Archive for July, 2009

6 Ways Retailers Could Search Twitter
Thursday, July 30th, 2009

credit to: internetinfopreneur

credit to: internetinfopreneur

Everyone should be searching Twitter regularly. It is the new way to ‘listen’ to what you need to hear. I search Twitter regularly for things that are important to me.

Retailers can take great advantage of this and learn more about themselves and their competition. Here are a few things that Retailers should be searching for on Twitter:

  • Company Name
  • Banners
  • Brands
  • Specific products
  • Specific areas of interest related to your business (e.g. yoga for Lululemon, marathons/races for The Running Room, etc).
  • The competition and their specific competitive brands.
  • Anything that is of interest to your organization at a particular point in time - this can be very dynamic and very powerful.

Searching for this can be informative and insightful, and it will also give you an opportunity to engage your customers or prospective customers. If someone says something negative about your brand, you can jump in and offer some help. If someone is tweeting something negative (or positive) about your competitor’s brand, it is once again an opportunity to swoon in and offer some help or alternative suggestions (i.e. your product or service).

Here are 6 useful ways I have found useful to search Twitter:

  1. Search.twitter.com - This is the simplest and quickest way to enter any search criteria and get immediate results.
  2. Twitter Desktop Tools - Tools like Tweetdeck or Seismic help manage all of your twitter accounts/timelines. These tools provide great ways to organize your followers into groups and create your own ’search’ groups in an organized fashion, that can be saved and viewed on a regular basis.
  3. Monitter - This is a great tool that provides you the ability to view 3 panes of keyword searches simultaneously. I prefer this tool when trying to ‘monitor’ something that is current. By typing in 3 keywords or phrases about that current event you can watch all twitter activity about that particular topic.
  4. Twitscoop - Twitscoop is another great tool to view your own timeline, create your own searches, and keep on top of current twitter activity and the hottest topics being discussed.
  5. Google Twitter Search - This is a nifty little search tool built on Google Search. It scans the Twitter database for your search criteria but displays it in the standard Google search results display.
  6. RSS Feed - This is my favorite tool of all. You create very specific and unique searches in search.twitter.com and then add them to your RSS Feed. Using your favorite RSS reader you will always be aware of any new tweets that meet your criteria. You can sometimes ‘miss’ key tweets using some of the Twitter tools/feeds above, since timelines only show the most recent tweets. Using an RSS feed you will never miss an important tweet, since it will remain ‘unread’ until you have seen it within your reader.

Regardless of the tool being used, it is imperative that you start searching Twitter on a regular basis. It is a great way to stay on top of current events, trends, and what others are saying about your brand, your competition or other areas of interest. This will give you an opportunity to engage directly with your customers or prospective customers.

If you have used other tools/ways of searching Twitter or found other uses for this, then please share it with us.

Time to Throw MS Office out the Door?
Monday, July 13th, 2009

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Is it time to move away from Microsoft Office and Outlook? And if so, is NOW the right time? Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Microsoft or its software. I have come to rely and depend on these products for over 15 years now. I have created, saved, and filed thousands and thousands of documents and emails over the year. A perfectly organized folder structure six deep, so that my brain could attempt to navigate back to that important email message I may have filed over 6 years ago. In fact, I am so entrenched in its use that I get the shivers when I think of switching. And therein lies my problem, why should I be so locked into one product, one comany? The world of software seems to be moving in a different direction.

I have already started to move more and more towards Google, using Google Search, Google Reader, Google Web Analytics, and Google’s FeedBurner. So if I now switch to Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar, will I just be throwing out one software dynasty for another?

I don’t think so and I will explain why:

  1. In the clouds - Google applications and many others now run in the clouds. Gone are the days of installing software from CDs, with registration keys and special drivers. These apps are either free or require a small monthly fee. Setup is as simple as starting your browser. All data and documents are stored on central servers and managed in the clouds. If your computer crashes, if you use a different computer in Taiwan, just navigate to the web-site of your favorite application, login and then everything is there. For example, I use Dropbox, where you can store and share files in the cloud, no more need for timely backups, as documents/files are instantly updated in the clouds and all shared computers. (n.b. you still must back up your computer and all of your own data for complete security).
  2. Open and Flexibile - These applications are open, meaning I can run a different front-end built from different software vendors without losing anything. Twitter is a great example of this. While all tweets go through Twitter, I have already tried a handful of different applications that can access, display, and add functionality to the Twitter environment. Right now I am using Tweetdeck as my preferred front-end to Twitter, but if something comes along better tomorrow, I can switch with little pain and little lost. All the real core information is kept on Twitter, everyone else is just adding functionality around this.
  3. Organization/Search - Organization and search capabilities just seem to be a whole lot better and faster in Google. Tag or label your documents and email mesages. No more need for complex folder structures to save your important docs and email messages. Other web applications such as Twitter and Delicious also have great tagging and search capabilities.
  4. New Applications - New applications are built everyday that you can easily try and plug into. No upfront charge, no lengthy setup, but all the benefit to catch on to the latest application, all without losing your data or requiring some major migration.

So this should shed some light on why I feel ready to throw out MS Office & Outlook and jump into the world of Google and Cloud Computing. BUT….maybe I’ll wait until next week :)

Next post - Should Retailers be Moving to Cloud Computing?

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