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What is Google+ and What are the Benefits?

26 Jul

Google+ seems to be the next big social media frenzy when compared to Facebook and Twitter. Although Facebook does not restrict the amount of characters used in whatever you’re trying to say, some still seem to find the platform a little “less sincere” than that of Twitter. With Twitter, it takes a little time to come up with exactly what you want to say in 140 characters. For some, it’s easy to summarize, but for others, there’s just TMI to include!

Google+ allows people to connect in a more intimate environment, giving the user a chance to group their friends or family members into different categories. Google+ also includes a “Hangout” application, where the unplanned meet-up comes to the web for the first time. Google+ claims that until teleportation arrives, it’s the next best thing (although, personally, I don’t see much difference when compared to FourSquare).

One of the most fascinating things about Google+ is the user’s ability to share videos and pictures in an instant with whoever you’d like to share them with. On Twitter and Facebook, everyone can see what you upload, unless you send a private message. Google+ allows users to be more discrete with who they would like to share content with, which is definitely a benefit when taking privacy into consideration.

Another feature of Google+ that I find to be interesting is that they have embedded what looks like a Google search bar called “Sparks” where you can type whatever interest or topic you’d like to read about, and Google+ will provide you with everything you’re looking for. You know how you get bored on Twitter and Facebook if no one is uploading anything? Google+ will not disappoint.

Lastly, Google+ includes a BBM-like message thread called “Huddle” where you can include whoever you’d like to talk to. Planning an event or get together could not be made easier!

According to an article on cnet news, “at the same time that Google+ has captured 20 million members in just a few weeks, many have complained about the site’s requirement that they must use their real names in their profiles, rather than nicknames or pseudonyms. Many have also seen their accounts automatically suspended over such policy violations.” Google+ is currently working on the problem and has recently apologized for anyone who has had their account suspended.

I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited to get tons of people on the Google+ bandwagon!

Linnea

Millennial Job Searching

9 Apr

I don’t know about you, but I find job hunting very time consuming and challenging. My co-op workterm search is still under way and I am cutting it pretty close to my proposed start date of May 1, 2011.

Based on the article LinkedIn Edges Out Want Ads As Job Search Tool for Millennials on Mashable by Todd Wasserman, LinkedIn is becoming an increasingly popular choice for Millennials to search for their entry-level job after graduation.

According to a survey on Millennials, LinkedIn is replacing newspaper ads as a source of information about new jobs. Twenty-eight percent of Millennials plan to seek work through LinkedIn, as opposed to the previous percentage of 7%. The same proportion of respondents — 28% — plan to find work via newspaper ads, which has decreased by 6% since last year.

The survey was based on a February poll of 8,088 respondents, 73% of whom will be graduating and looking for full-time employment in two years. The chart below shows how respondents plan to apply to jobs.

An interesting finding from the report was that Millennials don’t find the size of the company to be a preference and that 64% of them plan to stay at their new job for two to five years. Another 24.1% say they plan to stay with their employer for more than 10 years.

According to Razor Suleman, CEO and founder of I Love Rewards, this presents a significant “opportunity for employers to make their Millenials happy,” and suggests that “companies put energy into improving their image among Millennials so they’ll want to work there.”

If the hunters are on LinkedIn, employers should take the initiative to be on there too.

Google Helping Small Businesses in Canada

31 Mar

While surfing the web and watching Dragon’s Den, I stumbled across an article posted today on Techvibes by Andrea Wahbe. The article described an important announcement made by Google Canada at the packed event they hosted with Kevin O’Leary in Toronto yesterday. This event was a live webcast which streamed across Canada online for all of those who could not attend the event.

O’Leary opened the live webcast by talking about the fact that “small business owners are the rock stars of our economy.” Kevin went on to describe the importance of businesses helping businesses, and emphasized the need for major players like Google to support small business owners as there is “no greater resource available to them than the Internet.”

Chris O’Neill, Google Canada’s Country Director, announced that Google will be offering free websites and .ca domains to small business owners across Canada. O’Neill went on to say that “there is a huge gap in Canada between where consumers spend their time and where small businesses are.” If business continue to ignore the fact that online marketing and social media are “not for them”, and refuse to have a website, O’Neill feels that this mentality is identical to refusing to have a phone number.

According to a recent Google study, a surprising half of the 2 million small businesses in Canada still don’t have a website. Chris O’Neill has found that most business are too reliant on traditional media, and fail to see the effectiveness of websites, with fears of technical difficulties and costs. By offering free websites and .ca web domains for small business owners, Google hopes to help small businesses take a step towards making it cheaper and easier to get online and interact with consumers.

Make All of Your Content Embeddable

20 Mar

According to an article on Mashable by Jennifer Van Grove, when surfing the web, most site visitors will stay on a page 250% longer when the site contains embedded media.

Sean Creeley, the founder of Y Combinator startup company Embedly, created a service that makes it easy for publishers and application developers to add embedded media to better engage their web users.
“The idea is to engage the user where they are,” says Creeley. “
We really want to get the user where they live, instead of making them try to jump through hoops to view multimedia content.” Embedly has the ability to take any URL or RSS feed and embed the important content onto a third party site. In fact, Embedly has created the consumer-facing Parrotfish — available as a Safari, Firefox or Chrome plugin — to bring the web’s media from more than 165 providers into the Twitter experience. Parrotfish enables Twitter to make all URLs and articles eligible within the Twitter website. On a daily basis, Embedly serves 5.5 million URLs to 1,100 sites.

Embedly powers the content embedding for a wide range of services (such as Yammer, Tweetdeck, Bit.ly, Bundles, Storify, Keepstream, and Reddit) so that URLs become live content you can see or hear on site. The Embedly customer can choose from a free plan with access to 250 providers or the paid plan that unlocks content associated with any URL or RSS feed. The paid premium service comes with daily, hourly and minute-by-minute breakdowns of the most popular URLs and domains, as well as Google Safe Browse security features to protect their site visitors against masked URL phishing tactics. Next week, Embedly plans to release an iOS library and Android library, which will let customers add embedded content into the mobile experience. Exciting stuff! Who’s interested?!

True Originals Campaign Gone Wrong

5 Feb

We’ve heard it all before. Social media is NOT meant to be used unaccompanied. It is meant to be used as a supporting tool to improve existing business strategies. Bacardi clearly did not get this memo. Last August, they launched a webisode series that was shown solely on Facebook. The campaign, called True Originals, featured multiple videos in which a mysterious character searches for the world’s most creative, original bartender.

In each webisode, the character orders a different beverage, or asks the bartender to surprise him. His expectations seem high, but all bartenders manage to put their own unique twist into each beverage, impressing him enough to reward them with a special chip that seems to be of implicit importance. At the end of each webisode, the video closes displaying the website for the campaign: http://www.trueoriginals.com. From this site, it directed the user to the True Originals Bacardi Facebook page. This page only displayed a disappointing 1000 fans, which could have been more effective if they were directed to the main Bacardi page, not a temporary page. Now, when you search the True Originals website on the web, it directs you to your Facebook home page, which is confusing to the user and looks bad on Barcardi’s part. The least they could do is direct it to their main Facebook page, right?

The idea behind these videos is fantastic, as it inspires consumers to buy Barcardi rum and put their own twist on classic cocktails, but the fact that Bacardi chose to use Facebook as the only channel to showcase these short films was a bad idea. Although bartenders on Facebook enthusiastically reposted the videos on their pages, the results did not generate many fans of the True Originals Bacardi Facebook page, or their main page for that matter. Lessons to be learned: Use social media to drive your original strategy and generate excitement about the product. Make sure the campaign is
consistent, easy for users to navigate, and most importantly, make sure you connect your campaign across all high traffic social media
platforms. Here are some of the webisodes from the campaign. Enjoy!

Social Media Marketing Unplugged

30 Jan

Yesterday, I attended Social Media Marketing Unplugged, a truly inspirational seminar about social media and the tactics used to go about handling this phenomenon. The speakers that stood out the most for me were the ones who told their story, shared their knowledge (and humour) and related it to all businesses in general.

An ongoing theme that resided with me throughout the seminar is that consumers want to feel something whenever they interact on the web. They may not even know they are looking to feel anything. The truth is, social media users get a sense of pride when they have a new follower, or a mention on Twitter. They are comforted with honest reviews from users just like them on sites such as Yelp, and feel intelligent by purchasing products and services at discounted prices from online coupon sites such as Ethical Deal. Users may not understand how much emotion is involved in their decision-making process online, but if your company creates an emotional hook that somehow reels them in, your business will definitely be talked about.

New connections are made everyday, and these connections are facilitated so easily with all of the tools provided on the internet. In my eyes, the most useful tool to organize all of these valuable connections is Hootsuite, which was praised about by the beloved speaker, Dave Olson. (Gotta love the owl!)

If I were to remember one thing of value from the seminar, it is that social media alone will not provide your business with success. It is to be used as a supporting role to your ultimate business strategy. As Marty Yaskowich mentioned, “You do not need a social media strategy. Use traditional media first to start and/or supercharge your business, then turn to social media.”

Overall, wonderful experience and well worth my time! Big thanks to all of the seminar’s wonderful speakers!