Hootsuite Celebrates 2 Million Users

Hootsuite, a professional social media management system, has now reached 2 million unique accounts as of July. Launched in December 2008, Hootsuite is now an integral parts of millions of Twitter, Facebook, and other social media accounts.

For those who haven't heard of Hootsuite before, it bills itself as the first and best social media dashboard. See the image above, which you can click to enlarge. As a social media dashboard, it allows users to post and schedule messages to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. It features both a free and paid version, with the paid version offering many more features and the ability to manage many more accounts without being bothered by ads.

Of course, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Hootsuite is also used by many marketing and public relations teams to manage teams and allow multiple people to manage the same social media accounts. It can also serve as a central location where users can monitor analytic reports and the success of their social media campaigns. Hootsuite gives paid members access to reports and results tracking. This is one of the most useful aspects of Hootsuite. It can be difficult to create the most successful social media campaigns possible without data about what does or doesn't work. It's a basic marketing 101 tenet that gathering data after a campaign is just as important as the planning and execution.

If you've contemplated starting to go big time with your social media efforts, Hootsuite could be a good investment. If nothing else, the success of something like Hootsuite tells us that social media is here to stay, and literally millions of people agree with that idea!

QR Codes: The future of marketing?

Could QR Codes become the future of marketing?

QR codes, or Quick Response codes, are a type of bar code that can be read by taking a photo. Specifically, they're meant to be scanned by smart phone cameras by anyone nearby who has access to this type of technology. If you own a phone that can download apps and take pictures, you can scan QR codes!

Of course, that raises the next question: so what? Why would you want to read a fancy bar code? The reason is because unlike traditional bar codes, QR codes store a great deal more information. This makes them perfect for doing nifty things like connecting the user to a special video on their phone, sending them directly to the right website or giving them a special one-time-use coupon!

Because of the type of information QR codes can store and distribute, they're a perfect fit for advertising. If executed well, they can be a great addition to a more traditional print or public advertising piece. Imagine a magazine ad that mentions entering a contest, only to include a QR code that takes the viewer directly to the contest page. That turns ads into something more than just something to glance at, but instead something to interact with. The most important thing when including QR codes in marketing efforts is to make sure to reward the QR code scanner with something more than a boring sales pitch or a normal website.

For more on the technology behind QR codes, check out Wikipedia. For some more thoughts on the marketing side of QR codes, check out this article: How QR Codes Can Grow Your Business.

Foursquare: Social Media Game or Privacy Invasion?

Even if you don’t keep abreast of the most cutting-edge social media and technology ventures, you might have heard of Foursquare. The social media game allows users to post their location on Facebook and Twitter. Users then win "badges," such as the 9-5 badge that signifies that they've checked into their workplace location 15 out of the last 30 days. When they post a specific location more than anyone else over 30 days, they become “mayors” of that location.

Foursquare has raised some privacy and safety concerns because users
are announcing not only where they are – but where they aren’t (home, for instance). Some enterprising souls demonstrated this with a biting and funny website called pleaserobme.com While no longer active, when the site was created it posted an updated list of people who were not home based on their Foursquare posts. If they had previously posted their home's address, it was easy to show where on a map the empty home was located. For more about this site, check out Techcrunch's article.

Social Media and the Internet 101: Trolls part 2

Check out our previous post on the topic of trolls: Social Media and the Internet 101: Trolls part 1

Sure, being mean isn’t new, but hateful, irrelevant and nasty comments have grown deep roots online. The biggest reason? The anonymity of the Internet.

Since the Internet’s beginning, users have been able to express themselves on all sorts of topics and all under a pseudonym. Anonymity allows online users to act in a way they never could normally.

Author Farhad Majoo explains on Slate.com why outlets should eliminate anonymous comments: Put simply, by forcing all commenters to attach a name to their comments, they'll be less likely to post mean or ignorant comments.

Other online publications are following suit with Manjoo's train of thought. For example, the Washington Post and New York Times are beginning to implement systems requiring users to register in order to comment. Even more sites are including systems that link that person's Facebook account to their comment so as to avoid anonymity.

Social Media and the Internet 101: Trolls part 1

Trebuchet’s social media guru, Ashley, has the pulse on the constantly-changing world of the Internet. She’ll help you make sense of the latest happenings of the Internet and social media – what you should know and whether you need to get on board. Not only will you sound smart, but you can make keen decisions for your business!

Trolls: Aren’t they the whimsical rubber collector toys with the wispy hair, the ones that sat on the end of your – or your kids’ – eraser pencils? You know what I’m talking about.

While they're whimsical in our minds, on the Internet they're a whole other colorful ball of wax. The internet is stuffed full of different types of people. Different personalities, motivations, and quirks. This is just like the "real world" where different social groups all have cultures that look different from each other. However, due to the Internet's unique characteristics, the cultures that arise online can look very different from their real world counterparts. One of the biggest differences between internet culture and real life culture is the phenomenon of "trolls." For online citizens who have only just heard the term, they probably gathered quickly that the term was not positive. However, what exactly is a troll, and why do people think they're such a pain in the tookus?

What is a Troll?
Trolls, put simply, are participants in internet conversations that disrupt the conversation for others, either intentionally or unintentionally. Whether it's by posting blatantly rude, hateful or inflammatory comments on a YouTube video, or by posting repeatedly in a forum thread without contributing to the original discussion in a meaningful way, or by insulting a blog's author or fellow commenters due to differing opinions, trolls make it difficult for folks with good intentions to have discussions online.

Trolls often make their presence immediately known. For some, just saying something as simple as "You Suck" (and any number of poorly written variations) will give them their kicks. For others, trolling is a more subtle affair. Certain communities, for example, will have topics that can rouse others to anger and ultimately distract from the original topic. For example, a sports blog focusing on the local home team could definitely be distracted by an errant comment saying the pitcher/quarter back/star player was terrible. These might not necessarily read immediately as a troll comment, especially when language like "In my opinion" is used within it. However, the end result will probably be a disruptive fight, which is the end result of a troll "attack".

Not every troll intends to be a troll. Some trolls are simply folks who don't understand the nuances of online conversations. They might be well-intended but ignorant souls looking to participate in a conversation, but are doing so poorly. Yet others might not have the best of intentions, and instead wish to get a stir out of folks they disagree with. There's no question, however, that the most disrupting kind of troll are those who do so as a hobby, and know full well that they're trolling. For those types of trolls, the "art" of finding out exactly what will push the buttons of those they interact with online gives them satisfaction.

Ultimately, any comment that exists to draw attention away from the original post or to stir up trouble can be considered a troll comment.

In our next blog post on Trolls, we'll discuss where they come from, and what the non-troll members of the online world can do about them.

If there's a topic you'd like Ashley to tackle, email her at Ashley@trebuchetcom.com
Photo above is titled "The Troll Invasion" by Cali4beach via flickr.com.