Levi’s Creates “Friends Store” using Facebook Like

I’m impressed by the turn around with this considering Facebook only announced it’s “like” feature that webmasters can imbed on their sites…what, like a week ago?

But here you go. You can shop online with your friends and see what jeans they like.

Ning Announces shut down of it’s free service, fires 40% of staff

Just announced today. If you have a free Ning network, you will now be forced to upgrade to a paid account or take your business elsewhere.

Read more about Ning’s shut down of free service.

Google Sidewiki – Death to Static Webpages

Awesome! Now anyone using the Google Toolbar can leave comments for others to see about your webpages through Google Sidewiki.

Screenshot of Google Sidewiki

Screenshot of Google Sidewiki

Luckily you can (through Google Webmaster Tools) create a webmaster entry that will appear on top, but this is a challenging new feature for anyone (like me) who is trying to get a handle on existing webpages that you know are not designed to their full effectiveness. Now users can comment on those type of issues.

This is also going to make it challenging to know the reason why your landing pages are not converting – is it because of the landing page itself, or the SideWiki text?

So much for the line between a website and a blog. Now even static content can have commenting going on whether or not you as a webmaster intended for that to happen.

I can’t find anything within the documentation that makes it easy for you as a webmaster to sign up for a feed of updates on SideWiki comments on pages you own – let me know if you figure out how that can happen. Otherwise I’m not sure (as a manager of multiple websites) how you stay on top of something like this…

Happy Day! Promoting Using Social Media Just Got a Bit Easier!

Facebook announced a new feature that they are rolling out to pages that lets the administrator automatically publish the update to Twitter.

Slides from Social Media Presentation at AMA DC

I had a great time on a panel yesterday about social media organized by the DC Chapter of the American Marketing Association. I pulled together slides of useful online marketing tools and wanted to share them here. It was tons of fun getting folks excited about social media and web measurement.

Speaking at American Marketing Association Panel on Social Media

I’m on an AMA panel this week about social media. The panel is unbelievably diverse, so it should be an interesting conversation and lunch is served!

Here’s the info:
What do a university medical center, a woodworking tools manufacturer, and an environmental nonprofit organization have in common? They’re all using social media to great effect…and they’re all ready to tell us more about it.

Be on hand as three articulate and energetic innovators–Ed Bennett from the University of Maryland Medical Center, Ted Hall from ShopBot Tools, and Katherine Watier from Environmental Working Group–join serial entrepreneur Casey Golden, founder and president of Small Act Network, in a stimulating and informative panel discussion. As always, it’s a wonderful networking opportunity and a great lunch!

WHAT: Executive Marketing Roundtable, sponsored by the American Marketing Assn.

TITLE: Putting Social Media in the Mix—How to Choose It, When to Use It

DATE: Thursday, June 25

TIME: 11:30 am – 2:00 pm

PLACE: Morrison & Foerster, 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Sixth Floor

COST: $50 Members
$65 Non-members

To register or find out more: http://www.amadc.org/events/event_calendar.html#0625

Register now online—limited seating!

Senior Marketing Executives Only, Please.

Nonprofits Can now add Call to Action Button in YouTube

I wanted to share the news! Previously, nonprofits were not able to link back to their website call to action page in YouTube – only display a Google Checkout button for donations or their main website URL.

Now you can create a call to action overlay for particular videos which will link back to your particular call to action page.

Here are the instructions from YouTube:

Just go to the “Edit Video” section of your video, then
fill out the fields in the section marked “Call to Action overlay.”
Then insert:
* A short headline
* Ad text
* Destination URL
* An image
…and you’re set to go. Now the Call to Action overlay will appear
whenever someone watches that video.

Every nonprofit that has a video running on YouTube that is related to an active campaign, should turn on this feature.

Grants Available for Online Citizen Media Project

In case anyone is interested….

Anyone with an idea for an online citizen media project in a
marginalized community anywhere in the world is welcome to apply for a grant of up to $5000 from Rising Voices, a project of Global Voices Online. The application process is short and sweet. Deadline on January 18! See link for more info…

http://rising.globalvoicesonline.org/apply/

Cool Flash Videos That Explain Social Media

Thought these Flash videos about social media were neat. They cover how HP used bloggers in their marketing plan, how Facebook Connect works, how to use Twitter as  a Tool, and how to create your own social network.

Salvation Army’s Online Marketing Efforts – Innovative, but not strategic

So I’m impressed by the creativity of the Salvation Army of Chicago’s marketing efforts. You can see their YouTube vide where they have Chicagoans helping them play a Christmas carol using the SA bells, and their online donation kettle.

They get a gold star for innovation, but no stars for effectiveness. Why? They did not develop a promotional plan for either effort, and in the crowded social media scape, there’s a good chance that no one will see these efforts.

Here’s where they can improve:

1. Their YouTube video should be on a channel that is branded with their colors and they should apply for nonprofit status through YouTube so that they can have a donate now button on their page. Even better, they should create their “red kettle” icon as a gif and upload it to their page. You’ll notice that no one has commented on their video. This is because (as far as I can tell) they have not promoted it to their list or social media sites. Neither their description nor the title of their video have the keywords “Salvation Army Chicago” in them, so traffic from search is limited. I don’t believe they’ve done any keyword research. If they did, they would use the worlds “holiday volunteering”, “Chicago at the holidays” are terms people are currently using in search. (You can see for yourself by using SEOBook.com’s free keyword tool).

2. Their online holiday kettle page does not allow sharing to any social media site (like Facebook). In fact, their set up process is 4 steps long. This has clearly not been tested by users. They should create shorter sign up process (user name and password with an email asking for more info later) and a link to the code that you can then embed into your blog, myspace, facebook, would be much more effective. I abandoned the process at step 3 when I was suddenly asked to fill out 15 fields. That’s too much info for helping SA by installing a simple widget onto my social media profile, blog or website. In fact, if you visit their Facebook page (with 4,000 + fans) they don’t mention either of these tools. And this is the type of community where (if you make it easy for them) they will spread your message to their friends.

I wonder what kind of adoption they will have with both endeavors. My guess is very little due to the fact that the widget was build without the user in mind and without any usability testing, both items where set up without any strategic thought to selecting keywords on the pages that would capture natural traffic, and (as far as I can tell) neither were launched with a promotional plan encouraging those they know to use and spread the tools.

So close and yet so far….

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