At this week’s SWIM meet we finally had some serious Internet access and were able to exercise some tools of our social marketing strategies. In coming weeks, I’ll try to yack less and get everyone exercising their computers more.
Google Reader and RSS Feeds
Once we got online, we (nearly) all clicked over to Google Reader, looked at my list of folders and subscriptions, and saw how easy it is to follow lots and lots of blogs through this one interface—without ever having to leave Google Reader.
We used Google’s Blog Search feature to try to find useful blogs to which we could subscribe. Amazingly (but not surprisingly), many of the top-listed blogs for just about any search term are blog-like pages on commercial web sites trying to sell stuff. Surprisingly, it was actually quite hard to find blogs in the top 20 listings that had RSS feeds… or that had easy-to-access RSS feeds.
Everyone eventually found one blog whose RSS feed we could follow. We Right-Clicked the RSS feed button or RSS link on the blog page and chose Copy Link Location or Copy Shortcut from the resulting menu. Then we returned to Google Reader and clicked the Add a subscription button. In the resulting text box, we pressed Ctrl+V to paste the URL of the blog’s RSS feed and we clicked Add.
We’ll try this exercise again at our next meeting, but I encourage everyone to take a bit more time on their own to search for meaningful blogs and subscribe to their RSS feeds in Google Reader. The question came up: How do you delete a blog from Google Reader? We bumbled around for a bit and found Unsubscribe on the Feed Settings dropdown menu.
Twitter is One of Our Social Marketing Strategies
We looked at the Twitter interface that you interact with in a web browser. We reviewed “mentions” or “replies” where you address a tweet by typing an at sign followed by a user name: @cityslipper, for example. We reviewed direct messages in which you type a D a space and then the username, and we talked about lists and searches. Most importantly, being in the same room, we were able to follow each other easily and tweet a few messages around.
I admitted that I’m not skilled with the Twitter interface because I use the Tweetdeck client. So, I demonstrated Tweetdeck and encouraged everyone to download and install it. Tweetdeck is free software and you can find a link to its download site on the Web Social Marketing Links page of my Social Marketing Strategies web site: http://www.websocialmarketingstrategies.com/web-social-marketing-links If everyone installs Tweetdeck in time for next meeting, we’ll have another Twitter session to work on any outstanding questions. However, I encourage everyone to do the following before next meeting:
Tweet to each other (and to me, please) about whatever… get used to sending mentions and direct messages.
Set up Twitter searches for phrases that you think people use when talking about things that matter to you
Follow some of the people whose tweets you find as a result of your searches
“Stalk” people who are following people you follow, and follow a few of those people.
At least follow @Leadershipfreak so there’s something in your Twitter stream (besides, he’s a good guy)
About this time in our meeting, Lewisburg’s parking meter attendant was putting tickets on cars. I’m so sorry… that just didn’t used to happen on Wednesday afternoons.
We wrapped up with a promise to get serious about keyword research at our next meeting. Until then, everyone should add to their lists (or start lists if you haven’t) of words and phrases that may find kindred spirits in Google searches. So, if you’re writing mostly fantasy fiction, your list of key phrases might include “fantasy fiction,” “dragon stories,” “fantasy adventure,” and so on. Think especially about words or phrases you would type into Google to find the kind of writing you prefer to do.
So, for next Wednesday:
Subscribe to the RSS feeds of a few blogs that seem relevant to your writing interests
Become more confident and practiced with Twitter (see the previous list)
Bring a list of keywords and key phrases to “seed” your search for the ideal key phrase
Bring your user names and passwords for Google Reader, Twitter, and Tweetdeck… and bring your laptop, of course
Please tweet, email, or phone if you need encouragement or if you have a question.
Finally, two weeks ago I mentioned some articles I wrote that explain how I decide who to follow on Twitter. Here are links to the articles; I’ll also post these on the links page in the next day or two. You don’t need to read the articles to succeed on Twitter, but they provide a reasonable foundation for maintaining a list of high-quality Twitter friends.