Micro-vlogging takes a big step forward.

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roboto

I came across an interesting article in today’s NY Times about a video product that could be the next big thing in very tiny, very short video content. The service is robo.to and comes to you via Particle, a San Francisco based think-tank that invents

“massively small, “featureful” products that humbly aim to impact people’s lives in a big way.”

Their latest offering aims to empower individual users to post very short (up to four seconds) videos onto their favorite social media platform, thus enabling tiny video tweets and updates to all your friends. Wanna tell your posse that you just ordered a venti cappuccino? Why not use your video enabled phone or webcam to record and share that foamy milk mustache you’ve got going on? And if you have multiple social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.), you can instantly broadcast that vid to all of them with just one click. As the company says on their site, “write once, publish everywhere”. But the service doesn’t stop there. Today, robo.tv is announcing the release of “TV Mode” which allows users to search videos based on a keyword or #hashtag. For example, if you type in #a in the searchbox in TV Mode, you will see all videos posted that start with #a. You can see how this could be a powerful tool once they get a few million video posts from around the globe.  This kind of short-form video content and distribution is a very simple, very elegant idea that could be used to get a visual snapshot of what is going on in the world of social media. It’s a pretty powerful little tool. One that I hope will catch on.

Content drives content that drives content.

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newtons_cradle

I came across two articles on IKEA this weekend. The Swedish mega-brand is known for their propensity to attach umlauts to furniture names and also for their acumen in advertising and marketing. So is it just serendipity that I came across two related articles on the Swedish home furnishing manufacturer this weekend while perusing the news? Or is it a well-crafted PR maneuver? Or could it be something else entirely? When researching Blog material, I get to spend countless hours perusing news and entertainment stories from traditional sources like magazines, newspapers, press releases and news wires as well as non-traditional outlets like other blogs, micro-blogs and online videos. I’ve also noticed that news articles on specific topics (like IKEA, for example) spike the interest of journalists at the same time. Journalists often reference recent stories and craft their own spin on the news piece. For example, in today’s Los Angeles times there was an IKEA related article referencing how IKEA is able to garner a billion impressions over the last year by keeping in the news. A few days before, I was reading the paper edition (yes, I still read the pulp) of the New York Times and came across an article discussing IKEA’s recent typeface change to their catalog. Today I did a quick search and found similar stories on TIME, NPR , CBS News and ABC news just to name a few. The reason for the flurry of IKEA activity? Often times these stories are coming from the same source like a news wire. Back in the old days, news would  come in on a ticker tape-style machine that newspapers had hooked up in their offices and they would use those stories to fill the pages of their editions, or they would use them as a jumping off point for a new story. Today, you can get the same kind of news experience on any number of newsfeed services with the click of a keyboard mouse. While you may think this creates the same content over and over, it does more than that. In the case of the Los Angeles Times article mentioned above, it comes at the story from a local angle. While the story opens with a reference to the “typeface change” , the LA times gives it a localized stance and they do their own research and interviews to make the story a rich reading experience. You can say one story begets another with a different perspective. I think this is a good thing. People like me come to the LA Times for the local perspective and want to see the world through the lens of an Angelino. While some may argue that news with a perspective is opinion, I would reply that you cannot extract perspective from anything. Even in the history books, we are reading accounts from an individual or a group of people who had the perspective of the event that would later become history. Or we are getting the readers perspective. Having the ability to have multiple points of perspective allows the reader to sift through the content and come up with their own perspective. And so on.

She blogs well. But how does she tweet?

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milt

A new report conducted by Q Interactive suggests that women who are active in social media are turned off by brands and influencers who use the medium to push products/services to them. A report which will be released at ad:tech Chicago today suggests that 75% of 1000 women who were surveyed said they were not influenced by social media when it comes to making a purchase. While social media and micro-bloggin accounts for fewer purchase decisions, the same may not be true for women who are influenced to purchase by blogs. According to a study conducted in May of this year by BlogHer, women are more likely to purchase as a result of a recommendation or customer experience posted on a blog (%85) than on social media (%37). This comes as no surprise as women use blogs more for a source of information and to get recommendations on what to buy whereas they use social networking more as a way to keep in touch with friends and family. But as social media technology becomes more widely accepted, we may see a trend where the lines between social media and blogging start to blur. For now, however, it’s clear that women utilize the mediums for different purposes. For those women who understand and successfully use the mediums as a platform to develop a fan base, they can gain momentum in their power of influence in a salient way. For an interesting look at how some top women bloggers fare by using social media as part of their platform, check out this interesting report released by PR agency Access Communications and twitter analytics company Twitalyzer which suggests that while it may be difficult to achieve “influencer” status in the social media sphere, those who do can solidify their influencer status and create a measureable impact.

Brandcasting. How social networking can increase your brand image. (Part 6 of 7).

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old_billboard

When social networking first came on the scene with sites like Myspace, many people viewed it as technology meant for younger, tech savvy users who want to have a common digital space where they can chat, exchange music, share information and do just like teens do in Europe in their local town squares. This was an ideal solution for towns across America that didn’t have a town square; a digital piazza was the perfect solution. As time went on, it was clear that something more powerful was forming on the horizon. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin have soon become “virtual piazzas” for much broader ranges of users that include adults, professionals and now, businesses. As I have written about in a previous micro blogging post, businesses now have the power to broadcast deals and offers to loyal customers via micro-blogging. Think of how Kmart used “blue light specials” in their stores to create a loyal following of shoppers. Now businesses can do the same without the corny spinning blue light and they can reach far beyond the confines of their brick and mortar store space. But don’t think that just because you are tweeting deals to your audience that the dollars will start rolling in. You have to have a strategy. To get started, Twitter does a nice job of explaining how the power of micro blogging can help businesses of all sizes. For the novice, I have written a post detailing how to get started with Twitter here. The subject of using social networking is a huge one, so we will just scratch the surface by offering up a few tips for the novice micro blogger.

Micro Blogging Tips

1. Keep “˜em coming back for more. Offering incentives and special deals on an ongoing basis will keep your audience engaged and willing to follow your micro blog. Also, give-aways and promotions work well in growing your audience and keeping your loyalists happy.

2.  Manage your online reputation. Because micro blogging is a social medium, anyone can have a voice. That means that you may receive negative feedback from your customers in a public format. Always address negative comments and if you can, look for ways to turn those negative comments around in your favor by offering a solution or a “make-good” for that customer. While many will agree that there is no such thing as bad PR, there is such a thing as a bad brand reputation and anything you can do to snub negativity can help in the long run and may even turn a sour situation into a sweet marketing win.

3. Bond with your fans. Social media allows you to have back and forth conversations with your most loyal customers in a public format. Always invite your fans to have a platform and create a healthy exchange with your brand. Who knows, you may discover your version of Subway Jared, Subway’s spokesperson who was one of its most loyal fans.

Again, we are just scratching the surface here. Micro blogging can be time consuming yet rewarding if you do it right. It’s up to you to do research for the best micro blogging techniques that fits your marketing strategy for your business. For a better handle on micro blogging, I recommend looking to other businesses that are similar to yours, how-to books and online resources like Twitter. Be sure to check back for tomorrow’s post, the final part of a seven part series. As they say in the local piazza, ciao.

Jump on the twitter bandwagon already. Or not.

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flying_guitar

According to a recent poll conducted by Ragan Communications and PollStream only one third of respondents were utilizing micro blogging sites like Twitter to further engage their audience in their brand.  Also, about half of those polled believed that Twitter was a fad and was likely to plateau. Well no doubt. Maybe that’s because Twitter was intended for social media and not to sell people stuff they didn’t know they needed. That’s my take, anyway. Twitter has taken steps to protect themselves from becoming an ad whore by outsourcing ad formats to third party companies that want to use Twitter as a marketing tool. In a recent Adweek article sites like CinemaTweets and ExecTweets integrate branding and social networking via Twitter. The smart thing here is that if these marketing efforts fail, Twitter can easily shed these guys like a bad sunburn in the middle of July. If they are successful at it, guess who will get the credit. Regardless, you can’t blame marketers for being a bit skittish. But people who were intended to use social media (non-advertising budgeting humans) use it successfully. Take  @davecarroll, the twitter guy who had a bad experience flying United Airlines and wrote a little ditty about it and posted a video on Youtube. I bet he doesn’t think Twitter is a fad. In fact, chances are he’ll be using Twitter to announce every United Airlines related song he writes.

You scream. I scream. Social networking screams for”¦Coolhaus.

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tues7_7

Move over Kogi Korean BBQ truck, you’ve had your fifteen minutes of fame. Make way for the Coolhaus ice cream truck now appearing on Twitter. Well, the truth is Kogi and Coolhaus appear to have some sort of kinship as they can be spotted parked very near each other on any given night. And they both use social networking and micro-blogging to alert their hungry fans. Remember when ice cream trucks advertised locally by broadcasting clown music as they drove down the street. You can thank twitter for silencing the clown music. Anyway, Coolhaus offers designer-like ice cream sandwiches that pair perfectly with Korean short rib tacos. You can’t miss the Coolhaus truck; it’s a stainless steel beauty that looks like it had another life as a mailman truck. It’s very stylish, just like their handsome handmade ice cream sandwiches. These frozen masterpieces are just the thing on a hot summer night in LA. Just think of all the napkins Angelinos will need with Koji and Coolhaus cruising their neighborhoods. You know, if I had my druthers, I would start a mobile wet wipe service and trail both trucks. I’m not kidding. Don’t be surprised if you see me driving the official “mobilewetwipes†Prius in a neighborhood near you. And any investors out there who want in, I’m currently taking applications.