Wednesday, November 10, 2010

YouTube for Business: Online Video Marketing for Any Business

As a “newbie” to the e-commerce world, there were plenty of new topics for me to read about. I originally chose TwitterPower, but after seeing 3 other Twitter presentations, I switched books in an effort to learn something new, as well as present a new topic to the class.

YouTube for Business: Online Video Marketing for Any Business, by Michael Miller, focuses on all phases of YouTube marketing. This book is a how-to guide to producing a YouTube video to market a business. The book is clearly divided into different “how-to” sections, and provides a brief history of YouTube. I found the book to be basic, even for me, and focuses more on the technical side of filming a video, than on how to use YouTube to market a business.

As an amateur director, and a PC user, much of this book was not aimed at me. The book speaks about the different types of filming that can be used such as amateur, semi-professional, and professional. Video shooting advice that I found helpful included:

· The video should entertain, educate, or inform a viewer

· Select the purpose of the video – direct sales, promotion of a product or brand image

· Shorter is better – no more than 3-4 minutes is recommended by the author

· Less is more – keep videos simple, a YouTube broadcast is generally viewed at a small size making it difficult to focus on details in the video

I was unaware how much thought went into many of the YouTube campaigns launched. Before beginning to post videos on YouTube, a marketing plan must be made focusing on who the target audience is, and what they might find appealing. A how-to video may be work for product such as OxiClean, as opposed to building a brand like Nike (new soccer cleats) which may require a video expert presentation of a new product. The planning that goes into some of these “amateur” videos is remarkable.

Overall, this book is a quick read that focuses on all aspects of YouTube. The book goes into marketing strategies briefly, and discusses filming video at length. If you are planning on launching a YouTube channel this book will certainly help you start the site, as well as create some basic videos. I will use this book as a reference guide in the future if I begin working with YouTube.

YouTube Video

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Social Media Marketing for Dummies by Shiv Singh

Shiv explains that “humans are motivated by others to do things because they are social beings.” He further explains that people feel that they can make better and more confident buying decisions when they take into consideration advice and experiences of others who have already made those decisions before them. Because of the level of past connection built up prior to a recommendation there is a higher level of connection and trust towards a particular message. Shiv’s main point is that marketers should market to both consumers AND to influencers. He calls this form of marketing SIM or Social Influence Marketing.

The book is a step by step hands on look at how marketers can reach these social influencers and through the use of Social Media and Social Influence Marketing. Because social media has allowed for pretty much anybody to be a content provider even a dummy like myself can have a considerable impact when it comes to affecting other people and their subsequent decisions of how they look for entertainment, utility and necessary everyday things. Singh goes over in depth various forms of Social Influence Marketing platforms and applications.

In the book Social Media Marketing for Dummies Shiv analyzes the pros and cons of Twitter, blogs, Facebook, fan pages, and YouTube. He explains how any why each platform is especially applicable for certain types of brands. He also goes over how to make Social Media Marketing a part of a marketing mix. He explains that Social Media Marketing should not be done in isolation, but should be part of a marketing mix that will provide the most buzz and brand awareness available. Focusing on the influencers is always the key objective.

The most practical application of this book is they break down of how to recognize and identify influencers, and also people that can represent a brand in the social Web. He stresses that these people must be both individuals who have their own opinion and also authentic. He provides info on how to tap into these influencers and make them the driving force behind a Social Influencer Marketing campaign through a certain Social Media platform. He stresses developing the “right voice” for a particular brand and goes over how to establish an appropriate voice. He ends the book with information on how to use metrics on these Social Media platforms to track brand saturation and interest and also the effectiveness of a Social Influencer Campaign.

Overall I feel that this book was a great piece of information on both Social Media Marketing and Social Influencer Marketing. The practical usages represented were in depth and very specific. This was perfect for a dummy like me, and I am quite glad that I stumbled across this book. It applies quite well so far with the class, and touches on many of the things that Professor Gruen has said. I would go ahead and recommend this book to anyone who is interested in finding alternative ways to market to people, and I really do think that these alternative methods of marketing are the wave of the future.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Spencer Hooker's Review : Why Now Is The Time To Crush It, Gary Vaynerchuk

Hi Folks,

The book I chose to review is Why Now Is The Time To Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk.

This short, engaging read focuses on how to utilize social media to monetize your passion. Vaynerchuk is the creator and host of Wine Library TV, a popular wine video blog.

In the book, Vaynerchuk outlines a clear social media marketing plan that integrates all of the major sites. His approach is that of total authenticity; so long as a person is engaged in their passion, there is no need for anything less.

This book will definitely appeal to anyone with an entrepreneurial mindset. There's a plethora of ideas and insights on how to create your brand, as well as an endless supply of motivation to start out on your own.

Key Takeaways:

  • Social media will only continue to gain prominence, ignore it at your own risk
  • Traditional marketing platforms are being phased out
  • An effective social media marketing plan involves all of the major players (Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, etc.)
  • So long as you are passionate, you will find an audience

Dave Rogers' Review of The Twitter Book

Before I forget. Here's the link to my youtube video (my first ever).

I’ve been confused by Twitter since I first heard of it. I did not see how I could benefit from it. Even more, I was not sure how a company could utilize it and make it a part of their marketing strategy. I was looking for a book that could help me in this puzzling area.

I have to be honest with all of you. I'm not even on Facebook... But now I’m on Twitter! How long will I keep it up and tweet about my life? I’m not sure yet. The more I have worked on this project the more I'm liking it.

The Twitter Book was written by Tim O'Reilly(with more than 1,400,000 million follwers) and Sarah Milstein(with just over 11,000 followers). I love it because it teaches you about the various uses and applications of Twitter. If you are looking for a more in depth study of a specific area than this is not the book for you. To just get started this is a good book to grab. It is an easy read at 240 pages and has many pictures, diagrams and colors. Uses examples of screens shots and new features. What more could you want?

This book is exactly what I was looking for. It was a match made in heaven for just $13.59. And it worked out perfectly!

I believe that this book was written for others like me.Regarding the intended audience for this book I completely agree with Jennifer’s remarks below.

"...appropriate for those you're trying to convince that Twitter is all the rage. The book reads like a beginner's how-to guide, which means you could even use it as a subtle way to encourage less than stellar Twitter users to improve their Twittering ways."
-- Jennifer Van Grove,

In a May 2010, Inc. article on Mr. O’Reilly I found the following statement:

“In short, he is the guy who will tell you what smart people will be talking about five years from now -- the guy who predicts the future.” Sounds to me like another great reason to check out this book!

"Delivering Happiness" as Reviewed by Sandra Oberdorfer

Title: Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Author: Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

Hardcover: 253 pages
Publisher: Business Plus; 1 edition (June 7, 2010)

#1 Hardcover Business Best Seller (New York Times)

Why I Picked The Book - Browsing through the book section at Barnes & Noble in Colorado Springs in early September, I ended up in the business autobiographical section and Tony Hsieh's book caught my eye. Interested in a retail e-commerce business myself, I thought this might be a good read. Also, the emphasis on happiness made me curious. After all, who doesn't want to be happy.

Read this Book if you are interested in retail e-commerce, customer service, HR & company culture or simply a good old American Dream story - The more I got into it, the more I got hooked and the more I was trying to find out about Zappos. Eventually, I talked to Scott Klein, a manager in the Customer Loyalty Team at Zappos in Las Vegas, ordered my first pair of shoes from and got WOWed along the way. In essence, I tested the book on its authenticity and was not let down. Zappos is an inspiring story, an inspiring company, especially when it comes to its customer service, culture and supplier relationships. This book reminded me of The HP Way at its best and I wonder if this amazing culture only works for high-growth companies but somehow gets lost when the business turns very mature?

What the book is about

  1. The first portion is autobiographical about Tony Hsieh, the CEO who kept his humility – growing up with a clear sense of entrepreneurship, turning down an offer to sell his LinkExchange company for $1 million while eventually selling it for $265 million to Microsoft a few years later at the age of 24; and how he got involved with Zappos, became the CEO and invested nearly his entire fortune in this company.
  2. The second portion of the book describes Zappos itself, its culture and its path to success through employee, customer and supplier engagement leading to customer loyalty and profits.
  3. The third section is about taking Zappos to the next level, by serving a higher purpose namely to bring the Zappos philosophy into other companies as well as people’s lives. In fact, Tony Hsieh is on a bus tour right now (October 2010) delivering his message around the country.

The primary value of the book - The book teaches valuable lessons about boldness, humility and tenacity in addition to many business tips. The section on customer service, employee culture and supplier relationships is extremely strong if not revolutionary for corporate America and retail. Zappos has free shipping, sometimes the next day, a 365-day return guarantee and a win-win approach with it internal and external employees and partners. One of Zappos questions is: Have you WOWed at least one person a day?

Putting Zappos to the Test - Check out my video, where I tested the customer service and culture of Zappos. Find out how many WOWs I received on my research journey.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Justin's Blog Post on Social Media Metrics

Social Media Metrics – How to measure and optimize your marketing investment by Jim Sterne

Copyright 2010

Social Media Metrics

I selected this book, because I was looking for a resource to give me a good solid base to the subject of social media. I am not technologically advanced, and the idea of social media is new to me.

The book discusses the value of measuring the sentiment and influence of social media and its importance to organizations and brand creation, building and protection. Sterne says brands no longer belong to the companies, but instead the consumer. The book communicates the important value of your social media effort and gives the reader a metric to begin answering the question regarding how much budget and time should be allocated to the effort.

The first chapter is about identifying the goals for the social media effort, which according to Sterne is most often skipped by many social media marketers. He says your business goals, including the ones driving your social media effort, should be chosen only if they generate one of three outcomes: Increased revenue, Lowered costs, or Improved customer service. The author says that if the work you do does not provide an uptick in one or more of these areas, you are wasting your time.

The book talks about the process and each component of the business process: Setting goals, reaching your audience, Identifying the influence you have, recognizing reaction, Triggering the desired action, Hearing the conversations, and seeing the future. The book also tells the reader what to measure and what not to measure and he gives very general advice on how to do it without going into too many technical details. This is not a book of regression analysis, thank you Jim.

This book is for anybody involved with a business that is using or thinking of using social media. In the You Tube link below, Jim Sterne explains the importance of the book and why he thinks social media is so crucial to today’s business world.

Jim has spent more than 20 years selling and marketing technical products. He began his career as a professional explainer, helping people understand VisiCalc at a time when "personal computer" was an oxymoron. He successfully described sales order processing systems to people using hand-cranked tabulators. He was at the forefront of the Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tool revolution and has clarified the salient points of object-oriented programming to software engineers across the country.

The book has many examples and a large amount of information for today’s marketers. It is a book that should be readily available and cannot be fully implemented after one read. It is a reference tool and should be readily available for today’s social media marketer.

Book Review Power Point You Tube Link

Submitted by Justin Weis

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The New Influencers

At the recommendation of our professor I chose to read The New Influencers by Paul Gillin. The reason for my choice is the bane of my existence, the NCH Software Blog. I was a computer science undergrad student and never really considered myself a writer and this never ending challenge of writing for a blog has been one of my largest challenges in my current marketing position. And of course since we are software company I am surrounded by coworkers who are completely unwilling to contribute anything that is written in anything other than C++. But I found The New Influencers to be a very interesting read and I hope to take some of the things I learned and use some of Gillin's insights of the blogging community to help improve our company blog.

In Addition to the recommendation from our professor, Gillin was the founding editor-in-chief of TechTarget, and a former editor-in-chief of ComputerWorld. The forward is written by Geoffrey A. Moore, and the book also comes with recommendations from many well known names including Seth Godin. None of which is anything to sneeze at.

Gillin introduces the book with a quote that he himself made back in 2003 that he is forced to admit how he was completely wrong. He said “Blogging’s wave has already crested, now that millions of online diarists are realizing that not that many people actually read this stuff.” The success of blogs despite the odds is a recurring theme in this book and I found his honesty of his mistake on the topic gave me an added level of respect for him as someone who has thoroughly investigated the topic, and like many of the bloggers he spoke to is willing to bend and admit their mistake when it is pointed out to them by their readers.

Gillin uses case studies and stories to explore everything from the different kinds of blogs to the enthusiasts that write them, viral content, the dangers of ignoring bloggers as a company and much more. I found it to be a very fast and interesting read, and a book I will likely read again to make sure I didn't miss anything the first time through. If you have any interest in learning more about the dynamics of the blogging community, I would strongly recommend that you pick up a copy of The New Influencers.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web by Tamar Weinburg Reviewed by Kimberly Carpenter

I chose this book for a couple of different reasons. First, I really wanted to know what all the hub-bub was about and thought I might be able to incorporate some of this into my work environment. Second, my group is presenting Twitter and I had no idea what Twitter was about or why everyone was talking about it. I had tweeted once in my life, thought it was stupid and never tweeted since. So I admitted to myself that I really needed to know more before I made hasty decisions and gave up tweeting forever.

The book really is a general handbook or guidebook that takes you though the detailed basics of how to get started, figuring out your goals, choosing the right social media to support those goals. Weinberg goes into much detail about some of the major forms of social media available to you, including blogging, microblogging (tweeting), Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin, human contribution sites such as Wikipedia and social news sites. You get a good idea of what each is about and how to behave properly so that you are not ousted by the others. Closing the book by pulling it all together.

In general, I thought this book was great for someone like me that really has no idea what it's all about, however it is probably not detailed enough for most students in this class. If you already have an idea of which social marketing tools you would like to use or are already using them, this book may be too general. This book gives you a good overview and you finish knowing a good bit about a lot of different social media sites.

This is the first book Tamar Weinberg has published, has been in the industry for about 15 years. She current works at Mashable, a social media news website and consults on the side. She participates in many social communities and has many online publications. I felt she was a credible source and I also believe that in her consulting career she probably has answered a lot of basic questions and that may be where the very basic nature of the book stems from. I would recommend it for someone like me who has tweeted once in their life and uses Facebook only to share pictures with family and friends. It will give you a good idea if it’s something you would like to pursue, the time and costs involved and the benefits.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

FBML by Jesse Stay - A Review by Jeff Miller

The book I selected for the Marketing 6700 e-Commerce book review was Facebook Markup Language Fundamentals or FBML for short. I chose this book for many reasons: first for my desire to learn more about Facebook as a customizable social media platform, second because of it’s relative rank in an search on “Facebook development”, and finally because of it’s price (4 out of 5 stars for $20 - can’t go wrong with that).

The author, Jesse Stay, has been involved with Facebook development from the very beginning and has consulted for some of the top 100 Facebook applications. He is the CEO of a social media consulting and development business. His clients include the iTunes app iTV and the Facebook We’re Related App with 4.7 million active monthly users. According to his blog he was recently named one of 20 developers to follow on Twitter and one of 10 entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter by the top Tech blog

FMBL is technical reference / how-to book about Facebook application development using the Facebook Markup Language (FMBL). The book provides a brief introduction on the history of Facebook and Facebook development. It teaches the basics of the markup language and serves as a reference. Like many other software book’s it provides several code examples many of which require the reader to have an understanding of Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) and JavaScript. Although the book is geared toward web developers it also serves as a introduction to the basics of FBML.

My first attempt to apply the principles I read from the book proved much more difficult than I expected. The getting started section described in the book didn’t match what I found on Facebook and some of the examples didn’t work. I eventually made my way to the official Facebook Developer’s Site and found the roadmap where I learned more about the changes that caused my frustration. Additionally I learned what else would impact and further invalidate what I had just read about Facebook development.

Instead of focusing on the details of a constantly changing language I will relay a few key takeaways that still hold true today and should endure the dynamic nature of the many “languages” of Facebook.

  • By default, the applications canvas page is publicly searchable and viewable by those not logged into Facebook and should be tuned for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Performing SEO on your publicly accessible pages will drive app usage up.
  • Although the days of Facebook app viral launches of 1 million users in a single day have slowed down (it can take months to reach 1 million users) it still remains one of the best way to utilize social connections and gain exposure of millions of users.
  • For not FBML static applications you must have your own servers. The Facebook application architecture consists of Users (who access Facebook) à Facebook Servers (send requests to your servers) àYour Servers (send data back to Facebook).
  • Think big, start small, scale fast. Without the proper infrastructure in place your app could go viral and cause your servers to go down in minuets. The author recommends using a scalable service like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). EC2 is a virtual computing environment that allows you to use web service interfaces to launch instances with a variety of operating systems and load them with your custom application environment.
  • The Facebook developer’s site has helpful test consoles that can be use to validate FBML or other Facebook code.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my review of FBML (and subsequent attempt at Facebook development) it’s the only thing consistent about Facebook is guaranteed change. This constant change means that significant changes to the Facebook user interface or API can render a Facebook application broken. Facebook development is a constant maintenance challenge. The biggest problem with software books like FBML is the short shelf-life (the text becomes obsolete as soon as the next version is released).

In summary, I can’t recommend FBML (July 2008) for today’s Facebook development. I would however, recommend checking out Stay’s latest book Facebook Application Development For Dummies that will be released in Feb 2011. I would also recommend not spending much on a Facebook development book in general because at the current rate it will end up either a coaster or paper weight in six months.

Marketing in the Age of Google, by Vanessa Fox, Review by Rachel Vassaur

This book provides a great overview for understanding different tools to implement an online business strategy. Vanessa Fox includes a thorough discussion of online search-related topics to help you implement your strategy, expounding upon search data, search methods, search personas, search engines, search strategy, search engine optimization development, social media, and the future of the web as it pertains to online search. She looks at online strategy from the perspective of asking the question: What do you want to accomplish with your business, and how can you create an online presence in congruence with you business strategy? From her point of view, an online strategy should not be very different than a regular business strategy because the internet is just another outlet for marketing – like radio commercials, tv commercials, or mailers. For instance, an online strategy would not be something like, “Get involved in social media,” but could be, “Use a company facebook page to encourage customer feedback and understand the needs of the customer.”

Even though she keeps reminding the customer to focus on content of sites and how they affect customer satisfaction, which I see as the broad view of marketing, she gives some technical advice too. She weaves the conceptual and technical together by referencing specific tools you can use in order to understand what the customer wants. The most mentioned tactic would be tracking the details of the traffic on your website. If you know where people are clicking, when they are abandoning, what ad they are responding to before arriving, etc, you can understand how to direct your website’s look and feel to your users’ habits.

Another plus in this book is that she assumes your online vocabulary is minmal and explains the meanings of common terminology used by developers in order for you to a.) be able to communicate with your developers and b.) get a full picture of how the web and search work. This basic technical understanding often keeps higher ups from asking the impossible from their developers. It also saves them time by focusing their efforts in the right places. For instance, since 63% of search-related purchases occur offline, a company might not need to offer online purchasing if it has numerous storefronts (Fox 10). However, Fox notes that there is a growing need for businesses to at least have an online presence because of how many people search and view inventories before going to the store (i.e. furniture sales).

The largest percentage of this book is simply statistics about internet use that have been found in various studies. Most of the studies are not the writer’s, which gives her information more credibility. She references a large handful of well-known experts and studies to offer incites into what you should focus on when you’re tweaking or creating a website. For instance, 85% of clicks on search are organic search (9), but people tend to trust a site if it appears in both (Fox 12). So what does this mean? Basically, don’t spend all your budget on paid advertising, but don’t neglect it all together either. These kinds of results in the book will save you hours of time trying to pull together different studies for yourself.

Overall, Fox really has a traditional view on marketing, considering her background with such a huge internet-based company (Google), because she defines online marketing the same way Geoffrey Miller, author of Spent, does. Fox, via the words of Miller, defines marketing as, “a systematic attempt to fullfill human desires by producing goods and services that people will buy” (Fox 30). He continues, saying that a “company should produce what people desire, instead of trying to convince them to buy what they company happens to make... Marketing is not just one of the most important ideas in business. It has become the most dominant force in human culture” (Fox 30).

In the end if you’re looking for a beginner’s book on e-commerce, focusing on marketing, you should read this book. Google is like the entry way to the web, and it can also serve as the entry way to your understanding of the web. Fox will flood you with quotations, statistics, and study results, but she focuses these numbers and facts around one idea: marketing online is the same as marketing offline – know your customer.

Here's my youtube of a mini-presentation of this book:

Attention! This Book Will Make You Money by Jim F. Kukral - A Review by Michele Kantak

This book was written by Jim Kukral to assist ANYONE in getting their business started online. Every chapter has a new subject and example of how to get your product out there and noticed among all the millions of others. It is filled with case studies, references and proven examples of what works.

The book is broken into three parts, with no names as to what the parts are, so I’ve added my own suggested titles to them:

Part I – All About Getting Attention
Part II – Making Money Online
Part III – How to Market Your Product

The strongest aspects of the book is that it is written so well that anyone can pick up the book and read just one chapter and that chapter be able to help them improve their online business.

My favorite chapters:
Chapter 13 – “26 Ways to Generate Killer Ideas” talks about finding which way helps you generate useful ideas for your business, some of which I would have never even considered.
Chapter 18 – “What’s Your Hook?” asks you if you are memorable? One of the most important things to get attention for your business is to create a memorable brand – if it’s not memorable, then it’s forgettable.
Chapter 36 – “The Tools” shows the users that new technology can help them get up and running without having to hire a professional to assist them, specifically Membergate, which will assist with business member programs.
Chapter 43 – “Attention! Videos Can Make Money” really goes in depth on utilizing YouTube and what it can do for your business.

Of course the entire book has ideas on social media, the Internet in general, and inspiration on how others have found success. Kukral really focuses in on the fact that you have to be willing to do the work and take the chances by thinking creatively to make money and succeed in the online world. His biggest key is “Attention = Revenue” and that those who don’t try, fail 100% of the time.

At the end of the book there’s an offer for the reader to schedule free time with Jim and he’ll get on the phone and talk about your business and goals and see if he “can come up with some attention-getting idea that could skyrocket your sales, create a flood of referrals, and powder keg your publicity.”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, A review by Susan Hittner

I selected this book as the subject of my review for two reasons. The first is to learn more about the different aspects of social media and why it is a successful medium for so many businesses today. I also want to assist a not-for-profit girls' volleyball club expand their brand exposure and reach.

The book is a how to guide to getting noticed on the web. It covers the inbound marketing concept, changes in the marketing field and differences from traditional marketing methods. The intended audience is business owners who have little to no access to commercial marketing companies and large marketing budgets.

The strength for the book is the way in which it is set up. It divides the process into for parts:

Part One: Inbound Marketing - Chapters 1-3 cover the "why" of inbound marketing, with topics like "Shopping Has Changed...Has Your Marketing?"

Part Two: Get Found by Prospects - Chapters 4-7 cover more of the "how" or tactics of the process, such as the different sites within the social media network like Google, Blogs, facebook, and LinkedIn to name a few.

Part Three: Converting Customers - Chapters 8-10 focus on different ways to pull customers in to your site and coverting visitors into leads. It also includes common mistakes to avoid and the advantages of experimentation.

Part Four: Make Better Decisions - Chapters 11-16 provide additional detail to analyzing results of your social media marketing campaigns. It also leads into next steps for your marketing and business growth.

Throughout the book, the authors provide checklist called "To Do" at the end of each cahpter. This provides a step-by-step process for a business owner to follow. The book also provides an entire section devoted to tools, resources and tips for startups.

At times the books goes into deeper technical explanations. For a small business owner, this may be a little intimidating. Many business found on the web may, or may not, have a technical resource with which they could discuss these ideas to explore the plausibility of a campaign or idea.

I believe this book is a step above Social Marketing for Dummies in complexity. It was written in the same vein as The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott. Inbound Marketing is the first book in the series "The New Rules of Social Media".

I would highly recommend the book to anyone interest in this area. It is full of ideas, checklists, details, and interesting, real-world examples for each topic. I learned much from this book and am actively applying (albeit slowly), it to the fan page on facebook for the organization I mentioned earlier.

This page can be viewed at:!/group.php?gid=277102765472

Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day by Hollis Thomases, A review by Jeremy Neas

This book was certainly the most interactive books I’ve ever read; even more so than those ‘Choose your Own Adventure Series’ books that I will never actually admit to purchasing. The medium in which the author made her book available played a huge role in my enjoyment of the material. I was able to purchase her book through the Kindle store on and download it onto my iPhone. This made it extremely convenient to interact in ‘real-time’ with the various website links that Thomases provided in her data references. This ‘interactive’ theme carried its way throughout the entire book, enabling me to be ‘just click away’ from relevant blogs, stories, feeds and references.

Another example of Thomases interactive theme was the placement of personalized handles for specific references (i.e. “Jeremy Neas (@Jeremy_Neas) sites in his review…”). By integrating this feature, she enabled the reader to conveniently add new tweeps to their follower list, as well as stay up-to-date on the more interesting people and companies mentioned throughout the text.
Though the intended audience for this book is mainly companies looking to use Twitter as another form of e-commerce, the average ‘Twitterer’ can easily find value in it as well. The layout is well thought-out and easy to navigate through. It initially dives into the history and the basics of what Twitter is, but quickly moves to the common assumptions about Twitter and then gravitates towards the power Twitter can provide for anyone looking to advertise/expand/grow.

She starts by stating “What Twitter Is Not:

1. Twitter isn’t accessible only on the Web
2. Twitter isn’t the “new” email or cell phone
3. Twitter isn’t a form of instant messenger
4. Twitter isn’t a micro version of your blog
5. Twitter isn’t private by any means
6. Twitter isn’t a replacement for Facebook, Myspace, or other social networks.
7. Twitter isn’t a competition.”

Twitter creates value because it helps with:

1. Keeping in touch
2. Making new friends
3. Connecting with Like-Minded People
4. Voyeurism
5. Event Planning
6. Activism
7. Entertainment
8. Getting a company’s latest tweets
9. Marketing and business Development
10. Monitoring Brands and Reputations
11. Keeping up with the Latest News

“The most successful people and brands using Twitter are the ones who treat Twitter as an ongoing, open, and thought-provoking conversation rather than just a broadcast medium.”

Thomases provides in-depth look on exactly who is on Twitter and their motives, as well as the demographics of the users and what you are may come across when you start your venture forth. I went into this book with an open mind, erasing my previous knowledge about Twitter in order to use this book as a guide. Doing this definitely gave me a newfound appreciation for everything Twitter offers and made my reading experience that much more enjoyable.

Textbook to Reference Guide

The book makes a big transition after chapter three which ends part one. It transitions from a text book to a reference guide. Part two goes hour to hour, day to day, and week to week about how to transition from a Twitter “rookie” to a serious power user. I consider it a reference guide because the author understands she doesn’t have all the tools. She does understand where all those tools are, what they are, and the benefits of each one. Additionally, she does a very good job at clearing out the noise of the web and consolidating all the necessary requirements that a business (or person) must have to extrapolate the functionality and usefulness of Twitter. That is what makes this book so powerful.

My live presentation will walk through the reference piece of the book, and what it takes for a business to become a major player in this arena.

For now, enjoy my podcast...

Web Design for ROI

To increase sales, either you increase conversions, or increase contacts per day. This book outlines how to design websites for increased conversions. Web design for ROI presents a method of thinking [usability and audience focused] which managers should pursue in order to build and optimize websites for increased return on investment.

The online commerce world is comparable to the old school brick and mortar retailing industry, where stores assumed if the product had demand , the buyer would purchase. Retailers then learned that placement and external variables can affect consumer spending. Similarly, web design is broken [average cart abandonment rate is 59.8%] and needs to be redesigned for increased ROI.

According to web design for ROI, the top design efforts should focus on forms & checkout, landing pages, category pages, and detail pages. This design focus is contrary to much of the current development efforts seen by large corporations where the homepage is the focus.

Taking a new design approach will ensure your website stands out and converts traffic using the desired call to action, [thus increasing ROI].

The in class power point will outline why each section of design is important to creating a website built for ROI.

Book Authors:
Lance Loveday and Sandra Niehaus