Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Putting Podcasting to Work for Your Company

Image by miss_rogue
A podcast is a series of prerecorded audio or video files stored on your Web site that users can subscribe to and receive on regular intervals. For a business, a podcast provides the unique opportunity to increase your reach and visibility in promoting a brand, product, or service, as well as building customer loyalty. However, podcasts are only useful if you have something of value to say or show and are willing to dedicate the resources to produce high-quality content.

Whatever your business, a little careful thought (and some inspiration) will help you find creative, attention grabbing, and interesting ways to present your topics using audio and video podcasting, which can help you promote your business. For example, if you sell nuts (the kind you eat), you might create a video podcast series that begins with the care and quality that does into growing your delectable treats, followed by podcasts showing the processing and then the colorful packaging of your assortments. Be sure to make the video (or audio) podcasts fun as well as informative.

The following resources provide suggestions for using podcasting to promote your business, along with examples of the best podcasts:

Monday, January 4, 2010

Using Google Alerts to Monitor the Social Web

Google Alert

This year has seen an explosion in growth of the social Web. According to a recent study from Forrester Research, more than four out of five online adults in the U.S. now participate socially. Nielsen Online estimates that, "Twitter alone grew 1,382% year-over-year..." and Technorati indexes more than 100 million blogs, with over 100 thousand new ones appearing each day.

With such astronomical increases in social media, how can a company hope to navigate through this ever expanding sea of content to find and track its presence online? In my last post, I showed you how to use RSS to monitor the social Web. Now we turn our attention to Google Alerts, which provide a highly focused and targeted means to keep tabs on mentions of your brand and products.

Google Alerts automatically search the Web, videos, images, audio, blogs, and so on to find and notify you of new content via the Google Reader or email updates, avoiding the need to conduct these searches manually. To set up Google Alerts, simply to to Google, click the more link, even more link, and Alerts. The screen shown below appears.

To use Google Alerts to monitor the social Web, perform these
  1. In the Search terms text box, type in the keywords, phrases, and other operators necessary to locate the content you seek (--just like you would do in a normal Google search). For example, if wanted to keep tabs a new mentions of a brand name like Hershey's Chocolate, you could enter: "Hershey chocolate". Of course, you could narrow the search to spot negative comments about the brand by adding perjorative keywords, such as "sucks," "poor quality," "inferior," "tastes bad," and so on. Or the
    inverse, if you want to focus on finding positive remarks, then you could include such keywords as "tastes great," "quality chocolate," "tasty treat," "yummy," etc.
  2. The default setting for the type of media to be searched is Comprehensive. The other media options are News, Blogs, Web, Video, and Groups. However, you will almost always want to leave the media type selection set to Comprehensive, unless the number of results are excessive. In which case, you should set up separate Google Alerts for each media type.
  3. Choose how often you would like receive alerts, "as-it-happens," "once a day," and "once a week." In this fast past business climate, “as-it-happens” is the most appropriate.
  4. The last step is to enter the email where you want the alerts sent. If you want to manage multiple alerts or receive your updates in your Google Reader, then you will need to create a Google Account.
  5. To complete the process, click the Create Alert button.
You can also use Google Alerts to monitor your competitors' brands and products. You can also use this service to measure your personal Web presence.Google Alerts offer one of the quickest and least expensive ways to monitor a social media marketing campaign.

The following resources provide further details regarding Google Alerts and other social media monitoring tools: