Will People Use Periscope for Business Shaming?

26 May

Periscope1When it comes to customer service, there are a few clear leaders who do everything they can to maintain customer loyalty and positive word of mouth. For every Zappos.com and Southwest, however there are many mom-and-pop businesses and even major brands, which can stand to learn a few things about customer support.

For example, how many times have you waited on hold for more than 20 minutes before a customer service representative could take your call?  Have you ever purchased something online and tried to return it, but the instructions to send the merchandise back just didn’t make any sense and there was no clear channel to get help? From shipping mix-ups, to payment issues, there’s a million ways a transaction can go wrong, and a million other ways that poor customer service can make a bad situation even worse.

Today when these things happen to us we turn to social media, especially Twitter, to rant, complain, or seek help. On Twitter, you can call out the business in question and try to solicit a response or even a “make-good” in return for your hassle and frustration. In response, many businesses have started using Twitter as a major channel in their customer service and support efforts.

So what happens when you throw Periscope into the mix? Will customers soon be using Periscope to publicly shame businesses in real-time? (If you missed the whole “Periscope thing” click here to find out about it.)

If you’re waiting on the tarmac for no reason on a flight, now thousands of viewers can watch you live out your misery as you complain about the airline in question on Periscope. Perhaps you are sitting in a restaurant waiting, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour for your food to arrive (and it isn’t a white table cloth kind of place). You can just turn on Periscope and livestream your experience until the waiter figures out what you’re doing. If 50 other potential customers can see how bad the service is, maybe the manager will be quick to offer an apology, an explanation, or a free meal!

I am not advocating that people go out and use Periscope in this way. I just think it may be a really big use-case for the app that’s been overlooked so far. I wonder when users will figure out that they can complain, abuse, and humiliate businesses with live video? (Maybe it’s already happening right now!) Does this kind of use go against Periscope’s terms of service or community guidelines? I guess we’ll have to wait and see . . .

(Image and instructions to make a DIY periscope via Wired.com)

Remember To Write Like A Human

26 Jun

I am a big fan of the HBO show, “Silicon Valley.” I love how the show pokes fun at all the annoying tech tropes, including startups and their buzzword-laden elevator pitches. Today I was cruising articles on LinkedIn, and I stumbled upon a company in my news feed. I started to read the company description to find out what it was, when a wall of buzzwords hit me in the face.

The company description was so buzzwordy that it almost felt fake, as if someone had strung together a few sentences from one of those hilarious online business-speak generators. Below is the description with all the words blacked out except for the buzzwords.(Apologies if this is your company).

write like a humanI still don’t really know what this business does and this experience reminded me of how important it is to write simply and clearly. Here’s a blog post on convinceandconvert.com that I really enjoyed. This post gives a few great before and after examples of how to write like a human and achieve greater success with your copywriting, marketing, and even interpersonal communication.

4 Content Marketing Tools to Enhance Your Strategy

10 Mar

content marketing toolsWhether you are just getting started with content marketing, or you are a content guru, the never-ending process of generating and sharing online can be quite overwhelming.

First you have to create high quality blog posts and articles, then you have to find amazing third party content to curate across several social media networks. The entire strategy won’t work unless you get your content in front of the right audience at the right time and find influential social media users to share it. Oh and don’t forget to test, measure and tweak as you go!

To help you save time and streamline your strategy, I’ve rounded up four helpful content marketing tools and applications. Use the recommendations below to enhance your content discovery, promotion, and engagement.

1. Topsy

Topsy can help you conduct competitor research to inform your strategy. Get started by searching for keywords in your industry. Then analyze trends across the most shared content around these keywords. Look at blog topics, headline structure, blog length, blog layout, tone, and more. If there’s a buzz-worthy blog circulating in your industry, you may even want to compose a timely response post and link back to the original. Topsy can help you to identify what’s being talked about and best practices for content marketing success in your niche.

2. Triberr

Triberr links to a Twitter account and helps you build connections with influencers. The platform is made up of groups or “Tribes” who blog about a certain topic. You can start by following a tribe and engaging with that tribe’s content. If you are an active participant in a Tribe, then the chief may choose to promote you to a full member. Full members can submit their own content to be shared by the group. Becoming a full member on Triberr grants you access to a valuable network of influencers who will promote your future content. If you don’t see a tribe that fits your needs, try starting your own.

3. Buffer

If you are logging into each of your social media accounts separately, or jotting down links for content you want to share, then you are wasting valuable time and energy. Streamline your content marketing efforts by scheduling updates across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus with Buffer. Buffer browser plugins allow you to schedule updates on the fly as you discover new content online.  The platform also features robust analytics so you can test different headlines and the best time of day or day of week for sharing on each network. You can measure engagement through clicks, retweets, favorites, mentions and total reach. Buffer also has a slick mobile app and integrates with popular tools such as Followerwonk, Feedly, and WordPress.

4. Outbrain

Outbrain offers two ways for marketers to enhance their content strategies. The first is an “engagement” feature, which recommends personalized links for your website visitors based on their interests and behavior. By showing visitors relevant links to your other content, you can increase time on site and push visitors to higher converting pages. Outbrain also offers an amplification service, which allows marketers to submit original articles and blogs and set a CPC budget (the minimum daily spend is $10). Outbrain then uses the budget to place your posts on high quality news sites like the Wall Street Journal or People.com. Outbrain-sponsored content appears as recommended reading links and the site offers full tracking and reporting.

What are some of your favorite content marketing tools? Please leave your suggestions and tips in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Pete O’Shea

How Social Signals Impact Search Behavior

22 Feb
Screen shot 2014-02-22 at 9.55.07 AM

Image From the Study shows eye-tracking data where one subject skipped the first two non-annotated results, focused on the socially-annotated results, and then clicked on them.

I came across a recent Google study about how social annotations impact users’ interactions with a SERP.

The full text of the study, “Perception and Understanding of Social Annotations in Web Search” is available online.

Here’s an excerpt from the study’s conclusion. To me, this language indicates that, based on searchers’ behavior, social signals will become even more important in the future:

“As the web becomes increasingly social, more and more information signals come from social sources. Users expect and demand to be able to search for socially-sourced information. Appropriately making use of social annotations to explain these social search results, therefore, becomes a necessity. While much work has gone into using social signals for search, much less is known about how users can and will make use of social annotations to make decisions during search sessions….

As web users become more social, they bring their social context to search and they expect and demand search engines to make use of this social context. Our research is a step toward this direction by investigating how social annotations affect user search behavior.”

The Takeaway?

This study shows that users are gravitating toward search results with social data and authorship snippets. To stay ahead of the curve, keep building influence across social networks and get your Google+ profile, pages, and authorship set up. Search will only become more social in years to come.


35 Top Tools for SEO, Social Media & Content Marketing

3 Feb

moz robotHave you seen the Moz 2014 Industry Survey yet? The survey polls 3,700 SEO and marketing professionals about their behavior and outlook for the year.

Content Marketing Will Be Big in 2014

One takeaway from the survey is that content marketing will be a big initiative in 2014. Content creation was named as a top five priority across the in-house, agency, and independent marketers surveyed. Moz also reveals that the demand for content marketing has increased 71% year-over-year.

In addition to industry insights, the Moz survey shares the top tools used for SEO, social media marketing, and content creation. Below are the results for each category (plus five picks of my own) with links to the tools for  you to explore!

 Top 10 SEO Tools

  1. Google Webmaster Tools
  2. Moz
  3. Open Site Explorer
  4. Majestic SEO
  5. Screaming Frog
  6. Bing Webmaster
  7. Yoast
  8. SEMrush
  9. ahrefs
  10. Firebug

Top 10 Social Media Tools

  1. Facebook Insights
  2. HootSuite
  3. Moz
  4. Bitly
  5. Followerwonk
  6. TweetDeck
  7. Klout
  8. Buffer
  9. Twitter
  10. Topsy

Top 10 Content Marketing Tools

  1. Google Trends
  2. Google Alerts
  3. Google Insights for Search  (now merged with Google Trends)
  4. G+ Trending
  5. Reddit
  6. Haro
  7. Moz Fresh Web Explorer
  9. MyBlogGuest
  10. Topsy

Britt’s Additional Picks for Content Marketing Tools

  1. Hubspot
  2. Curata
  3. Outbrain
  4. Feedly
  5. Raventools
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