How to Claim and Enhance Your Free Business Listing on Google Maps

If you have a physical address you can claim your “bricks and mortar” business location and gain a lot of free advertising space on Google Maps – add up to 10 pictures and 5 videos.

First things first… every small and large business needs to set up a Gmail account. Why? <— stop now, go back and click that link and read why.

Your Gmail account will be used to manage all of your business interests. So, it could and should just as well be your.name@gmail.com because very soon you will probably want to tie into your Personal Profile appearing in Google Social Search results, just out of the Labs and into Beta – connecting much of your social footprint (Picasa Web Albums and Flickr, Blogger, Twitter, Facebook) – with all of your future YouTube video listings, your Google Adwords accounts, etc..

Google Social Search results

Once your Gmail is set up, you must confirm the ownership of your business in the Business Center – this will require you to be at the actual business phone listed in your Google Map listing in order to answer a validation phone call from Google. Here’s a step-by -step:

Open your Gmail account, look in the upper right corner for:
stephen.kastner@gmail.com
| | Settings | Help | Sign out

Choose Settings and on the next page look at the main row of horizontal tabs:

General |Accounts and Import |Labels |Filters |Forwarding and POP/IMAP | etc. | etc.

Choose Accounts and Import and scroll to the bottom of the new page to select Google Account settings and look for Local Business Center then choose Add new listing

Fill in the listing and watch as Google finds you on their map…
Add in a domain-based e-mail address like info@yourdomain.com
Write the description carefully using specific key words (200 character cap).
Choose 5 categories… (the maximum allowed, but try to take them all) finding ones that come up in Google’s autofill.

When you are done, follow through to Claim this Listing – if Google found you.
The next part is the validation where you must be at the Business phone and online. You will get an instant call from Google to the Business Phone number listed. They will speak a pin number that you must add back into your new listing… the “by mail’ option takes weeks and will slow the process way down, so please do not even consider it.

Do this for any businesses you may have…

Then, you can continue building and maintaining a greater Google Business presence, listening to the talk and responding at once to what your customers are saying.

New Breed of Cat Morphs to Panther, Advertising Becomes Social

“Why rent an audience when you can buy your own? That’s the new philosophy of marketers who are spending money this year to build out a social networking presence through ‘earned’ media rather than paid media,” says Daisy Whitney.

Daisy Whitney’s New Media Minute is produced and sponsored separately from Beet.TV.

Old media is scrambling to become new media while new media keeps expanding and improving. I am watching Jay Leno’s last night show this morning on NBC Direct.  I don’t watch network TV anymore… as a rule. But, I got here via Yume. And, I am enjoying the show, in part for the clever use of video in both the Leno Show and in the embedded advertising.

The fact remains that this is still an attempt to put old media into some ill-fitting new shoes. While the pros in the Leno Show’s editing booth have concocted some funny video clips, the developers at NBC and their counterparts at Mitsubishi need to go back to the drawing boards, ‘cuz this is a miserable way to try to watch a TV show. By maintaining their control over the content, they have succeeded in destroying mine.

After reloading the locked-up automobile ad, I figured out how to step past the 30-second roadblock to get to the second segment… and the Leno Show streamed on. The second ad from Honda had a larger video footprint, looked better and worked without locking up my screen. The third ad was a major improvement built with Flash rollovers – like the fourth ad.

Meanwhile, on the open-source social media network, major businesses like Pepsi are abandoning the Super Bowl and investing in growing their own social media footprint. Small businesses can do the same and even faster… because this is marketing at the grassroots level where handmade and homemade are often more successful than major corporate productions as evidenced by NBC, Mitsubishi and Honda.

LINKS:
Social Media Spending to Hit $1.3 Billion This Year

Alonzo Bodden on Leno…

Brilliant!

Creating e-Books for Kindle and Other Forms of Merged New Media

The shift from ink and paper to the digital realm is simultaneously taking place on at least seven major platforms and tons of electronic devices created and promoted by developers like Amazon, Apple, Google and Sony. I suggest taking a look at Calibre in order to get an overview of the current status of e-book reading and publishing.

The site explains, “Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books” …but, it is a lot more than a cataloging tool, in that it will also convert your e-books into whatever format you require, then connect and upload them to your specific e-reader.

Listed among the top e-book source formats are some familiar and perhaps some new file types that include: LIT, MOBI, EPUB, HTML, PRC, RTF, PDB, TXT and PDF. Calibre output formats include: EPUB, FB2, OEB, LIT, LRF, MOBI, PDB, PML, RB, PDF, TCR, TXT and PRC. Are you overwhelmed yet?

Amazon provides the Digital Text Platform for authors wishing to publish e-books for their Kindle wireless reading device. Learn all about using it in the DTP Forum. Amazon DTP supports several document formats for uploading and conversion (HTML, Microsoft Word (.doc), plain text (.txt) and Adobe PDF). Amazon DTP also fully supports eBooks created in the .mobi format if they are unencrypted. You can use Calibre or the free MobiPocket Creator and upload the resulting mobi file.

While some people think the Kindle spells the beginning of the end for publishers, and some authors are happy about being able to sidestep the middlemen by publishing directly on Kindle, readers are generally delighted at all of the convenient features the Kindle provides.

One of my most recent goals has been to develop a mixed-media publication that combines text and video. Adobe’s Acrobat 9 Pro now supports embedding videos into PDFs. I am creating my first experimental documents merging animated cartoons made in Xtranormal… to be included in a CD. The videos will be set to autorun when you open the page that they reside on. The mpeg4 videos, scaled down to hand-held device size (480 x 360), are the smallest file size and universally compatible with mac, unix, beos and windows.

LINKS:
Consumer Electronic Show 2010: Top 10 new e-book readers