Wi-Fi: what is it and how should it be written?

Wi-Fi – sometimes written WiFi or even wifi – is a local area network that uses high frequency radio signals to transmit and receive data over distances of 100 metres or so; it uses the Ethernet protocol. Wi-Fi allows an electronic device to use computer networks wirelessly and uses frequencies of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

Based on a quick Google search, it appears that most official sites use the terms WiFi or Wi-Fi interchangeably. With so much variation, wifi is a reasonable variation of Wi-Fi and most users understand the forms wifi, WiFi, Wi-Fi, and possibly even Wifi.

WFA_CERTIFIED_3D_Web_LRThe key to its use is that we are aiming towards being understood, not necessarily maintaining a trademark. If we wanted to maintaine trademarks, we wouldn’t use the generic term Blackberries instead of Blackberry mobile devices.

You should be aware that Wi-Fi is rarely used outside English-speaking areas: most countries refer to it as WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network). In German, the term WLAN is used exclusively and, in an English language context in continental Europe, there is a strong tendency towards using WLAN.

Wi-Fi is the wireless equivalent to the wired Ethernet network, the most common local area network (LAN) technology used in organisations and homes worldwide.

A Wi-Fi logo from the Wi-Fi Alliance certifies that network devices comply with the IEEE 802.11 standard. The Wi-Fi Alliance® is a global, non-profit, industry association. Its members are a worldwide network of companies that bring you the trademark Wi-Fi®.

From 2000 onwards, the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ seal of approval has designated products with proven interoperability, industry-standard security protection and the latest technology. The Wi-Fi Alliance has certified more than 23,000 products, delivering a consistent user experience and encouraging the expanding use of Wi-Fi products and services in new and established markets.

Today, billions of Wi-Fi products carry a significant portion of the world’s data traffic in an ever-expanding variety of applications. Wi-Fi is in 25 percent of homes around the world and about two billion Wi-Fi devices were sold in 2013. Wi-Fi adoption continues to grow and the widely-shared vision of connecting everyone and everything everywhere continues.

About 600 Wi-Fi Alliance member companies, from dozens of countries, are part of the organisation, driving new technologies and applications and certifying thousands of Wi-Fi products each year.

Tweetadder 4.0 tip to avoid crashing or hanging

TweetAdder

Unclick the “Add Twitter Profile Images” box

There have been many complaints about TweetAdder 4.0 on Twitter. Whenever a large list is loaded, it seems to hang or crash.

When the box for “Load Twitter Profile Images” in >Settings is ticked, you don’t need to be a geek to work out that loading thousands of avatar images will slow the app down! Admittedly, this makes some Twitter users harder to recognise or identify but I have found that the app is very flaky when trying to load these images.

Here is some background: on April 6, 2012, Twitter launched a lawsuit against five services, one of which was Tweet Adder, claiming that the service violated Twitter’s spam policy by providing auto follows/unfollows.  Tweet Adder was the only service of the three to settle with Twitter and agree to provide alternative solutions. The result was TweetAdder 4.0, with significant changes from 3.0.

The primary issue Twitter had with Tweet Adder 3.0 was the app’s ability to enable Twitter users to follow and unfollow people automatically. Twitter states in their official Terms of Service that the only automated following they permit is automated follow-backs (automatically follow-back people who follow you). Tweet Adder, however, enabled users to set up ‘to follow’ lists, using a variety of customisable parameters and users could then set it up to follow these lists gradually over time.

I found this capability extremely useful. Whenever I found a good Twitter list (often containing hundreds of people sharing common interests with me) I would queue it up and then follow a modest amount of people every day. Then, if they didn’t follow me back after a few weeks, I would unfollow them. This allowed me to spend my time focusing on creating good content for my audience instead of sitting in front of my PC going “click, click, click” every day (or paying someone else to do it for me).

Despite TweetAdder 4.0 losing some of this automation, it hasn’t lost it all. It is still the most useful tool out there and can still be purchased for a one-off price of $55. There are plans to convert to a monthly subscription.

How micro-enterprises use digital marketing communications

Trying to make a presentation interactive is always a challenge. I gave a 4Sight (a 20 minute presentation) to the Stockport Group of 4Networking. The results were interesting, if not statistically significant.

I might have asked more questions, or different ones, but the results paint a reasonable picture of current practice in digital marketing communications.

Less than 10% of the audience had a digital marketing (communications) plan in place.

Over 60% had an e-newsletter sign-up form but only 15% claimed to be active in email marketing: how does that work? Nearly a third “planned to be active”. Three primary digital tools that smaller businesses can use to get quick results, email marketing, Google+ and a digital marketing plan were used by less than a fifth of the businesses present.

I would estimate that 90% of the audience ran business-to-business enterprises so the low figure for a Facebook Business Page is understandable. It seems to reflect an attitude that what small businesses do in their own time is separated from their business lives. If they work hours like I do, this just can’t be true. In many cases small business owners are their brands, in B2B, anyway. Facebook gets me results and my Digital Supremo Page is in its infancy. Don’t ignore Facebook.

Graph

Results of a recent survey of small businesses in the business-to-business sector

Less than a third of the audience used micro-content, mainly Twitter but we also included Instagram and Vine.

Just over a third were active bloggers, with a quarter planning to be active in blogging.

It is not surprising that micro-enterprises find it difficult to get results from digital marketing. Many of the tools are low-cost but it is time-consuming and it takes time, effort and skill to do it effectively.

The secret is that even the experts in marketing and social media  have been using these techniques for less than a decade.  New tools, networks, and strategies are appearing all the time. The top social media practitioners spend more time learning, than they do working – they need to in order to keep up with the rate of change. I would include myself in this category.

Also, the strategies that work on social media are different to what has worked in the past, in other marketing channels. As a result, even experienced marketers are struggling to get the most out of their social media efforts.

So here are five tips, partly based on the results of my mini-survey:

  1. You need a digital marketing plan. This can be very simple but the old adage that says plan and execute a few digital tools well is much more effective than stretching yourself too thin and doing nothing effectively. You don’t have to “be” on anything. You should identify tools that will work for your business and do them well, with professional help if necessary.
  2. You need a sales pipeline. The pipeline should be on your own website, computer or other medium that you control completely. It should be capable of capturing qualified leads from a variety of digital sources and helping you turn them into sales. Social media is one  source of prospects from your sales funnel (networking is, of course, another) but, as is well-known by now, if you try to sell on social media you will usually just kill the social aspect. A pipeline can be built into a contact management system (like MS Outlook or Gmail) or a CRM system, like Nimble. It could be as simple as a spreadsheet and some of the most successful sales pipelines I have seen are sales dashboards based on spreadsheets.
  3. You must really mean business. Social media can be an enormous time-grabber. Its easy to spend hours on Facebook and not complete anything really concrete. People who succeed on social media do so by having a plan and working their networks in a purposeful manner. This still means being fun, friendly and social but it means working to a plan.
  4. Build an email house list. Always ask contacts whether they would like your e-newsletter (opt them in). Write and send one monthly, even in plain text, and use an economic platform like MailChimp, Sendicate or Constant Contact to send, monitor and measure results so that you can improve.
  5. Build a simple digital marketing dashboard. A dashboard is an information panel which pulls together your main statistical results and measures effectiveness. Use the power of spreadsheet to add data manually, if necessary, and analyse it weekly. It will help you direct your efforts to what works and prevent wasting time.

Make a plan, choose your ground carefully and work the system in a friendly, helpful and businesslike way.

 

 

Google+: immediate payback

Momentum

Growth for Google+ has suddenly spiked. Google+ is on track to overtake Twitter as the world’s second largest social media site. If there’s anything that marketing’s taught us, it’s that you always want to be ahead of the curve – and right now the curve is favoring Google+.

Growth

Mashable reports that Google+ is also seeing an increase of time spent on the site. Users are now spending twice as much time on Google Plus than they did in February 2013 and the trend doesn’t appear to be slowing.

Authorship
Google testing tool

A new tool to test for Google Authorship

Having a Google+ Account allows you to claim authorship of your content. This keeps unique and original content valuable and accredited to you. Google+ means that links and referrals will be weighted based on who they come from instead of where they’re posted. Authorship gives you credibility and power. You can test for Authorship with this Google Webmaster Tool.

Search engine recognition

A strong Google+ presence directly correlates to stronger search engine recognition. While it can’t replace an SEO strategy, why not enhance your efforts?

Flexibility

Whether you want to host G+ Hangouts or filter posts for your Circles, Google+ provides flexibility options that many of the other platforms don’t. By taking advantage of these features, you can differentiate your product or service through online features.

Profile links

Unlike other social platforms, you can link to other sites throughout your Google+ Profile, contributing towards a sales process. As more people share and giving your posts a +1, your Profile links will suddenly become very powerful. Having an optimised Google+ Page is much easier to rank than a standalone website. You can also benefit from Google’s bias in quickly indexing posts that have received a+1.

Google+ and the social meme

We are evolving into a world where we constantly have access to datastreams and where we stream data individually. It is a fast-paced, real-time world and, for a small minority, it is already here. It is a big adjustment, not just for individuals and organisations, but also for society and for Government. You can run from it but you cannot hide.

Into this data maelstrom, Google – and its baby, Google+ – have entered and are playing a key role. Social, in the technological sense, is now not just a trend but a meme – an idea, behaviour or style that spreads from person to person within a culture. Google+ is a young social media platform by the standards of LinkedIn (2002), Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006). Like all fledgling applications, it was difficult to understand, at first, how it worked and where it was going. Now, with Communities and Hangouts and the capability of connecting with anyone through Circles, all you need to have in common is an interest, business, idea or activity.

You don’t need to “know” someone previously, as in the Facebook or LinkedIn worlds. It shares with Twitter the “follow anyone” principle and opens your experience to serendipity and opportunity. Every visit brings floods of new information and experiences. In fact, it’s not really a people-centred social media platform at all, more a content-sharing medium. It’s content that’s the focus with people as content-providers rather than “friends” or “business contacts”.

Google+ seems to be aiming to become an operating system that has social built into it, reducing the cost of social information to almost nothing. Like its cousin, Android, it will dominate mobile devices and add a layer of social connections to all communications technology.

I hear people complain that their business and personal contacts “aren’t there”. Whether they are there or not (and many of them probably are!), Google has a Profile for them so they might as well manage it actively and, because it is integrated with other Google applications, a Google+ Profile has benefits inside and outside, Google+.

Using Google+ and Gmail together provides you with an astonishingly powerful relationship management system. It ensures that your business shows up on Google Local and Google Maps, improves the online visibility of your brand and facilitates user reviews.

Google is now giving brands free space on one of the most valuable pages in the world: the search engine results page. For almost every brand, their own name is the most valuable search keyword they have. Try it now: key in “John Lewis” on Google and, next to the familiar ten blue links on the left, you’ll see the brand’s latest post on Google+, complete with a timestamp that demonstrates freshness and relevance.

And next to it? A button more prominent than any link on the page enticing users to “Follow” the brand on Google+. A click on that link begins a relationship that is worth many times over the value of the search itself. Implicitly, Google has made a new offer to every brand: set up a page on Google+ and you can own a huge and prominent PR space on your search results page.

The Google Authorship feature allows you to claim validated ownership of all the content you publish on the Web. This is done by linking your Google+ account with the content you publish. If you have used Google Authorship to mark your online articles and posts, those posts come up in a search results along with your Profile picture and a “More by Author” link. This makes the content look more authentic and personalised, improves the visibility of both the author and the business and leads to improved SEO.

Google’s AuthorRank is shaking up inbound marketing and SEO. The concept of AuthorRank is that the reputation and influence of content creators seriously impacts the ranking of search results. AuthorRank does not negate the importance of PageRank but it utilises social signals to make search engine results smarter — taking into account the social influence of content and weeding out spam and unoriginal content from top search rankings.

Google+ growth curve

The incredible growth of Google+ (Credit: Technorati.com)

To fare well under Google AuthorRank, you and your organisation should be active on Google+. Each time someone gives your content a +1, it gets a stamp of approval — increasing its reach and magnifying your opportunities for higher rates of traffic and lead generation. Capitalise on these opportunities by using Google Authorship to index all your original content.

Thomas Power (+Thomas Power) has postulated that Circle Relationship Management (CRM) will emerge and become a part of the business vernacular. A business organises their customer base by circles of interest, circles of revenue, circles of location, circles of demographic values. These circles are all interconnected and maintained by users themselves, the company’s data systems and Google’s social graph layered over search to build a rich understanding of the client base.

So what can Google+ do for you and your business? To get your business page on Google Maps, you used to have to register your business with Google Places. Now it’s all about Google+ Local Pages. Not only is it integrated with Google Maps but it’s integrated directly within the search engine results pages (SERPS).

Use Google+ Authorship as I mentioned earlier. Review your Circles and devise a way for moving people in your Circles closer to you as they recognise and interact with you. Set up your Circles so that they reflect closeness and value in a series of steps.

Join Communities and, as you get to know them, set up one or more of your own. Mine have other Moderators so that, if I miss a day or two, someone will step in and manage the Community.

If you want to stay in touch with apps that are helping to change social into social business, you can join one of my Communities here.

Getting ready for the new LinkedIn Company Page

Social media is an area with many aspects to it and has important implications way beyond being a new marketing communications channel. Nevertheless, the basics are important and this post gives you a quick overview of the coming changes in LinkedIn’s Company Page and how to prepare for them.

Organisations will get a new LinkedIn Company Page “later this year”: this is an advance warning to start preparing your digital assets so that, when the new format is released, your content will be ready.

The main difference in the new layout is that a landscape cover picture at the top of the page is a key feature, similar to cover shots on Facebook and Google+. Updates get more prominence – compared to the About Section – and the layout has been streamlined to make navigation simpler and more intuitive.

The changes to Company Pages will only affect only the layout of your Company Page. In other words, no new features will be added; only the look-and-feel will be fresh.

LinkedIn is deleting the tabs that used to appear at the top of the page: instead, those sections have been highlighted in the right sidebar.

Some page elements, such as Recent Updates, Recruitment (We’re Hiring!) and the Products and Services sections of your page, are more prominently featured. The About Section will be moved to the bottom of your Company Page.

LinkedIn has now made the Follow button yellow and a bit more prominent. The button is directly across from the logo so that a natural eye movement will follow a grey strip to the right. These changes should increase the number of follows you get.

Mobile app changes

Another improvement for Company Pages is that they can now be accessed from LinkedIn’s iPad, iPhone and Android apps: they will have real-time notifications of actions taken by Connections and include the facility for Members to edit their Profiles on their mobiles.

Targeted content

The dialogue box that helps you target appropriate groups with company status updates.

LinkedIn is providing a more obvious option for targeting your Company Updates to certain segments of your audience. LinkedIn will be rolling out two new features for company pages, Targeted Updates and Follower Statistics.

Targeted Updates enable you to target company status updates to specific groups of followers so you can deliver the most relevant content to the most appropriate audiences. Companies can segment by variables like company size, industry, job function, seniority, geography and to include/exclude company employees.

While targeted updates will be displayed only on the LinkedIn homepages of the followers you target, all status updates you publish will be visible to anyone who visits your LinkedIn Company Page, regardless of whether those visitors were included in the initial targeting criteria.

After you post an update, you will be able to view metrics such as number of followers targeted, impressions, clicks, shares and engagement, as well as being able to review that post’s original targeting criteria.

The new Products and Services Section

The new version of the Products and Services page works in a very similar to the current one. The main difference is that it is now in the right sidebar and it also allows display of the names, job titles, companies, and Profile images of LinkedIn users in the visitor’s network who have recommended particular products/services on your page. This is a useful facility because it emphasises and displays testimonials much more prominently.

Below these highlighted users, you’ll find any videos you’ve added to the page in a similar way to the existing page layout. The layout is a bit more customisable, like the business pages of other social networks such as Facebook and Google+.

Five prin­ci­ples of social objects

Jyri Engeström

Jyri Engeström

Jyri Engeström, co-founder of Jaiku and now Google employee, has always been an advocate of understanding social objects. Social objects are one of the key building blocks of digital content.

The social sites we visit today are not just friend networks — they’re also built around objects that connect people with shared interests.

These social objects could be anything from a photo on flickr, a video on YouTube, a track on Last.fm. This concept may not be new information to some of you — Jyri has been talking about “social objects” for years now.

So what are Jyri’s Five Prin­ci­ples?

  1. Define your object. This is the easy part, but perhaps most important. The social object will be the center of your network. On eBay, it’s whatever item you’re selling or buying. On Amazon, it’s a product. On Flickr, it’s a photo and so on.
  2. Display your verbs clearly.What do you want people to do with your social object? Do you want them to comment? Rate it? Share it? Watch it? Make sure whatever action they should take is clear and highly visible on the site.
  3. Make the objects shareable. This is almost a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many sites have not made it easy (or even possible!) to share the object which their site is centered around.
  4. Turn invitations into gifts. Want your friends to join you on the network? Don’t just spam them with an invite, send them something of value. Jyri mentioned how a purchase of a Skype headset years ago also included a set for a friend. Also, PayPal had originally offered a small amount of money posted to the account of your friends who signed up for the service.
  5. Charge the publishers, not the spectators. On any network, there are those who are creating and those who are passively consuming the content. You shouldn’t charge the latter, only the former. The people who are actively using the service and are getting value from it in some way are the ones who would be willing to pay for additional features or, in some cases, just to use the service itself.What is interesting, though, is how well this information has held up over time. Or has it? Do you find this useful?

Six types of social media user

At this point, no single customer engagement channel can deliver marketers a complete picture of consumer behaviour.

Google knows what you’re interested in, but not what you’ve done. Facebook knows who your friends are, but not what you buy. Pinterest knows what you share, but not how you act on it. Foursquare knows where you are, but not what you like. You get the idea.

Social media measurement is critical to success, but brands have been unable to get their arms around what it is and what it means.

Aimia, a loyalty management firm, has unveiled a new segmentation model that analyses trust and control as drivers of six distinct social media personas. The model is detailed in a white paper: Staring at the Sun: Identifying, Understanding and Influencing Social Media Users. The paper argues that specific social media personas can be identified and more efficiently engaged by understanding their online behaviour.

“Today’s approach to social media measurement – racing to rack up the most likes, retweets, followers, and recommendations – is the wrong approach. Marketers must define success not by social media activity but rather by customer value and engagement,” declares Aimia. “Marketers often struggle to understand the true motivations and purchase intent behind customers’ social media activity. Segmentation by persona allows marketers to more successfully identify, understand and influence customers in social channels.”

via The 6 Types Of Social Media Users | Social Media Today.

How far can social media take the traditional enterprise?

Social media still rests a little uneasily in many enterprises. At the large end of the scale, it is hard to adapt older marketing communications workflows to react to the 24/7 nature of social media response. There are also issues of transparency after a generation or more of secrecy and spin.

Smaller enterprises can react more flexibly but the resources and skills are difficult to find and afford. Social media excellence takes time and needs rewarding. However, these are operational matters that are being addressed.

At a strategic level, there is a more pressing issue: does intensive social media involvement imply changes to all business processes and even commercial models? With changes from digital delivery and social media in the recorded music business, commercial video, publishing, printed media and, indeed, many other industries, should all enterprises be consulting the digital crystal ball?

Certainly, enterprises are developing online communities and trying to create stronger brand relationships, from sectors as disparate as carmakers launching new models to professional services firms developing inner customer “sanctums”. FMCG brands are also finding ways to engage customers in product development and testing via social media.

LONDON Advertising's new office

LONDON Advertising’s new office reflects its business model

Start-up advertising agency, LONDON, has found a way of simplifying the creative process, on the one hand, while using experienced professionals and a digital delivery system to handle campaigns anywhere in the world with much lower costs. Significantly, they have been transparent about their costs, a key part of digital transformation and an anathema to the traditional advertising agency.

There are two main approaches to digital transformation: the first is to evolve by developing products or services which have digital DNA built-in, whilst gradually adjusting the enterprise, its skillsets and workflows to accommodate this evolution.

The second approach is more radical: set up a lab, a skunkworks, a new manufacturing or service facility and get new talent to take responsibility for its outcomes. Such a laboratory can adopt a trial-and-error approach and learn very rapidly. Finding the balance between a successful skunkworks and the mother enterprise will be a challenge but less of a challenge than not doing anything at all.

Facebook content marketing advice from Nissan, versus its dealer network (small businesses)

http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com/2012/03/facebook-content-marketing-lessons/

Sunday might be a great day to post more content on Facebook

Sunday might be a great day to post more content on Facebook

#contentmarketing

The success of Nissan’s main brand page indicates that there could be advantages for its dealers in terms of engagement if they redirect their focus.

The parent company has resource to pour into social media marketing and it may have patterns of engagement that are worth looking at.

Let’s recap our findings:

  1. Bring cohesion to your messaging. What role does your business play in the lives of the people who have “liked” you on Facebook? It’s probably more than their daily dose of cute jokes. Don’t drop those entirely — nobody wants to follow a boring stream of company sales speak.
  2. Small businesses like dealerships should aim to post content that connects their industry to human-interest topics, such as local traffic information, suggestions on the best weekend road trips or even the occasional discount offer. Think about how your audience might relate to your business in their personal lives and you are almost guaranteed to find content-worthy points of intersection.
  3. Try posting more rich media. Firstly, it’s getting the highest engagement, by far. And secondly, it’s more likely to be shared. Ask yourself, would you be more likely to share a status or a photo? For most people, I think photos have a tangible quality that induces sharing.
  4. Rich media can be expensive to produce, but there are also cost-effective alternatives. Try using content from the main brand’s assets. There’s also aggregation, or content curation. You could look for someone within the company who possesses both a decent camera (doesn’t have to be a pro) and an eye to match. You could even ask consumers to get involved. Activating the community to generate content would kill two birds with one stone.
  5. Try posting more content during non-business hours. Part of content strategy involves understanding what mindset people are in when they read your content. And someone sitting around on a Sunday afternoon might be in just the right frame of mind to read about how remarkable a new model is that just arrived. It could even get them off the couch and up for a drive to check it out.
  6. Understanding what works is an ongoing process. People’s interests can change over time and, with many product categories, even by season. Fortunately, social media has made it easier than ever to gauge what’s of interest to a target audience. And the more you know about what interests them, the more likely you are to create content that tightens the relationship they have with your brand.