February 12, 2014

Top 10 monitoring tools for Twitter & other social media platforms

Image by √oхέƒx™ on Flickr

How to stay on top of what your customers are saying about your business

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, analytics managers, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Guest post by Megan Totka

MeganTotkaIf you’re going to use social media effectively for your small business, it’s important to stay on top of what’s being said about your business, your brand, and your industry. This roundup of social media monitoring tools can help you do just that.

One quick note: We’re not including HootSuite on this list, because most businesses already know about this one (and we’ve written about it many times in the past). However, if you haven’t heard of it, you should check it out: HootSuite is available in both free and paid versions and includes social media monitoring, automation, and analytics for multiple channels.

Our list contains five Twitter-specific tools, and five general tracking and analytics services that cover multiple social media platforms.

Did we miss any? What are your favorite social media monitoring tools — paid or free? Let us know in the comments! Continue reading

February 6, 2014

InContext: The coming onrush of contextual devices

VCs Josh Elman, Charles Hudson and Bubba Murarka (the three gents at center) were among the speakers on hand at InContext 2014 (Photo by JD Lasica).

Will contextual data create better user experience that drive more engagement?

Target audience: Tech professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

JD LasicaWe all know that the rush toward the mobile Internet is the mother of all megatrends. Less well known is a fascinating, still nascent subset of mobile: contextual mobile devices. That was the topic of an afternoon gathering yesterday called InContext 2014, hosted by EverythingMe yesterday at Terra Gallery in San Francisco’s SoMa district.

(It’s a crazy week for me. Here are the Flickr photos I shot Monday and Tuesday at Startup Grind in Silicon Valley. Yesterday, InContext. Today, attending CMX Summit to hear about community building.)

At InContext, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, mobile analysts and journalists exchanged views on what looks to be the Next Big Thing in mobile: contextual awareness. The idea, in short, is this: You give people what they want when they want it without them asking for it. Continue reading

February 5, 2014

The wrong and right ways to use humor on Twitter

Twitter can be a powerful social media marketing tool when used correctly.

Post by Brian Flax

Target audience: Marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

brian-flaxAs a social media manager and search optimization strategist, I’ve used Twitter extensively as a social media marketing tool for businesses across the United States. When I’m deciding what type of message to tweet, I always keep the business and its target market in mind. Humor is a great way to reach your audience, attract more followers, and obtain valuable retweets from other users of the service. However, it must be deployed delicately and with discretion.

In this article, I’ll discuss the importance of humor that social media marketing experts can use in their day-to-day marketing campaigns. We’ll also look at how humor, when used the wrong way, can hurt your campaign and anger your customers. Here are some real-world examples that can serve as a guidepost so you can avoid offending your audience. Continue reading

February 3, 2014

Calendar of social media, tech & marketing events: February 2014

Ev Williams, co-founder of Twitter and Medium, at last year’s Launch Festival (Photo by JD Lasica).

Guide to the month’s best conferences & events

JD LasicaIt’s only February, but it’s conference crazy season already! I’ll be at Startup Grind, InContext and CMX Summit just this week.

Among other notable events on tap: Social Media Strategies Summit, the Lift Conference, RootsTech, the Crunchies, Strata, Women 2.0 PITCH, Wisdom 2.0, Inbound Marketing Philadelphia and the Launch Festival, the best startup conference on the planet.

If you can’t attend the event in person, find out the hashtag and follow the goings-on on Twitter.

For the full year, see our full Calendar of 2014 social media, tech and marketing conferences. Let us know if we’ve missed anything in the comments. And drop me a line if you’ll be in the neighborhood! Continue reading

January 30, 2014

Does your website suck? Let us count the ways!


Gosh darn it all! An upgrade may be in order

Target audience: Business executives, marketing professionals, PR pros, brand managers, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers.

Chris AbrahamIwas on a sales call with a DC-area architecture firm looking for some website love. When I received my briefing, I was nowhere near my PC but I was near an iPhone 5 on iOS and two Androids, a Nexus 5 and Nexus 7. Nothing could load the firm’s website because the entire site and all its content were hidden in an Adobe Flash blob. Web applications developed with Flash and requiring a Flash-compatible browser suck, no matter how pretty they are. Also, Flash- or Graphics-based websites are not indexable by Google or Bing. And, what’s worse: the modern Internet runs on permalinks and Flash blobs don’t have direct link-tos, now do they? That sucks.

Let me count the ways that your business’s website might have been fine circa 2009 — but sucks big-time today.

Even if your aging site is findable, accessible, readable, and navigable via smart phone and tablet, it may well be hard for you, yourself, to access and update it using modern and free platforms like WordPress. Are you still sending your site updates to your IT guy in MS Word who then implements updates … eventually? Remove the IT department shackles and come into the 21st century, my friend: rich-text editing, spell-checking, hyper-linking, keyword-suggestion, and the ability to upload your own graphics and photos! WYSIWYG formatting! All good stuff. Multiple-editors, workflow, and different levels of access and editing credentials. I mean, we’ve come a long way since Microsoft FrontPage. Continue reading