A New Place For Q & A…Exploring Quora

I’m sure you’ve heard about the website, Quora, which has recently made it’s way into the news and online media. Being THE hot, new buzzed about online tool, I’ve decided to check it out! It’s recently exploded among the social media junkies, reporters, industry pros and the tech savy crowd  as, according to their website, a “continually improving collection of questions and answers.” It was founded in April 2009 by Adam D’Angelo, who was previously CTO and VP of engineering at Facebook, and Charlie Cheever, who led Facebook Connect and Facebook Platform.

blog picture for quora

  • Quora is a website where you can ask questions and receive an answer back from community members, kind of like Yahoo Answers. But, here’s what makes it better. Quora is much more than someone asking “Q) I have ate two whole tangerines in about two hours what will happen to me?” and some one coming back with a sarcastic response like A) “That all depends on whether you swallowed any seeds. If you did, be very careful not to eat any dirt or drink any water for the next two weeks.” And yes that was a real question and answer…don’t ask how I came across that one.  Anyways, like I was saying, Quora does more then just asking a question and getting a slew of ridiculous responses back. It’s a database of knowledge created by people, for people with an additional opportunity for anyone to collaborate and start a discussion and gives users a chance to offer their expertise and opinion while striving for consensus.
  • It provides a platform for social and interest-driven real time content: Quora allows you to follow other community members with similar interests as you and ask them questions directly. Also, your homepage provides a feed that shows you new topics you or those you are following may be interested in.  As soon as I created my account it gave me the option to connect through Facebook and Twitter so I instantly had several people, and topics to follow right away, making it’s interface more like that of a social network.
  • Quora posts your name to your answer: This is another reason why there is so much press around the site right now. High profile people who have extensive knowledge about a topic are contributing their knowledge and opinions to questions. It makes the content more trustworthy then Yahoo Answers or Wikipedia for example.

I’m still in the test run phase of Quora, but I’ve managed to set up an account, follow a few interesting people ad topics and even voted on some good answers. I have yet to ask a question, but when I do, I’m anxious to see the responses I get. It’s definitely a website worth checking out. I think you’ll be surprised at what you can find on there. For now you can follow me here on Quora.

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A Resolution Worth Keeping…

Ok so here’s my sob story…I work 5 days a week, 9 hours a day and then by the time I get home I’m too lazy to blog and my evening usually consists of eating, watching some lame reality tv show and passing out with my dog …NO MORE.

This year, 2011, things are going to change. Basically I need to get a life. One of my resolutions for the new year, and beyond, is to blog more. Yea, I keep up on industry news and stuff, but I need to start writing about it and learning and networking with other bloggers. If I want to someday build a career in my dream job (something social media or advertising) I need to start making moves here so I’m one step ahead of that other new college grad out there trying to get that same job as me that I was so so so bad!

My motivation for this came from the WordPress challenge to “Post Something Every Day.” So maybe it won’t be everyday for me, but how about a few times a week or even once a week? I think I can do that…I can still blog while I’m watching Jersey Shore…right?

WordPress even has this blog called the Daily Post which gives me daily tidbits of inspiration and blogging advice to get me going.

Here I go…this is me participating in the Post a Week 2011 WordPress challenge.

New year, new opportunities. Cheers to a great 2011. I wonder what’s in store for me this year?!

 

Above & Beyond with Guerrilla Marketing

Today I came across an article highlighting Microsoft’s recent guerrilla marketing campaigns, which got me thinking. Besides a short guerrilla marketing campaign I wrote in a Michigan State Junior year copy writing class, I really don’t know much about guerrilla marketing. What makes it good? What makes it bad? Is it really effective? How are advertisers using this technique to promote their brand? And a few more questions came to mind. So of course I pulled up the ever so trusty Google and got to work looking into this off the wall, creative form of advertising.

So what is guerrilla marketing? And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the furry jungle giant here…

gurilla face

In a nut shell, guerrilla marketing is using unconventional and aggressive tactics to yield maximum results from minimal resources. With today’s strong social media presence as a powerful measuring tool and the decline of traditional forms of advertising, huge opportunities have opened up for guerrilla marketing as it is starting to pop up in the advertising mainstream. Today’s most successful guerrilla campaigns come in the form of viral, out of the ordinary billboards, over the top product promotions, marketers are even taking guerrilla tactics to bus stops. The possibilities are endless…it just depends on how far the advertiser is willing to push the limits for maximal creativity.

Mini Cooper Guerilla Airport Campaign coopswallsmall

But like every advertising effort, there’s the good and the bad

The Good: Guerrilla marketing is authentic, relevant, creative, attention grabbing, and strategic. Guerrilla marketing creates instant buzz, and whether it be good or bad, it still gets people talking about the brand and with today’s strong social media presence people will be doing more than just talking.  People will be tweeting, facebooking, snapping photos, telling their friends about the awesome ad they saw while running errands. Although guerrilla marketing can’t be measured like traditional marketing, it can be measured through social media. All social media conversation about the brand can be easily tracked in real time, making ROI easily measurable, and networking for the brand highly successful.

Guerrilla marketing can also be cheap. A good campaign can strategically, and successfully be carried out with a budget of even a few hundred dollars, and on the viral end it’s free! Doesn’t get much better then free advertising! Guerrilla advertising is also great for small businesses, in fact in was initially developed for just that. It can be tailored to meet specific needs, whereas traditional advertising can get complicated and expensive to achieve exactly what the brand wants. Finally, guerrilla marketing is, in my opinion, the most creative form of advertising. Like I said earlier, the possibilities are endless.

The Bad (dun dun dunnnn…) Guerrilla techniques, like any form of advertising, can be perceived negatively. Something over the top may not be easily accepted by consumers, or worse case scenario legal action could be taken against the campaign. Keeping that in mind, its important to check city laws before carrying out the campaign. Yes, guerrilla marketing can be inexpensive for small businesses, but if you really want to out-do your competition it could require a pretty big budget and the willingness to dedicate time and energy. Another disadvantage to this technique is that unlike online advertising, for example, where you can measure the effectiveness of the ad based of CPP and other measurements, you won’t see the success or failure of your guerrilla campaign overnight…it requires time, and lots of it!

If you want an ad that takes creativity to the extreme and aren’t afraid of pushing your brand’s limits then guerrilla marketing is a technique to consider squeezing into your advertising budget…like i said above, you can spend as little or as much as you want it just depends on how far you’re willing to push the ad.  You’ll receive maximum exposure for your brand, create instant buzz, and get people talking about the awesome ad they just saw. Guerrilla marketing is making its way to the forefront of streamline advertising and for that reason it’s worth tapping into.

Tis the Season

With the Holiday’s right around the corner, advertisers have once again outdone themselves with quirky, comical, and even some down right ridiculous ads, but they all have one thing in common…that “WOW” “What the heck?” and “Where’s my purse I need to go buy that NOW!” factor. The point of advertising, especially during the holiday season, is to spark an interest in your product, get people to remember your brand through creative adverting and most importantly get people off their couches and into the stores purchasing your product RIGHT? Well these ad’s don’t fall short in sparking an interest and definitely aren’t easily forgettable. Here’s just a few of my favorites

HBO TRUE BLOOD-Comical and memorable…a classy spoof on one of today’s most popular TV series

Brand: HBO Videos
Agency: BBDO Worldwide

LG “SOMETHING’S LURCKING”–I think you’ll agree with me that LG just took vacuum commercials to a whole new level…in a good way. This commercial is an amazing combination of animation and suspense, right down to the music. The constant movement of the animation through the danger zone (portrayed as a family room) keeps viewers drawn in for the full :60 seconds. The spot is visually compelling even down to the treatment of what little text the commercial has, warning viewers to “Protect your family, from things that are lurking.”

Brand: LG Home Appliances
Agency: Young & Rubicam New York

TARGET HOLIDAY SERIES–Yes the portrayal  of the nut-job of a holiday housewife, Maria Bamford, may be perceived as a bit “out there” but it’s still grabbing your attention and more importantly keeping it.  I must admit she slightly frightens me, but that’s what’s so great about this campaign. We all have that Maria Bamford in our lives who’s absolutely obsessed with the holiday’s and tends to get even a bit looney during the season. People either really love or really hate the new Target commercials, but either way People are talking about them…great PR for Target

 

 

Social Media Impacts 2010 Election

It’s that time again as the 2010 Mid-Term Elections took place today. This year has been an especially buzzed about campaign season as more candidates then ever turned to social media to drive their campaigns. As I’ve said before, social media continues on the rise. More and more people have not only realized the power social media has in the digital world, but understand the importance of jumping on board. What better way for candidates to reach out to people for their vote then through social media outlets.

Many people believe that Obama’s social media presence during the 2008 Presidential Election can be credited largely to his win. By election day he had gained more than 2 million followers on Facebook and over 100,000 on Twitter. It has already been suggested that the Republicans may win majority in tomorrows Congressional vote as their social media presence is much stronger. With the explosive growth of social media over the past few years it is no surprise that it would play an important role in politics. Who knows maybe it will even replace telephone polls and surveys some day in the near future.

According to a publication on the Social Media in the 2010 Election 98% of Democrats and 95% of Republican of the House have official Facebook Fan Pages and 95% Republicans to 93% Democrats on the Senate have Fan Pages. Just thing, five years ago I bet a majority of these politicians didn’t even have a clue what Facebook was.

Candidates are utilizing everything from Facebook and Twitter to YouTube Channels to get brand themselves and raise money for their campaigns. As more and more people turn to the web to research candidates the opportunity for the candidates to reach them increases. I’ve stumbled across some candidates who have running Google Adwords campaigns and others with Facebook Ads.  Many of the candidates are also linking all of their social media profiles together. For example on their Facebook page is a link to their Twitter and official website and at the end of a video on their YouTube Channel their may be the URL of a link directing viewers to donate. Facebook and Twitter, where the general public can comment, post, retweet etc. give them a sense of personal connection with the candidate and that’s what voters are looking for when they hit the poles. They want to vote for someone they feel they have a connection with. Keeping that in mind I think it’s crucial for candidates to take the time to respond to comments and tweets.. Justin Amash, who’s running for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, uses his Facebook page to post what he’s recently voted on and why he voted that way. He even replies to comments and updates all his posts himself. I think a big part of a candidates job is to directly interact with his/her constituents and Amash does just that.

Even though Facebook Fan Pages, Twitters and YouTube Channels may not be the most precisely targeted campaign tools, they are allowing candidates to reach a huge amount of people, create an ongoing buzz and even promote word of mouth. Engaging with such a vast digital audience will not only attract supporters from the candidate’s area, but also people in surrounding districts that can help pass along the word or even donate if they’d like. The downside to this though is that they can’t vote for that candidate not in their district. This tends to make campaigning a bit difficult as it’s hard to determine if the candidate is spending too much time on people who in the end can’t vote for them. It’s all a toss up.

*A side not for the politicians: Social media is easy, quick, real time, has the ability to reach the masses and allows the public to interact with you. BUT a strong media presence doesn’t always mean digital followers will turn into voters…like I said, the targeting is a toss up.

But for now, any political would be in the stone age if they didn’t utilize social media to some extent.

Google Docs Pairs up with Android and iPad…Making Life on the Go even easier

Not one but TWO Cool new development in ONE week…Way to go Google!!!!

Today, Google announced the launch of Google Docs editing capabilities for Android and iPad (not to be confused with the entire iOS platform, as Google has only announced launching this APP with the iPad).

To break it down quickly, Google Docs is a system that incorporates spreadsheets, word processing and presentation features, that can be shared and edited by multiple users. Now, Google is bringing the editing capabilities to mobile and iPad users.

As an avid Google Docs user, for projects and work, I think this is a great idea especially for those of us who want the ability to do work on the go. I love this recent, growing incorporation of Google with mobile devices and apps. Clearly, Google has realized that mobile is becoming the new go-to source for quick, on the go, spur of the moment business related and social media applications. I wouldn’t expect anything less from them.

The only downside to this is WHY hasn’t Blackberry gotten hold of this new App? There are probably more Blackberry users out there then Android and iPad. I don’t think this will negatively affect Blackberry, but once again it pushes other systems ahead. I heard that the new Google update for Blackberry allows users to search Docs, but not edit them yet. As a Blackberry user I am quite jealous of all you Android owners.

And why is Google pairing Android and iPad together for the launch of this? Seems a bit random. It almost makes Android look like a tablet instead of the mobile OS that it is, but that’s just my opinion. I would have thought they’d either focus solely on mobile or launch it with the entire iOS platform to include iPhone, iTouch, and iPad…it remains a mystery.

Google Launches SUPER Secure Login

This week, although it is only Tuesday, has proved to be a huge week for Google as they announced their new mobile login verification system

The new 2-Step Verification log in is currently aimed at Google Apps Premier (Gmail, Docs and Calendar) and Government/Education edition, hopefully to be available to all Google users in the near future. The goal is to address security issues with remote access, by making it as secure as on-site access.

2 step verification

How It Works?

Google users will user their login username/password (which they have and know) and a login verification code that will be sent to their mobile device through a SMS message or voice call. Users of the Android will also have the option to use a Google Authenticator application to generate a login verification code as well.

With the rapid growth of smartphone users and the ability for users to complete transactions online such as mobile banking and Ebay apps, it is becoming more necessary to implement better fraud detection capabilities for fixed line mobile computing. With this new verification process, Google, hopes to eliminate cloud computing fraud issues. (Cloud computing is what makes your information easily and readily available anywhere, on any device)

Apple releases Ping…nice ring to it eh?

Today Apple, to no surprise seeing as they have consistently been on the forefront of innovation and creative apps, released their new ITunes Ping incorporated in ITunes 10. The whole idea behind Ping (besides being a name that surely won’t be quickly forgotten) is to create a social network for music…the Facebook of music for lack of better terms. It basically allows you to follow your friends, while following your favorite artists, their favorite artists, talk about music and discover new music all under one social network. It’s a cool concept. I am a HUGE and I mean huge music lover, all kinds, and surfing ITunes alone isn’t all that fun so the thought of being able to find music, backed by a network of your friends and people who like the same music is a pretty nifty concept.

But does it work? Is it all it’s cracked up to be? That is the question at hand…

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, when describing Ping said, “It’s like Twitter and Facebook meet iTunes.” Like I said, it’s the social network dedicated entirely to music. Ping is available to the 160 million users of Itunes to date, and allows users to interact through custom song and chart lists, news feeds, concert listing, and sharing.  Ping also got it right with the privacy settings as you are able to have total control over who you follow, who follows you and what is shared. SO taking all this into consideration I do think it was a bold step for Apple to take as far as enterting the social networking world, but it gives music lovers a place to network…that is if they want yet another social network to manage.

I have heard several people say and read several other articles talking about how Ping is trying to become the next Facebook…FALSE. All Ping is trying to do is build a network of people who was to talk about music. It in no way measures up to, or is trying take over Facebook…it just can’t due to lack of capabilities. Apple is good at music, Facebook is good at social networking. Both know their boundaries. According to reports, there was some trouble between Facebook and Ping in agreeing on terms so currently there is no way for the two networks to link or share via Ping.

I just downloaded Ping and am still unsure of how I feel about it. I really think social networking is meant for the experts aka Facebook and Twitter and technology, hardware, and design should be left for Apple. But then again, music sharing is something people have been doing forever so this might actually take off. I guess time will tell.

Facebook Places…is this goodbye to Foursquare? Not Quite

I may be a week or 2 late on this post, but I thought it’d be better to wait and do my review of Facebook Places until after I had some time to experiment.

Location based apps are becoming the “it” trend for social media, especially those that have gone mobile like the ever so popular Foursquare, Twitter Places, and now Facebook Places? Facebook, being hands down the number one social media network would obviously feel the need to once again take their platform a step further and expand into the location based spectrum of social media. But was this necessarily a good idea and will it catch on? Could it replace the rapidly growing popularity of Foursquare?

Facebbok Places and Foursquare LogoFacebook Places logo (Left) Foursquare (Right)

So, here’s the dealio:

Facebook places is an app that brings geo-location to Facebook users with smartphones. As of now the feature is only available on the IPhone, but a future release (although that date is not confirmed) is planning for the Android and Blackberry. Once you have accessed places you are asked for permission to share you location, which is a good feature adding extra privacy. From here you enter the places page and can share you whereabouts with friends. Places gives you the ability to add places that don’t already exist on the places platform and tag you and your friends in places as well and check in as a group. So from that standpoint Places is pretty nifty.

Facebook Places has stirred up several privacy concers. Like I said above friends can tag you in a check-in, meaning that you do not have control over this appearing in newsfeed and on your profile, which by default it will. When you check in your location is automatically visible to your friends and everyone nearby. However, both these issues can be addressed by opting out of them and changing your customized privacy settings. It just takes a little extra work.

Places has a useful feature where it allows users to report incorrect places, spam, disturbing behavior, or duplication and will flag the reports which will then be looked over and possibly even removed permanently.

All in all, Facebook Places has its kinks to still work out, and definitely doesn’t have as much of an accessible mobile base like Foursquare (as Foursquare is already available on several mobile devices) but it does have the advantage that it appeals to the massive audience that Facebook has already captured. If people are loyal to Facebook, then Places may very well take off. The Facebook Places network is larger as well, where with Foursquare your network only includes those people who you have friended or who have friended you.

A Quick Guide to Help You Choose Facebook Places or Foursquare

Facebook Places:

  • A map and direction features.
  • The ability to see where your friends are, check in with them, and tag your friends in a location with you
  • A way to share their location with all their Facebook friends

Foursquare:

  • A gaming experience that allows the user to become the ‘mayor’ of a location, earn badges, and points
  • A way to leave tips for their friends in regards to a location and to see where their friends are at that moment.
  • A way to detect what businesses are nearby and if they are offering any cool discounts for being a customer

Well there you have it. More to come as I continue to follow the Facebook Places vs. Foursquare face off.

For my MSU Social Media Drivers License class I was tasked with designing a mock online Google Adwords Campaign.

As the largest university-based credit union in the world and the leading banking institution for MSU students, it is important for you, the MSU Federal Credit Union, to utilize the most effective and cost efficient means of advertising to reach your diverse and rapidly growing member base.

Over the past few years there has been a consistent and rapid growth in the use of online advertising, contributing to some of the most successful and well known campaigns to date. With the ability to provide a cost effective, maximum exposure campaign, with a variety of advertising approaches and the ability to target a specific audience, online advertising is an effective approach in reaching the Spartan community.

THE MSUFCU SERVICE: You have been successfully serving the MSU community since 1937, with a membership base of over 153,000 today. From loans to free checking accounts, and credit card options, MSFCU is continuously dedicate to providing quality service to help members make the most of their college experience and beyond.

YOUR TARGET: The majority of your target lies in current MSU students, ages 18-22, followed by incoming freshman and MSU graduates/alumni.  It is important to heavily target the prospective MSU and incoming students, as they have the potential to provide the majority of your yearly growth. The ease and ability to access and monitor their money is a powerful contributing factor in making that final college decision. Targeting recent graduates is important as well. As many look to move away from the East Lansing college scene, they need to be reminded that MSUFCU is there to continue helping them on their journey into the real world. Keeping in mind that much of your target consists of college students, the campaign will be more successful if information is presented in a way that they can relate to by minimizing lengthy jargon.

It is also important to realize the potential disadvantage you could face: A percent of students coming into MSU have banking accounts back at home with branches available to them in the East Lansing area. Although you are the number one bank in East Lansing, you are still competing against those banks with a loyal follower base of students who intend to keep the same banking institution as they had back home. Your online campaign will need to stand out and draw in this percent of incoming students by showing them how MSUFCU is the better, more convenient choice for them.

YOUR CAMPAIGN APPROACH: Google Adwords is an online approach that could greatly bnefit your online presence as it would increase traffic to your website, therefore increasing traffic to your site and resulting in increased membership.

Google Adwords is a Google marketing tool that marketers and advertisers utilie to launch their product or service intot he online public sphere.  Google Adwords is pay per click based meaning you only pay when a customer visits your website, making the tool cost efficient. Adwords has the ability to deliver the most relevant content for your brand in minimum time and will even reward you for the most relevant ad for any search term.

YOUR KEYWORDS: The following keywords were chosen for MSUFCU’s Online Adword Campaign based on results from the Google Search-based Keywords Tool and Google Insights. Selection was based on the best and most searched keywords to match your industry.

1. Student Bank Accounts  2. Best student bank account  3. MSUFCU Login  4. MSUFCU  5. Federal Credit Union in       Michigan

YOUR CREATIVE: AD COPY

Target: Current MSU Students

1. MSUFCU…helping you live like a Spartan

2. Combining your Spartan spirit and all your banking needs. Go Green. Go White. Go MSUFCU

Target: Potential MSU Students

1. Your Spartan journey begins with the MSU Credit Union. Learn more now!

2. Choosing MSU was a no brainer. Choosing a student bank should be too. Join MSUFCU today. The Choice is simple

Target: MSU Alumni

1. A Spratan for life. MSUFCU for life. Discover our Alumni options

2. From eager freshman to Corporate VP, MSUFCU is with you all the way.

MEASUREMENT:

Your Google Adwords campaign will be easy to manage and track results. You will be provided with a user friendly marketing management system that measures based on number of visits, cost per visitor, and cost per campaign. Finally, traditional advertising can take week to get a campaign up and running, but with Google Adwords your campaign is produced and running in under an hour. Google Adwords will not only direct people immediately to your site, but will also put out ads on the side of the Google search engine results to direct people to their specific need of your service. Keeping all the benefits of Adwords in mind, it would be extremely beneficial for you to utilie this wonderful tool and reap the benefits of the results.