social media

Building Social Media Profiles For Fun & Profit

3 Comments
September 19  |  Brand Building  |   Ryan Clark

Building a targeted social media follower base is no easy task. However, there are certain ways to speed things up and get a quick ROI for your time spent. It’s really hard to see the value when you’re starting out, especially when trying to get upper management to put good money and manpower towards the cause. It’s one of the toughest areas we have with our clients as they hate waiting for results, and really they should only be using an outside company to send them in the right direction.

What we want in the end are real people hitting that “follow” button so you have a real target audience that’s truly interested in your brand. The one other aspect that’s extremely important in my mind is the fact that you get to build a level of trust with consumers. If they can see you interacting with other customers, sharing new media and seeing others engaged with your brand, you’ll see an uptick in sales…without a doubt! The cream on top comes with the value in spreading content once you have a large following. If you have a truly creative content team, they’re going to have a lot more success spreading the right media because customers will actually want to share your content.

#Protip – Using a profile picture of a good looking bloke or lady from your company is going to get more follows thanks to good old “sex appeal”.

What I’m going to go over today will help get a big boost to your follower base that should be decently targeted to your brand. We will also identify your key social influencers which will be really important down the road. The world of business becomes a lot easier when you have the right connections, so make sure you know who the key players are. These relationships can lead to getting links, making new social friends, and getting help sharing your content. Just make sure you play nice and be social!

Let’s Talk About Pinterest

This site is perhaps the most fun to work on as of late, and while it’s not for business, it is a social network not to be slept on. Pinterest has a large female following (with the guys finally catching on) and while the referral traffic might be on par with StumbleUpon (aka not that sticky), this social network has other uses. You do get links on your profile, but the best marketing aspect yet? You pins can rank easily for long tail keywords and thus become a major traffic driver in and of themselves. This of course will only last as long as Google inflates their rankings like they are now, so definitely take advantage of this (and for any other social media site of the moment).

Pinterest follows will mainly come from you having good content, just like any other marketing angle you usually would be working. If you’re selling a product that’s the same across other websites and it’s already pinned, it’s time to take some custom photos for the occasion. Pinterest will send you insane amounts of traffic if done right, but don’t expect to magically go viral anymore, even with amazing content. Nevertheless, having the right audience already in place will make your life so much easier!

First up, get your staff (or yourself if flying solo) to populate your account, make sure you have your links set up, and create a dozen of your own pin boards. Fill the default ones up first and work on those amazing pictures for your custom pin boards before heading off to make friends.

Play Nice With Others…

Spend a few hours hunting down similar users by hand based on what you like and see. That’s always a great way to make sure you have future pins you’ll actually be interested in re-pinning on a bi-weekly basis. Not only that, but hopefully they’ll be something your followers will be interested in as well; chances are good that you’ll earn some like-minded followers back. By now, I’m sure you’re thinking “I’ve already done this with Twitter”… Sadly, it won’t be the last time you feel that sensation either, as I’m sure the next big social media site is just about to pounce.

Trending & Influencers

Once you’ve worked on the above task, it’s time to start utilizing the mashup sites that provide a wealth of useful information. In came Repinly and let me tell you, this is the most handy Pinterest marketing resource you’re going to see, hands down.

Here you can easily find the top influencers and pins in your vertical. Since using this site, we’ve managed to help build clients’ Pinterest follower levels over the 100k mark. You can also keep your eye out for pin boards that allow other contributors which opens you up to a world of power sharing.

There are a couple of other Pinterest mashups worth mentioning, and although I hate to favor one over the other, Repinly has really outdone themselves. You can also check out:

Pinauthority.com – tracks statistics for Pinterest users including pin stats and follower gains/losses.

PinPuff.com – This is kind of like Klout, but for just Pinterest… I don’t think I could have summed it up any better.

Don’t Skip Out On TheFancy.com

This is my personal favorite social site of the “pin kind”. TheFancy.com has been growing rapidly, although it’s not quite near the traffic levels of its arch-nemesis. We also run a luxury blog and luxury marketing company which is in the upstart stages, and that’s more so what this site is geared towards. The cooler and more fancy it is, the better luck you’ll have spreading it on this site. The bonus as well is that you can directly partner with TheFancy and they can send you sales/leads for your products. I’ve also found that the site’s posts also rank quite well in the long tail and can be another addition to that specific strategy. Here’s a shot of my profile:

To me, the overall experience of this site is way better than its competitors and I spend way too much time on it. I’ve also found the traffic is a lot more sticky and productive that Pinterest (which usually has a time on site of less than 10 seconds). There are no stats and trending tools for TheFancy, but you can use Topsy to see some hot items which I find is great for my link bait writing. Gaining followers here requires a lot of hard work and while I’ve had my items front page featured a lot, I’m still not that influential.

Instagram Is Too Useful To Ignore

Instagram is quite fun, and bringing it into the work place can be a positive work task if done correctly. It can be used to showcase your products, your team and even score some natural links in the process. Creating content is good, and that’s what it’s all about these days! Gaining target followers here is the same as in any other place: follow, like/comment and hopefully get followed back. As I’m sure you’re aware, #hashtags play a key role with Instagram as well, so don’t forget to utilize them.

Instagram is a great marketing tool because:

  • You can showcase behind-the-scenes at your company on the fly.
  • You can use it to feed content to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
  • You can repurpose the pictures into galleries or use them on your company blog.
  • You can push Instagram followers to subscribe to your other social media accounts.
  • You can take part in trending topics with your own content.

Getting Stats and Trending Data for Instagram

Statigr.am

Since viewing anything on Instagram from the web is a complete pain in the arse, in came Statigram which makes life easier and prettier. You can get stats, view pictures and comment on images as well – all from their beautiful interface, which I think is what Instagram should have been like from the get-go. Take advantage of the search feature and go hit up your favorite #hashtag to find users to follow and discover who your influencers are.


Pinstagram

If you’re looking for another way to attract more followers and showcase your content in a purrdy way, then don’t miss out on using Pinstagram. It’s a breeze to use on your mobile phone or tablet and the whole interface is just so well done. Another perk of the 10-second sign up process is of course a link that will add a natural site/brand named link to your profile.


 

Google+ IS Worth The Effort

I’m finding that the Google+ effort by most webmasters, especially myself (shamefully), and even clients these days, is still quite minimal. I’ve been reading and researching what’s working well for other mass-followed individuals across a few verticals, and have come up with the following tactics to try out to see how well it builds an audience. Some of it is just obvious and I cannot believe how we’ve been sleeping on it all this time. If you have any tips I missed, leave them in the comments below and I’ll include it in here with a reference back to you!

Another reason I think the new social media network on the block is worth the effort is simply because of its integration. We spend so much time marketing to all of the other “Google streams” and now that they’re all flowing into the same lake, we have no choice. I definitely see it as an opportunity to take hold of as many followers as you can while the getting is good. I think it will play a crucial part in allowing any sort of top 10 ranking in whatever is left of the Google first page results in the coming years. Rand Fishkin has already covered this and several more reasons to get in on it sooner rather than later.

 
Badges & Reaching Out

This is the easiest part as there are many Google+ buttons you can get and try out on your audience, and while we use Sharebar for our social shares, I think it’s time we tried something else. We’re just not getting the desired amount of G+ shares on our content, so we’ll see what we can do for the last half of the year. You can find different badges for free all over the web (just use Google…), plus you could and should experiment with your own creative options to get that follow.

I would also highly recommend letting your social followers elsewhere know that you’re now on Google+, and/or share your brand/company community url there. This also means sending out a newsletter as well… Not many people remember to do this and that’s a big mistake. Newsletter followers are usually a high valued follower and syncing them up is going to be very well worth it. Remember that the Google “tentacles” reach out everywhere and that also means into the Gmail inbox location!

I’ve also seen the majority of shares on our end come from my blogging author bio both on our site and especially when I guest blog. Besides that, you should list it on other social media site bios(when you have the room) such as:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • About.me
  • About Us Pages
  • Scribd
  • Slideshare presentations
  • Youtube videos
  • Pinterest etc
  • Linkedin

Google+ Hangouts

This is where things get the most interesting in my opinion. Video conferencing is a very handy tool and it will most likely outpace audio only communication in the coming years. While texting is still widely popular, I think in the business world in particular the trend of video conferencing will be quite well received. This is the area I myself and the Linkbuildr team will be focusing on the most because there are a couple of unique uses for this free service.

Use 1) Google+ Hangout Air

Google has been testing Hangout Air quite a bit over the past year, and it is basically live streaming to your audience for whatever reason you may have. There are already tens of thousands of celebrities, sports teams, brands and leaders making good use of it. You can instantly save it to Youtube for marketing purposes later, or just go live to your audience. Right now you can broadcast up to 10 people, which is great for collaboration or for interacting with many people from a client’s company.

Use 2) Handle Customer Service

We’re a small team and a small company, so keeping costs down is always a plus! I know Geoff couldn’t agree with me more there as I give him and our accountant enough headaches as is. With Google+ Direct Connect, you can connect your website/brand to everything properly so Google can index your content accordingly. This can work great for communicating with clients on-the-fly, and will be a serious threat to Skype and other services like it.

I can take a video call from a client and pull in Geoff, Simon or Curtis at any time to consult on something they’re working on specifically. We’re also going to test this out with our month end reports and let each person report to the client what’s going on in their work. Most of our communication is through email still, so it will be interesting to see how this works in improving how we get to know our clients and improve the working environment.

 
Don’t forget about Google+ Local

For anyone servicing a specific location, Google+ Local is an absolute must so I really shouldn’t be listing it here in this post. As I’m sure you’re aware, the local listings are placed highly on local search results and thus give you quite the advantage. This makes up for the majority of all local leads within Google, so make sure you’re open to reviews and providing customers something to look at.

You can feed in Youtube videos, product/company images, and your Zagat rating and actual testimonials from other Google+ users here which will greatly improve your ranking amongst all others. This is extremely helpful in showcasing that you’re an active and legit brand, something a lot more companies need to work on. I want to feel as if I can trust a website I’m buying from and will often peek at your social media activities to see who’s behind the code. I highly recommend reading David Mihm’s crowd sourced mega article on ranking factors for local SEO, as it goes into great detail on just about everything you’ll need to know.

Youtube & Vimeo

I won’t – nor do I need to – go into great detail on why and how you should be using video in your marketing efforts. I will, however, quickly cover why I think these two are the only video sites worth putting a lot of effort into in the immediate future. It’s no secret that videos from these two sites can rank extremely high up in the SERPs if done correctly, and it all comes down to great content and your user base.

Vimeo.com

Vimeo is a place for high quality content, so sticking to that idea, I definitely recommend only using it for a certain type of video. I would certainly not recommend putting up boring product commercials or anything not edited well by a professional. Don’t get discouraged though; even though it’s more of a place for video art, you can by all means utilize it as a sales driving force. To give you an idea, just take a look at how GoPro has used it to sell their product and launch viral video content.

Kick ass content that lets the product do the selling without having to shove any tom foolery in a customers face. After seeing just one of their videos, you’ll want one.

Youtube

Youtube is great for all video, including artsy high end HD productions. I tend to recommend that clients heavily upload product reviews, funny videos, and pretty much anything else here. Youtube videos rank well, and if you can make your video authoritative enough, you will dominate the search results. A well ranked video comes from a number of areas such as view count, ratings, comments, and social share data, so having a well built social following can make a fast and significant impact to those rankings. I picked the random Google search query “San Jose mortgage broker” off the top of my head and sure enough, I got two video listings right at the top!

That’s why I love utilizing video, although we mainly do it for clients and not enough for ourselves. Just make sure you’re producing useful content, as it will lead to real social follows and that’s what you’re going after here. Video also lets your customers peer into your brand a little more intimately, which in turn leads to more brand trust.

A Couple More Examples

Manhattan creative agency

How to make money online

Need I say more?


Read Part 2: Build And Engage

 


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Olive Garden Doesn’t F#$@ Around

2 Comments
February 11  |  Brand Building  |   Ryan Clark

 

Pure Branding Gold

 
I have no idea if this is fake but it was a hot discussion on Reddit this past week. I for one hope it’s real as it would be one helluva PR stunt. A lot of brands are not against pulling off a stunt like this although they’re quite family oriented so I can see how this may be a photoshop. Despite that factor, this image has been the talk of the town and it has inadvertently brought a lot of eyes back on The Olive Garden.

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Infographic Marketing Strategies For Links & Brand Buzz

12 Comments
August 11  |  Link Bait Tactics  |   Ryan Clark

Marketing your infographics properly is a sure fire way to snag natural links, build brand buzz and gain social media followers. It’s a form of content creation that is relatively inexpensive to do and can continue to bring in links for years to come. The latter aspect really gets me excited because I’ve seen some crazy good links come in a year later from some great topical link bait. There’s no doubt that infographics have become the most widely used link bait tactic in the past couple of years, and I don’t that expect to slow down any time soon.

Source: Infographic of Infographics by Ivan Cash

There are millions of ways to tackle the creative end of things, the marketing, however, can be done either correctly or incorrectly. We’re all in the market for links from related sites, so make sure you stick on point. For the most part, I’ve seen mostly topical infographics being used with the right market in mind, but I’ve also seen others where the goal is to just get whatever links from whoever will give them to you. Not to worry though, you’ll want those related links anyway so focus on your niche.

There’s a lot of prep, or at least a lot we do, before starting your marketing efforts, so prepare your spreadsheet of choice. We’ll cover the tasks we lay down and hopefully this helps you structure your campaign better. I typically have this sorted while the client’s infographic is being worked on so that should be more than enough time to prep!

Last but not least, make sure your infographics “info” is really friggin awesome, because it’s going to make life a lot harder if it isn’t. How many infographics have you started reading only to quickly hit stop reading? This is where big flashy pie charts, numbers and eye catching statistics should be popping out like a 3D movie! You’re going to want to also provide an embed code with your infographic for ease of spreading; it blows my mind the amount of people who don’t do this.

Identify The Influencers:

So get out your spreadsheet and think of each point I make here as its own area or tab within it. We’ll need to start finding the social people out there that are within your vertical and you might stand a chance to get a share from their end. Hopefully most of you are already quite active on Facebook, Twitter and have made nice with a few bloggers. Your reach can potentially lead to huge success. To demonstrate visually, let me refer you to the picture below:

Image Courtesy: SocialMediaToday.com

Twitter: – I definitely like to have at least 25 of my most active Twitter friends on my “to contact” hit list for D-Day. Tactics like pulling a pre-emptive strike by contacting them a day or two early to see if they’d be willing to help spread the content are also a good idea. This social network alone can launch your infographic into viral orbit if you’re lucky so make sure to target the beefy and influential users that you are friends with. If you don’t really have strong ties with 25 users on Twitter, then make a list of 50-75 people you can contact in hopes of matching the same ROI… best of luck there! There are always infographics being marketed on Twitter, so check out what’s going on there to get some ideas. (Hint) Guy Kawasaki LOVES tweeting about infographics so much that I cannot tell if he’s getting paid to or not… either way, you get him you’re golden!

Facebook: – This one is tricky because you’re not usually friends with your digital cohorts at this level, just your mommy, friends from school and perhaps a girlfriend/wife if you’re lucky. The same mentality from Twitter applies here. Prep who you can contact to potentially get the Facebook shares going like wildfire. Hopefully your brands Facebook page has some decent followers that can start that initial push. If not, this one will be a tough nut to crack. I’d check for groups and fan pages as well for your brand, then get ready to share with those folks too.

Key Blogs: – This is the really tough part. I’m sure you do enough link begging, but now you need to infographic link beg. Break down a list of the best blogs in your niche and get to it because, again, just a couple shares can lead to big things. If the content is any good, blogs should jump at the chance to collect some of the hype that goes with it. You’ll be able to see which blogs have already shared an infographic from others, which blogs have a “submit news/tip” form and you should also find some other contact details like their Twitter and other social media information. You’ll be surprised at the response you’ll get from fellow bloggers and if they’re fans of your brand, then you’re in for an easy day.

Forums: – While I don’t recommend signing up to your niche’s top forums to spam them with your infographic, I hope you already have built a rep. Forums spread content like wildfire, so identifying the forums that will help launch this to a different crowd is quite important. A lot of niches won’t be so lucky, so if you have a big forum option, make sure you utilize it (or at least prep your accounts for future use). Forums are great for marketing and making friends, and mixing the two together will keep you out of trouble and in a good brand spotlight.

Reddit/Digg/Buzzfeed/Delicious/ETC: – There’s no doubt that Digg still has a lot of influence in spreading your content. The same goes for a number of other social news sites. Unfortunately, the chances of going hot on Digg are next to none unless you pay for it. Yes even after they “changed” their algorithm, the website is still dominated by a few users who get most of the stuff to the front page. Reddit is a deadly serious site that requires no spamming about on your end! Submit that sucker to the appropriate subreddit and hope for the best. If you content is good enough, it should do alright in the right subreddit, but then again, even Reddit votes are bought.

Buzzfeed is also a great place to get your infographic going around the web like crazy. You can buy front page spots for this, but you best have $3000-$5000 PER DAY to spend on this. Because of the huge price tag, the site can send a lot of traffic and get your infographic around if you’ve got the green. The other social media sites out there are up to your reach and influence, including niche specific social sharing sites. This is what we do, so if you’re looking for infographic marketing help, get in touch.

Link Analysis & Social Media Recon:

This is a no-brainer, but do your homework on other infographics both inside and out of your niche. While it’ll give you an idea of what to expect, it will also lead to other market help you may have overlooked in your initial setup stages. There are a whole host of search and link tools out there that will break down the anatomy of an infographic success story. Here’s what we use to do a quick rundown:

- Link Research Tools – know who and what links to a successful past infographic campaign. Take special note of the infographics that provided an embed code, and the ones that did not. You’ll see how the linking patterns evolved and this is pretty important stuff to know. LRT can also report back on the number of social shares which can be valuable information if you know how to interpret it.

- Twitter Search – I love seeing who’s sharing infographics around Twitter, especially in my target niche. People who are already enjoying them are more than likely to give yours a Tweet, so why not beg/ask? This will also lead to seeing how their followers react by checking out the RT love that that Twitter user’s post got.

- Google Blog Search – While we could perhaps just use regular old Google search for this, I want to know specifically which blogs are engaging infographics. Those older posts are a potential spot to drop a link to your related infographic as well, even though that might be a bit spammy in some people’s eyes. For the most part, a few choice blog posts isn’t going to hurt anyone and if the moderator approves it, then you’re good to go!

- Google Discussions – You’ll definitely want to know what forums were picking up past infographics because they’re the breeding grounds for natural links and viral activity. Since you get time stamps on posts, you can tell with your own eyes how that piece took off (or didn’t).

Infographics Gone Viral:


Image Source: Marissa Louie ( Her old site is now dead and links to Viagra )

Hopefully you have all your prep in place and you’re ready to rock once your infographic is good to go. The launch is an exciting part of the whole process, if not the most nerve-racking, so enjoy it and learn from it! There is a good chance you’re going to come up with nothing but fail, but don’t let that discourage you. We continue to see links come in over a year later for past infographics so it will be worth it no matter what if your content is good.

There are a few key places to which you can submit your infographic making life a lot easier as well as providing some initial links to the piece. Remember that people love this type of content so there will be browsers that will kick off the viral aspect of it all. The list provided here is not the end all be all, and more sites are popping up all the time so keep an eye out (hint: set an infographic Google Alert).

Infographic Sites:

- http://infographicsite.com/contact-us/
- http://infographr.tumblr.com/submit
- http://infographicsgenerator.com
- http://videoinfographic.com/submit-infographic/
- http://www.reddit.com/r/infographics
- http://www.infographicas.com/?page_id=39
- http://www.infographicsshowcase.com/submit/ (costs $100 for a review)
- http://www.infographicsarchive.com/submit-infographics/
- http://www.cloudinfographics.com/submit-infographic/
- http://submitinfographics.com/submit-infographics
- http://www.newsilike.in/submit-infographic/
- http://videoinfographic.com/submit-infographic/ (video infographics only)
- http://www.infographicpost.com/submit-an-infographic
- http://theinfographics.blogspot.com/p/submit-infographic.html
- http://visual.ly/
- http://dailyinfographic.com/contact
- http://iheartinfographics.tumblr.com/submit
- http://infographicsbin.tumblr.com/submit
- http://fuckyeahinfographics.tumblr.com/submit
- http://www.styleandflow.com/submit/
- http://infographipedia.com/submit-infographic-4
- http://www.omginfographics.com/submit/
- http://infographic.co.za/submit/
- http://www.bestinfographics.info/submit-infographic/
- http://iinfographic.com/submit-brilliance/
- http://www.infographicgallery.com/contact/

Submit A Press Release:

Why not? If you’re working on an infographic that has a really big reach, then you need to set aside a budget for a press release or two. I’d recommend using PRweb.com’s social media package as well as a release from Market Wire. Some news sites definitely pick up infographics and you an see for yourself with a simple Google news search. I cannot stress enough the importance of the content here for any sort of decent exposure.

Attacking Your Contacts like A Boss:

This is another time when all your prep comes into play. Just like with any viral marketing attempt, be on the ball and make sure you’re out there interacting and keeping the chatter alive. If you’ve got your social media vote buys on the ready, then make sure those are off to the races because you can forward those voting links to people who matter on your end.

Your Blog / Youtube / Newsletter:

I hope to the social Gods that you have at least two of those in place. Your company blog will most likely be the first link it gets and it makes for a great place to show off the social voting buttons for your fans to get acting on. A YouTube video talking about the infographic can’t hurt either, especially if your brand has a big following there (people even make videos of their infographics). Lastly, use your newsletter for what it was intended to do… share news! You can ask in private for your readers to check it out and vote it up if they have the appropriate contacts.

Infographic Resources:

- our infographic design and marketing services
- Infographic design resources and tutorials
- 40 blogs, portfolios, resources and other awesome infographic related material
- TopRankBlog’s infographic marketing post is a must read
- Adobe Illustrator infographic design resources
- Tips for designing and creating beautiful infographics
 

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Interview with Anand Patel, Founder of TalkHotels.com

2 Comments
July 21  |  Social Networks  |   Simon

Recently I’ve been enjoying the beta-test of TalkHotels.com, a new professional and social network for hoteliers and hospitality professionals. I’ve been sharing my knowledge and chatting with hotel industry members and had a chance to meet the founder, Anand Patel. He’s agreed to have an interview with me to share what it’s all about.

Simon: Hi Anand, please fill our readers in on the basic concept and features for TalkHotels

Anand: The concept for TalkHotels is simple: create a free networking tool for hospitality professionals to exchange ideas, opinions, and reviews of products and services. Hotels continue to face more challenges each year and I noticed there wasn’t a single tool they could use to get reliable, up-to-date, organized information from their peers. Of course, there’s trade magazines and a few notable hospitality blogs but that conversation is one-way; there isn’t much dialogue there between the people that are involved in day-to-day operations.

Simon: Give me a little history on what inspired TalkHotels

Anand: It really stemmed from the early experience I gained by working with hotels around the world. I made websites to help pay my way through college and the majority of my clients were in the hotel business so naturally, I heard stories about how difficult it became to find reliable information when you needed it most. With each story I heard, the idea for TalkHotels grew until I felt I had a pretty good, sustainable model to take to market. I guess the purest inspiration I had was the fact that nothing like TalkHotels existed before. I wanted to provide an authentic solution to a real-world problem and I believe I’m on the right track.

Simon: Here at Linkbuildr we’re pretty excited about how you are connecting vendors and services together with the hotel industry, Please elaborate.

Anand: The TalkHotels ‘Shop’ experience is designed to give hoteliers access to the largest collection of vendors and local service providers, along with unbiased reviews from their peers. If you operate a franchise hotel, you can’t just work with anyone so we wanted to provide our members with a catalog of vendors that was custom-built for you and the brands you’re involved with. As we grow and we get more vendors on board, we plan on introducing a handful of tools to make the buying process even easier for hotel operators. Simply put, the vision is to equip hotel operators with all the information they need in a concise manner to make educated, informed decisions on the go.

Simon: I see TalkHotels is taking on an environmental initiative as well. Tell us about these plans and your collaboration with CarbonFund.org?

Anand: Yes, the environmental initiatives were something I wanted to incorporate from the beginning because I’m aware of the impact hotels and travel/tourism in general has on the environment. As TalkHotels grows, I want to use our voice to help raise awareness and look for authentic solutions to reduce the impact hotels have on the environment. Right now, we’re planting a tree for each invite that’s requested. Later, we plan on introducing several other environmental initiatives for hotels and travelers to participate in.

 

Simon: Are you planning a mobile app version of TalkHotels?

Anand: Yes, that’s definitely something we’re working on in the near future. Before we fully jumped into creating a mobile version of TalkHotels, we wanted to build up our member base and gain insight as to what we can improve, what we can ditch, which features were deemed the most important, etc. We’re still in the process of gathering this information but we’ll definitely be unveiling an app for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, and iPad in the near future.

Simon: Do you have plans for any additional features or services from TalkHotels?

Anand: Absolutely. I wish I could share more information but at this point, we’re still in the planning stages. Stay tuned, though, because we’re going to be introducing some new services that we feel our members will enjoy and gain tremendous value from.

Simon: TalkHotels is still in beta testing, do you know when you plan to launch officially?

Anand: We’re getting there. We still have about 200 invites to grant so once we grant those we’ll give those people ample time to sign up and tour TalkHotels. After that, we’ll open up the invite system so that our existing members can then invite people they know in the industry. In fact, we have some interactive promotions and campaigns planned for our existing members so that we can share TalkHotels with even more people. We plan on keeping it invite-only because we want our members to have total power to let in people who they feel will contribute to the TalkHotels network.

Simon: Thanks for your time Anand. For anyone involved or who follows this industry you really see the progressive nature that people outside don’t pick up on. The trends of the modern traveler are evolving at an accelerating rate, with new niches and new needs that constantly challenge hotels. For instance I just discovered a new category I’m slowly getting sucked into called the “micro-tripper”. It’s being built around the popularity of flash sales, private travel sales and group buying sites and is made of people interested in very short or last minute vacations. While there are always naysayers when any new social network arrives, the size of the global hospitality industry is big enough to warrant its own. And with the constant changes we’re seeing in travel,  the demand within the industry for this will only grow. The Linkbuildr team is excited to see how the community expands and what new features are integrated. I’d be happy to check in with you for another post in the near future.

If you’re in the hospitality industry, or supply a product or service for hotels, make sure to check out TalkHotels. Right now it’s an invite-only network, so please visit to request an invite. And remember, they’ll plant a tree just for your request!

TalkHotels.com

 

TalkHotels on Facebook

 

TalkHotels on Twitter

 

Email Anand – anandp[at]talkhotels.com


Follow Simon on Twitter: @S_Gerard

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Buy Google +1 Votes? How Long Before It’s Gamed?

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June 12  |  Black Hat  |   Ryan Clark

I was recently adding the Google +1 button to my site, and while I’m not too happy about adding another bloody button to the long list of ones here, it had to be done. I’ve yet had to see any positive results, or notice a change within my Google SERPs in regards to this new social voting feature. The long tail search results still are over spammed and it seems that Google’s Panda update is still lost in the dark for the most part. So is this the next step to redeeming the polluted search results, or the next thing to game?

There is without a doubt a network being formed as I write this to sell, trade and gain Google +1 votes. I scoured some of the biggest webmaster forums for this post to see if anyone was already offering them for sale…not quite yet (and I’m kind of surprised). There is definitely going to be a blitz to buy these if they work, and if it does work well then Google is in for even more trouble.

For those in the know, or in the I read a ton of forums, their is another large update related to Panda coming. There has also been talk about a major change to the way they view links as well! I doubt this sooner than later update will incorporate the +1 votes, but in a year from now I imagine these will come heavily into play. Just like the people who have gamed links when the anchor text tip was out, they’ll game this and there will be huge money to be made. So this is why I’m a little worried.

So how many of you will buy these votes if it’s an option? If you’re not willing to dip your pen in the black ink, do you fear being left in the dust with nothing to do but complain to Google? I’d also love to hear from anyone who thinks the +1 votes are already influencing their rankings.

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Buy Google +1 Votes? How Long Before It’s Gamed?

11 Comments
June 12  |  Black Hat  |   Ryan Clark

I was recently adding the Google +1 button to my site, and while I’m not too happy about adding another bloody button to the long list of ones here, it had to be done. I’ve yet had to see any positive results, or notice a change within my Google SERPs in regards to this new social voting feature. The long tail search results still are over spammed and it seems that Google’s Panda update is still lost in the dark for the most part. So is this the next step to redeeming the polluted search results, or the next thing to game?

There is without a doubt a network being formed as I write this to sell, trade and gain Google +1 votes. I scoured some of the biggest webmaster forums for this post to see if anyone was already offering them for sale…not quite yet (and I’m kind of surprised). There is definitely going to be a blitz to buy these if they work, and if it does work well then Google is in for even more trouble.

For those in the know, or in the I read a ton of forums, their is another large update related to Panda coming. There has also been talk about a major change to the way they view links as well! I doubt this sooner than later update will incorporate the +1 votes, but in a year from now I imagine these will come heavily into play. Just like the people who have gamed links when the anchor text tip was out, they’ll game this and there will be huge money to be made. So this is why I’m a little worried.

So how many of you will buy these votes if it’s an option? If you’re not willing to dip your pen in the black ink, do you fear being left in the dust with nothing to do but complain to Google? I’d also love to hear from anyone who thinks the +1 votes are already influencing their rankings.

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StartupCrave.com Launches & Needs Beta Testers

1 Comments
April 1  |  Social Networks  |   Ryan Clark

I’ve just spent that last couple of hours signing up and checking out a new social network for entrepreneurs that’s caught my interest. If the site owners are reading this and thinking, “oh no, we just got blogged about on a link building blog”, don’t worry I’m not working that angle anymore(lol). Everyone on the Linkbuildr Team is an entrepreneur, and I’ve had the pleasure of getting them on the team here. We appreciate the resources available to folks like us, and we’ll always do our part to share related news such as this launch. A lot of our clients are also in the same boat, and we know they’ll enjoy hearing about a new place to share ideas and perhaps make some businesses connections. There are a whole host of features offered on Startup Crave, so join up while the beta is free and add me to your network.

There are a whole host of features, as I mentioned, my favorite so far being the post an idea option in your user control panel. Once the site builds a large following, who knows who you’ll network with and make that idea into reality. Personally, there have been so many times I’ve needed a good programmer on board so I’ll be looking to link up here for that. There are also user forums, the ability to post videos and link up your social media accounts to spread your latest happenings. Current beta testers get to utilize all the features of Startup Crave so jump on board now while the getting is good!

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