August 7, 2014

Does your online business community need a moderator or manager?

A manager does a lot more than just moderate online discussions.

Target audience: Business executives, brand managers, marketing professionals, community managers, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers.

Post by Andrew Lisa

Andrew-LisaIf part of your social marketing plan is the establishment of an online business community, you may be wondering if you need the help of a moderator or manager. It’s important to understand the difference between the two, what they do and how they can help you.

I’ve been a part of forums both with and without a manager, and there are benefits and drawbacks to both approaches. Continue reading

August 4, 2014

What makes an online community work

Amy Jo Kim

Amy Jo Kim

Why the best social networks must grow organically

Target audience: Community manager, marketing professionals, PR pros, brand managers, entrepreneurs, businesses, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Chris AbrahamWay back in 2000, Amy Jo Kim wrote the book on best practices and strategies on how to start, build, grow, and maintain online communities in Community Building on the Web : Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities.

If you can find a copy, buy one. Everything Amy Jo Kim recommends can be mapped perfectly to Web 2.0 and social network services — namely, her belief that communities need to grow organically and not be rigid, planned, communities. That is, more like London than Paris. Continue reading

August 1, 2014

Choose the right monetization model for your blog

Photo by Julia Manzerova on Flickr (CC BY)

Target audience: Bloggers, small businesses, self-publishers, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

Ayelet NoffEveryone has different reasons why they decide to create their own blog or website. Many use it as a platform to share their opinions with others. Others see it as a great way to build up their name or business.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus can also play a big role in a blogger’s effort to promote themselves, but they have their drawbacks too. Facebook is a great tool, but when it comes to self-promotion they use a pay to play kind of system where you only see limited content and if you want to be more viral you need to pay for it. Twitter is widespread, but also limited, a maximum of 140 characters per tweet will only get you so far. As for Google Plus, well, it may claim big numbers, but when’s the last time you actually hopped onto your account?

Anyone who runs a blog knows that it takes a fair amount of time (and sometimes, money) to create the kind of interesting content that keeps visitors coming back — or to entice others to contribute to it. Getting a return on your investment can be challenging, but for many bloggers and personal website owners having your own blog is a great opportunity to make some extra cash. Continue reading

July 30, 2014

Why Google Plus is the antisocial network


Google’s top-down approach doesn’t work when you’re trying to build a community

This is the second of a three-part series on Google Plus. Also see:
Hey Google! Here’s why Google+ is still a ghost town
Why Google Plus is more like a forum than a social network

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

Chris AbrahamOver the last few weeks I have been writing almost exclusively about Google Plus. The first article was a hopeful but disappointed look into the ghost town known as Google+. The second article was in response to those passionate G+ users who professed love for their online community home, Plus.

Well, in the words of my friend and colleague Ike Piggot:

“I really believe one of the issues with Google Plus is that it wasn’t ‘born organically.’ It was thrust upon us as an answer to a question no one was asking. It didn’t have a gestational period, and as such seems artificial. Like a little Android Baby, for lack of a better term.”

The virtual online community

Back in the 90s and early 2000s when online virtual communities were new to the web, three books defined the online community (and I recommend you read them all):

• The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier by Howard Rheingold
• Community Building on the Web: Secret Strategies for Successful Online Communities by Amy Jo Kim
• The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary by Eric S. Raymond

While the first two books are explicitly about community development online, the third is about the emergent nature of distributed, asynchronous, online community in its creation, growth, and maintenance of the Linux operating system. Continue reading

July 28, 2014

Top 10 small business tips for using Google Plus


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

By Megan Totka

Google Plus can be a powerful tool for promoting your small business online, in more ways than one. In addition to being an active social network with 250 million users, the features and tools of Google+ can help you improve search engine ranking, strengthen your industry authority, and make influential connections to grow your business network.

Here are 10 tips for using Google+ to power your small business marketing.

Set up your business’s Google+ page

1Similar to most social networks, Google+ allows you to set up both personal and business pages. If you’re not already using Google+, or if you only have a personal page, the first step to promoting your business on this network is to create a Google+ business page.

You’ll need a Google or Gmail account to link to. The process of setting up a business page is simple: head to Google My Business to choose the best business category, and follow the prompts to create your page. Continue reading

July 25, 2014

From telephone party lines to social media  


Photo credit: CC-BY, weelakeo, Flickr

The way we communicate is in transition

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

Ayelet NoffThere was a time when social media meant a telephone party line. Phones have come a long way since then, especially the introduction of hand-held cellular phones that could be carried in your pocket or purse. Nevertheless, for the most part, the telephone has remained a one-to-one communications device.

That might have been the end of the story – until the Internet and then social media emerged. Over the past 10 years, we’ve all been caught up in the fun and usefulness of being able to share and exchange ideas and information across the globe through social media. Not surprisingly, as our mobile phones got smart, we found ways to bring apps and tools from our computers into them, allowing today’s phones to act as conduits to the mushrooming social world.

Continue reading