Posts Tagged Tools

HootSuite Adds More Awesome to Hootlet with AutoSchedule – HootSuite Social Media Management


HootSuite / Hootlet has become one of my favorite tools to manage twitter accounts and my Facebook account and Facebook pages for myself and my clients.  I’ve tried many but this web based service seems to have the best of both words and I have come to expect it on all the machines I work on.

HootSuite Adds More Awesome to Hootlet with AutoSchedule

Post is in the News & Events Parent Category July 17, 2012 by Andy Au0

HootSuite adds more awesome to Hootlet with new features including AutoSchedule – a powerful new link share tool that determines the optimal time to schedule social media messaging. Now you can automatically queue messages throughout the day to maintain a consistent social media presence.

via HootSuite Adds More Awesome to Hootlet with AutoSchedule – HootSuite Social Media Management.

Hootlet – Time Saver

This Chrome extension is one of the first I add to any machine I work on.  It has saved me countless hours.  One of the new time savers is Auto-schedule feature.    When I’m pushing content to my to biggest twitter accounts try and space it out.  So you can imaging when you are pushing 20 updates the time management can get a bit tricky.  Now this is taken care of.   I have used it today and like it thus far.

Schedule Still Works

Now, if I’m managing a campaign for a client, I still manage the schedule manually.  I can release the updates to Twitter and Facebook based on the campaign we have designed.  This still remains so you don’t lose anything there.

Possible Improvements

Here are some ideas I would love to see in this new capability:

  • Load Balancing – As you put more updates in, they auto-adjust to spread out over time, maybe a range you give them.  9 to 5 or 7 to 7, don’t know.
  • More Automation – Since HootSuite is already watching, they should build in auto-responder capability.  That would be awesome.
  • 7 Drip Logic – Have a singe post/update  set for distribution X number of times.  The logic here is that a message doesn’t really sink in until it’s heard 7 times by the consumer.

So what do you think of the tool?  What other suggestions would you recommend to HootSuite.

Good Hunting!

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Google+ Local: Taking over Places?


English: Google+ wordmark

Mobile + Social Saturation

Here are some key things to remember when thinking about this topic.  The saturation level for smart phones is on the rise is all areas of the world.  In many parts of the word, people own more smart phones then PC’s in their households.  Phone books are becoming museum pieces (and catalogs are not far to follow).  I believe there is a big push in the industry to move consumers to tablet computing, making the desktop and laptop less dominant is the purchasing process.  Now with all that said, let’s look at the new shifts that are right in front of us.

Leverage Equals Change

Companies are working hard to get their data in the hands of mobile users.  Google consolidation or leveraging of applications and data into the Google+ platform is no different.  Right now Google+ is also providing mobile apps to access this information.  In my opinion, Google+ has been doing a better job then Facebook in this area.  It is yet to be seen if this latest change can be classified as an improvement, but Google’s actions are consistent with their past performance in removing older apps in place of newer ones.  For instance, we are seeing similar work being done to fold the Orkut users (still a large user base in Latin American countries)  into the Google+ platform so another app could be retired.

Lessons Learned

So what can we learn from this turmoil and churn in the social media and mobile space?  Below I have some thoughts for you to consider.  They all focus on the fact that life cycle of applications and the data of those applications are extremely volatile and need to treated as such.

Stay Flexible

Let’s face the facts, we are not talking about Yellow Page ads were we talk to a sales rep once a year and then mark in our calendars to review the purchase plan 11 months out.  We have to take a Guerrilla Marketing approach to this area of our marketing plans.  Be willing to invest in something, and leave it alone and move on if the situation changes.  Never holding on to something more then is absolutely necessarily.  Always attacking the mind of the consumer where ever it is found, and when gone, move on.  There is a reason why we are talking about Facebook and Google+ right now, and not MySpace, AOL, or Prodigy.

Be Vigilant

Stay on top of the trends.  Notice where your battle field (the mind of the consumer) is.  If the consumer moves to a new area, be aware of the change.  Stay on top of your stats.  If you start seeing a drop, find out why.  Never stop reading about what is happening in the mobile space.  Pay attention to the mobile app scene.  If this seems to much, then hire someone to do it for you.  Find an agency that will keep you in the right place so you can keep attacking the mind of the consumer.

Act Quickly

Back to the Guerrilla Marketing theme,  move into the space quickly.  Move out just as quickly.  Take over the areas you can master as fast as you can so you reap the rewards of being first, when the benefits begin to lose to the increasing costs, evaluate your position and consider making changes quickly.  Are you sensing the quick theme here.

The enemy advances, we retreat.  The enemy camps, we harass.  The enemy tires, we attack.  The enemy retreats, we pursue. – Mao Tse-Tung

Wrap Up

So for right now, you should be using both Google Places and Google+ Local (i.e. Pages) to drive people to your business or service.  Google is using both in search engine results, and I have evidence they are giving preferential scoring to them.

Would love to read your thoughts on this.  Please leave a comment.

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Continuous Learning: New Podcast List


The logo used by Apple to represent Podcasting

Image via Wikipedia

So if you are anything like me, you are in submission to the fact that there is more to learn in this world then you currently know.  The truly wise among us acknowledge that our current knowledge placed on the scale of all the knowledge will always find us wanting for the remainder of our days.

The trick is to stay on the cutting edge of information that helps us achieve our goals.  One of the ways I have tried to stay sharp on specific topics is by using podcasts.  I currently use iTunes (most convenient at this time)  and my Android phone, with the help of iSync.    There are a host of podcasts, mostly free but some cost nominal amounts, on iTunes that cover a wide range of topics.

New Updates on my Listening List

So here are latest additions to my listening list:

  • BeanCast – deep dive into marketing topics
  • EntreLeadership – Dave Ramsey‘s leadership and business podcast
  • Let’s Make Mistakes – design but irreverent with some foul language.
  • Marketing Over Coffee – quick ‘on they way to work drive’ worth of internet marketing news
  • Social Triggers Insiders – on of the authors I follow on Google+
  • This Is Your Life – leadership podcast

Dropped from my Listening List

  • No More Weak Days – Daily prayer and Bible reading.  Great concept but had a hard time struggling with the KJ and Message format in their reading plan. “1 Year Daily Audio Bible” is still my preferred choice for daily scripture reading (listening).

Lesson’s Learned

The important thing is to keep learning!  Don’t stop.  If you are starting a new project, search out a podcast and listen to it while driving or exercising.

I would love to hear about podcasts you have found helpful in your daily routine.  Share them in the comments.

Good Hunting.

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Flickr improves sharing options


In my weekly review of feeds concerning Web 2.0 and Web 3.0  I ran across the news that Flickr has improved their ability to share content with other sites.  As I continue to collect material for my “WEB 2.0 for Students” class that I’ll be teaching at our local college, this one hit home.  I use Flickr for my photo repository.  So it is nice to see new feature showing up in this service since I haven’t seen to many in the last year.

Flickr adds to sharing options, now easier to share photos across the Web

by Erez Zukerman on March 31, 2011 at 03:30 AM

It sure is nice to see some new developer action over at Flickr. The relatively slow-moving photo-sharing service has just announced a new sharing update, which consists of several new and easy ways to embed or link to your photos:

via Flickr adds to sharing options, now easier to share photos across the Web.

So the thought came to me that this is nice but what could be implemented to improve the experience:

  1. Photo comments made on Flickr would also be shown on the shared item in Facebook.
  2. Post comments made on the shared item would also be available on Flickr.
  3. Multiple authors – One pool.  One of the biggest problems I have with my clients.  Many photographers, one common pool to associate them with.

Either way, Flickr is a great tool to use to keep all your photos.  It’s worth a good look at if your in the market to implement such a capability.

Good Hunting.

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LinkedIn Today gives you social news from your peers


LinkedIn Today

LinkedIn has introduced a news aggregation service called LinkedIn Today. This delivers a personalized news experience, letting you quickly discover the top headlines of the day based around what your connections and industry peers are reading and sharing.

via LinkedIn Today gives you social news from your peers.

Well this really isn’t much of a surprise, but it is a feature I think is long overdue.  Anyone that has a large network will tell you that it’s difficult to keep up with what everyone thinks is important.  We started receiving emails with the ‘top stories’ from our networks some time ago.  I really thought that new email was helpful.  Now if they can merge in my delicious and stumbledupon and (name your tagging tool here) to this mix and make it contextual based on something you also have deemed important then we are well on our way to heading to web 3.0, in my opinion.

Either way, this is a welcome add on to LinkedIn and I look  forward to the tool’s growth in capability and features.

Good Hunting.

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Team Collaboration Gets Better


Screenshot of the MindMeister mind map editor

Screenshot of the MindMeister mind map editor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my favorite tools for team collaboration and idea collection is MindMeister.  I use it for organizing my thoughts on large blog posts (see Marketing Warfare: The iPad Battle and Mind Map: The iPad Battle), helping my boys organize their thoughts for their school writing assignments, and many more instances.  Because it can update the mind map in real time with many users signed into the map simultaneously, I have found it to be valuable when working on conference calls while trying to keep the team focused and not hindering the collection of tangent ideas in the middle of a thought stream that is being debated.

MindMeister 4.7 has been announced with some improved features:

  • drag and drop attachments and images directly from their desktop to a selected node
  • Google API used to view attached files rather then requiring you to download them
  • a new social sidebar
  • Auto Condensing of maps
  • iCalendar task feed has been updated
  • Team Edition will now find custom branding options

Check out MindMeister, I think it will help you organize your thoughts and projects.

Good Hunting

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Affordable Video Phone for Home & Business


Affordable Video Phone

Small Business

I can’t remember if I have ever posted anything about hardware.  I often find myself contemplating process improvements,  marketing tactics, and internet tools which I assume will help small businesses improve their market share.

I know a version of this affordable video phone was on Donald Trump’s show “The Apprentice” and this launched the phone to new heights, but I can’t help but think that the video phone would be a great tool for a small business to improve it’s image.

Family Friendly

This phone in the hands of families across the US and world will enjoy video conversations with each other.  As more house holds have the phone the more fun each family will have in hold video calls with each other.  I can’t wait until all my family in Germany have these phones either.

Phone Information

ACN’s newest revolutionary video phone gives you enhanced features that you can only get here!

  • See the person you’re talking to
  • Unlimited calling to the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico
  • Send and receive video mail messages
  • Project your conversations onto a larger screen
  • Bonus Feature: Display photos with the Digital Photo Frame

Added Benefits

  • Automatic Network Detection: easier for customers to set up their Video Phone
  • Enhanced Video Clarity: images/colors are sharper
  • Automatic Bandwidth Adjustment: automatically adjusts bandwidth setting to match available bandwidth speed
  • Enhanced Light Sensor Camera: camera offers higher pixels for improved A/V sync plus more clarity in the video
  • Dual Speakers: audio speakers offer stereo sound quality
  • New, Sleek Interface: user-friendly options for exceptional customer experience
  • Softkeys: allows user to make selections from the specific screen for easy navigation
  • Large 7″ screen: for face-to-face conversations

Plus traditional calling features you expect:

Caller ID • Call Forwarding • Call Waiting • Do Not Disturb • Speed Calling • Three-Way Calling
Call Return • Auto Redial • Voice/Video Mail

Phone Plans

Family Plans
$11.99 /month/ line

$159.99 per Video Phone

See your loved ones more often! Purchase additional Video Phones and add up to four lines to your account. Calls on Family Plan lines can only be made to other ACN Digital Phone Service customers.

Virtual Phone Numbers
$4.99 /month/ line
Stay local! Create a virtual phone number from any domestic area code – no matter where you live.

International Calling Plans
Bring your world a little closer. Take advantage of discounted rates on our 300-minute plans
European Plan $4.99/mo
Asia Pacific Plan $5.99/mo
Central & South America Plan $9.99/mo

See the Phone Here

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Exceptionalism: Focus on the Never


Firstly, I need to apologize up front that I don’t remember where I got this idea from.  It is not my idea, I have used variations of this exercise in my consulting practice,  but I wanted to pass it along.  One of the problems I have when listening to a host of podcast products  is that at times I am not in a good position to stop and take notes.  This idea I found on either Phil McKinney’s “Killer Innovation” or on a “Venture Voice” interview, but that is a guess at best.

We all need tools to help us think of new ways to solve old problems.  We have a lens that we use to evaluate data as it comes in.  Every so often we find a new lens which helps us provide a breakthrough in performance or understanding.  In this case I wanted to share with you a new way of looking at things with a hope that it produces exceptional results.

Always / Never Brainstorming

This is an excellent team exercise.  I would expect at least two large hanging paper sheets and a pile of sticky notes and some felt tip markers would work nicely.  Here are the steps:

  1. Define the topic or focal point.  Try to be specific.  I prefer these questions NOT be open-ended if possible to make sure you are focused as possible. Here are some example:
    1. “What are the first impressions of our company/organization/church?”
    2. “What’s the last thing people remember about ?????”
    3. “What do people expect when they ????”
    4. “What happens when a person doesn’t ????”
  2. Have the team brainstorm things that ALWAYS happen (Time limit 10 minutes or until the ideas dry up)
  3. Now, have the team identify things that NEVER happen for this topic (Same time limit, and keep the answers relevant)
  4. Take a break – you just spent 20 minutes hurting your brains! (5 minutes)
  5. Nominal Grouping next – spend 5 to 10 minutes  moving the stickies together that are talking about the same thing (duplicate stickies if the idea is relevant to two groupings)
  6. Focus on the Never – now ask the team to come up with ideas that would make the never become a reality and be considered exceptional. (20 minutes)

Innovation Bonus Exercise

Now I did get this great idea from a Phil McKinney podcast as I was driving back from a State Cup soccer tournament.  This is the first time I heard this exercise described this way and should provide you some great ideas and insights.

Our brains are programmed to stop thinking once we think we found the right answer and often we leave ideas in our head and never share them because of this reason.  You as the leader or facilitator need to force your team past this creative barrier.    Here is the bonus exercise:

  1. Have all your nominally grouped ideas placed on a grid.
  2. Each idea group should run across the top of the grid
  3. Each idea group should run down the left side creating a matrix.
  4. In each matrix box, FORCE the team to come up with a new idea.
  5. Use this Hybrid list of ideas for innovative ways to move forward.

The ALWAYS List

This list represents the performance bar that all expect from any organization in the specific category examined.  This list becomes the managers performance list.  The manager will use this list to help identify talents and skills needed by the staff to accomplish these objectives.    Mentoring, training, feedback and possibly team reconfiguration (fire/hire) might be needed to help the team reach the Always Base Level, if they are not already there.  It is imperative that the manager get his team to this level and make sure they stay there.

The NEVER List

The Never list (and Innovation Hybrid List) is used by leadership to determine what the group will take on next.  An assessment needs to be performed first.  Do we have the right talents?  Do the correct skills exist at the right level to take on the new item?  What do we gain by taking on the new item as it relates to our competitors?  How long can we have an advantage before the competitors catch up to us?  And let’s not forget, how much will this cost us?

Marketing Warfare Correlations

Now before I get emails asking me how this relates to Marketing Warfare let me break this down quickly.  This exercise will work for three of the four areas of the strategic squares.   I’ll try and break this down by market position:

Market Leader – you are using this exercise to create a Defensive Marketing Plan.  The goal is to create a moving target for the competitors in your space.   The ultimate object of these  repetitive successes would be to discourage your competitors from attempting direct attacks on your position.

Market Non-Leaders – since you are not using this exercise to attack the leaders weakness within their strength, this exercise should be used in creating a flanking attack and would work best if you focused on an area in which the leader is currently not focusing on.

Local or Regional Leaders – this exercise will produce great ideas for guerrilla marketing warfare plans.    Many of these ideas will place you in a strong competitive advantage to the national companies that cannot respond to the dominance you hold in your local or regional spaces.

Please let me know what you think of this post.  I hope it helps you and your organization.  Your feedback is most welcome!

Good Luck and Good Hunting!

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Cuil — the world’s biggest search engine?


Fist of all, I wish this cuil.com crew nothing but the best. I’m a big fan of competition, and want to see advances in this field of search engines and search marketing. I think it will only happen when pressure is applied by these types of companies, so I support them as best I can. Now, that said ….

Biggest?

OK, bravado is nice. I like the attitude, but biggest?

I did some very basic searches, mostly my name to my company name along with some of the phrases I’m monitoring for my clients and the results were light compared to the legacy search engines. There is no comparison really at this time. Cuil is definitely collecting info from blogs, but even that was light. I’m sure it will continue to grow and I will check on it periodically.

Features

Some of the features they are supporting at this time:

  • Drill Down
  • Roll-Over Definitions
  • Tabs
  • Navigation Suggestions

Somewhere I saw a Firefox add on for Cuil, if I find that I’ll add it as well and see if that works as well. (Oddly, I did a search for it on Cuil and couldn’t find anything about it.)

Good Hunting.

(Strange, I’m getting a lot of hits on this page based on the misspelled name Culi also, but not sure why?)

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  • Reading Goal

    2012 Reading Challenge

    2012 Reading Challenge
    Tim has read 7 books toward his goal of 24 books.
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