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7 Social Media Activities To Outsource

Blogging

Blogging comes in many forms from corporate blogs with a controlled message to personal blogs with information about that latest weekend retreat with friends. Businesses often find it difficult to provide the necessary resources to blog consistently with a message that is satisfactory to upper management and provide enough value to both marketing and SEO departments. This is where outsourcing can play a role in your blogging strategy.

Using contractors familiar with your industry is a great way to build unique content, open a dialog with your audience, build a community and generally step into the new form of customer communication.

Areas where outsourcing can assist in blogging include:

  • Blogging ideas
  • Market research
  • Content research
  • Ghost writing
  • Editing
  • Blog commenting

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7 Social Media Activities To Outsource

The New Twitter improved user interface for its Web site

Twitter’s new Web functionality is a significant evolution that promises to attract more visits to Twitter.com, improve Twitters’ interactions with content and each other, and ease adoption for Twitter newbie’s.

Twitter is about to make the biggest change to its interface in years when it adds photos and videos in the stream. What will it look like?

Besides the Twittering and Social Networking, I also plan to attend the upcoming events in IIMB by passionate members of OMEBang by next week.

Here is the link for the registration: http://omebang.eventbrite.com/

If you are at the event, don’t be shy and come say hello, I look forward to meeting new faces.

Size Really Does Matter – At Least When it Comes to Twitter

Back in the days when newsletters first hit the Internet, they were usually published in text format because many email clients did not support HTML email just yet. One of the problems many publishers faced was long URL’s being split in half and not being clickable to the reader. To solve this problem, shortening services started to spring up that would take a long URL and cut it down to a reasonable size.

With the popularity of Twitter and the confines of 140 characters, URL (link) shortening services are in high demand once again. When you have such a small amount of space to work with, no one wants a long URL cutting into that precious real estate.

There are a variety of shortening services to choose from, each having their own specific features and benefits. Most of them do work hand in hand with Twitter, allowing you to Tweet the link once it’s been shortened. If you’re an avid Twitter user this is a useful feature to have.

Some only offer a basic shortening service, but many allow you to view stats and metrics on your newly shortened links if you register. If you’re doing any form of social media marketing, it’s nice to be able to see if anyone’s actually clicking on all the links you’re sending out to the “Twitosphere”, or posting on Facebook and other sites. Tracking will give you an indication that you’re being heard and that people are actually paying attention to what you have to say.

Another important thing to look for is whether or not the shortening service uses 301 redirects. This is the most search engine friendly, and forces the search engine to look at the destination URL, not the domain of the shortening service itself. A 301 stands for a permanent move, not temporary. What this means is, you want the links you’re sending out to be given credit by the search engines, not the shortening service itself. Make sense?

Many allow custom URL’s, which allows you to use your name or company name in the links you create. This is great for branding purposes. Think of it as a vanity license plate. Instead of being just a regular URL it’s your own special creation.

Let’s review a few options:

  • http://TweetBurner.com A bare bones tracking service which allows you to shorten any link and then share it instantly with your Twitter followers or Friendfeed. Basic stat tracking is available so you can see how many people clicked on your link.
  • http://Cli.gs – A shortening service which includes full analytics. You can create links that include your brand in them. Free to use. It’s easy to send your links to Twitter with one click.
  • http://Bit.ly – This is Twitter’s default shortening service and used by Tweedeck.com. It allows you to track performance of your links in real time. Easy to share generated links on Twitter, Facebook, even Gmail. It also offers many extra tools and plug-ins such as a browser bookmarklet and browser sidebar.
  • http://MyTwitterToolbar.com – Free to download and comes complete with a massive list of URL shorteners as well as over 50 Twitter tools. Also includes 100 Twitter tips.
  • http://www.TwitClicks.com – A fairly simple service that allows you to shorten a URL immediately and tweet it. Can also see complete stats. Detailed stats show percentage of browsers used and locations of those who clicked. Check out a short video on how to use it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1ScPeCd6X4
  • http://www.ExpandMyUrl.com – This service takes a shortened link and gives you the true URL that it points to. Perfect for the paranoid individual who wants to know where the shortened link will send them.
  • http://www.TwitPwr.com – A short URL service which also includes analytics and stats. Their home page shows the top 25 users with the most TwitPwr and also a “hot URL” list of those URL’s that get the most clicks. Free to use.
  • http://1link.in – A multiple link shortening service. Simply type in a list of links and get one link back for all. If you click on the newly shortened link it goes to a page showing details of what sites that link points to, and asks if you want to open them all. If you answer yes, multiple windows will open for each site.
  • http://Go2.me – A different type of link shortening and discussion service which creates shorter links which also contain a chat window to exchange comments with your readers. It’s also easy to share on Twitter, Facebook or email with one click.
  • http://Tw.itter.me – You can customize the shortened link with your name or company name. From what I saw no stats are available.
  • http://budurl.com/ – Another popular service which shows you a real time view of your inbound clicks. This free service allows you to track up to 250 Budurl’s. They offer 3 pay levels of service from $4.00 a month to $49.00 a month. There is a 21 day free trial on any paid service. You can start out free and upgrade your account at any time.
  • http://Tr.Im – Trim those long URL’s and instantly share them on Twitter. If you want stats, you’ll need to register. Offers many different tools and extensions to make for easier sharing, such as a Firefox extension that allows you to view your tr.im stats and tweet your new links quickly.
  • http://short.ie – Keeps all your shortened links in one place. Tracks clicks and allows you to instantly share your list with friends. It can also be connected to your Twitter account for more features. Customization of URL’s also available.
  • http://hootsuite.com– Not really a URL shortening service, but has the ability built in. Hootsuite is a “Twitter Toolbox” loaded with features which are all free. They use ow.ly as their built in link shortener.

If you’ve never tried a url shortening service, you’ll want to find one that fits your needs and start to really utilize it in your online marketing activities. Finding out who’s clicking on your links, time of day, where they’re from and other information will be very valuable in your ongoing efforts as an Internet Marketer.

Remember, when it comes to social media marketing T.M.I (too much information) is a good thing, unlike when your Aunt Ethel wants you to sit with her and go over every detail of her latest vacation . One is helpful, the other just downright painful.

Twitter Can Now Know Where You Tweet

193131918_bb9c12d3a2Location is one of the features that a lot of the Twitter apps tack on using things like the iPhone’s geolocation services. It’s a cool feature, but not enough people use it. But they are likely to now that Twitter is adding native support for it with a new API.

At first, Twitter is releasing this as a developer preview, co-founder Biz Stone notes on the blog today. This means that third-party apps will be the first to have access to the feature. But Stone also says that support for location on Twitter’s mobile and regular site will come as well. And it’s important to note that the feature will be opt-in, meaning that by default it will be off for users, but if they want to use it, they can turn it on.

And they should, because this is potentially a very powerful new feature. Just imagine if a friend tweets something and you can see exactly where they are when they do it. There are no shortage of location-based services attempting to take off right now, but Twitter already has a huge user base and depending on how developers use this new API, Twitter location could replace or bolster many of them. And that’s good news because the main problem that many of these location-based services have is a lack of users.

Just imagine if a service like Foursquare was able to send your actual location to Twitter alongside the name of the place you are at. That would save the people who follow you on Twitter but don’t use Foursquare the hassle of looking up the location of the place you are at if they want to meet up with you. It’s potentially powerful stuff.

Are there privacy implications? Sure, but that’s why it’s important that this feature is opt-in, at least for now.

But Twitter is hardly the only big player entering the location arena. Google has made a series of moves recently to show its support of location-based computing going forward. None is bigger than its Latitude service which is a location-based social network that shows you where your contacts are. And Google also recently introduced location support for Google Maps and the mobile version of its search engine, so if you search for something like a restaurant on your iPhone, it can know where you are and serve up a result close by.

And continuing the Facebook versus Twitter saga, it’s interesting to note that Facebook has yet to introduce anything involving location yet. I say “yet” because I think we all know it’s coming. And that will be a big wildcard in the location space because unlike Google, Facebook’s primary purpose is to be a social network where you keep track of friends. And whereas Twitter has tens of millions of users, Facebook has over 250 million users, so how they would react to something like location will be interesting. Hopefully, like Twitter, they’re smart enough to make it opt-in also, at least at first.

One way Facebook could have quietly integrated location is with its new iPhone app, something with former TechCrunch developer Henry Work noted the other day. However, they didn’t do that, and now with Twitter in the game, they risk once again losing out to them in a hot new field.

Delicious Freshens Up With Twitter

picture-13Delicious was once one of the hottest social sites on the Internet. That’s why Yahoo bought it in 2005. But it’s weird now to even think about it as a social site, I get more of the utilitarian vibe from it these days. People still use it, but it’s more of a repository. Or, to put it another way, it’s where links go to die.

Contrast that with services like Twitter, Facebook and FriendFeed where people are sharing and re-sharing links all over the place, and having conversations about the content, making it feel alive. And that’s what Yahoo wants to tap into now, with another revamping of Delicious. And not surprisingly, this revamp is very Twitter-centric.

The biggest difference is that the main Delicious homepage is now an area called “Fresh Bookmarks.” Previously, the main page contained the most popular bookmarked pages on the site, but that is now relagated to the second tab. This redesign is all about freshness, which is to say real-time-ness. Delicious looks at and refreshes this list of links every minute or so based on what people are bookmarking and what they’re tweeting. This model, while flawed (I’ll get to that), does make the main page of Delicious more interesting.

“Design” is the most popular tag on Delicious, according to Yahoo, and that meant a “Popular Bookmarks” area that was dominated by things like “200+ Paper Brushes For Photoshop.” For some people, that is useful, but for at least just as many, those types of links are not useful in the least bit. The redesign is an effort to move away from that.

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One problem I see with this Fresh Bookmarks area is that the tweets it uses in its equation, often don’t have anything to do with the content being linked to. Yahoo did this on purpose, noting that some 81% of tweets don’t contain URLs, and they still wanted to use data from the most amount of tweets to populate this area. So instead they use keywords in tweets, but this often results in tweets populated below the shared content that have absolutely nothing to do with it.

And on top of this new Fresh Bookmarks area, when you bookmark things, Delicious now allows you to also tweet your links out at the same time. This should be useful to people who want to save stuff for later, but also want to let others know about it. You can also easily email links to people, and send them to your Delicious contacts. This is all done through the bookmarklet.

And the search aspect of Delcious has been completely revamped as well, making it easier for power users to dig through things they’ve bookmarked in the past. The new search area also features rich content, so if someone shares a YouTube video, you can play it inline. The same is true with Flickr images.

picture-12

All of that is great, the problem is that it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. Delicious has long just been about saving links and not about sharing them like many of the new, more versatile social sharing services out there. If Yahoo wanted to tie the product into Twitter, it should have done that months ago, to get ahead of the curve, rather than at the back of it.

The problem now is that there are plenty of other services people are already using to share stuff on Twitter. Most people still just paste links right into the update box, and Twitter uses Bit.ly to shorten them. This is allowing Bit.ly to collect a huge amount of data about what people are sharing — something which it could use soon to take on Digg and Delicious.

And on the bookmarking side of things, the trend seems to be towards simple. Mike likes a service called Pinboard, I’ve long been a fan of Instapaper. Both require less effort to use than Delicious, and are quicker.