Posted by: gavinstokes | June 30, 2011

The interent will tell you what you want

A lot of sites are now tailoring content specifically to you, seems like a great idea right, does away with all the rubbish. But the problem is you end up inside whats called a filter bubble where your content horizons are very limited. Great video on TED talks about it.

Posted by: gavinstokes | June 28, 2011

Crowd sourced vehicle development

Over 14 weeks ago DARPA decided to see how long it would take crowd-sourcing or co-creation (which was mentioned in a previous post) through private industry to to take a vehicle from concept to working prototype and the results are quite impressive. Check it out here.

Posted by: gavinstokes | June 24, 2011

Free Online Storage

Very quick post about on-line storage. If you havent put your toe in the water on this topic here’s some suggestions. Basically online storage is somewhere you can store your files for easy access on any computer. With some clients they install a folder on your machine which becomes the one stop place to drop files you wish to share.

With others such as Sugarsync you decide which folder you want to be able access from other machines. All offers give you web interface as well as a locally installed client, the client being the preferred tool for myself.

Not only can you access from other desktops and laptops but you can also install a free app on your smartphone which will allow access to your files on the move, might sound like overkill, but try it and I guarantee you’ll use it at some stage.

So the top three  for me would be

  1. The most professional would have to be Sugarsync 
  2. In joint second place would have to be dropbox and zumodrive both pretty much do the same thing.

Posted by: gavinstokes | June 24, 2011

Trolling for follows

This is a quick post on a bug-bear of mine, people following others on Twitter in the hope of receiving a follow back. This is one of the more annoying things within social media. The main reason being it tries to circumvent or even automate the whole core value of social media platforms which is, building honest useful relationships with a fan base or group of customers.

Following someone on twitter in the hope that they will follow you back is a waste of your time and at the very least annoying the person you have randomly decided to follow. It says to the person that you haven’t bothered to find out who your following , what their interests, or how they relate to what you’re offering.

I’ll give you an example, today I found that I had a new person following me, great somebody thinks what I have to say is interesting, WRONG. They couldn’t be further removed from my interests and values, it turned out to be “The United Reformed Church” (sorry no link, I don’t want to encourage them). This lot are obviously following me in the hope that I will follow them back, not for nuggests of spiritual  wisdom…..

(“If it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever.” Woody Allen”)

Behaviour like this marks you as a new type of internet troll the worst type of person online, who’s opinions people with  two brain cells to rub together, ignore. So please don’t be a troll, follow somebody for what they have to say not for what you can get from them.

Posted by: gavinstokes | June 23, 2011

They’re giving it away

So, back to the green grocer analogy  in the previous post.  If you want to build a following it helps if you can give something away, all well and good for a green grocer you might say but how do I do that in a digital world, well its the same thing.

Take up and coming Irish band “The Gorgeous Colours”. When trying to get their latest album released they offered fans the opportunity to obtain early release versions of their album by providing funding to have it produced. This is a model which is used on many startup venture capital sites such as kickstarter. Not only does this help you source funding but it also helps you build your fan base.

Lady Gaga did something similar recently by using Facebooks Farmville to reach existing fans and new fans by setting up her own online farm and gave fans the chance to listen to new Lady Gaga songs before the launch of the album. The fact that this was the only place to get these songs generated huge media interest.

Groupon coupons do something similar they provide companies with already established user base which can be targeted with special offers. Although if you don’t already have your social media platform up and running you will miss out on user feedback and support.

Again its obvious stuff, what your doing here is rewarding people for being subscribed fans and at the same time generating word of mouth in your product/service/art you don’t have to shoot the legs out from under yourself  just offer a small reward. I think some people get a little overwhelmed by tech involved. But if my greengrocer has been doing it for 40 years there’s no reason you can’t.

Posted by: gavinstokes | June 16, 2011

Social Marketing is it really all that new.

I think there there may be a lot of small business owners out there that are looking at social media and all the guru tips and tricks and thinking to themselves “What exactly is new here”. A lot of small local business have been implementing and practicing some of the basic core values of social media long before even the Commodore 64 (for those of you under 30 its one of the first personal PCs) came on the market. Take for example the following guru tips

  1. Use what you have, use your packaging, branding, store front, stationery..etc.
  2. Word of mouth, build word of mouth, how do consumers view your product/s, influence customer opinion
  3. Share and share a like, it’s all about creating something people can spread and share.

Sound like great and obvious quick points for building your social media fan base and platform, right? Well it’s not wrong but you could apply the very same points to my local Greengrocer.

 Better picture pending

  1. They use what they have in the way of their fresh produce its always on display, and the fresh fish on Friday looks great, they stock the front of the shop and use their flatbed delivery truck to increase display space to the front of the road
  2. Word of mouth, this family have it in spades they know how to talk to customers, a customer is not just a sale to them its someone they share a joke with, have a bit of natter with about the kids, discuss politics and a bit of gossip
  3. Share and share a like, again my local Greengrocer has this down to an art, it comes as naturally as breathing to him. He gives you a little extra here and there, throws in the few bruised peppers for free with the one you bought, gives away or sells for next to nothing stock which he cant hold due to it needing to be fresh. In this day and age people cant help but share their experience with others.
Basically what I’m saying is, its not about the technology. Technology is a tool, an enabler if you haven’t got the quality building material to start with and don’t understand the basics, technology can do nothing for you. Forget the Scoial medai guru talk to your local family run Greengrocer.Google maps link. 
Posted by: gavinstokes | June 9, 2011

Grow a Loyal Fan Base? Four Experts Tell You How

Social Media Examiner will host a free online broadcast Monday, June 6.

Join Michael Stelzner (author, Launch), Mari Smith (co-author, Facebook Marketing), Joe Pulizzi (co-author, Get Content Get Customers) and Jay Baer (co-author, The Now Revolution) for three hours of FREE live instruction

Posted by: gavinstokes | June 8, 2011

Facebook Facial Recognition

Facebook is turning facial recognition for tagging on by default. Not sure about you but personally I wouldn’t be to happy about this. Do we really need something like this and what are the future implications of this combined with Facebook’s approach to user privacy.

Facebook is fast becoming the default space for people to represent themselves online (even if everyone looks the same) and at the same time it seems to play fast and lose with users privacy, usually dealing with complaints by adopting a take it or leave it attitude. In a recent interview about privacy on Facebook Mark Zuckerberg, the young CEO of Facebook  was quoted as saying…

“one of the good things about the Internet is you can just kind of build something, and people will choose to use it or not, and that’s how we win debates.”

This is quite a blase approach to peoples concerns over the security of their personal information and how its used. Facebook is moving more and more towards the monetization of the Facebook platform, through the selling of access to its captive audience and their information.

Most people might not see this as major concern, but considering the rate that Facebook is growing (but still failing to turn a profit due to no business model) and how ingrained it is becoming as part of our day to day lives, it is worth considering where will Zuckerberg’s approach to dealing with security lead.

Posted by: gavinstokes | June 7, 2011

Tribes and social media

How can tribes and being a leader induce change. Interesting TED-Talks video by Seth Godin. Seth looks at how tribes and groups of people on the fringe can spread an idea and create a movement. This is essentially what socially media is about, taking people who have an interest or love of your idea or product and making them part of your tribe, allow them to be the voice that spreads your product/idea.

You dont have reach the whole web just the few hundred which may then become a few thousand, basically its about organizing interested groups.

Posted by: gavinstokes | May 30, 2011

Foursquare for beginners

Not really sure how relevant Foursquare is within Ireland, with predicted numbers of about 4000 – 4500 users it seems to be slow to gather users. Its certainly taken of in the US and a few companies in Ireland are starting to use it. With smartphones numbers in Ireland expected to reach 1.5 million by spring 2011 it could be one to watch.

Foursquare is a location-based social networking website based on software for mobile devices. This service is available to users with GPS-enabled mobile devices, such as smartphones. Users “check-in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application by running the application and selecting from a list of venues that the application locates nearby.Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes “badges”.

It also introduces a gaming element in that  you can compete with your friends by earning points and badges based on where, and how often you check in, and the more often you check  will increase your chances of becoming mayor of  your local bakery

Foursquare has  potential as a way for businesses to better connect with their customers and client base and aid in developing word of mouth via social media.

For a company dipping their toe into geo-location marketing it can seem like quite a daunting and at times pointless exercise due mainly to poor implementation. The key thing here as with all social media is value, you must be providing some sort of added value to your customer. Theres a great article on Mashable which explains the key points to get right when starting out.

  1. Dont create a overly complicated special
  2. Ensure staff are trained to use foursquare
  3. Use Foursquare statistical tools
  4. Give customers rewards  but dont eat into profit
  5. Ensure you advertise in the real world that your using Foursquare
In the US, Starbucks award special ‘Barista’ badges to regular customers and offer discounts to the Mayors of individual stores.
With just over 1 million users, its nowhere near as popular as Twitter or Facebook but the difference here is that it brings the virtual on line world into the real world via geo- location and ties it to actual physical locations. It still faces the issue of needing GPS to be turned on which in turn eats battery so a user must remember to turn on their GPS and check in. This does affect the ease of use and integration with daily life  but battery life for smartphones is increasing all the time.  But with Foursquare adding 15,000 users  and getting 600,000 check-ins each day its a social media platform that’s on the rise.

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