Twitter Testimonial Tip

Image by Bruna Pires

We all know that testimonials can be powerful tools for our business. So what are you doing with them after the first excitement wears off? One of the techniques I encourage folks to use when creating their Editorial Calendar is to share testimonials from satisfied clients. Your clients who have taken the time to let you know they appreciate your service can become part of your brand ambassador team.

Testimonials are easy to share when they are in the form of an email or letter. However, with all of today’s tools at our fingertips why limit the variety of your reach? With smartphones and apps it is also very easy to do this through audio and video.  Think about asking your happy client to share an audio or video testimonial about the service or products your business provides. Hearing the energy and excitement of someone who is “in the moment” can really drive home the point of how well your business does it’s job.

Of course, there is more than one way to capture customer testimonials. Thanks to a recent Twitter update, we can embed some of those testimonials into our website. Here is an example of some kudos that Susan Price and myself received from one of our workshop attendees:

Be creative with the different platforms you can use to capture those testimonials. You might be surprised to discover exactly how many folks have said great things about your business. Your employees, existing and potential clients will be happy to hear about all the wonderful things your company is doing when seen through the eyes of a happy client testimonial.

Want to know the other creative ways Twitter embed posts can be used in your business? Then head over to HubSpot to discover 7 Epic Uses of Twitter’s New Embeddable Tweets Feature.

The Latest Bright and Shiny Social Network: Google+

It’s only been out for a few weeks, but already Google+ has taken the tech and social media community by storm. Bold statements like, “I Have Moved” and “I’m Leaving Facebook” have been touted from many an early adopter geek. I’ll admit my foray into the Google+ or G+ as we now refer to it has been very exciting. It is a clean and simple network. Yet in that simplicity is something quite refreshing and complex.

The ability to further define who is in your network via Circles is the first piece that grabs your attention. Most social networks categorize the people you are connected to as friends. Some of them allow you create lists and groups for some separation but it has been clunky and cumbersome to navigate in networks like Facebook. One cool feature is the ability to put your connections in multiple circles. For example my husband and sister are in a family circle but they are also in a friend circle. Making it easy to share things that are family specific with them only and also share more general posts that are for friends.

G+ comes with a 10 person video chat feature called Hang Out built right into the web interface. Nothing to download or pay for. You can create public hang outs or have a private hang out for family, friends or dare I even say it, clients. Features like this are not new, but are typically found in higher end paid premium products. In Google+ it is free. One thing I found even more exciting was that the person speaking is highlighted within the group video chat. It is really quite the nice touch.

The mobile app (which was just released on the iPhone this week) has an additional feature which is sure to make your next event a richer experience. Huddle is group text-like messaging very similar to the way GroupMe works. I have used GroupMe with much success at events like SXSW. It makes communication between your friends who may be dispersed over many panels and buildings a simple group conversation experience. We were able to meet during breaks and lunch using GroupMe. Huddle works much in the same manner except without having to worry about text charges which unless you have an unlimited plan (like me) could be a problem.

At this stage of the Google+ project limited field test, there are only personal profiles available which leaves business on the outside looking in. There were several businesses who took the leap into G+ setting up their companies using the personal profile accounts. Google has stated there is a corporate profile version in the works with an anticipated release later this year. They have begun suspending accounts that were created for business with a promise to launch the corporate version soon. In a recnet TechCrunch interview, Google continues to say they are in a limited release with access to Google+ being by existing member invite only. Although with a 10 Million+ existing user base within just a few weeks into it’s limited release, they said they were surprised at how successful the network has been achieving a faster than expected audience.

Google+ is not open to the general public at this time, but if the early adopters raving reviews are any indication, this looks it could be the next big social network. What does this mean for giant behemoth Facebook? I wouldn’t sing a swan song for Mark Zuckerberg and his crew just yet.  With close to 700 million folks on Facebook, Google’s 10 million is a long way from taking down the giant in the social networking world. Given that there is currently not a way for business and enterprise to participate in the space and being closed to the public leaves Google+ still the social playground of the early adopter geeks.

I for one am glad to be part of the “kick the tires” Google+ crowd. It is reminiscent of the early days of social media ‘ala 2007 Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, how does the ‘little network that could’ fare against the fickle shiny object crowd? Twitter is facing some internal challenges as they expand and grow. There have been more than one Google+ user state that their use of Twitter has diminished considerable with their increased use of Google+. Twitter does offer something no other network does, Chats. With over 400 Twitter chats listed, there is no shortage of folks who engage on twitter en masse. Personally, I am a big fan of the 140 character network and hope that it continues to be a relavent space for meaningful connections.

Are you using Google+? If so, share your thoughts and reactions to the newest network to take the social community by storm.

 

Open Letter to the San Antonio Podcasting Community

To My Fellow Podcasters:

Creating and being a part of the San Antonio Podcasting Group has been an amazing experience. It started as a way for me to find local podcasters to share my excitement about, what at the time was, a groundbreaking medium.

It’s been 4 years since those humble beginnings back in September 2005. So much has happened since then. We fired up the early adopter tech/geek crowd and have done some first time events here in San Antonio. From our small group the New Media/Social Media Community was born.

From PodCamp to BarCamp to TweetCamp we have been pioneers involved in building what is now a wonderfully diverse and vibrant community. Pat yourselves on the back for being part of the group and making things happen.

As New Media evolved to Social Media we have been using the Meetup site less and less. What was once a chatty message board has become as silent as a library. It’s not that we aren’t still interacting online, however the location for our conversations have been happening on Twitter and Facebook.

There doesn’t seem to be a need for us to continue to host the group on Meetup. As we are well aware, Meetup charges organizers a fee to host a group. As the use of the Meetup platform has become anemic, it appears there is no need to continue with the group in it’s current form.

There are plenty of places for us to host our group outside of Meetup. There is Ning http://ning.com and even Facebook has a group feature. We still have the SA Podcasters blog site which Nathan Lott and Leslie Baldwin have been heading up for the last year.

I propose we allow the Meetup group to close and continue the conversation on either Ning or Facebook. I believe Ning allows us more features as well as an extremely feature rich platform. It’s my first choice, however I know that for the most part we are all already on Facebook so adding a new group to our existing profiles would be easier. I’m willing to go either way.

I won’t miss Meetup. I will miss interacting with you, my dear Podcasting Buds. Knowing you has enriched my life immensely.

Thanks for joining the fun!

Cheers,
Jennifer Navarrete

Too Busy to Blog?

What happens when so many phenomenal things are happening that you just don’t have the time to write about them? Sure, I tweet about everything that is going on, but Twitter is simple. I can almost do that with my eyes closed. Writing a blog post about all the cool stuff does take more of a thought process than 140 characters and certainly more time. To give you an idea about what I’m talking about, here are some of my tweets from the last few days:

10/3/08 @epodcaster: Good Morning! Getting ready for some First Friday Co-Working fun at Firecat Studio. Topic: Guerilla Marketing for the Entrepreneur

10/4/08 @epodcaster: AIR San Antonio is off to a great start. The teams are working hard with their non-profit partners. Great job Sharon, Susan & Todd

10/4/08 @epodcaster: basking in the SMC Austin & San Antonio Mixer afterglow. Great time and phenomenal conversation.

10/7/08 @epodcaster: Good Morning! Getting myself ready for today’s Social Media Breakfast in Austin. Looking forward to chatting it up…after coffee of course”

And finally, I submit the tweet that got me thinking about writing this blog post:

10/7/08 darylcognito: @epodcaster it would be interesting if you podcasted or blogged about those events.

There is no doubt that each one of those tweets could easily be it’s own blog post. Tweeting about these events is certainly easy and can be done on the fly. Whereas a blog post takes a more concentrated effort. Given that I’m becoming more of a mobile tweeter, blogging does take a back seat.

However, Daryl makes a good point. It would be interesting to podcast or blog these events. While a tweet does give a glimpse of what is going on, it doesn’t really get into the meat of the event. I’ll compare it to eating an hors d’oeuvre at a fancy restaurant when what you really wanted was a big fat juicy burger. Sure it’s still food, but nowhere near as satisfying.

The solution? It’s a good thing to expand beyond the 140 character limit of Twitter. As a matter of fact it’s a great thing. The challenge will be for me to recognize those blog worthy tweets. Feel free to chime in, like my Canadian friend Daryl did, to let me know if I’ve missed the obvious post.

Cheers!

Is Your Account For Sale? Andrew Baron’s Twitter Account On eBay

For Sale Sign

Is selling your social network community account like selling a car, a house or a business? Can it be a simple transaction for some cold hard cash? Christopher Penn has a post giving the example of credit bureaus selling a list of names in their database to lend support to the idea of selling a large community account database. Is the credit bureaus selling lists of names any different than what Andrew Baron has done by posting his Twitter account for sale on eBay?

I say yes.

Yes, because of the intimate nature of a social network community like Twitter. Of course I could just unfollow and block him (or whoever) from following me. There is a bigger issue involved in this action. Trust. I trust the folks I’ve chosen to follow with trivial and sometimes not so trivial aspects to my life. On a daily basis we communicate bits and pieces of our lives. Now I have to wonder if the person I developed a relationship within a community will still be the same person later.

It is true that Andrew could have sold his account without informing anyone beforehand. Had he done so the new owner of the account could have wielded considerable influence. Recipients of the tweets would be none the wiser to the change in ownership. I do applaud his choice to be transparent, including the community in the sale. In a sense allowing us to be part of the process through the conversations, comments and tweets during the auction.

At the same time I am not crazy about the place this takes us the social networking community. We all know there are spammers who have discovered sites like Twitter. They’re the ones who are talking at us and not with us. Following 3000+ people with only have a few hundred following back. You can spot them a mile away because their tweets have links in every single one of their posts. So database mining, linking, selling isn’t new to Twitter. What is new is having someone with “community cred” put a For Sale By Owner sign on their personal social networking community account.

Other than trust, another thing that comes to mind is the selling of a community when it is tied so closely to your personal brand. A business brand is one thing. If you sold your business then it would stand to reason that all properties (real or virtual) would be transferred to the new owner. So if you sell your Twitter account what about your other community accounts? What about Pownce, Plaxo, LinkedIn or Facebook accounts? Are those also for sale in a separate auction?

What if the highest bidder is an entity that promotes things that are the polar opposite to your own beliefs. Say you are a “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” person and the new owner is a “Baby seals make the best fur coats” person. Do you want that tied to your personal brand?

My own thoughts are that such an action diminishes the value of social network communities. The true power of these communities is their intimate and personal nature. The folks I’ve met through Twitter are folks with whom I have enjoyed interacting. I have developed a sense of who they are and they of me. I have had the pleasure of meeting quite a few of the folks from my Twitter community. The power of the social network community is further enhanced by these face-to-face meetings. As of yet, I have not been disappointed or surprised. Everyone has been exactly who they are on Twitter. Even though we are meeting for the first time, it’s like I’m meeting with an old friend. So now take that dynamic and put it up on the auction block for sale to the highest bidder. How exactly does that translate?

I understand that Andrew left a comment on Chris Brogan’s blog that the auction of his Twitter account on eBay is an experiment. So perhaps the sale of the account isn’t real but a gimmick or perhaps research material. The auction ends in 10 days. I am sure there will be many blog posts, articles and debate surrounding this long after the auction is complete. One thing for sure, Andrew Baron has certainly stirred things up.

Social Networking Tools = Employment?

At the recent Co-Working event held at Firecat Studios the discussion came around to what employers are looking for now in new hires. As a self-employed gal who gladly left Corporate America years ago, normally this type of talk has me going through my grocery list while tuning out. However this time was different. What I found fascinating about this was that one of the new criteria for employment consideration is familiarity with Social Networking Tools. Things like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to name a few.

I had to stop the conversation to make sure I had heard right. You mean the stuff that most folks get into trouble doing at work is now what could get you hired? The answer surprised me. While it isn’t the only criteria used to make an employment choice, it certainly can put an applicant on the short list.

Now let me clarify this point a bit before you go off and amend your resume. It isn’t enough for someone to say they have knowledge of the Social Networking Tools. Nope. Having a Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn account is all fine and dandy. Sure, signing up is easy. The real test is how you have used the Social Networking Tools.

Do you participate?

For example, if you signed up for Twitter back in March 2007 during SXSW and haven’t used it much since, it might be time to dust off your account and rattle off some tweets. Thought Facebook was for college kids? Not anymore. You’d be surprised at who and what you’ll find there. Wonder about the value of LinkedIn? It’s where you’ll find some of these new hires that not only get it, but love it.

Don’t know where to start? Friend a few folks and get to know the community. Slowly but surely you’ll find yourself not only understanding the value of these tools, but having a good time in the process. Still not sure if this is for you? Well let’s take it one step at a time. You can always start with me.

Microblogging

Twitter
Jaiku Pownce

With all the cool ways we have to stay connected to one another it’s no wonder that the simple things seem to win out in the end. Blogging in and of itself requires a bit more thought and planning. Whereas microblogging is done quickly and on-the-fly. It suites my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants style.

I’m able to express my thoughts, ask questions, get feedback and so much more. All in small bits. What’s even better is that the feedback is instantaneous. If I need an answer to something I know I can count on my friends in the Microblogging-sphere to come to my aid.

Having been an active member of Twitter for the past 9 months, I consider it an essential part of blogging. It has been well worth my time to participate in this small but daily bit of conversation. As a matter of fact, you might say it’s my preferred method of communicating.

The sense of closeness within in this tight knit community is never stronger than when our fellow microbloggers need help. Sickness and sorrow have moved my fellow microbloggers, Connie Reece & Dan Mosqueda, to create fundraising initiatives towards breast cancer research and unexpected funeral expenses. An amazing accomplishment for such a simple medium. I applaud the folks who take this simple but effective form of communication to a real and human level. That is what it means to be a part of the microblogging community.