Tag Archives: Facebook

Social Media

When a URL shortener doesn’t shorten the URL

Those of you who are regular users of Twitter will already know what a URL Shortener is.

For those of you less familiar, a URL shortener…. shortens URLs! It makes website addresses shorter, so that it’s easier to paste into an email, a Tweet, or a text message.

For example, let’s say you wanted to show someone the WebEden video tutorial that shows you how to put AdSense on your website. The full URL is http://webeden.co.uk/blog/video-tutorials/website-builder-tutorials-how-to-put-google-adsense-on-your-website/.

If you’re trying to cut and paste that into a Tweet then it uses up lots of character space. Bear in mind that you only get 140 characters to make your point – this URL uses up 115 of them in one go.

If you put this long URL into a URL Shortener (bit.ly for example), you end up with http://bit.ly/5CVnmy. Anyone clicking on this second link will automatically be sent onto the first, long URL. And this second URL is just 20 characters long, leaving you much more space to say other things.

There are lots of URL shortners out there. Popular ones include http://tinyurl.com and http://bit.ly.

More and more big brands are launching them too. Google have goo.gl, Facebook have fb.me.

We often give Microsoft a hard time on this blog, but this time they have done something which deserves a bit of mirth. Because Microsoft’s search engine Bing.com has launched a URL Shortener… which is in fact longer than their main URL!

Binged.it‘ is in fact 1 character longer than the normal bing.com domain! This may not seem like a big deal, but when the whole point of the product is to use up as few characters as possible, this seems an odd decision. As Techcrunch pointed out, there are other options including ‘bin.gd’.

Have you tried using URL shorteners? Which one is your favourite and why? Leave us a comment below.

Published by:
Softwate Update

What do you think of our Meebo Bar?

This morning we installed a ‘Meebo Bar‘ on this blog. It runs across the bottom of your web browser, and looks like this:

What’s it for?

The Meebo bar allows you to carry out a number of ‘social media’ actions, and access other social media services, all from the WebEden Blog.

Drag to Share

You can hover over images and then drag and share them on Facebook, Twitter and other Social Media services. This is what it look like:

Facebook

You can instantly access and join WebEden’s Facebook page:

Twitter

You can see the latest Tweets from our Twitter Profile:

YouTube

You can also access all the YouTube tutorials from our YouTube channel:

Chat

You can also chat with freinds on Messenger, Facebook, Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger all without leaving the WebEden page.

What do you think?

The question is: What do you think of it? Is this a useful addition to the website that helps you use and interact with it? Or is it an irrelevance, or worse: an annoyance?

Leave us a comment below!

Published by:
Digital Marketing

Congratulations: You are good at marketing your website online

Here’s some good news: when it comes to Internet marketing British businesses are ahead of the rest.

A recent survey by the AT Institute of online marketing and website traffic has shown that UK businesses are considerably more successful at it than our European counterparts.

The Institute compared levels of investment in online marketing across several European countries. They then looked at the source of visitors to business websites, and whether they came as a consequence of that marketing or for other reasons.

And the good news is that each pound spent by a UK business in driving traffic to their website goes a lot further than it does on the continent.

The study uncovered the fact that online marketing by UK businesses accounted for in excess of 50% of visits to those business websites.

This figure was way in excess of all others including France, Germany and Spain.

If you want to drive more visitors to your website then there is plenty of useful information on this blog that can show you how.

If you want to push your website high on Google, then make sure you get to grips with our Search Engine Optimisation Guide.

If you want to use Social Media, Twitter and Facebook to drive new website visitors then take a look at our Social Media channel. You can of course always integrate your WebEden website with both Facebook and Twitter.

If you’re planning on creating a media story then why not take a look at how to write a perfect press release.

Of course, once you get traffic on your website, the next thing is to turn visitors in our customers. This article will show you 10 essentials for every business website.

Any comments please leave them below.

Published by:
How to

How to Develop a Social Networking Policy: 14 questions you need to answer

Today we’ve got another Guest Blog by Alison Cross from AlisonCross4Webs.co.uk. Its all about how to develop a Social Networking Policy for your business. Over to Alison.

Last week we had a (cue Mrs Merton) heated debate about whether or not its OK to use Social Networking websites at work. There’s no doubt that some businesses lose money because employees are spending time on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, blogs and Twitter. On the other hand, some actually benefit from employee involvement in Social Networking.

Time Wasting or Money Making?

These sites CAN be enormous spinning vortexes of wasted time and energy, but they can also provide a brand new channel through which your target audience can access your goods and services.

Today more than ever it is important that companies are seen to be part of the discussion about their own goods and services. To stay out of the discussion suggests that your customers’ opinions don’t count. Who needs that kind of reputation?!

It requires courage to join the discussion because you won’t be able to control the comments, but to be seen to be listening to clients’ comments and opinions can help your business/brand enormously.

Developing a Social Networking Policy

But – before you create your Facebook account, jumping into the social networking waters for business purposes without some kind of plan is to court death by drowning in Tweets!  Having a plan – a flexible, regularly updated plan – will help you turn social networking from a Business Suck to a Business Success.

If you have many employees, this would be a task for your Human Resources Department (Personnel!).  However, if you are only a small business with a handful of employees and no distinct HR Department, designing that policy is going to fall on your shoulders.

This post is aimed at YOU, the small business who needs to get a grip on those man hours lost by employees adrift in cyberspace and busy doing the work that YOU are paying them for.

I don’t recommend creating your Social Networking policy without consulting your employees in some way.  It’s such a fast-developing area, they may be more clued up than you! Listen to their input fairly.  You never know, it might just result in a truly inspired business presence on the networking sites!

I envisage that there are two types of employee here:

A)    The employee whose job remit is to be the public face of your business on Social Networking platforms.
B)    The employee who’s just faffing around on company time.

14 questions you need to answer in order to develop your social networking policy:

1.   Goal – what is it that you want to achieve with your involvement in social
networking?

2.    How will you quantify your business’s success in social networking?

3.    Will it be a project with a time limit or an ongoing involvement?

4 .   To which social networking platforms are you directing your efforts and why have you chosen them?  E.g. – is there any evidence that being present will have a positive influence on your business/customer interface?

5.    Which employees are working as your official social networking staff?

6.    On what basis are they acting on your behalf?
Are they working as a team (anonymously involved under business name)?
Are they to be recognised as named individuals?
How will your logo/brand be used?

7.    What kind of communication is permitted? Eg – Product information on Facebook? Discount vouchers on Twitter? Personal comments?

8.    What kind of communication is not permitted? Eg – disparaging the company or a client?

9.    When is communication permitted (for type 1 and type 2 employees it will probably be different – if you are taking social networking seriously as a business tool). For type 2, only after certain specified tasks carried out?

10.    What are the consequences for breaching the communication rules?  Verbal warnings, written warnings, instant dismissal?

11.    Will there be different consequences depending on the level of position within the company? Is it more serious if your Director of Finance is found slagging off the CEO’s dinner party in his blog than the junior store-keeper blogging the same gossip?

12.    Do these regulations apply solely within business hours?

13.    Consider the consequences of possible identity fraud on these sites. Do you know what to do if someone steals your logo/details and sets up as YOU?

14.     Bullying – your bullying policy may need to be extended to cover cyber-bullying.  The tragic results of sustained bullying on networking sites are well-documented in the press. Make sure your company/school has a policy in place.

This list of questions is not by any means exhausted, but should be able to get you started in formulating your own policy.

What else would you add to a social networking policy for your business?

About Alison Cross
Alison Cross lives on the Isle of Bute where she has built over a dozen websites using our software. She also helps people use Twitter to market their business. For more info or advice about social media or web design, visit her website alisoncross4webs.co.uk.

Published by:
Archive

Search your Social Networks with Google Social Search

They must be busy down at Mountain view. Barely a day seems to go by when they don’t launch something new. I feel like the number of times I write ‘here’s a new service from Google’ has gone off the scale. And we haven’t even talked about Google Wave yet!

Well… predictably… here’s a new service from Google…

In its never ending quest to provide ever more relevant search results, Google has launched a ‘social search’ service.

In a nutshell, this allows you to search for stuff; the search engine results pages (SERPs) are populated just with information posted by those in your social networks.

This might include information that people in your social networks have posted on Facebook and Twitter. But it might also include any entries they’ve made on blogs, forums, or other services such as Picasa.

At the moment the feature is only available in Google Labs.

Let’s say for example that you’re looking searching for a place to eat in the West End. Wherever a friend or colleague has made a comment or recommendation about a restaurant, their entries will be displayed in the SERPs.

The service is able to identify posts made by those a social network by making use of users’ Google profile. We wrote previously about how to set up your Google profile. The Google profile allows Google to link up services such as Gmail, Twitter, Friendfeed and LinkedIn.

Google are anxious to stress that they will only surface publicly available information, and not data and information from private or secure services.

“All the information that appears as part of Google Social Search is published publicly on the web – you can find it without Social Search if you really want to. What we’ve done is surface that content together in one single place to make your results more relevant,” said Murali Viswanathan, product manager at Google.

For information about how it all works, here’s a video by the mighty Matt Cutts that describes what’s going on:

As we’ve mentioned before, personal recommendations are the most likely reason to buy a product. Social Search makes it more important than ever to try and get recommendations from your customers, since these recommendations will be more likely to be read and followed by those in their social networks.

Can you see a future of social search? Are you interested to see the search results populated with information provided by those in your social network? Leave us a comment below.

Published by:
Social Media

Facebook and Twitter cost UK business £1.4bn a year

We’ve talked plenty about how to effectively use Facebook and Twitter to effectively market your website. There’s no doubt that as a website owner these social networks offer a fantastic channel to reach out to new website visitors.

But what has been nagging at the back of every business owners’ mind is how much employees using social networking websites are costing them every day.

A survey from IT service provider Morse has tried to answer this question, by polling 1,460 workers on their use of social media during work hours.

The survey found that a whopping 57% of people spend 40 minutes every week on Facebook and Twitter whilst at work. Whilst we website builders want them to be using their social networks to market the company website, in actual fact its all for personal use. The estimated productivity lost from this has been put at £1.4bn a year.

And what are companies doing to plug this leak? The answer is ‘not a lot’. More than 75% of UK businesses have not issued guidelines on social media use.

Quite apart from the work time lost, unregulated use of social media by employees is also a potential brand accident waiting to happen. We’ve all ready about big company employees ridiculing ‘problem’ customers on Facebook, not realising that others could listen in to their conversation.

“Social media can be good for business, helping to extend ties with customers and employees, but organisations don’t seem to understand that it’s not being used predominantly for business but for personal use. This is a massive productivity black hole,” said Philip Wicks, a Morse consultant.

“Companies need to reinforce a corporate usage policy to ensure that people use their PCs responsibly and predominantly for business purposes.”

Do you think that this is another example of corporate Britain trying to stamp on the personal activities of employees? Have you any experience of social media indiscretions when discussing company issues? Leave us a comment below.

Published by:
Social Media

Its Official: Facebook confirms that Americans hate Mondays

Almost every status update on Facebook can be interpreted as an indication of happiness (or otherwise) of the user. Since Facebook has over 300 million users and 40 million status updates, there’s a whole load of data about people’s wellbeing.

As part of a new prototype application called Gross National Happiness, Facebook engineers have tried to aggregate this data in order to gauge national happiness in the US.

As reported over on TechCrunch, here’s how the application’s developers describe it:

“…Grouped together, the status updates of millions of Facebook users from every demographic in the nation can work together to say something about how we as a nation are doing. Measuring how well-off, happy or satisfied with life the citizens of a nation are is part of the Gross National Happiness movement. This graph represents how “happy” the nation is doing from day to day, by looking at how many positive and negative words people are using when they update their status: When people are using more positive words (or fewer negative words) in their status updates than usual, that day is happier than usual!”

Here’s a screen grab from the graph that shows the peaks and troughs of happiness.

 

It’s possible to alter the view by using the slide bar along the bottom, By dragging it sideways you can see how happiness changes from hour to hour.

So what’s the big takeaway? Well perhaps unsurprisingly, happiness is lowest on Mondays and it then climbs throughout the week, peaking at the end of the weekend. Public holidays also generate large peaks.

For this year there is a drop around the start of June, which TechCrunch interprets as being associated with the death of Michael Jackson. Well, I know it almost took down the Internet, but that seems a bit extreme!

Have a look at the Gross National Happiness and let us know what you think!

Published by:
Social Media

How to turn your followers into cash

Sometimes when I look at the number of followers I have on Twitter (580, very modest by general standards) I get all excited. What a lot of people! Are they really all interested in what I’ve got to say?

If you’ve read the guest blogs from Alison Cross, then you’ll know the answer to that question is probably no! Most of these people are following me just because I’m following them, so at the moment I’m following Alison’s advice and weeding out those that I’m not really interested in.

If you’ve signed up to Twitter, and have ever wondered how to turn your followers into money, a US based not-for-profit start-up called The Whuffie Bank is behind a new idea that rewards you for your online reputation.

The number of times your name gets mentioned, and the context of those mentions, can earn you ‘Whuffies’, a new digital currency that rewards popularity.

The Whuffie Bank then lets users cash in their Whuffies to buy virtual goods, and in the future even real-life products.

Using an algorithm, the bank monitors users’ activity across websites such as Twitter and MySpace, and then assigns Whuffies to posts, comments, and other mentions.

It also looks at when there is third party support of a positive Tweet or post, such as the number of times a Facebook post is ‘liked’, or their tweets are retweeted.

Participants can also trade using their Whuffies. For example, a user might offer 100 Whuffies for anyone to retweet one of their Tweets.

The website thewhuffiebank.org shows how many Whuffies each user has accumulated, along with some graphics that shows the rate of growth over time. All ‘Whuffiers’ are placed into a league, which hopes to highlight those with the best online reputation in different fields.

Looking at the league right now, it is topped by Rev Run from Run DMC. P Diddy ranks second.

Whilst this all seems like good fun, it has an important element. We’ve spoken before about the importance of having a social media strategy: in the online world, giving and getting feedback is so much more common than it used to be. As a website owner, you can put your online reputation to work, by getting good feedback and communicating with your users through social media. Take a look at how to integrate your WebEden website with Facebook and Twitter.

If you’re interested in finding out more about TheWhuffiebank, then you can start by measuring the strength of your online reputation over at Whuffiebank.org by entering your username.

Have you got a reputation that you’d like to trade on? Want to make some virtual cash out of your followers? Is this a good way to get you thinking about your online reputation? Check out TheWhufflebank.org and leave us a comment below.

Published by:
Social Media

Facebook hits 300 million members and starts to make money

In a recent blog post, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has revealed that for the first time the service is starting to turn a profit. This is ahead of Facebook’s self imposed target of being cash-flow-positive by 2010.

Of course, many have argued that with such a large number of users Facebook could hardly fail to successfully monetise their service. Although it has come in for a lot of criticism, Facebook’s business model of selling advertising against user profiles has meant that it has managed to turn users into dollars.

And with the financial news comes that of user numbers, which have now reached 300,000,000. That’s a three fold increase on this time last year.

Zuckerberg said that the financial news meant that Facebook was now a serious independent Internet company. And with such a large and fast growing userbase, it is being seen as a rival to other big Internet brands such as Google and Yahoo.

And he also has much bigger plans for the userbase: 300million, he said, was just a starting point.

Last month of course we reported on the news that Facebook is now the fastest growing search engine. And the site is also currently testing an online payment method.

Are you a fan of Facebook? Have you tried advertising your website using their self serve advertising system? Have you integrated your WebEden website with Facebook? Leave us a comment below

Published by:
Digital Marketing

The fastest growing search engine? No its not Bing, its Facebook

When you think ‘search engine’ what brand springs to mind? For almost all of us it’s Google. This is especially so in the UK, where Google powers around 90% of all Internet searches. Some of you may still think ‘Yahoo’. And a few pioneers might think ‘Bing’.

But according to the ComScore monthly search report, its Facebook that is experiencing the fastest growth as a search engine. Search volumes on Facebook grew by a massive 35% in July alone.

Other brands experiencing strong growth in search were Craigslist (8%), eBay and Bing (5%), Flickr and Delicious (4%) and YouTube (1%).

The growth in these brands not normally associated with search queries was very much at the cost of the traditional search engines. Google fell 2%, AskJeeves 4%, and Yahoo and AOL dropped 5% each.

In terms of absolute numbers, the traditional search engines still rule the roost. In July there were 12.9 billion searches on Google; 2.8 billion on Yahoo; and Microsoft sites accumulated 1.3 billion searches.

Google of course is fiercely protecting its users’ ‘eye-time’. They have recognised the huge revenue potential of social networking, by adding lots of sticky and social features to their web properties. The most recent defensive move was their shift to feature ‘real time‘ entries in the search engine results page. But if Facebook search continues to grow at this rate, it might be that Google will have to start to defend its pure search homeland.

And it seems that Facebook has real ambition when it comes to search. Facebook recently bought FriendFeed and also expanded its own services, which has boosted its ability to provide real-time search.

A few weeks ago Facebook unveiled a new search service that allows members to search for status updates, links, photos and videos. Whilst previously users could find entries for other users’ profiles, the new Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) serve them in categories depending on the search query.

Have you tried searching on Facebook? Do you think that Facebook could be a serious rival to Google when it comes to search? Do you think Facebook will be able to monetise their new services? Leave us a comment below.

Published by: