Sunday, March 29, 2009

Tweeting From Technorati

Did you know that you can update your Twitter profile from (and Facebook status, other update feeds for that matter)?

I may be biased given my loose association with Technorati (!!), but this has instantly become one of my favorite social media utilities. I already enjoy tweeting and publishing a steady stream of Twitter and Facebook updates, largely because I like commenting on topics of the day -- industry-related trends, political issues and interesting news of all sorts. So having the ability to browse blog posts or other content on Technorati and then write a comment that auto-tweets is both fun and useful.

For example, check out my blog profile and Twitter "blog" profile on Technorati. Each profile page has a "Reader Review", where I've detailed useful "how to" details on blurbing-auto-tweeting and claiming your Twitter profile as a blog, respectively. As I mentioned earlier, I also like to comment on issues of the day -- searching Technorati for blog posts about a news story, commenting on it and automatically tweeting the comment and post page on Twitter and Facebook.

If you're writing about something you're an expert on, you can also provide links to useful related content; if you're the author of that comment, there's an obvious SEO benefit as well.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Following Audience = Get Over Fear of UGC

I’m not sure what the next big thing in social media is, but I know what it should be: brands must get over their fear of the user-generated content nature of social media. Brands need to be where their customers are, and their customers are increasingly spending larger and larger portions of their time creating and consuming their own content and experiences.

Today, there are some consumers where you won’t have a shot reaching them at all if you aren’t using some form of social media, and this number is likely to expand dramatically in the future. Further, consumers have ALREADY made brands pervasive in all forms of social media, so it is only natural that all brands should make their own presence felt, both by engaging directly with customers and using social media platform as marketing media.

Brands Have Already Discovered Social Media...But...

For me, the most significant development is that brands have already discovered it, be they social networks, blogging or micro-blogging. That said, while social media may be deployed, I don’t believe it is anywhere near the point of being embraced as a core, every day marketing vehicle. While many brands are using these social media platforms, many are not. Most brands are still too afraid to try something new or risk being in an uncontrolled environment, and those that do usually treat it as “experimental” instead of mainstream.

We won’t achieve “embraced” status until brands allocate their media spend to the levels that their customers allocate their media consumption time: first, with the internet getting the allocation of overall ad dollars proportionate to time spent online; and second, with social media allocated the ad dollars within the online media budget that is proportionate to time spent social networking, reading blogs etc.

Three Ways Social Media Can Boost Revenue, Profits & Productivity

From a marketers perspective, there are literally countless ways that social media can increase revenue, productivity and profitability, though we can boil it down to a few general categories.

First, a company whose employees and agents actively participate and engage in social networking, blogging and micro-blogging can create extremely low cost executions of PR outreach (particularly in blogs) and consumer brand engagement. Essentially, the costs are just time spent engaging with the audience, which leads to the second thing: getting direct feedback from your consumers.

How great is it that while you’re doing PR outreach and brand engagement, you’re also having a direct conversation with your customers where they tell you what they like don’t like? That’s a lot cheaper than hiring a bunch of consultants to run focus groups and do vast surveys.

Third, at this point, social media is also generally far cheaper as an advertising medium. The content is the conversation; it’s generated for free and without overhead; and thus, it’s priced accordingly – much cheaper than mainstream media properties, often with far greater reach.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Little Shelter From The Rain

I just returned home from the Montgomery Technology Conference, and to my surprise, the tenor wasn't all doom and gloom. In fact, it was downright positive with respect to online advertising and digital commerce. In addition to hundreds of private equity and corporate development types (whose mouths are watering at the prospects of lowered valuations), there were about 165 tech companies, of which I'd say roughly half were consumer internet plays in online advertising or digital commerce and services. To be fair, most of those companies probably are the better performers and potentials, as you wouldn't expect the dogs to be invited to an investor conference.

In any case, I was still surprised to hear how well most of these online companies are doing. Everyone acknowledged the challenges and realities of the current economic situation, but most also reported some level of growth (Technorati included!) and a few outliers even noted high growth. It wasn't at all what I expected -- that people would be negative, reporting decreasing results and sharing in a conference-wide group therapy (and I have been to a few of those the past six months...). In my own area of interest -- online advertising -- again I heard mostly positive things.

Don't get me wrong: no one was drinking Veuve and singing in the rain. That said, most execs were fairly upbeat about the way their companies were progressing, and were confident their 2009 numbers would exceed 2008. Let me repeat that: results better than 2008!

So while there is absolutely no way to ignore what's happening on the macro level, and as start-ups are metering their businesses accordingly (particularly operating expenses), our little online sector does appear to be doing better than the economy at large. And for a select few, doing much better, and perhaps providing a little shelter from the rain.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Influencer Is You

I giving a shout-out to my friend, David Tokheim. David and I worked at IGN Entertainment together, and he is now the head of Six Apart's media business. David gets the shout-out because he is incredibly knowledgeable online media pro. He has several blogs, but one called "the influencer is you", which is dedicated to social media.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Study: Gen Y Notices Social Net Ads

Surprise! I mean, "duh": Study: Gen Y Notices Social Net Ads. When social networking, 84% of users notice ads while they interact with friends. Of course they do, and a variety of assertions that they don't were kind of silly. That said, as the study described in Media Post, the audience doesn't always find them relevant, which in my mind is a great opportunity for brand awareness advertising. In the social networking environs, you are not going to sell something at that moment because any attempt to do so would be like interrupting a conversation. However, a nice brand awareness ad (think: entertainment, cpg, etc) placed aside the conversation doesn't interrupt the conversation, but does garner some notice. Factor in the lower cost CPMs of most social networks, and the ROIs justify themselves. Here's the story from Media Post.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Technorati Quietly Outdoing Google Blog Search?

When I see posts that really understand what we're trying to do at Technorati, it's just pretty cool. I've highlighted a couple really insightful posts previously, and today, I found a great one from Louis Gray. Basically, Louis points out that our index works differently than Google Blog Search, and at least for him, is providing better results. Here's an excerpt:

Google is set up to find all of the world's information, and it is doing a fantastic job at that, as we all know, and it is the gold standard for search in practically every regard. But it's maybe too good. The company's over-aggressive spiders are just as likely to trigger false positives in terms of knowing what is a blog and what is not, or what is a blog post or what is simply sidebar information. Last August, I highlighted one issue, when MyBlogLog activity was spawning false positives. On other occasions, I've seen updates from aggregation sites, like Socialmedian, do the same. At this point, my bookmarked blog search from Google to find reactions excludes no fewer than four sites, to try and filter down the accurate results.And as I'm fighting off false positives with Google, Technorati is quietly finding me mentions that I can't get using Google, which relies on keywords instead of links. Not even the advanced blog search page on Google lets me find links to a site the way most bloggers want to find.

His full post is here:

Monday, March 02, 2009

Mainstream Media: Do You Know If Your Blog Indexed?

Great post on Technorati's blog: "Mainstream Media, We Can Index Your Blogs Too".

This post addresses a surprisingly phenom that results in many blogs not getting indexed. Many authors blogging on non-traditional blogging platforms -- such as mainstream media properties or corporate blogs -- often forget to do what the most successful bloggers do: claim their blog, ping us when they post, etc.

Check out the post here