Search engines are an odd field. Fifteen years ago, there wasn’t a unified term when you needed to search the internet for something. Yahoo, MSN, AOL, Google, and many other sites acted as a way to bring order to the internet by placing it into meaningful categories. Google won the battle by a landslide. It’s name even became a verb meaning to search the internet for something. Bing popped up a few years ago, and it is slowly adding features that allow it to do things that Google cannot. A few years ago, Bing started to integrate with Facebook to help users get their friends suggestions when going to a restaurant. Now Bing is fusing with Twitter to create a very different searching experience.

As of today, Bing has expanded it’s functionality to add Twitter searching to its growing list of tools. Anyone can search a Twitter handle or a hashtag to see what is all trending in Bing. You may be wondering why this could be even remotely useful, since Twitter already has its own searching system. This is speculation, but I can see this being useful in SEO, especially businesses that have an active social presence.

Let us say that someone starts tweeting at a business, and the business responds. Instead of that interaction being left only inside of Twitter, that now brings the company higher in search engine rankings. Because of the new search algorithm, the time a business now spends talking with their consumers online has a direct impact on how they will appear when people try to search them. This could be monumental in showing the impact of social media on a larger scale. This is bringing a way to categorize and display how a business interacts and helps its consumers, as well as bringing a documentation on how past problems were handled. However, this could be a double edged sword as well. If a business doesn’t have a strong following online, there is less a reason for consumers to interact with them, lowering their SEO rankings.

Overall, I’m curious to see what this new functionality will bring. It’s hard to take on the biggest search engine in the world, but given enough reason, there is a possibility that Bing could catch up, update by update.

 

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Twitter can seem daunting for businesses to pick up. There are over 500,000,000 tweets sent out daily, and it can seem very easy to simply become a number lost in the sea of information. However, don’t let that deter you from jumping into one of the most transparent and engaging forms of social media to talk with your fans. Trevor Sumner over at LocalVox made an awesome infographic to help business owners get a grasp on how to use Twitter, and it got me thinking on what I could add to it.

Twitter can be menacing with the amount of data thrown at you. However, that can be easily tamed with a few apps that can help organize everything into meaningful categories. Tweetdeck and HootSuite are fantastic tools for taking all the data coming in through Twitter and moving it into manageable categories. You can create specific columns for tweets at your handle, people you follow, and even divide that further to people that have come into your business. You can respond from the apps themselves, which makes keeping an eye on what’s going on even easier.

If you haven’t worked with Twitter before, the 140 character limit is a blessing in disguise. Instead of having all the space you want to craft your message, you need to figure a way to condense it to important information. But where you are limited, so is everyone else. You are able to go through more information in less time due to the condensed nature of Twitter. While sometimes spelling will change to keep the character count low, the overall message will not change.

Twitter is fantastic for customer service as well, since it is purely transparent. While you can direct message, doing a direct reply or tweeting back allows everyone to see the how you handled a customer’s problem. It shows that there are people behind a company rather than just the idea of a business. This kind of customer service helps to humanize a business and make going there an experience rather than an event.

 

Any questions on Twitter? Feel free to comment and they may be the topic of the next article!

 

Image courtesy of the Twitter blog: https://blog.twitter.com/sites/all/themes/gazebo/img/ios_homescreen_icon.png

I am all for convenience, as well as simplification. When I first read about Yahoo’s new home screen app, Aviate, I was a little skeptical as to how well it would work. I had tried a custom loader on my previous phone when I had it rooted and it didn’t do much for me, so I went back to the classic home screen. However, in testing out Aviate, I am happily surprised at how smooth and intuitive the interface is.

 

Where most phones are able to customize widgets and apps very easily, Aviate takes that a step further. While keeping the basic swipe interface between screens, Aviate also lets you customize what your phone is used for. Want your phone to be business during the day and entertainment later at night? Aviate can do that. You can have your productivity and CRM apps available from 8-5, then as soon as you get home you can enjoy your entertainment apps without them tempting you during the day.

 

You also have your basic weather, national news, and local news as a screen with location based alerts so you know what is all around. Looking for a place for lunch? Let your phone let you know what is near by simply swiping over a screen. You also can have your calendar synced with the app, so you can easily see what meetings are still coming up.

 

I’m looking forward to new updates Yahoo does with Aviate, but in the small bit of time I’ve played with it so far, I would highly suggest it to make your home screen more efficient.

Now that I’ve taken a new job, I looked back and realized that I had poor follow through in keeping my blog updated. With that in mind, it is my new goal to not allow myself to waver in updates with more varied content, and I am now setting the goal of having at least 3 blog posts go out each week; ideally five. 

 

With that being said, this post is a little bit more of a personal anecdote combined with some tips on how to bring a small business higher up in the Google rankings. I would like to thank Forbes Magazine for the reminder of how local SEO actually helped me as a consumer and not a business.

 

When I moved to the Fox Cities back in January, I knew nothing about the area. I had passed through the area while driving to school and coming home, but I never took the time to stop and learn what was here. Since I hadn’t met many people in the area, whenever I wanted something, I put my trust in the all knowing machine that is Google. When searching simply Mexican Restaurant or Italian Restaurant, it brought up so many places I never would have driven past, or even near, with my daily commute. Between seeing an online menu and reviews, it significantly helped me figure out what places I wanted to try. Google was great in helping me get a better idea of what the local flavor was, and help spread the word of my awesome experience. You never know who will become your next brand evangelist; make sure that they can find you online so they can spread your word offline.

I realize I haven’t posted anything in awhile, and I really need to change that.  I shot myself in the foot by not trying to keep up on trends, and it took a post about curation to get me exciting about sharing again.  Mashable is excellent in stirring up thought, and one of today’s articles has done that quite well.  People don’t have to become a leader in writing original content to be relevant in the job market; sometimes they just need to know who and what is going on.  Posting original articles are useful, but that curation is still king.

Social media is cluttered by the me Me ME mentality.  Giving posts that are about sharing information or trends is seen as a way of helping others, as well as showing your expertise.  Sharing these articles helps to get you connected with the people who are making history in the industry, be it a thought leader or someone with a new ground breaking idea.  The constant barrage of updates can show innovation.  The curator knows what is going on, as well as who is trending.  Even without adding their own input, the curator helps to filter out not as relevant articles in favor of the new exciting ones.  By connecting with them, it helps to build a network which could be more valuable than the information they are sharing.  These connections may even get an invite to a Google Hangout or someone asking for input on a blog post.  There is nothing but gain with curating content, besides maybe friends asking why there are no pictures of cats in status updates.

Many have tried to document and categorize features for what it means to go viral.  These documentations include pictures, catch phrases, and how easy it is to share the object.  However, Mashable is rolling out something that may shake the very foundation on how things go viral.  They just released an app that claims to predict what internet trends will go viral and will email the user.  What does this mean for something going viral and the social media users?

 

Timing is one large aspect that many users gain if they are notified as something goes viral.  Usually an article or a video takes time to reach critical mass, but if the predictor works as intended, each user will be notified right as the application determines if an object will be viral.  Summing that up, we can reduce time for everyone to understand a trend and for it to become an internet meme.  This could bode well for places like Reddit where /r/adviceanimals constantly hit the front page, or even on Facebook in helping understand what people are posting or commenting.

 

However, something this amazing cannot come without a con.  Because it will be run by an algorithm, there will be ways to game the system to get articles artificially inflated and maybe give something exposure it does not deserve.  If people figure out how to abuse the algorithm, they can bring linkbacks to their sites in order to increase viewership and ad revenue from application emails instead of genuine shares. 

 

Due to a partnership with Samsung, the Mashable app is available on Galaxy SIII, S4, and Note 2.  It may extend out to other devices soon, but as it initially rolls out, these devices will be the prototypes that could pave the way of the future.  What are your thoughts on a program that can turn the future of viral into a system?

 

(Original article can be found here http://mashable.com/2013/08/15/mashable-velocity-android/ )

Many times, we plan for the worst.  We keep that extra fifty in our wallet when we go out, double check to make sure our doors are locked, and even just have a backup plan in case something goes wrong.   We can plan for failure and how to work around it, however, something else has a greater probability of killing an idea; not following through. 

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I was reading Kalen Kublik’s article on why being lazy can kill social media (http://www.360ideas.com/blog/small-business-marketing/execute-wholeheartedly-how-laziness-can-kill-any-social-media-effort.html) when it dawned on me that being lazy to the point of not following through kills even more.  People expect online to be transparent and speedy.  When they leave a comment that is unattended for a long period of time, they feel unimportant.  Social media is an excellent tool for creating conversations with customers, but it also creates a different sense of urgency for a business.  If they cannot adapt to the speed that a customer wants, they will only start to look worse.

Being lazy may not be the best way to describe a slow social media strategy.  People may not be informed, or it may not be high on their priority list.  However, for a social media strategy to work, it must have swift responses.  Otherwise, it can very well fade into obscurity.

Image source (http://2e130c55e0c2763c8a20-c7a4d0feffd26319b59c92c4aecae366.r18.cf1.rackcdn.com/639f35a4c973395eb439e0d314d035d2b77f78ff.jpg)