Create your own YouTube in seconds

Newish social media tool, Fliggo allows its users to create their own video sharing YouTube-like site or video blog. Pretty neat idea, though why would anyone use it if they could just as easily set up their own channel on YouTube or create accounts on Vimeo, Veoh, Dailymotion, Metacafe, etc.? The answer may be in the ability to customize the appearance. Here’s more on what Fliggo offers and how you can use it.

One reason users may embrace Fliggo is the ability to customize your site by changing and editing your theme or color scheme. For examples, see here and here.

Interesting concept, but will it work? Y Combinator certainly thinks so. They help early stage start ups by funding the ones they truly believe in. As self professed techies, YC states:

We invest mostly in software and web services. And because we are ourselves technology people, we prefer groups with a lot of technical depth. We care more about how smart you are than how old you are, and more about the quality of your ideas than whether you have a formal business plan.

We’ll be watching Fliggo to see how it progresses, by looking at the Popular Sites section, it seems they are off to a decent start.

Picking the Right Networks

Social media and word of mouth marketing are definitely HOT, but as a nation bent on consumption, it is important to do the research before jumping in. Joining every network out there can be disastrous because you don’t want to spread yourself too thin, but with SO many to choose from, how do you know which one is right for you? Here’s a little help to get you started.

First, here are some reasons jumping in head first without doing the research can lead to disaster:

  • Choosing the wrong network can be a HUGE waste of time
  • While Facebook and MySpace may be uber-popular, it doesn’t mean they are right for you
  • Certain networks lend themselves better depending on your goal (think myspace for music rather than facebook)

Here are some useful resources for determining which network(s) are right for you:

List of social networking websites

List of social bookmarking websites

Chris Brogan on social networking

Choosing the Right Social Bookmarking Sites

Can Germs Catch Germs?

One of the best ways to engage your community across many social networks is to ask a question. By doing so, you’ll not only learn important things about friends, colleagues, customers, and perfect strangers, but you’ll also keep people interested. BBC Magazine recently ran an article called, The 101 Greatest Questions of All Time including gems such as “Where is the safest place to stand outside in a thunderstorm?” and “What is OK short for?”

WOM practitioners talk an awful lot about listening. And while there are many ways to listen, and many tools to help you listen, asking questions can sometimes speed up the “listening process.”

So what kind of questions should you be asking?

Well, that kinda depends on your goals but here are just a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Stick with open ended questions (yes or no questions are for surveys)
  • Ask easy to understand questions (stay away from jargon unless you’re sure everyone will know what you’re talking about)
  • Ask for feedback (people like to give their opinions and you could really benefit from a different perspective)

Twitter Gets Integrated Search

According to their blog, the growing popularity of Twitter Search has prompted the integration of the service that exists now as a subdomain on Twitter’s main site. Twitter is currently testing this new feature among a selected group of users. From Twitter:

Today, we’ve placed Search and Trends into the signed-in home pages of a limited set of accounts to get a better sense of how it works for folks before we release the feature completely into the wild. Most people will not see this test, just a small, random subset.

Here’s what it looks like…

By searching Twitter for messages, you can get a bird’s eye view of the conversations that are happening now. This is great for people that want to learn about new subjects, connect with others like them, or find out what others think about a topic, all in real time.

What this means for its users:

Because Twitter Search currently lives on a subdomain, users need to open a new tab or window to access the search features, this will allow them to do it all in one place. Additionally, this feature brings the terms that are currently “trending” amongst Twitter users to its main page, allowing users better access to hot topics.

We’re excited to see these changes make it through testing and become available for all users. What do you think?

Facebook: A Lesson in Listening

By now, you may have heard about Facebook’s changes to its Terms of Service. In a sense, the changes make it so that Facebook owns anything you put on their service, even if you delete your account (or delete information). Soon after these changes were announced, it’s users got pissed… Here’s what went down, and the implications…

Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg did respond, explaining away the changes, maybe in hopes of calming the storm a bit. The response seems logical, but as summarized in a Mashable post, Facebook’s stance seems a little too, “trust us, we won’t do anything bad.”

Now, however, after thousands of blog posts and tweets, and tens of thousands of members providing feedback on the subject, Facebook decided to reinstate their previous ToS while they figure out how to make the legal changes necessary without offending anyone.

That was quick.

Listening is important. With over 175 million users, Facebook could have easily lost a lot of the respect and credibility it has spent the past 5 years building if they simply disregarded the feedback from their users. Go Facebook!

Why this is important:

Your customers are not only your greatest asset because they buy your product, they can give unique opinions on how you or your employees conduct business, changes/improvements to your product, and much more. In word of mouth, listening is key, so make sure you are taking the right steps to listen and interact with your customers. If you need help, feel free to contact us, and we’ll figure out just how you can start to build your WOM equity.

The Race to Getting More Followers

Don’t get me wrong, we love Twitter. It has become an excellent source for networking, meeting new people, building community, and generating leads. One unfortunate byproduct of this has become a sort of unspoken race to see who can gain the most followers. But, does the number of followers one has determine how important or relevant they are? Not exactly…

There are many instances of attempts by people to gain a large number of followers. See TweeterGetter, the latest pyramid scheme-like system to attracting tens of thousands of followers. It is easy to see why some people have become obsessed with their follower numbers… When you look at people like @ChrisBrogan or @GuyKawasaki it is easy to think that their success stems from the sheer volume of people following them, and who doesn’t want to make $15,000+ per speaking engagement?

Many sources have spoken out about how the number of followers one has does not determine their influence or authority. Here are a few of them:

On Twitter, Followers Aren’t Really Friends

Attention + Influence do not equal Authority

It’s Not How Many Followers You Have That Counts, It’s How Many Times You Get Retweeted

All of this is just to say that as you go about building your Twitter account, remember that it is more about the people and the community you build, connections, and friends you make, than the number of “followers” you have. After all, this is Social Media.

Sometimes, you just gotta show ’em

Sometimes, consumers just need to see your product in action in order to make the decision to go with your brand. All brands have something different and amazing to offer, right? Well, not exactly (see: hammering nails, white out, etc.) For those brands that do have something different, it can be hard to explain that in an overcrowded ad space.

So why not invite consumers to try it? Although this can be hard as well (consumers have become just as skeptical of “free trials” as they have become good at fast forwarding through commercials), truly showing a consumer why your brand is right for them can not only turn them into customers, but potentially loyalists.

Here’s an example of a campaign for OMO detergent that does just that (click here for fullsize):

Teenagers and The Internet

A new poll conducted by CyberSentinel, reveals current trends in Internet use by teenagers. On average, they spend 31 hours per week online, almost 4 hours using social networks alone. With this volume of Internet use, and much higher volumes predicted for the near future, you’d be right to assume WOM will have a HUGE impact on how advertisers reach their targets.

Here’s how they are spending their time online:

* Downloading music 1 hour 40 minutes
* YouTube 2 hours 2 minutes
* MSN 3 hours 29 minutes
* Chatrooms 2 hours 5 minutes
* Virtual World sites 1 hour 55 minutes
* Homework/research 3 hours 10 minutes
* Shopping 1 hour 49 minutes
* Auction sites 1 hour 28 minutes
* Cosmetic surgery 1 hour 8 minutes
* Soft porn 1 hour 40 minutes
* Dieting/weight loss 1 hour 35 minutes
* Family planning/pregnancy 1 hour 32 minutes
* NHS Direct/Health 1 hour 22 minutes
* Samaritans 1 hour 1 minute
* Dating 1 hour 15 minutes
* Social networking 3 hours 47 minutes

Champion gets people talking

Recently, Champion launched its “Hoodie Remix,” a design competition where anyone can design their own hoodie using Champion’s drag-and-drop color and pattern chooser. One winner will receive $500 and their design will be produced by Champion.

This is how you get people talking about your brand. At the time of this post, over 53,000 hoodies have been designed and shared with friends, families, and perfect strangers online. Because the largest determinant to win is how many votes your design gets, designers are encouraged to share their design as much as possible. Champion makes it extremely easy to share, by providing a widget to be using on websites, blogs, etc. Here’s a widget for a hoodie I made:

Not only that, but Champion has a facebook page full of photos, discussions, and information dedicated to Champion, and all things sports.

Here are some reasons Champion, and this campaign are full of win:

  • On a Google Blog search, the term “hoodie remix” returned around 36,000 results
  • A Twitter search returns pages of references to “hoodie remix”
  • Champion offers a 10% off coupon after you create your hoodie
  • Their color and design chooser is amazingly easy to use

My only suggestion for Champion is to allow ANYONE to vote on their favorite design. Currently, you’ve got to sign up to vote. Allowing anyone to vote will easily get more people involved and provide even more massive amounts of impressions than they are getting now. Either way… hat’s off! Great Job!

How “social” are we?

Today I hopped on Twitter to catch up with friends and contacts that I haven’t spoken to this busy weekend. Upon logging in, I noticed a bunch of new followers. Yay! Sort of… Here’s a shot of the Direct Message inbox:

Some of these people are users that have followed me and then, this is the message I received when i followed back. With robotic auto-reply messages like these, how “social” are we, really? Twitter is a great place to connect with others like yourself or others you hope to form relationships with. Auto-messaging may hinder that by feeling like a piece of direct mail rather than a hand shake.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to receive a message from every person i follow; I just hope its genuine.

This is important to keep in mind when building a new or a current Twitter account. People know when they are being “sold” something, so take a second to learn a little bit about someone you’re reaching out to. After all, this is social media.

Having said that, I also understand that it can be hard to reach all your followers, especially if you’ve got thousands. Unfortunately, Twitter has sort of become an arms race to the most followers, but the number of followers isn’t as important as the relationships you make. For a great guide on what NOT to do, check out @PRsarahevans‘ post on how NOT to build your Twitter account.