “Follows Done” list is ordered oldest to most recent meaning you have to scroll through all of them to get to the latest.  The other way would be more convenient.  However, small things in comparison to the usefulness of the tool.

 

For those interested, give it a try with their free trial at Twollo.com.  They also have a tutorial video to help you get started:

 

Let us know what you think and if you’ve found other great tools for increasing your twitter reach.

 

 

SquareSpace: Making it Hip to be Square

Oct/Wed | Category: theTools | 

Despite it’s “Square” name, SquareSpace is anything but!  When we embarked on the adventure of starting the Social Method, we had a few options for creating a site and most of them were basically free as we really wanted to focus on a blog – WordPress, Blogger, TypePad.  However, these choices only offer limited options in terms of customizing unless you can create your own Custom Style Sheet (CSS).  We’re good, but we’re not that good.  So, our options were to suffer with a standard design or pay someone to create one for us.  We’ve got lots of great contacts that could rock the creative on a CSS for the Social Method, but then we heard about SquareSpace.

So we headed on over to SquareSpace.com to check it out and saw this:

 

Squarespace Tour Video from Squarespace on Vimeo.

 

 

Well hello lovah!  We were intrigued and with free 14 day trial, there wasn’t much to lose.  We signed up and began watching their great instructional videos about customizing your page.  Then we picked a starting theme and off we went!  It took some time and a lot of playing with options to get to where we wanted – in fact, we continue to tinker with it all the time. However, each day we discover more facets of the site we love – file sharing and storage capabilities, excellent integration with Google analytics.  The best part?  They have step-by-step instructions to do it all!

 

So, with SquareSpace, for a mere $30 per month and a little elbow grease, you get a brand appropriate, custom website that we think competes with those that are professionally developed for thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.  Yeah, now that is definitely hip.