Crowdmap

The Crowdmap Logo

Launched in 2010, Crowdmap is the creation of Ushahidi, Inc., a non-profit software company based out of Nairobi, Kenya. This application evolved out of the Ushahidi platform which was created during the aftermath of the Kenyan crisis of 2007-2008. The original Ushahidi platform is a tool that allows users to crowdsource across multiple channels such as Twitter, text messages and emails. With Crowdmap, users can now set up personal deployments of the Ushahidi platform and begin mapping events and visualizing information in real time.

Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing a task to an outside group of people. In this case, that group of people is the general public. Through crowdsourcing, a company or organization can broadcast an issue to a wide range of people, allowing for an equally wide range of solutions. In many cases, crowdsourcers are able to keep internal costs down while still managing to find solutions to their problems. The crowd might be compensated for their input, but more often than not, they offer their time and ideas freely.

Ushahidi

Ushahidi means “testimony” or “witness” in Swahili, making it an appropriate name for the platform that allows people all over the world to set up their own interactive map and share their experiences.

The first example of this came about during the Kenyan crisis that surrounded the 2007 presidential election. The election was heavily disputed and many instances of violence and riots broke out. The platform was created as a way for the people to map out any reports of violence. Ushahidi was very successful at reporting acts of violence as they happened, and the information collected was more reliable than the mainstream media’s.

Crowdmap in Action

Crowdmap has long since evolved from the original Ushahidi platform. Now users can use the application for keep up with local events and news reports,  crisis communications, political elections and public affairs.

Crowdmap was used during the 2010 November elections in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. A local news source created a deployment and then voters reported to the Crowdmap site via Twitter and text. Users were able to follow the election in real time and report on different incidences that took place throughout the area. This is just one example of Crowdmap’s news-friendly benefits. News sources can use this application to manage and receive real time updates on important news events, which allows for better reporting and more comprehensive news coverage.

The applications was also used during the massive flooding that took place in Ann Arbor Michigan in May 2011. Users were able to report specific damages throughout the Ann Arbor area such as storm water flooding, gas main leak and power outages. Through Crowdsouce, the public was able to better navigate the situation because they had access to an interactive map showing the types of damage taking place and where.

Ann Arbor

If you would like to create your own deployment, check out Crowdmap.com and get started.

For helpful hints, check out the videos on Ushahidi’s YouTube page.

ShareThis, AddThis, & Slick Social Sharing

By Jennifer Taylor and Riley Westmoreland

ShareThis

ShareThis is a free tracking and metrics program that has integration with Google Analytics.  Through their Share Analytics program, users get really good and comprehensive charts and graphs that measure shared content, and that provide social channel reports, detailed URL share states and social network stats.  It provides very specific and detailed information, such as which social networks drive the most sharing and which content was shared most.

There are five main types of information that ShareThis features, a Summary page, Most Shared Content, Social Channel Report, Detailed URL Shared Stats, and Social Network Stats. On the Summary page, users can see shares, clicks, page views for a certain time period, along with a list of on which social mediums the most sharing occurred, who is sharing the most, and where the sharing occurs in terms of geography.

Most Shared Content displays, well, the content that was shared the most. The number of shares, clicks from shares, and page views to the site from sharing are also included. Social Channel Report lets you know how your content performed on various social mediums in driving traffic to your site. You can compare each channel side by side to see which outlet is best for your needs.

Detailed URL Shared Stats shows how and where a URL was shared, including how many times it was shared in a certain time frame. Social Network Stats allows users to select a particular social medium and see how your content performed on that certain site.

ShareThis seems to provide a very comprehensive picture of a presence on different social media sites, and how content is being shared.  ShareThis seems to be a pretty robust system that offers a lot of different information in an easy to understand and professional way.

 

AddThis

AddThis allows users to add buttons to their site so that content can easily be shared on social media sites. It allows buttons for Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. It even has functions so that mobile and app developers can use these tools. All AddThis features are friendly for touch screen and work with iOs and Android, and all services are free.

AddThis has a lot of analytics that can be used by customers, especially considering that it is free. It provides up to the minute information about shares, social traffic, top search keywords and text copy tracking. AddThis claims large corporations such as msnbc, USA Today, TMZ, and JetBlue as its clients.

Additionally, AddThis allows you to know who is sharing your content and what their interests are, all around the web. AddThis lets you know how your content is being shared on Social Media, lets you track email mentions on services like Gmail, and even know when visitors copy and paste your URLs into mail and IMs via address bar sharing.

We would most recommend AddThis, because of its mobile access and to the minute updates.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0xOUMgvIM8

Slick Social Sharing

Slick Social Sharing allows users to add Facebook, Twitter, Google +1, LinkedIn, Digg, Delicious, Reddit, Buffer, StumbleUpon and Pinterest Pin It social media buttons to their website. They are available in either a floating or sliding panel. Users can see summaries of all their social metrics in the administrator social statistics page.

It gives you a complete overview and summaries of shares on your posts, pages and categories, but Slick Social Sharing provides the least amount of feedback to you as the user.  This is probably the platform that is best if you really only have a simple blog or something like that that you are wanting to keep up with. It is a great tool for those learning social media skills, but don’t have a large corporation or company to manage. With step-by-step instructions, it is simple to install and use, it just doesn’t offer as much as the other platforms can.

Buffer – A Smarter Way To Share

For our this third and final nuggets assignment, Jordan and I researched Buffer.com to discover what it is, how it works, what people are saying about it, and how it compares to similar social media platforms.

What is Buffer?

  • Released December 2010
  • “Buffer makes your life easier with a smarter way to schedule the great content you find. Fill up your Buffer at one time in the day and Buffer automagically posts them for you through the day. Simply keep that Buffer topped up to have a consistent social media presence all day round, all week long.”
  • Been called “The Siri of Social Media” and “your social media assistant”
  • Allows you to schedule content posts in advance
  • Excellent content management tool
  • Offers an optional toolbar add-on that allows you to post directly from another website
  •   

Buffer’s Philosophy

  • helping you create an authentic and honest appearance on social media
  • offers a personal and efficient solution to handle sharing on social media

How It Works

Who’s Using Buffer?

  • Avid Bloggers – A blogger may be finding lots of great content that she constantly wants to share with her friends and followers, but she doesn’t want to overload them with too much stuff at one time, especially since that makes them less likely to read what she’s posting.  By using Buffer her content can be spaced out at posted at times when followers are more likely to interact.
  • Businesses – Businesses want to keep their fans/clients/followers happy and satisfied with what content – and especially how often – they’re posting.  But when a lot of time can’t be dedicated to the posting of content and optimal times, Buffer saves the day.  A business can spend a few minutes filling up their Buffer and then spend the rest of the day focusing on other things.
  • Non-profit organizations – For people who have dedicated a lot of their time to non-profit organizations, Buffer saves them from having to spend hours and hours sharing content and being social media savvy for each organization.  They can fill up their buffer for each organization with content their followers need to be aware of and then spend time doing hands-on things and getting involved in other ways.  They can also add different team members to lots of different accounts so that the sharing can be divided up from person to person.

What Are People Saying About Buffer?

Michael Gray, Graywolf’s SEO Blog says: “I like the idea of this product. I really think it has a lot of potential. However, at this point, I think there are several aspects that aren’t fully developed yet.”
http://www.wolf-howl.com/reviews/bufferapp-review/

Sarah Kessler of Mashable.com gives a summary of Buffer and its future plans:

http://mashable.com/2012/02/10/buffer-digg-digg/

How Does Buffer Compare to Hootsuite and TweetDeck?

Like Buffer, Hootsuite offers a way to schedule content in advance.  The difference is that Hootsuite focuses on posting tweets and Facebooks posts, whereas Buffer allows you to post any content as a tweet or Facebook post.  Buffer is all about scheduling, whereas Hootsuite allows you to schedule, post, monitor, and stay updated on your content (Hootsuite is more of a dashboard).

Buffer and TweetDeck are similar in that – like Buffer and HootSuite – you can schedule content, but TweetDeck only allows you to schedule tweets in advance, and only posted to your Twitter account.  A shortcoming of TweetDeck is that if you don’t have your computer on, connected to the internet, and running TweetDeck, your scheduled tweets won’t go out.  Hootsuite doesn’t have this problem because scheduled content goes to a server that’s up-and-running, even if you’re not.

SEO Plugins for WordPress

Erin Shaw and I looked at how the All-in-One SEO WordPress plugin and others benefit WordPress-powered websites.

This brief video shows how to use the All-in-One SEO WP plugin.

Benefits

This website points out that the All-in-One SEO plugin automates the SEO process, easy to use and install, in-built API makes it compatible with most WP themes and plugins and it avoids duplications.

Another website talks about the plugin being compatible with Google Analytics, allows optimization for each post/website, works for beginners and advanced (works right away for beginners or can be fine tuned for the advanced).

Easy WP SEO vs. All-in-One SEO 

Easy WP SEO analyzes the entire HTML document, while All-in-One does not. However, All-in-One WP SEO is the most popular WP SEO solution that can benefit a wide range of clientele due to its simplistic yet powerful design. The two plugins are approximately the same price.

Bloggerbusinessplan.com said about Easy WP SEO, “What this plugin will do however, is get you focused on the on-page elements of SEO. You’ll be prompted to think more about what you’re writing and how you’re formatting things in order to better optimize your page. Hopefully, this will lead to better rankings.”

XML Sitemap

XML sitemap is a file filled with every URL within a website and also metadata to go along with the URLs. It allows content creators the ability to tell search engines that is available on their website. Often a free tool that optimizes a search engine’s ability to “crawl” that particular site. Essentially it helps a website become indexed within a search engine.

An example of this is the free Google XML tool. WordPress said, “The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.”

Short links for social sharing

By: Lauren Schneider and Drew Laing

Each of these services use different techniques to measure the social sharing impact of links and URLs. We’ve created a few short points on how to use each site and a few of the different tools each one offers.

Bit.ly: Shorten, share and track your links

https://bitly.com/

-Sign in via Facebook or Twitter, or create an account

-Copy a long link and paste it into the box

-Tweet or update your Facebook status using the link

-Click on the Analyze tab to see the clicks on your links from the past 30 days

-Click Info Page to view results: https://bitly.com/JnLQyv+

Other useful tools:

-Mobile optimization

-Sidebar Bookmarklet: bookmark tab that easily and quickly shortens links and provides access to your sharing settings and shows the measurements on your link. See here: http://bitly.com/pages/sidebar

Su.pr: by Stumbleupon

http://su.pr/

-Sign in with a Stumbleupon account

-Copy and paste a link into the box

-Gives a short and a detailed measurement report on each link

Other useful tools:

-Option to post directly from the site

-Option to schedule the post for later

-Very detailed analytics including: RTs, clicks, traffic, and views via Stumbleupon: http://su.pr/report/2zJhIa/

Goo.gl

http://goo.gl/

-Don’t have to have an account

-Copy and paste link into the box

-Click on “details” to view measurement report: http://goo.gl/#analytics/goo.gl/yqRtg/all_time

Other useful tools:

-Very detailed analytics report

-All analytics are public

-If you sign in with your Google account, you can view your past links and reports on each

These services provide detailed analytics on the links that you share. They can give you insight on where, when and how they are being viewed. You are able to see which postings were successful and which were not, giving you information on how to better post your information and get your content out there.

There are beneficial aspects to each service, but we decided that we’d recommend goog.le for every day use. This service is the easiest and quickest, and though it doesn’t provide posting from the site, the publicity and ease for viewing the analytics is really nice because you don’t need an account to sign in. If you are looking for something more complex and detailed, su.pr might be good as well.

One Stop Shop

Hailey Rogers & Angela Duke

How many usernames and accounts have you created for all the different websites you use on a regular basis? Probably quite a few by now. Social Login APIs are the solution to racking up accounts, passwords and usernames.  API stands for Application Programming Interface.  In regular terms, it is what allows different sites to communicate with each other.  It is the means by which we can accomplish Social Login. What is Social Login, you ask? The video below (from Login Radius) gives a visual definition of the term.

There are a bunch of sites that offer social login services out there. Listed below is a sampling of those sites and which features each have to offer.

Oneall

  • Allows for communication with multiple platforms at once
  • Obtain a standardized field structure for data recieved from any of the social networks
  • Saves time and development resources
  • Easily access and share data to and from social networks
  • Gathers rich demographic information from users
  • URL shortener tracks social posts and their referral traffic
  • Offers unlimited services for free during its current Beta stage

Gigya

  • Social identity management
  • Maintain user information in a cloud database
  • User & on-site behavior data
  • Partner integration: user data can be applied to e-mail marketing campaigns, CRM platforms, product and content recommendation engines, or any other platform that can be enhanced with detailed user data
  • Helps target users and move relevant content
  • Used by over 500 enterprises, including ABC, FOX, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, Verizon, Nike and more big name companies
  • Free Trials can be requested, but to get a price plan the Sales department must be contacted

Login Radius

  • Hosts 21 ID providers, including Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and other leading Social Media sites
  • Supports 9 different languages
  • Includes social analytics to help develop successful marketing strategies
  • Free to sign up and use

Disqus

  • Realtime comment tracking
  • Creates live conversation: notification and reply system lets people know when they have responses
  • Mobile compatible
  • Has analytics add-ons
  • Used by Fox News, CNN, Time and many other companies

Live Fyre

  • Easy to login, share, tag friends and comment
  • Allows access to users’ entire social networks
  • Free to join community, plans and pricing available for professional use

Intense Debate

  • Focuses on social comments
  • Threading comments, notifications for replies
  • Allows users to reply and comment via e-mail
  • Easy to install and use

Akismet

  • Automatically detects comment and trackback spam
  • Most popular on WordPress
  • Saves sites from spam, which brings down page rank and SEO
  • Free for personal use, plans and pricing available for commercial use

Conversocial: The Traffic Cop of Social Media

logo

So, you’ve established your Facebook and Twitter presence for your organization.  You know you need to listen to your customers, but it’s hard to listen to what they’re saying while having to constantly maintain your platform.  With all the new changes and the amount of times you have to post a day to stay at the top of someone’s radar, it’s no doubt you are bound to miss your fair share of conversations with your audience.
Well, Conversocial is your answer!  Conversocial is a listening platform that organizes your Twitter and Facebook feed in an easy-to-read, easy-to-organize fashion. It allows you to organize your interactions, assign them to the appropriate customer service representative, and never miss an opportunity to improve the customer experience.  Other Benefits include…
  • Prioritization: Through a filtering process, Conversocial sifts through what is really important through general noise.  It also flags a comment as a Customer Service request if applicable it too can be easily processed.
  • Quick Processing: Consolidated listening platforms allow for less scrolling and more listening.  Customers can process up to 100 messages an hour!
  • Conversation History: Easily access each customer’s conversation history to track their needs and priorities.
  • Advanced Publishing: Schedule your posts or tweets to publish at optimal times.  Basically all you have to do is tell Conversocial what to do when, and it does all the hard work for you!
  • Engagement Analytics: Measure what social media tactics are working through metrics and analytics always readily available from Conversocial.
dashboard
  • Sentiment Tracking: Track satisfaction and measure success easily…this one is good to always have on hand to present to the boss.
Here’s a snapshot of what the hub spot would like for a Conversocial customer:
example
The free version of Conversocial is built for a single social media manager and is a perfect way to organize and prioritize customer service efforts on Facebook and Twitter if you are just starting out in a new position or internship. Through its “Priority Response Engine” Conversocial is able to categorize posts by their sentiment and determine the urgency. This will ultimately lighten your work load of sifting through post after post trying to figure out where to jump into the conversation!

Through the single user account you are able to deliver quality service by listening then engaging and potentially make a one time customer into a repeat customer. You do this by changing the customers perceptions of the company in a positive way through efficient and effective customer service. Conversocial also helps streamline your social media channels’ output by categorizing all comments and sentiment so your company can post about a specific topic or idea in a relevant way and add value. You can check out the portfolio of customers on their website and see first hand what great things can happen when you listen and respond to customer feedback.

Setting up an account with Conversocial is and easy and simple way to monitor the content generated about your company on Facebook and Twitter while categorizing and prioritizing issues and concerns that may arise. Your boss will thank you for making online customer relationship management so easy!

Kelly Ray & Erin McGuire

We like ‘Likify’: How this new social media tool is improving engagement

What is Likify?

You’re walking through the mall just browsing the window displays one afternoon with your friends. You come up to the Sephora (or Foot Locker for you guys) and you see a code on one of the posters. Curious, you pull out your iPhone and scan it. The code takes your to a page where you can ‘like’ the store. Why not, right? So you like the page and all of a sudden a discount pops up on the screen so naturally, you enter the store and reap the benefits of participating in the new social media tool, Likify.

Likify allows consumers to connect to social networks through individual products. No longer do we have to log into our social media platforms to find the products and brands we like, but we can simply ‘like’ by scanning the Likify code, similar to a QR code, with our mobile device.

By making the ‘liking’ process quicker, easier and more interactive, the likelihood of engagement increases, allowing your product to be spread even farther across multiple social media platforms.

Consumers can share products in the following ways:

  • Like on Facebook
  • Share on Facebook
  • Reply on Twitter
  • Add as friend
  • Attend event

How can you use it?

  1. First, enter details to generate the Likify code.
  2. Select social media actions that will be available to the person scanning the code.
  3. Track activity such as likes, shares, influence generated by Likify.
Example of how Likify tracks engagement.

Businesses can customize their Likify landingpages by:

  • Design your own home screen with your company’s logo and personal graphics
  • Add a short explanation for your customers who scanned the code
  • Add a YouTube movie to your landingpage to enhance the experience
How you can optimize your Likify landingpage.

Who is using it?

  • EA
  • Nike
  • Sephora
  • House of Blues
  • Carved Records
  • Social Local Media

See how they’re using it here.

Ali Thurwachter and Josh Sizemore

QR Codes: Dan Bagwell & DuBose Ratchford

What is a QR Code?

What exactly are QR Codes?

QR Codes (Quick Response) were designed in 1994 by a branch of the Toyota Group to track developing in progress. The idea behind QR Codes was to allow its contents to be decoded at a high speed. Now in 2012, and with the ever-progressing technology in mobile phones, QR Codes store different types of data for the average smartphone user. QR Codes are scan-based images that allow consumers to link directly to media about a certain product (or anything, really). There’s a huge customer base; over 140 million people in the world are iPhone users. They’re picking up steam- in June of 2011, 14 million mobile users scanned a QR code. 58% scanned from home, 39%scanned from stores. QR codes have been printed on Chinese train tickets since 2009. There are tons of free and pay QR code-generating sites and apps; Google and Facebook have generators for it: 

Where can you find QR Codes?

  • Magazines
  • Papers
  • Business Cards
  • Buses
  • Signs
  • T-shirts
  • Websites
  • Posters
  • Any print medium

The nerdy stuff:

Thanks to our friends at Mobile-Barcodes.com, we can better understand some of the actual inner-workings of a QR Code:

QR-Codes are capable of handling of sorts of data, including numbers, alphabetic characters, Kanji, Kana, Hiragana, symbols, binary and control codes.

A total of 7,089 characters can be encoded in one symbol alone.

QR-Code Data Capacities
Numeric only Max 7,089 characters
Alphanumeric Max 4,296 characters
Binary (8 bits) Max 2,953 bytes
Kanji, full-width Kana Max 1,817 characters

So what does this mean for you?

As an individual, it means that when someone hands you a business card with a QR-Code on the back, all you have to do is scan it to put their name, mailing address, e-mail address, phone number(s), etc. on your phone. Basically, it makes your life easier. As a marketer, it means that QR Codes can be placed on your products, labels, website, social networks, pamphlets, handouts, etc. to promote a campaign, provide further information, give contact information, and make the process so quick and easy that your customers engage without a losing any time.

The best part of QR Codes is that you can track your individual code to see the extent of interaction, where, when, and what time. This of course will help your business know where to place QR Codes in the future for the best visibility. Both bit.ly and Google URL shorteners will help you track your QR Code.

Specific Marketing Strategies:

  • Links to videos or brand websites, increases traffic and raising awareness
  • Incorporate with other social media like Facebook- can link to a “Like” page and boost popularity
  • Incentives systems like free gifts with linking to the Marlboro page
  • The immediate nature of QR codes means the content should be updated regularly; most codes have shifted from static HTMLs to constantly updating material
  • Avoid doing this: 

Some Social Media Uses:

  1. Facebook:
  • Can link to a “Like” page and boost popularity
  • Links to sharing options, so viewers can easily share whatever content that was linked from Facebook
  • Facebook is shifting to photo and status QR codes that appear below
  • the “Photos of me” links
  1. Twitter
  • Links to Twitter profile after a company logo to boost Followers
  • Scanners can share Twitter content after being sent to Twitter page

Let’s talk data:

QR Codes can contain the following:

  • Contact Information
  • E-mail Address
  • Phone Number
  • SMS
  • Plain Text
  • Geo Location
  • Calendar Event
  • Wifi Network Key
  • URL Link

QR Codes in the future:

Marketers should note that QR codes are considered more of a temporary trend, a stepping stone to advance to more direct forms of media.

Public sentiment is only lukewarm, with most people being neutral:

Resources & Further Exploration:

http://www.mobile-barcodes.com/about-qr-codes/

http://notixtech.com/blog/21-qr-code-frequently-asked-questions

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaspBarcode?v=xYLKH7uB-SM&feature=pyv