Speaking Gig – Cool Social Gravity Summit – Nov 8, 2010

I will be speaking Nov 8, 2010 on social media actions for non-brands at the coolsocialgravitysummit.com conference at Brandman University in Irvine.

Long Beach Business and Technology Commonwealth

I am one of the founders of The Long Beach Business and Technology Commonwealth. More info and join: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Long-Beach-Business-Technology-Commonwealth-3142193/about

My New Column on Examiner.com

My writings have been picked up by Examiner.com where I am now the new career management columnist for Los Angeles. My latest article is entitled “5 Tactics for Personal Brand Management Online” – http://tinyurl.com/y6uucrl

Interview with Kajeet’s CEO

My son just published an article about his recent conversation with the CEO of Kajeet, the cell phone service for kids: http://bit.ly/aBc6FB

Enhancing Discoverability

6 Tactics for Increasing Your Business’ Online
Presence in Local Reviews and Directories

By David Alpern and Greg Jordan

The role the Internet plays in having prospective customers locate and assess a business cannot be overstated. Smart Momma, a baby gear and gifts retailer, saw its site traffic increase 3X over one year due in large part to online reviews. The Internet can be gold for local businesses if they also have a plan in place for the disgruntled.

Being Found

Consumers don’t get their information from just one source. BIA/Kelsey’s User View Wave VII consumer tracking study found that consumers use 7.9 different media sources when shopping locally. Each media has an impact at every level of the purchase funnel: awareness, interest, desire along with consideration, and ultimately the most important stage – action, which is typically a purchase.

“Media sources” refers to search engines (90% reported using search), Internet Yellow Pages (48% usage), vertical industry sites (24%), and comparison shopping sites (42%).

Here are 6 tactics that harness the power of the Internet to help direct more people to a business’ front door.

Be Prolific

The BIA/Kelsey’s User View Wave VII consumer tracking study cited above also revealed that nearly all consumers (97%) now use online media to shop locally. Yet, online is a large place, and the use may be in the form of gathering product information, price comparison, reviews, coupons, look-up information. Generate content that is relevant and usable in each of these forums.

Reputation Management

As consumer-generated content proliferate, so do the problems and headaches they engender. Consumers are increasingly more likely to search online for reviews before making a purchase, and what they find may be misleading information. Be it intentional or not, it damages the perception of the brand and can quickly spread. Changing these perceptions necessitates successfully communicating accurate information to balance the viewpoint.

Have a Plan

Rather than avoid online forums, formulate an action plan to manage potential damage caused by negative conversations and reviews. A disgruntled customer is 4X more likely to convey their feelings to others than a customer that enjoyed a good experience. The ratio can rapidly multiply online and spell disaster for brands that don’t have strategies in place to combat online negative chatter.

Google Profile

Creating a custom profile on Google is an easy and effective way to make sure you appear when people are “Googling” you. What’s more, the profile information resides at Google which means it will get indexed almost immediately. Try filling out your profile, then do a vanity search and see if you pop up! http://www.google.com/profiles/me

Yelp

Yelp is a popular site that connects people with local businesses and allows consumers to share experiences. Business owners can join the conversation and put their best foot forward by posting pictures, menus, discounts, special events notifications, and proactively responding to reviewers as necessary.

Directories

The five steps that deliver the most significant positive effect on local rankings are:

1. Google/Yahoo! local business listings that include an address and business description

2. Citations from data providers, such as InfoUSA, Localeze, and Internet yellow pages sites

3. Associating your local business listing within the proper categories

4. Completing the verification steps offered for your local business listing on Google/Yahoo!

5. Including product/service keywords (i.e., “hair salon,” “attorney”) in the title of your listing

And for the ambitious, there is also Yahoo! SearchMonkey, which allows customization of the look and feel of your search result on Yahoo! This tool involves supplying Yahoo! with an XML feed and typically is prepared by an interactive vendor and not by the business itself.

Posted via email from David Alpern’s Perspectives

8 Obscure Interactive Social Tools

Is all the effort you put into your web presence paying off? Social media activation involves reaching beyond your immediate circle to a broader community online. You can measure the influence your actions have to see how big your brand is becoming. The Internet is littered with an innumerable roster of service offerings, so here is a compilation of 8 lesser known tools that are particularly valuable:

Keyword trendsTrendrr tracks and compares the trends of any keyword – brand names, executive officers, and can even compare them to other keywords. Trendrr produces pretty eye candy charts too.

Twitter account age Digimantra offers a free tool that displays when an account profile launched.

Twitter importanceTweetreach assesses how wide an impact an account has. The larger the influence an account has, the more valuable they are to have in your network.

Post to multiple accountsHootsuite is a web based app that is very similar to the popular TweetDeck but does not require the resource sucking Adobe Air. Hootsuite has a feature that allows posting of the same tweet to multiple Twitter accounts, which is especially useful if you facilitate multiple brand identities. Hootsuite also includes analytics that let’s you see who is clicking on your posts, who is retweeting your messages, etc.

Free conference callingCalliflower operates a convenient platform that integrates web and phone applications and offers both USA and other countries local numbers. The web app features live chat on the site. Calliflower can save the call recording as an MP3 file and post it to iTunes for free as a podcast. Other nice features include SMS text, e-mail reminders, and various administrator features.

International VoIP callingTruphone is a mobile VoIP service that is especially useful if your travels take you out of the country and you want to be able to call back to the USA using Wi-Fi rather than setting up your mobile phone with an international dialing plan.

Online ReputationOnline ID Calculator looks at the strength of your online Identity and reputation. When people perform a search by name for someone, they judge the results based on both volume and relevance. Quantity implies that you have something to say. Relevance is of greater important as it assesses what that quantity of posts say about you, do they back up your written and oral claims, and ultimately, are you compelling?

Online VisibilityAddictomatic instantly creates a custom page with the latest on any topic or person. It looks at how you show up across search and social media platforms such as Google, Twitter, Bing, FriendFeed (part of Facebook), Twingly YouTube, Digg, Flickr, Delicious, BlogLines, Truveo, Wikio, Yahoo, Technorati, etc.

Posted via email from David Alpern’s Perspectives

The Process and Progress of Producing “The Yankles”

By Zev Brooks & David Alpern

For much of the last ten years David & Zev Brooks, two brothers from Orange County, California, have put in a tremendous amount of effort, resources, sweat equity, and every other resource available to them to craft, produce, film, and now ultimately (hopefully) release their feature film called “The Yankles”.

As they sat in a movie theater in Atlanta, Georgia in January 2010 enjoying what would be three sold out screenings of their film at the second biggest Jewish film festival in the USA they finally had the opportunity to see the reactions and joy their movie delivers onto its audience. The film is a comedy about a Jewish, orthodox academy (yeshiva) baseball team named – you guessed it – The Yankles. As the story unfolds on the silver screen, the brothers anticipate each joke. They anxiously await the punch-line. As laughs and guffaws fill the theater on cue, they broadly smile and relax. By now David and Zev enjoy watching the audience just as much as the movie which they’ve seen countless times.

Tonight is the second sold out screening of “The Yankles”, the first, being the night before, and it won’t be the last. The film screens one more time – the following evening – another sellout.

The credits conclude. The lights come up, and David and Zev rise from their seats and prop themselves into the directors chairs assembled at the front of the theater. David is introduced as the director, and Zev the producer. They are both the writers, and as they answer questions, they can’t help but feel they have come so far, and yet have so far to go. The making of “The Yankles” was like climbing a mountain – clearing one peak only to see even more in the horizon. With production behind them, David and Zev look down at the dangerous terrain they have climbed and can scarcely believe that “The Yankles” didn’t slip and fall to a premature death. Somehow, these first time filmmakers wrote a script that worked, found the money they needed just in time, and sometimes not fast enough, found a cast that clicked, hired a crew that knew what they were doing, and managed the film through post production as their own post production supervisors.

It is 1:30 a.m. in Atlanta. The audience that saw “The Yankles” that night is fast asleep, but Zev sits in a car on his cell phone having finished celebrating that night’s screening. “Hello, Orem!” he shouts.

Orem, as in Orem, Utah where “The Yankles” just screened to an audience of 400 at the Mormon Film Festival. Zev does his best to do a Q&A remotely as he fields questions through a speaker phone at the other end of the line. David and Zev wrote “The Yankles” to be a mainstream film that all audiences would enjoy. “The Yankles’” success at the Mormon Film Festival feels especially gratifying. “The Yankles” was also selected as one of five comedies at the International Family Film Festival in Hollywood, CA. Their dream is coming true.

It has been a week since David & Zev returned from Atlanta, but they are not at home. They are watching “The Yankles” in Las Vegas with a crowd of 345 anticipating another Q&A. They will get many of the same questions, but it never feels routine, not yet, because David & Zev are still on a mission: Distribution. The most important peak to climb. It has been years since David and Zev arrived at base camp, but now they are propped up on four sold out screenings, with rave reviews, and have sales agents calling them. At last, the summit finally seams attainable.

Posted via email from David Alpern’s Perspectives