Monday, September 3, 2012

3 Free Social Media Tools Worth Checking Into

One of the great aspects about working in social media is the discovering new creative resources for your "social" toolbox. Over the last few months, I’ve found three in particular that are certainly worth looking into.

Facebook tab development for your fan page can be a hassle. This typically involves developing a specific Secure Page Tab URL which drives back to an external HTTPS address your content is housed on. This usually involves having to work with your IT department, web developer, website hosting company or any combination of the three. For some smaller companies/non-profits with little time or resources, this can be detrimental in the creative process.

Thankfully, there is the free Static HTML Facebook Page Tab developer app from Woobox. With even a little HTML and/or CSS knowledge, this app allows you to create a custom tab within Facebook. You can also use image hosting sites like Photobucket for any graphic source coding you might implement on your tab. I can say first hand that Woobox is an exceptional tool.

Additionally, if you do have the funding, Woobox also provides tab development for coupons, photo contests and other giveaway campaigns you may want to provide on your fan page.

If you’re looking for an easy resource to help your company raise money on behalf of a non-profit (must be an approved 501(c)3) or as a non-profit, Razoo has you covered. I recently did some social responsibility research into crowd sourcing donation tools and this hidden gem took home the gold. Razoo charges the least in transaction rates compared to competitors and there are no additional set up or annual fees so this resource is essentially free to use. The transaction rate comes directly from the donation and the giver is receipted 100 percent for his or her contribution.

BONUS: Razoo’s capabilities come with a donation form widget that can be embed on your website or even your Facebook fan page (Hint: See the awesomeness of Woobox above). The widget allows donors to completely fill out the form without leaving the current page they are visiting.

Woobox also comes with a specific Facebook tab widget you can use, but (for the more innovative challengers) you can also embed the basic HTML widget coding which allows you the ability to place the form where ever you choose in the tab. This provides you with the freedom to implement additional creative copy however you choose.

Simply put, Twitchimp is a unique list curation tool for Twitter that, unlike Twitter, allows users to organize their lists in any order/ranking. This web application is designed to help Twitter users find the right people to follow and learn more from the ever expanding dialog underway in the Twitterverse. It provides additional features like directories and content summation as well as easy ways to curate and offer recommendations to other lists in the community.

Using Twitchimp is easy, integrates with your company, non-profit or personal branded Twitter account, and provides you with the ability to share the list externally. As a free user, you are restricted to use up to 100 people per list. If you choose to upgrade to Twitchimp’s premium plan, you will be able to build larger lists and integrate analytics which is a pretty nifty feature. For my company it's been an excellent way to increase exposure for the software technology vendors we serve.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Reliving Titanic 100 Years Later in Real-Time

Earlier today, I watched James Cameron’s Titanic in 3D at the Potomac Yards Regal Cinema in Alexandria Va. When I was presented my ticket, it came in a clever little boarding pass which I must confess was an excellent branding strategy.

As I had hoped, the lights dimmed, the first scene flickered to life and Cameron’s beautifully artistic masterpiece once again transported me back to the astonishment and hallowed awe of this defining moment in history. The last time I had the opportunity to watch Titanic was 15 years ago during its original cinematic 2D debut in 1997 at the Westbrook Cinema 4 Regal movie theater in my hometown of Brookhaven, Ms.

I chose to watch the movie on this date in particular because it honors the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking on April 14, 1912. Tomorrow I’ll also be attending the Titanic: 100 Year Obsession exhibit at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C.

But tonight I’m experiencing the tragedy in real-time.

According to various sources, there will be at least four twitter accounts tweeting the events that led to the Titanic’s haunting journey to the depths of the Atlantic.

@HistoryChannel – Follow the voyage and disaster in real time from now until April 15.

@TitanicRealTime – Experience Titanic's epic journey with minute-by-minute tweets as if from on board the ship itself. Created by @TheHistoryPress See our App

@titanic_live – To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, this account will live tweet events as they unfolded in April 1912.

Of course, I give the greatest kudos to the Nova Scotia Museum which is also tweeting the event tonight. Why? Because the museum pioneered the idea last year for the 99th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking. Even more fascinating is that the museum’s tweets are that of the wireless operators from the ship herself as well as the responses from others in nearby contact.

This makes tonight’s observance even more hauntingly reminiscent given the realization of Twitter as the modern day relative of the telegraphs used that night. Twitter in it's own right has helped to play a critical role in defining moments of history such as the Arab Spring. From a PR perspective, it’s really quite brilliant and will be extraordinary to watch.

You can follow the museum’s accounts tonight at @ns_museum or by following hashtag #TitanicMMA.

If you want to really get into the action and watch all four accounts simultaneously, l suggest using TweetDeck’s free real-time monitoring dashboard service.