Photo Enriched Interactive Tweets Add Greater Dynamics to Your Posts

On Thursday, Sept. 26, Twitter announced, “We’ve put the photo front and center, with a bigger and bold visual focus on the media.”

This is one of several big changes that Twitter is rolling out. Since images invoke greater interaction (aka click-throughs), start by getting in the habit of including images in your Tweets. Then, embed those Tweets into an article wherever relevant and meaningful. Embedding a Tweet into your WP post is effortless as WordPress explains: First locate the tweet you want to post. Then click the timestamp. You’ll be taken to the page for that individual tweet. Copy the URL in the address bar. Next, in your blog’s post editor, paste the URL on a line by itself (no HTML necessary).

Readers can interact with them just as they can in Twitter. Click the reply icon to join the conversation, retweet to share and favorite them to show appreciation. And as always, you can click the follow button to get the Tweets in your home timeline.

Here’s an example:

Did you know you can also embed fully interactive Facebook posts?

Weibo is Chinese for Microblog, Adding a Million New Users a Month

…by comparison, it took Twitter nearly 30 months to attract the same number of users.

China’s version of Twitter is Sina’s Weibo. Currently the leading microbloging site, Weibo is experiencing phenomenal growth since it started about 10 months ago. Weibo currently has approximately 10 million users, averaging to 1 million new users per month.

More celebrities in China are taking to microblogging to promote themselves. China Daily reports on Sina Weibo’s Top 10 celebrities. And here’s a comparison Twitter vs. Weibo: the most followed users.

Weibo has also indirectly received the official seal of approval from the Chinese government earlier this month by being mentioned in an official White Paper on the Internet -probably due to it’s strict compliance with certain dictates regarding censorship. Weibo can and will delete any comments that are politically critical of the government. A few Twitter-like services had emerged in China before Weibo. Predecessors that include Fanfou, Jiwai, Digu and Twitter were all banned in July, 2009 after ethnic unrest in Xinjiang was blamed, in part, on activists spreading their messages on the Web through Twitter.

It sounds like Weibo has a lot of great features that make it much more popular than Twitter will ever be in China. Much like Twitter in that you can post messages of 140 characters, each one is a word in Chinese so you can say much more – not to mention the fact that Chinese, by its very nature is a much more efficient language. Here are 7 other things Sina Microblog (Weibo) has that Twitter doesn’t.

If you’re really globally hip, there’s even a WordPress plugin that will  Get Your Sina Weibo feed and insert it into your WordPress blog.

Ushi is China’s LinkedIn…

Shanghai-based Ushi was founded by 100 Charter Members who are successful business leaders in China, including partners of the most famous VC firms, investment banks, law firms, and accounting firms, as well as CEOs of advertising agencies, luxury brands, and leading companies in Internet, mobile, renewable energy, travel, hotel, real estate and other industries. As such, Ushi aims to be China’s top platform for business networking, featuring the highest quality community and opening up the highest quality opportunities for members.

Is Your Marketing Campaign Still Blowin’ in the Wind? Perhaps, You Might Consider the Art of Gardening

“For the the Times they are a changin’…” The collapse of daily print journalism and traditional broadcast media spells catastrophe to some, opportunity to others.

Today, I had an opportunity to sit in on a marketing pitch being delivered to one of my clients by a local radio station’s advertising executive. I happened to be there for an eventual meeting about the development of a DesignWise plan for an “integrated” advertising campaign – one that would include earned media in the form of traditional press releases, coupled with a strong emphasis on the diverse forms of social network media.

Later, I provided my client with the following quote from Sut Jhally, Professor of Communications at the University of Massachusetts and founder of the Media Education Foundation:

Advertisers have to go to where the audience is… if they want to sell products. They have no option but to go where the audience has gone. If the audience has gone online, gone to iPods, gone to Facebook – wherever the audience has gone – that is where advertisers must go.”

As I listened to the “old-school” radio pitchman trying to encourage my client to buy a package of “spots,” I envisioned the sharp changes that are sweeping over the worlds of journalism and marketing, as we transit from traditional broadcast to online media. I saw those paid radio spots simply floating away in the breeze much like the dry seeds of a dandelion blossom…

Blowin' in the wind...

Maybe they would land somewhere on favorable ground and sprout forth as a new plant. Most of them would simply blow away like dust in the wind.

It is time that universities, online or otherwise, update their curricula…

I realized that I had come to help my client plant and grow a garden. That’s the profound difference between traditional broadcast media (radio, TV and newspaper advertising) and networked social media… In the old school, we continually threw out spots, hoping someone would eventually see or hear one. In the new school we intentionally plant and cultivate a growing presence in new media resources that remains there and grows larger in in outreach as time passes.

The online gardener’s new tools include:

  • a blog-based Web site with an ongoing stream of fresh content,
  • a well-crafted Business Page on Facebook (with more than a billion members),
  • a YouTube channel (which in itself is also the 2nd most popular search engine) with origiinal videos,
  • micro-blogging your message and joining in the conversation taking place on Twitter,
  • learning about “local” with Google Map Pages and sites like Yelp, Angie’s List among the rapidly expanding dimension of location-based technology
  • ask fans to write reviews in Google and Facebook and public forums like TripAdvisor and, Yelp,
  • take advantage of the free and ever-evolving set of Google’s gardener tools.

It’s no longer if. It’s when…

… the question is no longer “if you decide to employ new media. As newspapers shrink and disappear right before your eyes and radio audiences now listen to what they want on iPods and smart phones, it’s now a matter  of “when” you decide to plant that garden.

How does your garden grow?

Contact, Stephen Kastner at DesignWise Studios to discuss the most effective ways to plant and grow your social media garden.

Twitter Public Awareness Power Tools; Introducing Act.ly and Twibbon

This morning my inbox contained an email from Derrick Crowe at Rethink Afghanistan asking me to sign a petition… but this petition was not like anything I have ever seen.

Politics aside, the campaign connects two new resources detailed below that employ Twitter to promote and maintain their cause. These resources are free and can be used by anyone with a campaign to call attention to:

Twibbon is the easiest and most powerful way to promote awareness of your cause on Twitter. The service overlays a small icon (candle and NO WAR banner in the footer of the example image above) that you create, onto supporters’ profile images to create what they call a ‘Twibbon,’ making an “impactful” online statement. The user’s Twitter account automatically tweets to let everyone know about their new affiliation.

Act.ly Petitions co-developer Jim Gilliam says, “I saw Clay Johnson’s post last week about Twitter being the future of email marketing. I’ve always found it’s easier to show than to explain, so I built a petition site (with Jesse Haff, the designer from Brave New Films) that takes full advantage of Twitter.”

Here’s how it works. You sign a petition by tweeting it, and other people can sign the petition just by re-tweeting it. There’s no need to go to the act.ly site, except to start a petition. If you are re-tweeted, you get credit for the referral, and will show up in the “Smokin’ Recruiters” link on act.ly.

The Act.ly site also has beta versions of…

Retweets
Have something you want a lot of people to tweet? A link, pledge, thank you, you name it.

Events
Start one event in your town, and watch it go viral as people host their own events all over the world.

Yes, of course you can use these tools to promote your products, your business and your public awareness campaigns. Advertising using social media is simply a new type of public awareness campaign. Right?

Google’s Organic Search Soon to Include Facebook & MySpace Updates Along With Tweets and Blog Posts

Daisey Whitney reports that Google’s Real-time Search Surfaces Tweets, Blogs and Soon Facebook Updates.

Stephen J. Kastner
Stephen J. Kastner, DesignWise

Last week I decided to add a specific category called Google Watch to my writing and reporting here in the DesignWise Web Marketing blog. With Google controlling approximately 65% of the search market, coupled with the fact that it is an ever-changing entity, I feel it’s important to pay close attention to the continuous changes taking place at Google.

While searches at Google now include content from Twitter, Friendfeed, Identi.ca, Jaiku and Yahoo Answers, the latest announcement that they plan to include status updates from Facebook and MySpace will be seen by some as an invasion of privacy. I see it as a marketing opportunity. A Daoist would say, “It’s all in how you perceive the cup… half-full or half-empty.

According to Google product manager Dylan Casey, their intention is to have Google’s organic search reflect what people are talking about right now, the current thought-stream…  “real-time search.”

“See what’s being published right this second,” says Casey. “You can select Updates and Latest and actually see that content stream in as its being published.”

Adam Ostrow says, “Now, with one sweeping stroke, Google has grabbed the lead in the real-time search space, and it appears that Facebook and Twitter have both conceded that they aren’t going to outbuild Google when it comes to search.”

Developing a broad social footprint and entering into the dialogue – that means listening as well as talking – is now a given if you expect to have a successful role in contemporary marketing.

Can’t choose a default search engine? Want to compare Bing and Google search results? Google-vs-Bing.com presents the results from both engines side-by-side.