Category Archives: Social Media

The other day, Trulia released some stats based on their past surveys and real estate data letting you know where the other singles are, and what gender. Basically, if you’re a guy, you’ll find more single ladies in NYC and Washington, DC.

If you’re looking for the perfect guy, try someplace warm, like Las live online blackjack Vegas, Miami and Honolulu. (I think the guys have the right idea here.)

You can also look at their visual maps, such as this one for the Bay area:

Check out the Trulia post for all the details and maybe figure out where you should visit – or move – to find your next Valentine.

Starting yesterday, if you have an Amex card, you can now tweet to buy products. Amex has teamed with Twitter to launch the first “pay by tweet” service. Amex cardholders simply send a short message with a hashtag to make a purchase. Out of the gate, Amex offered a $25 American Express gift card for only $15 if cardholders would register their card and then send a tweet with the #BuyAmexGiftCard25 hashtag. It took me just two minutes to register my card, and then seconds after sending the tweet, @AmexSync tweeted me to confirm with a follow-up tweet, and then no fax no direct deposit payday loans my gift card was purchased.

Coming next, synced cardholders will be able to accept offers from merchants by tweeting the hashtag in the offer. If I get an offer from Target that digital cameras are on sale, I could simply tweet the hashtag #BuyDigitalCameraTarget, for example.

The big question is — will consumers feel comfortable making purchases this way? Will they be more inclined to make “smaller” purchases using “pay by tweet”? What are the security issues? It’s good for Twitter to team with Amex first, since their trustworthiness is high with consumers, but are their cardholders early adopter types?

Guest post by Matt Polsky, social media director for Veterans United Home Loans.

Those new to Google Plus have a tendency to carry the misconception that it is just another Facebook. What naysayers don’t realize is that Google Plus is a groundbreaking platform that has the ability to become a huge success – even though some contributors at Mashable, Huffington Post, Forbes and Social Media Today may disagree.

A predominant factor that inspires this confidence generates from the organic search potential; however, through the unique applications of this social product, people, companies and brands can do more than bolster their search results, but provide a channel to build relationships, contacts and connect on a completely personalized level – no matter their location.

Over a year ago, I wrote a piece for Brian Solis on why a business would want to be on Google Plus, focusing on search implications and the latest feature at the time known as Direct Connect.

At this point, Google Plus was relatively new, making it difficult to see the entire picture or direction of the social network. Fourteen months later, a few unique features emerged that are in the process of mapping a steady course and strong user-base.

For starters, Google Plus’ Hangout feature provides users an easy and effective way to engage with multiple viewers through face-to-face interaction, as well as a free broadcasting tower if you decide to use it this way.

Hangouts take mere seconds to set up. After a quick plugin download you’re ready to start broadcasting live. Google also gives users access to a free production suite and a live stream that can be viewed on Google Plus, YouTube or any website or blog that copies the YouTube embed code.

Hangouts have many possibilities, especially for creative minds. Webinars, live music, company meetings, live customer service and even job interviews are all possible. But, to take it a step further, Veterans United has found multiple uses for Hangouts, including the first Virtual Career Fair – allowing active military, veterans and interested job seekers an inside look at the company.

If video isn’t quite your forte, consider one of the most recent Google Plus features – Google Plus Communities.

Communities provide a fit for every person, company or brand, brought together by their tailored interests. With Communities, businesses and consumers alike can meet Viagra Online, share information, personal tips, how-to’s and communicate on a personal level.

And if there isn’t a community for your niche, then congratulations on the ability to build barriers to entry, since anyone can start a community and invite members to join.

Communities can be configured in many ways. For starters, users can set them to be public for anyone to join, publicly seen and can join with moderator approval, or private – opening great possibilities for internal communication. If that isn’t enough, categories can be created for filtering topics outside of general discussion.

For example, a fitness community could have topics resembling “Chest Exercises”, “Leg Exercises”, “Nutrition and Health” and more, allowing for greater targeting and control.

Lastly, let’s take a quick look into the future. Google’s philosophy says that “It’s best to do one thing really, really well.” And they directly follow that statement with, “We do search.”

Google is dedicated to bringing search to unexplored areas, and Google Plus falls right in this category with authorship markup.

Currently, thousands of search terms in Google’s results are accompanied by a mugshot of the content’s author, only if their work is linked to their Google Plus profile with the rel=”author” tag – the beginning stages of a principle known as “AuthorRank”.

There is currently no proof that AuthorRank is active; however, the premise rests in providing authors with an individual ranking for the topics they write most about. Basically imagine having a personal tag cloud, combining keywords, links, titles and headings that indicate the subjects that determine where your authority rests.

In short, this could signify the demise of the anonymous content writer, building many subject matter experts in the process.

An estimated 625,000 users join Google Plus each day, opening a multitude of opportunities for people, brands and organizations that are willing to spend the time on building a successful, engaging channel or community. Add this to the possibilities of author markup and you can’t deny having a Google Plus strategy for yourself or business.

Matt Polsky specializes in producing creative, scalable and adaptive marketing strategies for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s leading dedicated provider of VA Home Loans. In his spare time, Matt guest lectures on search marketing, social media and conversion optimization. Connect with Matt on Twitter @mattpolsky or on Google+.

There’s been a lot of hullabaloo about Vine — Twitter’s new “Instagram” for video app – since it was released last week (as a matter of fact, Apple removed it from the Editor’s Choice area on the App Store this morning). Most of the chatter is revolving around Vine’s purported porn problem. However, there’s a bigger transformation potential with Vine: how-to videos or “performance support” types of videos for teaching, showing and demonstrating how to do something hcg (clean, and not dirty, we hope). Simply browse the #howto hashtag to see a ton of demonstration vids. Just this morning, I’m browsing vids that show me how to “make steak tartare” or how to “solve the Rubik’s cube” in 6 seconds or less.

If Vine can overcome the typical human need to share ”what shouldn’t be shared” socially, it could be a powerful app for sharing knowledge (the non-porn type)… ;)

You may be asking what is Vine?

I’ve worked at home on and off for most of my career, though for the past five years, I’d been in an office. Now, I have a job enables me to work from home when I’m not on the road, and I am re-discovering some pitfalls. You know the big one: laziness.

I mean, really– how easy is it to not shower, not brush your teeth, and to eat cereal right out of the container when you literally won’t see anyone for hours?

Yeah, can’t do that. For one, I’m not productive. And for two, that reminds me a little too much of some of my darker days after I got laid off this past summer.

Being the gadget geek I am, I’ve turned to several apps to help me reinforce some good habits.

Moves: Moves is an app that tracks your movements and creates a “storyline” of where you’ve been.  It uses GPS and the gyrometer in your iPhone to track distance without having a second gadget. It tracks steps, running, cycling, walking– anywhere where you’re moving (but not cars; I guess they’ve programmed it to realize that humans can’t run 65 mph).  Today, I’ve really only walked around my apartment, but it also reminds me that movement is probably a good thing– and drives me to go out and walk in my urban neighborhood.

Lift:  Lift allows you to check into pre-created habits.  You can create habits like “Floss” or “Exercise”  or “Make the Bed” (a big one for me). You can search popular habits to see what other people are working on VolumePills (and to remind you what you might work on– “drink more water” was a good one for me) and are also organized by categories like productivity, mindfulness and fitness.  You can check on your friends’ activity, and support them with “props”.  It’s like crowdsourced responsibility.

GymPact: Put your money where your mouth is, or something like that.  GymPact makes you pay cold, hard cash every time you don’t go to the gym.  Make a pact with yourself (mine is currently 3x/week), check in when you go to the gym or go for a run, and earn money.  I found the checkins can be kind of buggy, but their customer service very quickly will credit you a gym visit that you missed because of their app.  Users get paid by those who don’t go to the gym. I’ve earned, like, $7 so far– which doesn’t cut into my personal training budget, but hey, it’s better than paying $25 for not going.  Ouch.  If you want to join, they have a “get $5 when you sign up” promotion.  Hey, I’ve never been paid to exercise, have you?

SparkPeople is something I’ve been using for years on and off– probably since 2006.  They are a local-to-me company that is the largest fitness site on the web, and happens to have a great app.  You can track calories, weight, measurements and exercise and it’s all free.  The reporting features is pretty good on the app and even better on the website.  Plus, if you have a Fitbit or other tracking device, you can sync it with SparkPeople’s tracking.

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