The Reference Desk for July 27, 2010

•July 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment
social media news

photo credit: Stewart

Can you believe it’s already the end of July? We’ve got another mixed bag of news and links for this week’s social media update.

  • If you thought Monday was the angriest day on Twitter you’re wrong, it’s actually Thursday! – via Time
  • Trackur gives you the top 10 things to monitor online about your competitors, while Marketing Pilgrim lists 26 free online reputation tools where you can monitor those 10 things
  • A good suggestion from Lifehacker: write your first email line like a tweet to grab interest. However, if your emails tend to come off as angry or snarky you might need ToneCheck – via The Globe and Mail
  • Gizmodo brings up a good thought about who you follow on Twitter. Do you only follow people who think and tweet like you? Or do you follow strangers of different backgrounds, races and ages?
  • Finally, Mashable asks would you pay for Twitter? A recent study found zero percent of people would.

~ Jeff Voon


Give your audience a reason to “like” you

•July 22, 2010 • Leave a Comment
attracting audiences online

photo credit: daynoir

I follow a number of companies in the online space, mostly by email, on Twitter or on Facebook. Over the past week, I’ve noticed that the companies are promoting all of their social media channels – YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, Facebook, etc. – asking me to connect with them on each platform. Yet they’re not giving me a reason to, because from what I can tell, they’re delivering virtually the same information about their company on email as they are on Facebook and Twitter. In short, they’re not giving me a reason to connect with them on more than one platform and stunting their social media growth by setting the bar too low.

Sure, it’s better to be in social media than not at all, but once you’re there, there’s no time to rest on your laurels. After all, if you’re delivering the same content across three or four channels, you only prove that you don’t quite “get it” and you’re missing a tremendous opportunity to engage with your audience.

What’s the solution and how do you get there? Spend some time getting to know each platform better and think about what content you want to share with your audience. Exploit each platform to maximize its benefits and connect with your audience in a more meaningful – and ultimately lucrative – way.

Twitter is a simple, quick way to demonstrate customer service, product intelligence, industry know-how while developing a personality for your company. Don’t just use it to broadcast your latest direct email – take the opportunity to interact and engage with your audience…and your future audience.

Facebook provides an opportunity for your audience members to interact with one another and collaborate in a forum-style setting. Many companies garner valuable feedback and input from their customers via Facebook groups.

attracting social media followers

photo credit: Anne Helmond

Connect with your suppliers and past clients and contacts on LinkedIn with an eye to maintaining contact and developing business development opportunities.

While you might start Flickr and YouTube accounts to host the photos and videos that you have to do for your business, think about how you can use the platforms for your business.

If you’re strategic, you’ll soon see that you don’t need to create content for content’s sake. In fact, you may find that the platforms allow you to be more effective in communicating: maybe you’ll find that it makes more sense to film a quick video instead of drafting a lengthy email to customers? Perhaps a set of photos accompanied by a brief explanation would accomplish what your e-newsletter or industry ad used to? The more you use a platform, the more efficient you will become, and your audience will inevitably follow.

Finally, get busy cross-promoting each platform as you see fit: by sending your Twitter followers to your Facebook page to see the conversations they’re missing out on, or ushering your LinkedIn contacts to your YouTube channel to view your latest behind-the-scenes manufacturing video. That way, you can show your audience what they’re missing out on by not participating across all platforms – and they’ll be sure to “like” you all the more for it.

Erin McConnell

Listen up, if you want the low-down

•July 21, 2010 • 1 Comment

about podcastingText is a popular medium online. It only requires a keyboard and wit (or not). Pictures and videos aren’t too labour or equipment-intensive either. The underdog of online media then, in my opinion, is the podcast. It appears music still dominates the mp3 market, but there are thousands of iPod-hours of free content out there on any imaginable topic. I think more people should be listening to podcasts and using them to get their message out to the people!

Some great business podcasts – especially for communicators – include For Immediate Release, the Trafcom News Podcast and Six Pixels of Separation (two of the three are Canadian, and I’m not even bound by Canadian content regulations!).

Give one (or all) of them a listen. They’re great for commutes to and from work. You never know, podcasts might just replace your favourite heavy-metal radio station. There’s so much original content available that you’d be sure to be entertained during a cross-Canada road-trip, let alone during your morning commute to the office. .

Audio is also a great medium to share your message with a wide audience. Canadian author and PR guy Terry Fallis grabbed the attention of fans when he podcast his first novel The Best Laid Plans. He is currently reading his second one, The High Road.

If you’re looking to start podcasting, it’s not too difficult. A quality mic from Future Shop or Best Buy is the first step. The second is downloading free audio editor Audacity and becoming acquainted with the controls.

The content is yours to decide. Podcasts range from business to technology to fiction to music. Pick a niche that you’re an expert in, and give it a shot. During my Master’s degree, I podcast a mini-series chronicling the research and writing of my final paper on PR crises. I even received comments in the form of audio files, which I included in the show.

Ultimately, it’s up to you where you  take it! Happy podcasting!

Michael Allison

The Reference Desk for July 20, 2010

•July 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment
social media news

photo credit: victoriapeckham

Seems like everyone’s been talking about Old Spice, and it’s not any different here! All of that and much more in this week’s edition of what’s great in the world of social media.

  • Showing that social media is only getting bigger, Facebook is about to pass the 500 million user mark; they announced 400 million users only five months ago! – via TechCrunch
  • TechCrunch has details on Twitter reporting the World Cup Final was its most tweeted event ever, with more than 3,000 tweets per second after Spain’s winning goal.
  • It’s amazing how Old Spice took over social media last week led by a series of short YouTube videos. ReadWriteWeb has an article on how the videos were put together, while Mashable has some stats behind the campaign – they received 5.9 million views in one day! has some lessons businesses can take from the success of Old Spice
  • Mashable continues the great posts with five tips for managing your company’s brand on the web.
  • Social Media Today gives some metrics you should be tracking – activity, interaction and returns.
  • Here are six more social media case studies to add to your example list, including a social media dentist – via TechCrunch
  • Finally, Ben & Jerry’s have decided to drop email marketing to focus on social media campaigns – from HubSpot. Think it’ll work?

Jeff Voon

How to tweet to make – and keep – friends

•July 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Twitter social graphA month or so ago, my colleague Lynsey argued that occasional tweeting is perfectly acceptable to grow followers and make meaningful connections online. Let me ask you this: have you ever heard of someone making and keeping friends by calling once every two-weeks and talking in 140-word bursts over the phone?


Exactly my point.

Twitter was designed to be easy and act as a virtual stream of consciousness. The reason people may be hesitant to tweet often is due to lack of ideas. Tweets should not be laboured over too much. If too much time is spent trying to squeeze out a sentence, you’re thinking about it too hard. It should just flow.

Sometimes, people ask me what they should be tweeting about. I tell them that they should set a goal of two or three tweets a day. Once they know they have to tweet, they’ll find a way to produce content. Practice makes perfect, so try this every day, and you’ll become better at tweeting and more influential online.

Michael Allison

The Reference Desk for July 13, 2010

•July 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment
Social media news

photo credit: umjanedoan

This week’s Reference Desk update of the latest news and links shows there’s no such thing as the “dog days” of summer when it comes to social media. Here’s what’s new:

  • In stats this week, Twitter search volume is up 33% with over 800 million queries daily – according to Mashable.
  • For some real-life social media examples, check out Groupon’s campaign to have someone live solely on its deals for a year – without cash! – in the Washington Post, while USAToday looks at how some doctors are using social media.
  • Cold Stone Creamery is introducing a couple of new initiatives, including an eGift program and Facebook contest – via Forbes Velocity.
  • Fast Company has compiled a number of social media policies, including those from CNN, BestBuy and Walmart.
  • Techvibes has compiled a list of ten examples of social media gone wrong, all of which are now used in case studies as things not to do. If something goes wrong for you on social media, you might need this Mashable list of five ways to clean up your social media identity.
  • This “graph with data” from Flowtown shows which news sites are the most shared. Not surprising that Mashable, New York Times and BBC are the top three.
  • Finally, if you have some time, flip through Google’s 216-page social media manifesto “The Real Life Social Network v2” to see how the company thinks we interact online – via The Atlantic

~ Jeff Voon

The Reference Desk for July 6, 2010

•July 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment
social media news

photo credit: emdot

Hope everyone had a good Canada Day and/or Independence Day weekend! We’ve got a big mixed bag of informative links for this week’s Reference Desk social media update.

  • Mashable compiles 10 cool social media infographics – or “graphs with data” as Raul aka @hummingbird604 prefers we use – while Danny Brown brings us 52 cool facts about social media
  • A recent Pew Research study showed that the benefits of social media should “far outweigh” the negative impacts over the next 10 years – from The Tech Chronicles

~ Jeff Voon