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Saturday, February 26, 2011

10 tips for developing a successful blog

Posted by Tina on 20th of December, 2010 at 12:44 to MarketingSEO



Today’s blogosphere counts several millions active blogs offering a great variety of topics and content. The wonderful aspect of a blog creation is that anyone who has a particular hobby, knowledge, passion or a business to promote, can easily do it.

The danger, though, is to start a blog without a specific plan, target group and more importantly knowledge of content creation. Good content is the most important factor of your blog since not only it is the key to attract readers and turn them to loyal followers but also to increase your internet exposure via the Search Engines.

Indeed, despite the fact that each blogger may have his own writing style – and therefore defining what is “good blog content” is subjective since each person has its own personality and needs – there are some basic rules to follow in order to produce successful content and, at the end of the day achieve your blog’s goal: get read and encourage readers to visit back your blog.

With the following blog writing tips and a little practice, you will certainly become an active part of the blogosphere:

1. Define your blog’s identity and target group

The 1st thing to do is to organize your ideas and define a main topic that will determine your blog’s identity, according to your goals.

  • What do I want to communicate about?

  • What is my target group?

  • What type of language should I use to communicate with my target group?

2. Make a timeplan of your postings

No need to rush and start posting if you only have one post idea in mind; a blog needs time and efforts to stay permanently active and help you interact on a regular basis with your readers. Make a realistic timeplan for postings after having defined your main topic, write down ideas for future posts and stick to them. Don’t risk losing your audience because of a lack of communication.

3. Talk to your audience

Having defined your target group, you will need to write in the appropriate tone and style to attract their interest and understanding; imagine having a conversation with your audience and write clearly and simply as if you were talking to them.


4. Give your content a friendly format

Even if you believe your post is original and really interesting, if it comes in a big block of text, no one will take the time to read it; you need to provide the reader with a friendly post format by separating it into distinct and concise paragraphs, preceded by sub-headings, use bullet points lists where needed, illustrate it with images, use bold or italics to point out your key elements and you’ll get your reader’s attention.

5. Use attractive Titles

Once your post is written, take your time to come up with a GOOD title. What is a good title, how will I attract the reader? It should directly inform the reader regarding what your post is about, a sort of “summary” of what he will read. You can read more on how to optimize your titles in the article “7 Tips on how to write optimized webpage titles“.

6. Optimize your article for the Search Engines

Ask yourself which terms are more likely to be used by users, when they search for the particular topic on search engines. Then make sure you create a list of the main keywords and come up with different variations that are likely to be searched. Finally try to incorporate the keywords of your post, in order to increase the possibility to be found in the Search Engines. Note that adding the most important keywords in your Title, H1-6 and in the first few lines of your text is very likely to give you an SEO boost.


7. Update your blog frequently

As mentioned earlier, you need to have determined a time plan in order to frequently update your blog, ideally on a daily-basis. This will not only keep the attention of your readers but also it will help you attract more links and improve your SEO. The more content you produce the more traffic you are likely to get from Search Engines.

8. Set up an RSS feed & use social media buttons

By setting up an RSS Feed and by encouraging your users to subscribe, you will increase your readers and you are more likely to get more returning visitors. Note that most Blogging engines automatically support RSS feeds, so all you need to do is to place their button in a strategic position in order to help readers subscribe.

Additionally Social Media can drive you lots of traffic and they can help you build communicate with your readers. Some social media and bookmarking sites such as Twitter and Delicious are build to help bloggers promote quality content. Make sure you add sharing buttons in your site and try to place them too in a strategic positionto increase the number of shares. Don’t forget that the Social Media Buzz serves as a Ranking signal and thus itaffects your SEO.

9. Write How-to and “Top 10” articles

The How-to guides and the “Top 10” articles usually become very popular on social media networks. People love these articles and they are more likely to read them, share them and bookmark them. Additionally by creating such content you are more to increase your Search Engine traffic since lots of users search for such content regularly.

10. Last but not least: Proof-read

This might be common sense but sometimes we can be so enthusiastic about a new post that we forget to take the time to proofread it! Remember that you may be listed and archived in the Internet along with your grammar, syntax or even informative mistakes!

Don’t forget to be honest and keep a genuine interest about what you share. If you have the patience to keep being an active blogger and creating good content, you will be surprised to see your audience growing and your blog getting the success it deserves.

Images by mashablekaushik

3 Habits of a Successful Business Entrepreneur

3 Habits of a Successful Business Entrepreneur

Posted on by sandiegobiznetworking

The habits of successful business owners are a topic worthy of much discussion. Have you often wondered why some company heads earn significantly more than other successful business chiefs?

In this article, we will discuss 3 habits most highly successful business entrepreneurs employ on a daily basis.

1. Learn your business

One of the key elements present in the character of prosperous business heads is expertise. They are extremely knowledgeable about their business. While they may not do everything themselves, they know exactly what needs to be done in each component of their enterprise. This is essential because your employees will know that they can’t present you with inferior work and expect your satisfaction. If you are a new business entrepreneur, learn from reading books about your industry, going to seminars, and other business owners in your field.

2. Staff your shortcomings

As a small business owner, it is imperative that you staff your weaknesses. It is OK to be weak in certain areas. The danger arises when those weak parts of our business are left alone. These areas must be handled by someone. Employing individuals who are strong where we are not is a great way to deal with our inferiority. It is when we work together as a team that our businesses succeed and we can become a successful business entrepreneur in our own right.

3. Keep track of your marketing to become a successful business entrepreneur

Smart business owners will always know which marketing pieces are producing the best results. Knowing how much money your marketing is producing for your company is crucial. If a specific campaign is unproductive, you must be prepared to replace it or simply stop it entirely. If you are spending more on marketing than you are making in profits, your business will not be around for long.

To sum things up, the habits of small business owners who are successful are very similar. If you imitate the 3 characteristics above, you will begin to develop these character traits in your own life. You can be the next successful business owner in the nation by following the methods of others.

Mark Gwilliam, FCCA, uses his international experience to coach small business owners on how to run successful businesses. He combines his natural enthusiasm for sharing his knowledge with his proven ability to provide practical down-to-earth solutions for his clients. He has written several books and owns several companies which offer small business owners integrated business solutions. He writes several business articles in his weekly newsletters “The Bizness” and “Successful Marketing Strategies”. To read these and to have access to more tools and resources to turbo charge your business, visit his sites at and

Article Source:

Google Targets Content Farms With Major Search Algorithm Tweaks

Michael Arrington

Feb 24, 2011

Google made a substantial revision to its search algorithm today, the company says. And while no one in particular is being called out, it’s clear that the big losers are content farms and related spammy-content producers who have been having an absolute field day on Google over the last couple of years.

11.8% of search queries have been “noticeably” updated, says Google – meaning there have been changes in the top 2-3 results.

Google is also making it clear that they have not used user data from a recent Chrome extension they released which lets users block specific sites in Google results that annoy them.

Google is saying they’ve compared the data they’ve collected from that extension to the sites most impacted in the new search rollout. 84% of the most blocked sites via the Chrome extension were impacted, they say.

What are those sites? Google isn’t saying. But the changes are designed to weed out low-value content, they say, such as content copied from other websites or non-useful content. That means sites like Demand Media, Associated Content and Mahalo are likely on the list. In a couple of months traffic data to those sites will likely confirm that they were impacted.

In a post a couple of weeks ago I heavily criticized Google for lack of quality search results, particularly in certain categories like travel and commerce. It’s unclear if these changes will fix all that, but I’m keeping an open mind.

And either way, the time when content farms dominated Google search results may be finally coming to an end. Cheers to that.

Google Targets Content Farms With Major Search Algorithm Tweaks

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Social Media Marketing: Measure The Payoff For Your Business

According to a recent survey, 70 percent of small businesses reported that they are already using social media for marketing. Indeed, over a third cited creating a profile on a social network as one of the top three most effective marketing methods. Over the last year, there was a 50 percent increase in the number of small businesses using social media, and in that same year more than half of the businesses surveyed claimed they spent less than $2,500 a year on marketing. Hmm, interesting. Let's dig in.

These findings are not really surprising given (a) the cultural takeover of social media in the past two years, and (b) the fact that social media marketing, at least the type most small businesses utilize -- Facebook fan pages and Twitter -- involves far less out-of-pocket costs than TV, print or radio. In fact, I would speculate that most small businesses are now using social media as one of their primary marketing tools and claiming it's effective mainly because it has such a low barrier to entry and little or no up-front costs.

In fact, all that's really happening is that small businesses are doing online what they traditionally did offline for maximizing effectiveness at the lowest cost: word-of-mouth marketing. With small marketing budgets, small businesses have always relied on WOM advertising, so extending that online through social media only makes sense.

However, I would also posit that most small businesses are not including social media as a marketing expense because the tools are free and they don't factor their time investment as "costs." But time is a cost. If you factor the time investment needed to execute an effective social media campaign as a marketing cost, I suspect it would exceed $2,500 a year.

What I would like to see out of these findings is how social media has been truly effective for small businesses? That is, how did your social media activity translate into measurable results? In order to truly know the effectiveness of social media, small businesses need to be able to answer three important questions:

1) What is your goal for using social media?

2) What specific tactics did you use to reach that goal?

3) How did you measure the effectiveness (in terms of results that matter, like revenue, profits, etc.)?

Growing the bottom line is always the end goal with any marketing activity or investment, but there are more strategic goals to think about when it comes to social media. Is your goal to use social media to become a thought leader in your industry? Or to provide better customer service?

A great example is Email Direct. Their goal was to use social media platforms to become an authority on email marketing. They used their blog and Twitter to educate people with tips and best practices, and used Twitter to push content and search for people talking about email marketing to engage with. Now, as a recognized thought leader, they're getting 1-2 good leads per day from social media. Measurable results tied to revenue.

What are the tactics you're using to be effective in reaching your goal? For Buttery Lane, their focus was great customer service, so they used social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp. Yelp allowed them to monitor their reviews and make proper modifications to their service and products. With Twitter and Facebook, they went above and beyond traditional customer service to respond and engage with customers. And because of their dedicated involvement, they developed a following of raving, high-value customers.

So if you've determined that social media is effective for marketing your business, have you determined what specifically has been effective and how? Please share with the community what's worked for you.

For more social media marketing news and information, check out

Social Media Marketing: Measure The Payoff For Your Business

Social media marketing: Facebook & Twitter aren’t enough


Guest post by Rand Fishkin

Founder & CEO, SEOmoz

randfishFacebook has had an incredible run for the last six years — see the graphic above. Twitter has had a remarkable four years under its belt, now reaching 200 million members.

The growth of these twin networks has brought new discipline to the practice of traffic generation, branding and customer engagement on the Web: social media marketing. But for those of us who participate in the practice, there are clear signs that Twitter and Facebook aren’t enough.

Plenty of recent facts and figures have helped to hammer this point home:

The long tail of social media packs a punch

If your job includes the monitoring, management and/or promotion of a company’s brand through social media, I’d strongly urge you to consider educating yourself about and participating in all the platforms that might matter to your company. The following are my personal recommendations for the average social media marketer to consider, grouped by users:

100 million+ users

25 million+ users

10 million+ users


There are dozens, possibly hundreds of others sites worthy of your attention as a social marketer (and possibly helpful to those focused on social as a channel for SEO opportunity). So, please, let’s be cautious about an overly narrow definition of social media marketing – your clients/managers/bottom line will thank you.

As a startup guy and technologist, I’m excited to see even more sites enter the social media playing field in 2011. Unlike search, where Google has a near-monopoly worldwide (excluding China, Russia, North Korea and the Czech Republic), social media offers a myriad of unique platforms for opportunity.

Do you have a favorite social media site? Have we overlooked an up-and-comer? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

* I’m a fan of Quora, but this quote made me gag a bit: “Cheever dismisses the notion that there is a direct competitor for Quora.” Hubris, I understand, but blatant disregard for the truth is unbecoming.

Rand Fishkin is the CEO & co-founder of SEOmoz. This post originally appeared at SEOmoz and is repub lished with per mis sion. SEO moz is not affil i ated with and has not reviewed this trans la tion. SEO moz pro vides the Web’s best SEO tools and resources.

Social media marketing: Facebook & Twitter aren’t enough

iPad 2 Rumors: The Comprehensive Guide

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It’s nearly impossible to keep up with the chatter surrounding the iPad 2. Every day it seems like there’s a new rumor about a new model, a new launch date or even a USB port. It’s a bit overwhelming.

That’s why we decided to scour the web for the most prominent iPad 2 rumors and create a comprehensive guide detailing what we think is likely to be in the next generation of the iPad.

We’ve picked out our top 10 rumors and provided not only our analysis, but the percentage chance a specific iPad 2 rumor will actually come to fruition. We’d bet money on some of these rumors (two cameras), while others will only happen when pigs learn how to fly (the mythical 7-inch iPad).

Without further ado, here is our comprehensive guide to the iPad 2 rumors:

Rumor #1: There Will Be Three Versions of the iPad 2

One of the biggest rumors sweeping the web recently is that there will be three version of the iPad 2. One will be Wi-Fi only, one will support Wi-Fi and UMTS, the 3G technology utilized by AT&T Mobility, and the third model will support Wi-Fi and CDMA, used by Verizon Wireless for its 3G network. In other words, there will be a Verizon iPad.

According to DigiTimes, Apple will be shipping the Wi-Fi, UMTS and CDMA iPad 2 models in a 3:4:3 ratio, specifically because nearly two out of three of current iPad shipments are 3G models. There are currently two models of the iPad, a Wi-Fi version and a Wi-Fi + UMTS version that works exclusively on the AT&T network in the U.S.

This rumor makes total sense: Apple wants to expand the reach of the iPad, and adding a CDMA model for Verizon would complement a Verizon iPhone perfectly. Recently, Verizon started selling the Wi-Fi iPad with the Verizon MiFi 2200. We’re sure Verizon would much rather sell a CDMA iPad instead.

Likelihood of Happening: 85%

Rumor #2: iPad 2 Will Have a Front and Back-Facing Camera

Ever since the iPhone 4 was released, there have been multiple reports claiming that the new iPad will finally come with a front and a back-facing camera.

The primary reason cited for the change from the original iPad is Facetime. In order for Facetime to succeed as a product, Apple needs to flood the market with as many Facetime-capable devices as possible.

We expect Apple to rectify its biggest omission from the original iPad with the next generation model.

Likelihood of Happening: 99%

Rumor #3: Slimmer, Lighter and Retina Display

Earlier this month, Reuters was told by its sources that the new iPad would be slimmer and lighter than its predecessor and would have a “better resolution display than the first iPad.”

Well, duh. Apple always tries to make its products slimmer and lighter. Just look at the iPhone’s evolution or the new MacBook Air for proof. It’s also a no-brainer that the iPad 2 will support Retina Display.

Likelihood of Happening: 99%

Rumor #4: The iPad 2 Will Have a Flat Back

This week there has been buzz about the 2nd generation iPad sporting a flat back after a supposed third party case was leaked to the web.

There’s no way that case is real, and you can take that to the bank. Why? Because Apple never releases the specs for new products to third party accessory makers; they’ve been burned too many times by leaks from third parties to make that type of rookie mistake.

This was completely apparent with the launch of the iPhone 4. There were no third party cases available at launch because none of the manufacturers knew the dimensions of the device. So trust us when we say the supposedly leaked iPad 2 case is total crap.

With that said, we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple did decide to make the back of the device flat. It makes more sense ergonomically. Still, the new iPod touch has a curved back, so it’s anybody’s guess what Apple plans to do.

Likelihood of Happening: 40%

Rumor #5: iPad 2: Now With Wide-Range Speakers?

Another rumor, this one from a Japanese blog, claims that the iPad 2 will not only have a thinner bezel, but that it will have a wide-range speaker covered with a metal mesh that will have far greater speaker capabilities.

This rumor kind of makes sense, given that there’s a greater need for the device to project sound. The iPad is a family device, and in order for a family to enjoy a movie together on the iPad, it needs to have decent speakers. We expect an upgraded speaker.

Still, we agree with Engadget: the source has no track record and should be taken with a grain of salt. It won’t look like Mac Otakara’s CG render.

Likelihood of Happening: 50%

Rumor #6: The iPad 2 Will Have a USB Port

This rumor, courtesy of the Chinese publication Economic Daily News, claims Apple’s new tablet will have a USB port so it can connect to other devices. This would be a huge development because it would allow for the easy movement of files and information from USB drives and peripherals like printers or mice.

Unlike some of the other rumor sources on this list, Economic Daily News has a good track record. As PC World points out, it was the first one to figure out that Apple was building a tablet, not a netbook. DigiTimeshas also reported that the next generation iPad will sport a USB port.

Frankly, we’re not sure how much truth there is to this one, but it could happen. We just wouldn’t put our money on it.

Likelihood of Happening: 33%

Rumor #7: The iPad 2 Will Have a Dual-Core CPU

An analyst for Rodman & Renshaw made a stir just before Christmas by saying that the next generation iPad and iPhone will utilize a dual-core processor powered by two 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 cores.

A dual-core processor would give the iPad 2 and iPhone 5 far greater multitasking capabilities and would be a significant development in mobile technology.

The iPad 2 wouldn’t be the first mobile device to utilize a dual-core, though. That honor goes to the LG Optimus 2X Android smartphone. Do you really think Apple’s going to let Android beat them? No way.

Likelihood of Happening: 75%

Rumor #8: Non-Smudge Screen & Gyroscope

We won’t dive into these rumors too much, but suffice it to say, a screen that smudges less and an iPad that supports gyroscope functionality and apps just makes sense.

Likelihood of Happening: 90%

Rumor #9: A 7-Inch Version of the iPad?

We’ve heard multiple rumors claiming that Apple is not only building a 9.7-inch version of the iPad 2, but it’s also making a smaller, 7-inch model. The thinking is that a smaller model would be cheaper and more useful in certain situations.

Well, forget it. In an epic rant during Apple’s most recent earnings call, Steve Jobs himself shot down the possibility of a 7-inch iPad. The reason, he said, was that there simply wasn’t enough screen real estate for creating great tablet apps.

“While one could increase the resolution of the display to make up for some of the difference, it is meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of their present size,” Jobs said during the earnings call.

In other words, the 7-inch iPad isn’t happening.

Likelihood of Happening: 2%

The Big Question: When Will the iPad 2 Launch?

Cameras, Facetime, a new speaker and a dual-core processor are all great potential additions to the iPad, but what we really want to know is when we will have one of the next generation iPads in our hands.

Nobody can seem to agree when it will launch. We’ve heard that the new iPads are coming in January (exactly a year after the original iPad’s launch), but we’ve also heard March and April.

The release date of the iPad likely depends on the launch date of the Verizon iPhone. Apple is unlikely to launch the iPad 2 and the Verizon iPhone at the same event, so if the Verizon iPhone comes out in March, we expect the iPad 2 in January, and if the Verizon iPhone arrives in January, then don’t expect the iPad 2 until March.

If we had to venture a guess, we’d say the new iPad will come out of the shadows in March, but it’s li

iPad 2 Rumors: The Comprehensive Guide

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Join Ocean Beach Surf & Skate in our upcoming philanthropic events:

Join Ocean Beach Surf & Skate in our upcoming philanthropic events:

Join Ocean Beach Surf & Skate in our upcoming philanthropic events: Walk the blue carpet at The Pearl Hotel for the Point Loma Premiere and Fundraiser of Calling on Others: Bali, Indonesia, tonight: Feb. 22nd from 7-10pm. And don't forget to enjoy local art and music at the family fun Beats by the Beach Festival and help rais funds for the YMCA Youth & Family Services on Saturday March 5th from 11-5pm.

Click here for more information

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The 3 Keys to Twitter Influence

by JD Rucker on Feb 17, 2011


As Twitter grows in importance as a branding, customer relations, and marketing tool, influence is becoming a key component to determining success in all three areas. While there are many ways to measure influence such as Klout, all seem to migrate to the same three basic elements: amplification, network, and reach.

Increasing any one often has a direct effect on the others, so the techniques to lift one’s influence are similar. There are general tips that gurus give that are often filled with buzzwords such as “engagement” and “empathy.” We won’t be using those words here. Instead, here are some real-world techniques that you can use today to achieve two goals: lift your own influence on Twitter and connect you with others who have influence within your industry.

We will not, however, be discussing rainbows and butterflies.



The first place that any Twitter user must start if they want to increase their influence is their reach. Generally, people build their reach by following a ton of people and hoping they’ll follow them back. While this method, known as churn, can be somewhat effective, it’s far from the best way to go about building your network.

Building a strong Twitter reach starts with the people you know. Your current customers and contacts are the most likely to want to follow you. Sometimes, it simply takes asking.

Through all available channels, ask them to follow you. Use your Facebook pages, email database, CRM, and even your physical location if you have one to encourage these people to follow you. Do not use the standard “Follow us on Twitter” message. It’s so beaten into us that we no longer notice it.

Give people a reason.

People use Twitter in different ways. Match your Twitter stream to one or more of the major reasons that people use Twitter and you’ll be much more likely to get more real followers:

  • “We are posting daily tips on Twitter: @yourusername.”

  • “Twitter-Only Daily Deals and Coupons Broadcast Regularly: @yourusername.”

  • “Breaking News about (your industry) posted as it happens: @yourtwittername.”

Notice that we didn’t ask anyone to “follow us on Twitter” in these particular messages. People who use Twitter know what to do. We want to show them that there is a valid reason that applies to them so that they have a desire to add your stream.

On your website, you can “bribe” people to follow you. This sounds worse than it is. By bribing them, you are offering something tangible in exchange for them following you. Some would say that this method is not a way to get good follows. Some would be wrong. If they are willing to jump through the hoop of following your Twitter account in exchange for something, they were obviously interested in your business in some way (otherwise, they wouldn’t be on your site).

For example, you can say, “Receive a DM with a link to our latest case study! Follow us @yourusername. We’ll follow you back and DM you the link.”

Quality in your reach can most easily be achieved by getting followed by people who are active on Twitter. The term “DM” is very Twitteresque. It’s subtle, but by using that term rather than saying “Direct Message,” you’ll be letting them know that you know something they know. As odd as it sounds, the psychology there is that it will make you appear to be a Twitter pro.


People often confuse Reach and Network. Your reach is everyone connected to you. Your network is the quality of the people connecting and interacting with you, which can be larger or smaller than your actual reach.

Think of it like this: you can reach X-number of people by getting them to follow you, but your network can expand to the people not directly connected to you, but who are connected to people that you influence.

It can be very confusing understanding how it works, but the techniques to improving your network are simple.

Involving influencers in your tweets is the easiest method. For example, you could Tweet a short quote from Guy Kawasaki’s new book and mention his Twitter account in the quote. If he replies with a thank you message, you are now part of his network and are thus influencing your own network by association.

Another popular method is talking to large companies who are active on Twitter. It’s a “cheap” method but it works. By talking to them and getting them to talk to you in return, you’re able to embrace their reach into your network, again simply by association.

These techniques may be discouraging as they require you to get your accounts interacting with other accounts of influence, but influence is something that requires more than just what you’re saying. Who you’re saying it to (and what they’re saying back to you) is a measure of influence that helps you expand your network.


On Twitter, there are two components used in grading one’s amplification: retweets and mentions.

Retweets are often the most challenging to get as they require you to be both interesting and connected. It’s challenging to get retweets if your reach or network are low. It’s not impossible, though. In many cases, you just have to work on the quality of what you’re saying.

It’s easier said than done, but you must be profound to maximize your retweets. This isn’t the time to talk about the weather. Making interesting (and often funny) observations on topics of interest can help.

Look at Skittles. Even with a modest number of followers, they are able to get nearly everything they say retweeted.

Not all of us can be that funny, so sometimes we have to rely on being interesting. One popular method to expose your interesting tweets is by using popular hashtags. Don’t just jump on the spammer bandwagon and start popping trending hashtags into everything you tweet. Be selective. Attach hashtags to your tweets surrounding topics that people have an interest in.

It can’t be said enough: no technique can save you if your tweets suck. Don’t say things for the sake of saying them. Say something. Empty tweets will not be retweeted.

Mentions are often a bit more challenging and similar to working up your reach, getting amplification requires rubbing elbows with influencers. It’s hard enough to try to get mentions from your followers. It’s even more difficult to get mentions from influencers who are not following you.

One way to do it is to ask questions. Twitter is a realm of “me, me, and me.” People talk about themselves a lot on Twitter. Give them a reason to continue doing so. For example:

Even grabbing the screenshot 15 seconds after sending it, I have zero doubt that he will reply. How do I know? Look at his stream. He replies to everyone. He is an influencer who is extremely social. He posts constantly and mentions people regularly.

One final thought for bloggers: if your blog is automatically retweeted by a lot of people, use it. This is a “hack” but because so many quality blogs get put on automatic RSS retweet feeds, pop @yourusername in there every now and then. An example.

Influence on social media is really an artificial indication. Real influence is something that people achieve in real life through extraordinary actions or circumstances. On social media, influence can be manufactured. It may not be pretty, but it’s effective and is becoming a self-imposed requirement for branding, customer relations and marketing.

Read more:

The 3 Keys to Twitter Influence

Just How Offensive Is Your Facebook Profile?

Sarah Kessler15 hours ago by Sarah Kessler40

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: Socioclean

Quick Pitch: Socioclean crawls through your Facebook profile photos, groups and wall posts, and alerts you to anything inappropriate.

Genius Idea: In a 2009 Harris Interactive study for, 45% of employers questioned had used social networks to screen job candidates. Thirty-five percent of them decided not to hire a candidate based on what they found.

When this study started to generate press, Priyanshu Harshavat started to think about a way to help job candidates get their social profiles in shape before they were virtually audited by potential employers. The result is Socioclean, a program that scans social profiles for 5,000 words and phrases that are racial, profane, drug-related or alcohol-related.

After a user gives permission for the program to assess his Facebook profile (for now Socioclean is only offered for Facebook — other social networks are on the way), he receives a letter grade and a list of inappropriate items from his profile. Each item has a link to that item on Facebook so that he can easily delete it.

As a generally inoffensive person, I was shocked at how many flagged terms that Socioclean dug up from my profile. Wall messages left by other people were my biggest offense (I got demerits for “beer,” “booze cone” and “hell,” among others). The program also reminded me about the “Aaron Burr, you son of a b**ch” group I had joined sometime during my freshman year of college. I posted one mildly offensive status message to my profile before testing the program, naively thinking that it wouldn’t have much to find otherwise, and it found that as well. Most of my infractions were things that I would never have noticed, and many were innocent — discussing about a bon “fire,” for instance, was flagged as “aggressive.” But it definitely didn’t miss anything. There were enough flags to earn an overall grade of a “D.”

Businesses like and Brand-Yourself also help polish online reputations, but these startups are taking an SEO approach that helps push down negative and pull up positive search results for your name. Socioclean is the only service we know of that focuses on deleting offensive items from your social profiles.

About 5,000 other people and I have run our profiles through the program at no cost. To help make it profitable, the company is currently courting job website and dating website partners. The hope is to offer a social profile scrub as an option to applicants and daters to make them more successful on their respective online services. Socioclean’s developers also created a version of the product for employers who want their employees to self-monitor their social profiles.

Yet another potential revenue source is to sell site licenses to universities to use in their career services departments. Some universities have already expressed interest in helping spruce up their graduates’ online resumes — Syracuse University, for instance, purchased subscriptions to Brand-Yourself for 4,100 of its graduating seniors.

Even if schools decide to teach students to set their Facebook privacy settings instead of similarly embracing Socioclean, there are likely enough situations in which a squeaky clean profile is necessary — college applications, job applications, dating and professional networking included — to keep Socioclean in business.

Image courtesy of iStockphotothesuperph.

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Just How Offensive Is Your Facebook Profile?

10 Fascinating YouTube Facts That May Surprise You

Amy-Mae Elliott4 hours ago by Amy-Mae Elliott9

YouTube is huge. Humongous, even. More video content is uploaded to YouTube in a 60 day period than the three major U.S. television networks created in 60 years.

The average YouTube user spends between 15 and 25 minutes a day on the site, but how much do we know about the world’s largest video sharing website? Do you know what the most watched YouTube clip is? Can you name all three founders? Do you know how many times per minute a YouTube link is tweeted?

There is a ton of interesting data, info and stats to be learned about YouTube — we’ve delved deep to find 10 fascinating facts. Have a read and let us know which ones you didn’t know in the comments below.

1. PayPal’s Role in YouTube’s Creation

YouTube was created by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim in 2005. The three founders knew each other from working together at another Internet start up, PayPal. In fact, Hurley designed the PayPal logo after reading a Wired article about the online payment company and e-mailing the startup in search of a job. YouTube was initially funded by bonuses received following the eBay buy-out of PayPal. You could argue that if there was no PayPal, there would be no YouTube.

2. YouTube’s Origins as a Dating Site

The founding trio didn’t come up with the YouTube concept straight away. Legend has it that YouTube began life as a video dating site dubbed “Tune In Hook Up,” said to be influenced by HotorNot. The three ultimately decided not to go that route. The inspiration for YouTube as we know it today is credited to two different events. The first was Karim’s inability to find footage online of Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction,” and the second when Hurley and Chen were unable to share video footage of a dinner party due to e-mail attachment limitations.

3. YouTube Caused Problems For Utube

The domain name was registered on Valentine’s Day in 2005. This, however, caused a huge misunderstanding for Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment based in Perrysburg, Ohio. Its company domain, “,” was overwhelmed with traffic from people that tried to spell the video site’s name phonetically. The manufacturing company sued YouTube claiming its business was damaged by the video site, but the claims were dismissed. Nowadays, it seems Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment has bowed to the inevitable — its business site has been moved to and the original is a video-themed landing page for bad spellers.

4. The First Ever YouTube Video

The first video to ever be uploaded to YouTube isn’t a classic by any means. Shot by Yakov Lapitsky at the San Diego Zoo it shows co-founder Jawed Karim in front of the elephant enclosure going on about long trunks. It has, nonetheless, racked up a very healthy 4,282,497 views since its online debut on April 23, 2005.

5. The First Rickroll

The first instance of a “Rickroll” appeared on YouTube way back in 2007. Apparently, it is the evolution of a 4chan prank that originally “duckrolled” users via links that led to a duck on wheels. Now a classic in its own right, the Rickroll has become what must be the most common online practical joke. Back in 2008, at the height of the phenomenon, a SurveyUSA poll suggested over 18 million U.S. adults had been Rickrolled — perhaps more, given that Rick Astley himself participated in a mass-Rickrolling in that year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Although Rickrolling has perhaps now had its day, we imagine that figure has easily doubled.

6. YouTube’s Annual April Fools Pranks

For the last three years YouTube has pranked its millions of users every April Fools Day. The first was a classic — every video on the site’s homepage was actually a Rickroll. In 2009 YouTube turned the site upside down and in 2010 an attempt to reduce bandwidth costs saw a “TEXTp” mode introduced, which translated colors in the videos into text. We can’t wait to see what YouTube has in store for 2011.

7. Some Jaw-Dropping YouTube Statistics

As of February 2011, YouTube has 490 million unique users worldwide per month, who rack up an estimated 92 billion page views each month. We spend around 2.9 billion hours on YouTube in a month — over 325,000 years. And those stats are just for the main YouTube website — they don’t incorporate embedded videos or video watched on mobile devices.

8. YouTube’s Social Stats

Social media-related YouTube stats are just as impressive. YouTube says that on average there are more than 400 tweets per minute containing a YouTube link. Meanwhile, over on Facebook over 150 years worth of YouTube videos are watched every single day.

9. The Most Viewed, Liked and Favorited Video

Not counting music videos (which due to licensing restrictions are often shown only in the U.S. on YouTube), the most viewed video of all time is the classic “Charlie bit my finger,” with an astounding 282,151,886 (at the time of writing). When you include music videos from the U.S.-only VEVO site, then the crown goes to Justin Beiber, whose “Baby” video has over 466 million views and counting.

Did you know you can view the “YouTube Charts” at any time to see continually updated info about what’s popular?

10. The YouTube “Snake” Easter Egg Game

YouTube has a fun Easter egg that will let you play a Snake-esque game within the video window. The clip above will give you a demo, but it’s simple to execute if you’re keen to try it out. Head over to YouTube, click on a recent video from any category, pause it and then hit the left and up arrow keys at the same time. Enjoy!

More Fun Facts from Mashable:

10 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Google

10 Fascinating Facts You Didn’t Know About Apple

10 Fun Microsoft Facts You Might Not Know

10 Fascinating Facebook Facts

10 Entertaining eBay Facts You Might Not Know

Image courtesy of codenamecueball

10 Fascinating YouTube Facts That May Surprise You

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

5 Top Social Games and Why They’re So Successful

The Social Gaming Development Series is supported by Level 3 Communications, an international provider of fiber-based communications services. Level 3 is committed to carrying digital media from anywhere to anywhere, in whatever format needed.

Around 68.7 million Americans will be playing social games by 2012, according to analysis firm eMarketer. A number like that might seem unreal, but it makes perfect sense. There’s something extraordinarily appealing about logging into Facebook or picking up your smartphone and instantly playing a game alongside countless other people across the world.

But why do the best social games work so well? How do they manage to connect us in ways we wouldn’t have thought possible just ten years ago? Let’s look at five of the most popular social games and try to figure out why they’re hits.

1. FarmVille

FarmVille is doing a lot of things right, really — that’s why close to 10% of all Facebook users play FarmVille. But one of the most ingenious mechanics in Zynga’s farm simulation game is the neighbor system. It’s easy enough to harvest crops and build up your farm alone, but when you do it with your Facebook friends, your productivity skyrockets exponentially. And if you’ve ever hopped onto your news feed only to be subjected to a deluge of FarmVille updates, you know just how tempting it can be to click around and see what the fuss is all about.

Either this is a metaphor for real farms, where workers have to cooperate to stay alive, or it’s just a ploy to get people to recruit one another so Zynga can harvest all of your money. The gaming company has used the social promotion lessons it learned from FarmVille to launch CityVille last year, which has already become the most popular game on Facebook with almost 100 million users (twice that of FarmVille).

2. Zuma Blitz

PopCap’s addictive ball matching game is fun to play in both short and long doses, but its real strength lies in its scoreboard. As you go about your business in Zuma’s Incan temple, you’ll see a set of rankings on the right side of your screen. Those rankings are constantly updated with your friends’ high scores, allowing you to talk smack as you compete with one another for slot number one. It’s a brilliant, simple, and effective technique that keeps players hooked for one simple reason: Bragging rights.

3. Words With Friends

Imagine if Scrabble was available on your phone 24/7. Now imagine that instead of playing against a computerized opponent, you could compete with any of your friends whenever you wanted, picking when to play each word at your own personal discretion. That’s Words With Friends.

Scrabble has always been immensely popular, so it’s easy to see why online Scrabble is just as lauded.Words With Friends works because it successfully emulates a classic game that everybody already understands — no need to worry about learning complicated new rules or devising intricate strategies. It’s justScrabble!

4. Mafia Wars

Between The GodfatherThe SopranosGoodfellas, and the countless other mob stories that have been both critically and commercially acclaimed over the years, it’s not hard to see why a game like Mafia Wars works. Though this Facebook mob simulator — which lets you recruit friends and form your own criminal organization — can’t be fairly compared to any of those classic pieces of pop culture, it’s certainly an impressive game that you can sink way too much time into. Teaming up with your buddies in order to fight mobsters, perform “jobs,” and pretend to be criminals is way more fun than it should be.

5. World of Warcraft

Sure, when you think World of Warcraft, you might picture the nerdier set — those who may have sacrificed hygiene and sleep to reach one more experience level. But the truth is that WoW is populated with players of all sorts of backgrounds, from rural housewives to NFL punters. The game currently boasts over 12 million subscribers, mostly because of its social capabilities. Instead of just fighting monsters or leveling up a character by yourself, you get to do it with thousands of other players and interact with them in many different ways ranging from personal e-mails to public online chats.

Most strikingly, World of Warcraft allows you to live a veritable second life. Girls can pretend to be boys; boys can pretend to be girls; human accountants can pretend to be elven mages. You can make friends and enemies, form relationships and even take on an entirely new persona. For better or worse, some people enjoy socializing on WoW more than real life, which may make it the most powerful social game out there. Oh, andMila Kunis plays it, which might be a good reason to start.

5 Top Social Games and Why They’re So Successful
iPhone 5 Rumor Round-Up: Bigger Screen, Better Camera, Physical Keyboard?

iPhone 5 Rumor Round-Up: Bigger Screen, Better Camera, Physical Keyboard?

The word on the street tonight is that Apple is toying with the idea of a much larger screen for the iPhone 5.

Other iPhone 5 rumors include a slide-out keyboard and a more competitive camera.

These rumors may have been spawned by glimpses of as-yet unfinished prototypes which may never come to market; they could be complete fiction. Or they could also represent part of the future of Apple’s iconic phone.

The bulk of this iPhone 5-related gossip comes from a Taiwanese blog with a high rate of accuracy on previous Apple leaks. The screen-size rumor comes from DigiTimes.

The interesting thing about all these rumors is that each one suggests Apple is more concerned than ever about competing with Android devices, many of which feature huge screens, massive cameras and physical keyboards already.

For example, many top-of-the-line Android models feature 8-megapixel cameras in contrast to the iPhone 4‘s 5-megapixel model. A couple devices in non-U.S. markets even top that spec; the Altek Leo features a 14-megapixel camera. Without question, the trend is toward more megapixels with every passing month.

And some of these Android devices feature screens as large as 4.3 inches. Android devices with screens in the 4-inches-and-over category often sport kickstands and are lauded for their multimedia capabilities — or derided for being slightly impractical and unwieldy, depending on the user’s perspective.

Now, the iPhone 5 is rumored to have a camera between 8 megapixels (competitive with current Android phones) and 12 megapixels (blowing most current Android models out of the water and likely keeping pace with future Androids, too). With a better camera and a larger screen, it might sport the specs to intrigue those whose loyalties lie with the best hardware over the brand name.

The physical keyboard rumor, however, is a horse of a different color. A handful of Android and RIM devices have been holding sway over the business and content-creating crowd with their ├╝ber-efficient text entry. But the enterprise isn’t a market Apple has typically courted in the past; to do so now, we suspect they’d have to have a virtual keyboard option alongside a physical keyboard option — an extremely atypical move for the company.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

When Consumers Revolt Against Traditional Marketing, What Should You Do?

By Ruth M. Shipley

social media book reviewsWhen little-known, first-term Illinois senator Barack Obama faced Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic presidential campaign, he knew he couldn’t compete with her financially. He couldn’t afford telemarketing and direct mail campaigns or TV and radio advertising.

So instead of playing by the old rules, he made new rules. He started blogging and he created profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

He also hired the co-founder of Facebook, Chris Hughes, to be his Internet strategist. And he won the Democratic presidential nomination even though he spent a lot less money than his opponent.

At the time of the election, Obama had five million fans on Facebook—over four million more than Clinton. On MySpace, the numbers were approximately 800,000 and 200,000, respectively. On Twitter, he had over 100,000 followers and his opponent had about 5,000.

And he did all of that by following the principles of inbound marketing.

If you still market your business the old-fashioned way, you’re using outbound marketing techniques. Outbound marketing is throwing your message into the public arena and hoping the “right people” see it. Inbound marketing is creating a message that only the right people would be interested in, and then helping them stumble upon it.

If you have trouble seeing the difference, consider this:

Outbound marketing—You spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to advertise the 2012 Lexus LFA during the Super Bowl. Only a tiny fraction of that audience would qualify financially.

Inbound marketing—You help people who have the income and the desire for the 2012 Lexus LFA to find your website, your blog and your YouTube channel.

Consumers Revolt Against In-Your-Face Marketing

I think I’m not the only one who’s fed up with traditional marketing techniques.

Many people have turned their collective backs on traditional advertising and ask their friends and family members for advice instead. They know any ad they see is just a sales pitch. And they probably don’t need whatever is being advertised.

But when they do need a product or service, they know their friends and families cangive them unbiased testimonials about the products and services they like. And tapping into those conversations is one of the new rules of marketing.

inbound marketingSo if spam-blockers, TiVo and mute buttons have convinced you to reconsider expensive outbound marketing techniques, have I got a book for you! It’s Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogsby Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.

Getting found doesn’t mean spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to create a prime-time commercial that most viewers will mute. Or putting an online banner ad for an arthritis drug in front of a 21-year-old woman.

Getting found means writing extensively about your solution to someone else’s problem. And then helping people with that problem find your online documents. “In order to move from outbound to inbound marketing,” write Halligan and Shah, “you need to stop interrupting people in your target market and ‘get found’ by them instead.”

So these two MIT MBA grads wrote a brief manual to teach you the fundamentals of inbound marketing. “We have seen inbound marketing work first hand for hundreds of companies in a myriad of different industries. We’re confident it will work for you if you persevere and continually learn.”

Market the Way People Search for Information

“To be successful and grow your business and revenues, you must match the way you market your products with the way your prospects learn about and shop for your products,” write Halligan and Shah. The era of interruption-based marketing is coming to an end because people have become much more efficient at blocking out these traditional methods of marketing and have become equally as efficient at finding trusted information online.”

Yes, you may have to forget everything you know about marketing. But Halligan and Shah will take you by the hand and teach you a brand-new set of marketing techniques. Their book has a companion website that includes the following resources:

  • A forum where you can ask and answer questions about inbound marketing

  • A directory of marketing service firms that can help you implement inbound marketing

  • A collection of marketing news to keep you current

  • A database of inbound marketing jobs for job-hunters and employers

Many of you may already know how to optimize your website, use an RSS reader and set up a YouTube channel. This book will teach you all of that and much more. You’ll also learn how to:

  • Hire employees who understand inbound marketing principles

  • Hire service providers using inbound marketing principles

  • Use bivariate and multivariate testing to see which landing page draws more leads

  • Grade leads so you spend more time on the ones who will become customers

  • Create a lead-nurturing program so you don’t lose promising leads

  • Analyze your competition using inbound marketing principles

If this sounds like a lot of work, it is! Did you think inbound marketing would be easy? Did you think all you had to do was set up a Google Alert to monitor mentions of your company name?

This book contains many tips for startups too. If you’re starting a business, you have one major advantage over established businesses when it comes to inbound marketing—you won’t have to “unlearn” anything!

“You no longer need to spend tons of money interrupting your potential customers. Instead you need to create remarkable content, optimize that content, publish the content, market the content, and measure what is working and what is not working,” write Halligan and Shah. “A savvy inbound marketer is half traditional marketer and half content creation factory.”

In fact, you can think of inbound marketing as the “Five C’s”: you’re Converting Creativity, Content, and Conversation into valuable Customers.

If you’re still clinging to traditional outbound marketing techniques, consider this final quote from Halligan and Shah: “On average, inbound marketing leads are 61 percent less expensive than outbound marketing leads.”

I thought that might get your attention.

So take a tip from Barack Obama. Pick up a copy of Inbound Marketingcut your marketing bill in half and start a conversation with your customers. They’re waiting to hear from you.

For your marketing solutions, please check out our website at
When Consumers Revolt Against Traditional Marketing, What Should You Do?
Jibe’s Social Job Board Attracting More Than One Million Monthly Job Views

Jibe’s Social Job Board Attracting More Than One Million Monthly Job Views

We’ve covered TechCrunch 50 company Jibe (formerly LocalBacon), which is a next-generation job board that leverages Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to help job seekers find the best positions in the job market.

Jibe has signed up 25 percent of the Fortune 50 as clients and is announcing that the site has grown 454 percent since the start of 2011, surpassing more than one million monthly job views. In January alone, more than 540,000 job seekers visited JIBE to apply for jobs at Amazon, Bank of America, Intel, AT&T and Merck.

On Jibe, job seekers sign in with Facebook Connect. The platform will then pull in their work and education history from their Facebook profile and from LinkedIn to pre-populate their Jibe profile. Then for every job posting, they can see if they are connected to anyone at that company. Jibe allows members to message those people directly to ask for a recommendation or job advice. Jibe uses a credit system that allows applicants to apply for jobs. Applicants can earn credits by linking their Jibe account to their various social networks, broadcasting their job search, sending private messages through the system, or updating their work history profile.

On the enterprise side, Jibe allows companies to add a social layer to the evaluation and vetting process. And Jibe, which has raised $875,000 in seed funding, says that large companies like Amazon, MTV and HP are adopting Jibe because it can be easily integrated into existing recruiting software.

Job boards are dying as social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook (i.e. BranchOut) take over professional networking and job search. But Jibe actually combines a job seeker’s LinkedIn and Facebook social graphs, which helps the site stand out from competitors.

The 10 commandments of Video Marketing

Posted by Tina on 8th of March, 2010 at 14:32 to SEOSocial Media


video marketingInternet users’ search for online video content is growing exponentially. Indeed, people are usually attracted by videos and are more likely to remember and refer to a video than to any other form of advertisement. Additionally they consider them as a more reliable source of information.

Video marketing is still overlooked despite the fact that it is a powerful tool to drive traffic to your website and increase your Business dramatically. Furthermore, it is a very cost effective way of promoting your website.

Since users are constantly searching for video content, search engines as Google incorporate video links in their organic results. If you are thinking about creating online videos to promote your business, it is essential to do it in the right way in order to optimize your search engine performance.

Here are the 10 commandments in order to improve the rankings of your video landing pages and increase the views of your videos:

1. Create a keyword-rich title

Using keywords in the video title will help search engines to understand the content of your videos. In this way you will gain higher rankings for relative search terms.

2. Include a text transcript of your video

By including a brief optimized introduction to describe your video & transcript, search engines will be able to understand your videos’ content.

3. Use the keyword “video”

Users often use the word “video” when they search on search engines; add it in your title, description, meta data etc.

4. Enable feedback, comments, ratings & reviews

By allowing users to provide feedback, your video will have greater views since not only they feel that they contribute to your business but also those who provide feedback are usually the ones that take action. Make sure you monitor and reply all the comments.

5. Distribute your video on online-sharing sites & social media

You may want to add the video on your own website to gain visibility, but don’t forget: It is extremely important to publish your video on Youtube, Vimeo and any other online-sharing sites. Share it on Facebook, tweet about it on twitter, add bookmarks and be creative.

6. Implement a linking strategy

As in all other forms of digital content, video’s landing page is judged by the same linking standards. You should build internal and external links, including cross-linking to other videos, bookmarks on the video, links from relevant web pages, etc.

7. Use the right thumbnail

It is one of the most important factors to attract the viewer and make him choose to watch your video. Think of the image that best captures the essence of your video. Make sure it attracts your target group.

8. Use RSS

Users are fond of setting up RSS feeds to their preferred content sources. Submitting your content to RSS will enable users to add you to their feed and review it in the future.

9. Post more than one video

Before launching any video marketing campaign, make sure you have more than one video to publish. In this way people that watched and liked your video will look for other videos from your business.

10. Increase your number of viewers on YouTube

The more viewers you have the more likely it is to appear first in the results.

Do not forget that video marketing may offer new opportunities to drive more traffic to your site. Note that it is important to produce good quality material in order to promote effectively your business values and identity!