Quality Content Outside the Corporate Website

social-media-contentAlthough every company has a slightly different strategy and technique, one of the ultimate goals is always to engage and captivate users. Engaged and captivated users, after all, often translate into engaged and captivated consumers. It is with this in mind that so many companies spend time, effort, and money on creating high quality content.

But companies shouldn’t be short sighted about the value and power of this content. While many businesses are meticulous about what appears on the corporate website, they are less stringent about the entries into the corporate blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account.

This attitude, however, can result in some seriously squandered opportunities. After all, social media venues don’t magically attract, keep, and convert customers. Just like any aspect of your marketing campaign, the content that appears through social media or social networking venues must be carefully researched and created. Otherwise, you’re using the right channels with the wrong message.

This doesn’t mean, though, that the content has to be as formal in presentation. When it comes to your blog, a comma splice here or a split infinite there isn’t going to drive your customers away. It’s more about putting in the time and research to know what your audience wants to see in these interactive platforms.

Also, unlike the content for your official website, there must be a correlated call to action. It’s against the very principle of social media to simply preach at your audience. Ask customers their opinions via your blog. Inspire some conversation and encourage participation.

Layoff Updates in the World of Social Networking

myspace-layoffsWhile layoff rumors abound in this economic climate, there is one company that has been hit particularly hard—MySpace. While they are a household name in social networking, MySpace can’t seem to justify being second best to Facebook—the more rapidly growing and popular of the two networking powerhouses. And the severity of the potential layoffs at MySpace makes that very clear.

The company, after all, has been the center of many speculations regarding their staff. One source used the word “massive” to describe the as of yet unproven layoffs, while a different source actually went so far as to put a number on that generic (albeit frightening) word. This alternate source placed the layoffs at anywhere between 300 and 500 employees.

Many believe these talks and the subsequent actions will help appease the already concerned shareholders. Despite a 2.39% jump in unique visitors during April and a report that puts them ahead of Facebook for videos, MySpace has been steadily losing the battle of social media dominance. And apparently, in today’s climate, that’s simply not good enough to justify a full staff.

New York State Policy Goes 2.0

new-york-cityDemonstrating the increasing need for everyone to be instantly connected, New York has taken a major step to elevating state policy into the age of social media. To that end, New York has not only launched a New York State Office of Technology (OFT), but that entity has also premiered Empire 2.0. The initiative is a concerted effort to increase collaboration and promote government participation through social networking avenues.

But this isn’t the first instance of OFT’s social savvy. In May, the agency launched both a Facebook and Twitter page. State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines is particularly excited about the potential for this new program. Pointing out some of the potential applications of this program, Daines focused on the potential for quick and widespread dissemination of information. Through the venues offered by 2.0, New Yorkers can be made aware of various issues such as smoking cessation laws almost immediately after being made into policy.

Check Business Makes the Right Choice with iePlexus

choice-checksEven in an age of debit cards and credit cards, checks are something that most people use on a regular basis. Whether you’re paying your rent, your utility bill, or a friend that you owe for dinner, most people dig out their checkbooks for all those purchases where plastic can’t be used. Online entrepreneur David Hamlen acknowledged this fact and built his web business, www.ChoiceChecks.biz, around this popular product line.

“I developed this site because I was writing so many personal checks myself,” said Hamlen. “I did some research and figured out how much I could save per check if they were purchased in bulk.”

After developing the basic idea that he wanted to carry personal and business checks as well as check accessories and accounting software, Hamlen recognized that there was still a great deal of work to be done before launching a fully functioning web business.

“I took a year of planning and analysis and decided what market I wanted to focus on,” said Hamlen. “I started this process in 2005, and my site didn’t launch until March 2006.”

Entering into his business with the aim of catering to his customers, Hamlen decided to differentiate himself from other check companies with his variety.

Zombies Unite! Social Networking Hits Hollywood

colin-zombie-filmIf someone gave you $70, what would you do? Would you go on a very meager and very short lived shopping spree? Would you purchase a commemorative DVD box set of some kind? Or would you create a full length film that is wowing critics and audiences at Cannes, one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world?

That’s exactly what 30 year old director Marc Price decided to do with his pocket change. His zombie flick “Colin” cost just $70, and that includes every possible expense—the actors, the editing, the directing, the camera equipment, the make up, and everything else required to make a full length film.

But how did Price manage to stay so insanely under budget? Easy. He begged, pleaded, and hyped via the social network. Zombie films, after all, have a very loyal and very specific cult following thanks to films such as “Night of the Living Dead” and the more comedic turn “Shaun of the Dead.”

Price utilized this knowledge to rally fans of the genre through venues such as Facebook and MySpace. By posting the simple query, “Who wants to be a zombie?” they managed to get fifty people in full zombie regalia ready to be a part of the film for nothing other than the fun of it.

But there are lots of filmmakers and other various artists that promote their work on social networking sites and still don’t receive the acclaim and renown enjoyed by Price and his little movie that could. So what was his key to marketing success? Basically, he coupled the power of the social networks with an innovative and high quality product.

Google Trike to Debut in UK

google-trikeIt’s no surprise that Google has made it its mission to map every part of the world in the most detail possible. Checking out Google Earth and its intensive and detailed satellite imagery will convince anyone of this mission. But Google has expanded its project to provide even more detailed and ground level images with its Street View application.

By driving a car with a camera mount through the world’s roads, Street View is a global mission to map the world’s roads. But it has become immediately apparent that this is problematic in certain parts of the world. While the USA has an abundance of wide streets and developed back roads, other parts of the world have notoriously narrow or non-car friendly streets. Just think of the constricted, cobblestone ways of Rome to get an idea of the issue at hand.

That’s why the Google Trike has made its debut. A bicycle mounted with recording equipment, this can gather the necessary footage even on the roughest terrain or narrowest road.

But the trike is also a way to win over reluctant regions such as the United Kingdom. After all, the UK has been notoriously opposed to Street View, especially after several well publicized incidents with the program. For one, the street level cameras caught the image of a naked child, and then a Street View car was actually stopped and harassed into leaving in a small UK village.

International Pen Pal Correspondence Just Got Easier

google-translationWhile email has undoubtedly helped people connect with international friends, there is still a divide between people who don’t speak each other’s language. But Gmail and its latest features are currently helping its users bridge this gap.

This is because Gmail, already considered by many to be the most superior of all email providers, has recently announced the addition of translation capabilities. With a single click, Google Translate can convert an email from any language into a host of other languages.

While it won’t quite imbue us with the abilities offered by the fabled Babel Fish (Douglas Adams fans of the world unite!), Google Translate will work well enough for any Gmail user to be able to grasp what an email is saying in another language.

The applications for this feature are particularly useful for businessmen and women of the world, who can now communicate at a reasonable level with existing or prospective clients across the globe.

Interested Gmail users will have to activate this service, however, as Google Translate is a lab.

Google Expands Algorithms to the Employee Sector

google-algorithmWhile Google has made a name for itself by implementing its trademark algorithms into its search engine rankings, they have recently taken this number crunching one step further. Now they are applying algorithms to…their employees?

That’s right. Google has had some problem retaining the most creative and influential members of its staff, and they are starting to worry that this will have a negative impact on their long term ability to compete in the online market.

As such, Google has turned to what they know best. They created a multi-element algorithm that incorporates factors such as results from employee reviews, pay history, promotion history, and much more. Still in the testing stages, Google is remaining relatively tightlipped about the exact details of this algorithm.

But, in general, the algorithm is meant to identify employees that are likely to quit for any number of reasons. Google officials have noted that it’s already worked to identify people who say they felt underutilized within the company.

While it remains to be seen how effective this algorithm is for retaining employees, it’s certainly a smart move by Google to identify key employees who may be unhappy and considering leaving. By offering them incentive packages or other benefits, they might just keep the very people that will help them remain a dominant online force.

Pet Safety Site Turns to iePlexus Web 2.0 Program

pet-auto-safety-pic-2For many people, finding success in business means finding a product or a service that they are passionate about providing. And for entrepreneur Dawn Ross, that adage has truly proven correct. An avid pet lover and volunteer, Ross decided to launch her online business PetAutoSafety.com, a website dedicated to ensuring safe vehicle travel for both dogs and cats.

“I have always thought pet auto safety was important,” said Ross. “My dogs have always worn seatbelts, and I am happy to bring these safety products to other animal lovers.”

Converting a lifelong love of animals into a business venture, Ross attributes some of her success to her ability to empathize with her customers. Understanding that these customers demand high quality and effective products, Ross is sure to only carry products that she would trust with the safety of her own animals. This includes pet travel seats, car safety belts, travel barriers, safety carriers, a variety of dog seat covers, and more.

“I’ve always been a pet owner and an animal lover. In fact, the only time I’ve been without a pet is when my dog got out of the fence and was lost for two weeks,” laughed Ross. “I know how much these animals mean to my clients, because I know how much my pets mean to me. I’m proud to provide safety belts and many other products that help ensure pet safety during travel.”

Sometimes, All It Takes is a Little Insight

weezerFormed in 1992, Weezer is an instantly recognizable name in American pop rock. They’ve won Grammys, they’ve released six full length studio albums, and they’ve enjoyed the sale of eight million of those records in the US alone.

So why would an established band like Weezer turn to viral marketing? Because even highly successful and well known entities can benefit from this powerful means of marketing. As such, Weezer premiered the music video for their new single “Pork and Beans” on YouTube.

Aided by their established notoriety and the video’s use of many internet sensations, the music video became one of the most popular submissions on YouTube the week of its debut. The video’s subsequent popularity helped it take home the Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video.

But the YouTube video did more than further their renown. It also helped them better target their demographic. How? The band used YouTube Insight on their highly popular video. Insight is a free analytics tool that allows YouTube users to gather audience age, video views, and more.