Friday Freak Out – LinkedIn Groups That Suck

I’m a member of 15 groups on LinkedIn. How many of those groups are worth spending any time in? One. Yes that’s uno, une, один and ett. LinkedIn brings together clever (and some not so clever) people from across industries, sectors and even geographical boundaries – this should lead to groups been full of great conversation and debate.

Why Is That One Group Worth Your Time?

The group I refer to is worth my while for a few simple reasons:

1 – It is full of people who are genuinely looking for interesting conversation.
2 – It is full of people who are truly helpful and eager to learn.
3 – The managers of the group take an active role in conversations, but also rule the group with an iron fist.

What Makes a Group Suck?

Again, pretty simple:

1 – If a group is full of people only looking to sell their services/snake oil it’s going to be as enjoyable as week in jail. A really nasty jail.
2 – Bad groups are full of spammers – it’s the responsibility of the group owners (and group members) to flush out any spammers. The great group I am referring to is particularly good at this.
3 – The group is full of links to content and nothing else. This is usually a sign of things being rather automated. Robots can be rubbish.

Should I Start a Group?

With anything in the social media ‘space’, you should only start a LinkedIn group if you know what you are looking to achieve from it and have the time to make it a worthwhile venture. A well-run group can give you the opportunity to connect with people you can learn from, but also gives you the chance to show of your smarts. Just don’t do it in nasty salesy type of way, or everyone will think you are a douchebag. And they are probably right. Kidding. Kind of. Rule the group with some hard rules around spam and sales pitches and you’ll go a long way to creating a place people want to be.

So, Are You Going to Tell us What This Great Group Is?

Yes, yes I am! But only if you promise to respect it and be a nice member of it. The group in question is the Marketing Over Coffee group. It is ran by the guys behind the podcast of the same name, which is a must-listen for all marketing buffs. It is presented by the rather clever John J. Wall and the new media visionary that is Christopher Penn. If you screw with their group, they will badly hurt you. Possible even maim. Ok, they won’t as they are lovely guys, but they will ban you quicker that a Madonna video in the 80s.

How do you find LinkedIn groups? Do you get value for them? Do you run a successful one? Let us know! I’m off to leave the other 14 groups that suck. You may also like – Friday Freak Out – Cold LinkedIn Requests.

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Social Change – The KONY 2012 Viral Fallout

I am on my third cold since Christmas so the word ‘viral’ is a touchy subject for me but the controversy surrounding the viral popularity of the KONY 2012 campaign is distracting me from coughing and sniffling right now and that’s nice!

Viral Sensation

Even if you’re not a social media addict, you probably still saw the KONY 2012 video lurking around Facebook or Twitter (or here on TSPB). Considering the video has been shared on Facebook over 2 billion times, it would have been nearly impossible to miss it. The stats showing how quickly the video and overall campaign reached dizzying heights in views, shares, tweets, mentions and pluses are nothing short of stunning. According to this post from The Drum, the video reached over 112 million views in nine days easily surpassing any kind of viral video that came before it.

Viral Controversy

And then came the naysayers! Nearly as popular as the original campaign, the droves of people and posts calling the campaign a ripoff quickly followed. It’s tricky to say if the controversy has added to the video’s viral popularity but it certainly added an interesting layer of conversation to a topic that many of us were unaware of a week or two ago.

Social Change

Only time will tell if the social media movement will bring about any kind of quantifiable change to current events (I say current since it’s now clear that the specific events from the KONY 2012 video are no longer taking place) but I think anything that brings attention to social issues is positive, regardless of controversy. I also think that this may be an indication that people are hungry for a real cause to get behind. Maybe we’re getting tired of hearing one another complain about our “first world problems”. In age of shortening attention spans and desensitisation, it’s nothing short of a miracle that 112 million people sat through a 30 minute video about a subject that didn’t benefit them in any way.

What are your thoughts on the KONY 2012 video? Do you think it deserves the attention it has gotten? Do you think that social media is a good platform for social change?

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Social Media Isn’t Free, But It’s Worth It

Don Power is the Managing Editor of Sprout Insights, a blog by the company Sprout Social, which also offers social media management software. He writes content and edits articles produced by other contributors. Don is also a Social Media Consultant and Professional Speaker. Connect with Don on Twitter: @donpower.

In response to questions about the ROI (Return on Investment) of social media, entrepreneur and social media juggernaut, Gary Vaynerchuk, is famous for his reply: “What’s the ROI of your mother?”

According to Vaynerchuk, it’s just understood that one’s mother (like social media) has an intrinsic value and trying to measure that value is unnecessary. When it comes to social media, Vaynerchuk’s advice is simply to stop measuring and start doing.

On the other hand, Mark Schaefer, social media advisor and author of “The Tao of Twitter” says: “As marketers we should measure EVERYTHING. And generally, we can. It’s imperative that businesses evaluate the resources spent on social media to determine whether those resources are producing positive results. If you’re in business, chances are you are trying your best to make a profit. If you’re using social media as part of your marketing strategy, then you need to know if that strategy is paying off.

Image credit - wildfireperformancemarketing.com

So, is the investment in social media worth it? Does it provide a positive return on investment? Whether it’s in terms of person-hours spent engaging on social media, money paid for social media management tools or additional staff, there is growing evidence to suggest that the answer is “Yes!” Here’s why.

The Myth of Free Social Media

Although participation in social media is technically free, there are still costs associated with this activity. Perhaps chief among these is the physical time it takes to engage meaningfully with your target audience.

If you haven’t assigned a dollar value to the time that you and your staff are spending on social media, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey from Awareness Inc., 57 percent of marketers said that they “have not allocated budgets to social marketing, but rely on people resources”. Yet these marketers must be realizing a positive return on investment, since in the same survey 78 percent of respondents said that “expanding social reach” will be a major marketing initiative for them in 2012. Like any form of business marketing, you have to allocate an appropriate time frame before you can expect to see results; an investment in social media is no different.

Social Media Marketing Vs. Traditional Advertising

Some business owners may still be inclined to scoff at social media and the time investment it takes to produce results. They may prefer to forego the effort of social media marketing in favor of traditional advertising instead. Not Jonathan Kervin. Since investing his time into social media marketing for his inbound marketing agency, Jonathan has seen traffic to his website increase by ten fold.

“Before social media, I would have spent upwards of $1000 a month on advertising to produce that kind of traffic,” says Kervin. When asked if he’s come out on top of the ROI equation, “Definitely!” he says.

Kervin also takes issue with those who say traditional, or even online-advertising doesn’t take the same effort or committment as social media. He says, “What about the time it takes to research and fine-tune your ads, what about split-testing different versions? This all takes time and money.” No matter what type of advertising you’re doing for your business, you have to make strategic investments to produce positive returns. Now, says Kervin, “instead of money, I invest my time.”

What many business people also tend to overlook when it comes to investing in social media is that you can create reusable social content like videos, podcasts, blog articles and so on. These marketing tools continue to promote your business long after you’ve invested the initial time to produce the content. “I’ve gotten better at social media”, says Kervin, “now that I have the learning curve out of the way.” The bonus, he says, is that “now I have all this content and it’s producing traffic for me even while I’m sleeping!”

It would seem that if you compare the time commitment of social media vs. the money committment of traditional advertising, social media has its advantages particularly if your business is on a tight budget. Factor in the hands-on marketing training and reusable advertising content you produce while investing your time in social media, and the relative dollar value of social media marketing is something a business person can no longer afford to ignore.

Facebook Fans Worth $50 Million

You may have seen the chatter on the Internet asking: “What’s a Facebook fan worth?” Well, according to beer company, New Belgium, the answer is 50 million dollars. More precisely, when the company surveyed its Facebook fan base, it calculated that each member spent an average of $260 on its products. Collectively that amounts to approximately $50.7 million in annual revenue. For an initial social media investment of $235,000 “mostly dedicated to Facebook,” that equates to a very positive endorsement of social media ROI.

Of course, not every business has the social media budget of New Belgium brewery. In fact, the Awareness Inc. survey (mentioned earlier) found that only eight percent of businesses spent over $50,000 on their social media budgets in 2011. Still, as we’ve seen in the above examples, you don’t need to break the bank to get positive results from social media.

Even if you don’t generate immediate sales from social media, there is immense business value in using these social platforms. Whether it’s increasing awareness of your business to a global audience, providing transparent customer service, or establishing relationships with future customers, the results of your social media activities are tangible, measurable, and definitely worthwhile.

[Sources: watermill3, B2C, Awareness Inc., Usa Today; Image credit: D. Sharon Pruitt]

10 Steps to Running An Awesome Twitter Contest

Twitter contests are a great tactic for increasing your online presence, but are often underutilized by brands. Not only are they simple to run, but are also fantastic for increasing your Twitter visibility and an awesome way to acquire new followers.

Although a Twitter contest itself is not that tricky, there are some recommended steps to keep in mind that will help you drive a successful and optimized contest.

Here are the ten steps that I feel can help make a good Twitter contest into a great one:

1. Set Objectives

Without objectives, it’s impossible to judge success. Consider what your goals are for the contest and how you want it to impact your brand. Is it new followers you’re after? More retweets? Acquiring email leads?

2. Check Twitter Guidelines

Be sure to read the guidelines for contests on Twitter. While Twitter are pretty flexible with their regulations, you want to ensure you avoid any complications or difficulties down the line by staying within the guidelines.

3. Make Entry Easy

The easier the entry process, the more entries you can expect. Keep it short and simple – one-click entry (just a retweet, for example) or providing a tweet for them to simply copy and paste are both great entry tactics.

4. Optimize Brand Visibility

Make sure you are optimizing your visibility by ensuring that all contest tweets include a mention of your brand. Additionally, you can consider including a link to your site and you could even create your own hashtag.

5. Join Forces

One thing to keep in mind is how you are going to get the word out on Twitter about your contest. Use a Twitter tool like Crowdbooster to determine some of your most influential followers, and reach out to them to see if they might help you spread the word.

6. Choose Prizes

Prizes are obviously an important part of any contest: will there be one big prize? Several small ones? In my experience, giving away small prizes regularly is a great tactic for Twitter – ensuring the contest remains interactive and engaging throughout.

7. Vary Promotional Tweets

No doubt that your biggest form of promotion will be via Twitter itself. One top tip is to vary the time you publish contest tweets and the language you use. Testing like this will allow you to optimize your reach and find out when your audience is most receptive.

8. Choose Promotion Channels

Other than Twitter, consider where else you can promote the contest. Can you cross-promote on Facebook? LinkedIn? Perhaps you contribute to a blog and could write a post, or know of other bloggers or marketers that can help out? Think outside-of-the-box and be creative.

9. Build Excitement

Make your community aware that you will be running the contest in order to build excitement. This could involve “taster tweets”, which highlight the prizes you’ll be giving away, or tweets which countdown to the contest start.

10. Analyze results

Finally, be sure to monitor the contest and analyze the results. The metrics you measure will depend on your objectives, but considerations would be followers, @ mentions, retweets and impressions to name just a few. Find out what worked (and what didn’t) to ensure that your next Twitter contest is even bigger and better!

Have you ever run a Twitter contest? Is there anything you would add to this list?

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How Guest Bloggers Can Increase Social Interest In Your Blog

Guest Posting. Brilliant for increasing awareness of your voice and company, getting links to your site and developing relationships with talented and passionate bloggers.  However, as you can see from Mike’s Friday Freak Out, there are some pitfalls to working with guest bloggers.

 

Why Put Yourself Through That Potential Headache?

I believe the social interest that a guest post can generate for a blog will reap substantial rewards, making the potential headache of working with some guest bloggers more bearable.

Case Study

I am currently involved in the running of a blog for the promotional gifts distributor I work for.  I recently pitched the idea of allowing guest posts on our site, initially motivated by the desire to ensure we continually created fresh and interesting content. This is something that is likely to be high on the priority list of any site that accepts guest blogs given the importance now placed on regular and relevant content by Google.

Along came the lovely Lisa Illman. With over 2000 followers on Twitter and a stellar understanding of different social media channels and how to utilise them to develop an online business, her interesting and insightful post was a great addition to our blog. I was delighted with the new and relevant content she provided.

However, it became clear after a couple of days that this freshness was not the only benefit to accepting guest blogs.  Lisa’s blog attracted 126 tweets and over 1500 stumbles (to date!).  As we have recently given our blog a facelift and developed a new feel to the content we include (promotional gifts are not always the most interesting thing to blog about!) we don’t have too much social interest in our blog. Lisa’s post not only provided fresh content for out site but from our average of 10 or less tweets per post it gave us an incredible jump in social interest.

How Can You Ensure Guest Posts Garner Social Interest?

Here are a couple of simple ways to work with your guest bloggers and use their social media clout to increase social interest in your own blog.

(1)   Encourage them to share their post on all of their social networks.  The most obvious way to harness their social media presence, this tip is mutually beneficial; they will raise awareness of their writing skills and portfolio whilst raising awareness of your blog.

(2)    Share them yourself.  Again a mutually beneficial process, promoting their writing to your own followers will increase awareness of their skills and encourage your own social media crowd to visit your blog for new, fresh and alternative opinions.

(3)   At the bottom of every post you publish add links to similar posts within your blog. A visitor to your site from the social network of a guest poster may very well be interested in similar content; make these articles easily available to them and they could become a regular visitor to your blog.

(4)   Encourage comments and conversation. Maybe even accept posts that you do not agree with, inciting debate between you and the guest blogger that will then spill out to your readers. Encouraging healthy debate will encourage engagement from readers, and engagement is key for developing a healthy social interest in your blog.

So there you have it, get accepting guest posts and get blogging! A guest blogger will never mind you using their social presence to promote their posts, and the social interest in your blog could increase tenfold!

Do you have tips of your own to add to Lianne’s list? What is your opinion of using guest bloggers? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts!

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5 Great Resources for Writing a Social Media Policy

Letting your coworkers run around online representing your brand is enough to turn most business owners into frazzled basket cases, but if fear is the problem then having a strong social media policy can be the fix. Creating a robust social media policy, like everything else in business, is a fine balance between being so strict that you discourage your employees from getting online and being so overloaded with subjective terms no one can tell what the rules are. Here are 5 resources that will help you along in crafting the right policy for your company.

Image credit: blog.hubspot.com

HR Magazine: Honesty is the Best Policy
A great read on what employers should consider about how their employees represent them online.

Hubspot: 5 Noteworthy Examples Corporate Social Media Policies
Before you write your own policy, see the pros and cons of what the large brands are doing.

Social Media Today: 57 Social Media Policy Examples and Resources
A comprehensive list of examples and guides.

Social Media Examiner: 10 Tips for Creating a Social Media Policy for Your Business
Some great overall tips to consider.

Mashable: 10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy
This post if from a couple years ago but many of the “must-haves” still hold true for what your policy should contain.

Your policy should be a reflection of your overall company values so take a look at all the examples I’ve listed and then do it your way. But no matter what, make sure your policy is helpful to your employees. After all, they’re online whether you like it or not so help them be a positive representative of your business.

Do you have any tips on creating a strong social media policy? What issues have you run into with your employees being online? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Just How Powerful is Social Influence in Affecting Change?

After a pretty decisive win over the SOPA/PIPA acts that were being pushed though Congress via the influence of media companies in the U.S., the power of social influence and outcry through social networks is unquestionable. There have been two more interesting instances that have transpired recently that are also worth noting.

Susan G. Komen Foundation

The breast cancer awareness foundation came under intense fire after announcing that it would no longer be providing funding to Planned Parenthood, an organization that provides health services which include breast cancer screenings. This decision came, in part, due to conflicting stances on abortion. Many claim that the foundation was caving to conservative political influences, which the foundation denies. The social networks were aflame with people chastising the foundation and making threats to end support unless the decision was reversed. There was also social support in favor of the foundation’s decision, but this was far overshadowed by the protestations. It didn’t take long for the foundation to reverse its decision, stating that it would continue providing funding to Planned Parenthood. The Susan G. Komen foundation has not specified for how long they will continue providing support, but as far as this year goes, Planned Parenthood still has their financial backing. Both the initial announcement and the decision to revert back (official statement here) could potentially have rippling future effects for future donors on both sides of the argument. On the up side of this, Planned Parenthood saw a huge influx of donations in the days following The Susan G. Komen Foundation’s announcement that it was pulling funding. Karen Handel, a Vice President at the Susan G. Komen Foundation and a driving force behind cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, resigned after the reversal of the decision to cut the funding.

Arizona State University

Another recent example of a win for social influence happened in the state of Arizona, U.S.A. The university blocked access to the website change.org, alleging that spam and unsolicited messages from the site were a threat to students and a drain on valuable network resources. Rather than just marking the emails as spam, access to the entire site was blocked. As it turns out, there was also a petition on the site calling for lowering tuition costs at ASU. A public outcry came from people in the social networking sphere as well as free speech advocates like freepress.net. They claimed that, not only was this a violation of net neutrality, but a potential violation of First Amendment rights to free speech for both students and the owners of the website. Arizona State University changed its decision, announcing on February 4th that it would once again allow access to the website. At the time of writing this I could not find an official statement from ASU.

What do you think of this kind of social activism? Do you think simply clicking retweet, share, or +1 is enough? Do you think that it will eventually lose its luster and not be taken as seriously as it is now? Or do you think the sheer volume of responses this ease-of-action sparks will continue to evoke change in future instances?

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10 Things A Brand Should Never Do On Twitter

Using Twitter well can be a real can of worms, on the surface it is a fairly simplistic platform (hopefully they keep it that way), but once you dig a little deeper, there are many do’s and don’ts that should be considered when trying to use Twitter in the best possible fashion. This post will explore ten things that you should never do…

1 – Send Auto DMs

I’ve never heard one single person say they like receiving an auto-DM when they follow a brand (or individual back). Just don’t do it. Take the time to send a personal response whenever possible and consider doing it via an @ reply. Do not make an auto-DM your first actual attempt at Twitter communication with a customer or prospect.

2 – Follow Way More Than Follow Back

When I see a brand that follows 10,000 but only has 1,500 following back, I immediately cast them aside as a brand I don’t want to have on my Twitter radar. Follow appropriate people back and be selective about who you follow and everyone is much more likely to be happy.

3 – Throw Mud

Never, ever accuse a customer of being in the wrong. Take their issue and try your hardest to resolve it. If possible take the discussion away from Twitter. This also goes for your competitors, I’ve seen nasty incidences of brands using Twitter to have a go at their rivals – this makes you look like a jerk.

4 – Take Ages to Respond

Twitter is real-time platform, you need to be super speedy at responding to customer queries. It can be tough, but if you can’t support it, you need to re-think your Twitter use. If you can only operate during certain hours, state this in your bio.

5 – Only Tweet Sales Messages

Hopefully you already realise that a flood of sales or promotional messages are not the way to go! Sure, let your audience know of any interesting promotions etc, but never make this the crux of your content. Curate, create, converse and conquer!

6 – Fail to Deliver on What Your Bio Promises

If you state that you will be taking enquires etc, then you better be in a position to answer them! If you state that you will be tweeting the latest news from your industry, you best make sure you are doing that everyday! Don’t set false expectations.

7 – Link Your Facebook to Your Twitter

Facebook and Twitter are both massively different platforms and Facebook updates do not translate well to Twitter. No-one can convince me that this is good route to follow. Please don’t do it.

8 – Be Overly Friendly or Unprofessional

Tone of voice is very important in social media and especially on Twitter. Think how you would like to be spoken to by a business you are dealing with and bear that in mind at all times. Being friendly can often disarm an angry customer, however pushing it too far and being overly friendly can make the customer feel a little patronised.

9 – Use Text Speak

‘Gr8, glad we could help u’ No, no, no!!! Childish and irritating. Enough said.

10 – Give The Minimum Service

Always strive to help the user as much as possible. Give them links to helpful information, offer them an email address (start with a DM) or even a phone-call. Twitter may be a short form communication platform, but that isn’t an excuse to be lazy!

BONUS! – Run a Hashtag Campaign If You Suck

If your brand gets a lot of heat in the social media space, a hashtag campaign isn’t the way to go. Chances are, it will get hijacked, giving you a major headache! #McFail anyone?

What are your Twitter turn-offs? Do tell us in the comments!

Thanks to our great Assistant Editor, Jenni Maley for her input to this post!

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Social Minds – An Interview With Mark Schaefer

This interview first appeared on my Thought Leader Thursday column over on The Social Axcess blog.

There aren’t many people out there that I would class as true social media experts. Sure, many people get it and are able to use it effectively, however few can take that knowledge and communicate it as well as Mr Mark Schaefer. I took the opportunity to run some questions past Mark, read on for some great insight and a sneak peak of what you can expect from his up-coming book, Return on Influence.

Tell us what you do in 140 characters or less?

I am an author, college educator, mentor, business consultant, founder of Social Slam, blogger, speaker, father and husband.

So, it’s fair to say you are a busy man! If you could give people one tip for managing their time, what would it be?

It would have to be “focus.”  Be clear about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. It’s easy to go down the rabbit hole, especially when you become immersed in the social web! 

Would it be fair to say that Twitter has been a great catalyst for you and your business interests? What has it brought you that was missing in those not so long ago pre-Twitter days?

It is not too bold to say that Twitter has changed my business and my life. The connections I have made through this platform have become customers, trusted business colleagues and friends. The big advantage this has had for me was the ability to network far beyond traditional business barriers.

Your new book, Return on Influence, explores the world of personal online influence, helping people to understand how it is measured and to harness the power it can create. Do you think we are looking at a world that will give more and more importance to such metrics?

Without question. We are in a world of incredible information density so people are hungry for shortcuts to help them make decisions. Social proof “badges” like the number of Twitter followers or a Klout score are important in this regard. That’s not to say that is necessarily a good thing, but it is a business reality we need to acknowledge and deal with. Also, I think Klout is on the brink of really going mainstream beyond the small social media community. When that happens, there will be quite a frenzy of activity to try to understand these scores and how to improve them.  That is all covered in the book (Return on Influence), of course.

Here we are in January 2012, what do you see as the biggest challenges facing businesses in the coming year?

That is quite a broad question and I would like to narrow it to digital marketing.  I think Internet privacy and the Anti-piracy issues will continue to dominate headlines. These are absolutely critical issues that will have to be addressed with some sort of regulation … and the Internet HATES regulation, so it will be an interesting year.

And finally, what does 2012 hold for you?

Of course the launch of the new book in a few weeks is kind of a watershed event. Return On Influenceis unlike any other marketing book out there right now and plows entirely new ground so this should be exciting.  I am also working on a new video educational series on my website called Social Media From Scratch (February), a new speaking tour, and my next book, which is starting to firm up as an outline. Lots of exciting developments!

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Nicholas Montgomery Interview – Part 2

The second part of our two-part interview with Nicholas Montgomery,a 16-year-old technology blogger, podcaster, entrepreneur, and regular tech expert on The Marilyn Denis Show in Canada... See the first part here.

Photo courtesy of CTV

You often write about what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how to be motivated for success. What is your inspiration and where are you headed with this?

My inspiration for writing about entrepreneurs is that they try to solve real problems and leave an impact on the world. I admire entrepreneurs who see issues and can offer solutions without letting any barriers get in the way. I myself have started a social organization called One Plant Per Class . Fortune 500 companies and academic studies have shown productivity increases and a more positive mental state can arise just from having one plant in the room. I decided to take action at my school and I ‘ m now amidst working with the fourth largest school board in Canada, The Toronto District School Board, to get one plant in every classroom. It isn’t going to revolutionize education, but it is a small change that will have a huge impact on students. Most importantly, I want to inspire other young adults, who may also have an idea to improve education, to share it with the world.

What is the one piece of advice that you want to continually remind yourself of as you progress with your career?

“Happiness isn’t the absence of problems, but how you deal with them.”  -  Siddhārtha Gautama

I love this quote because some things in life that happen are just simply out of your control and you can only control how you deal with them.

What tech predictions do you have for 2012?

A strong Google+ presence will become more important than Twitter.  For the past few days, I’ve been testing out the Search Plus your World changes and the implications are mind-blowing. What the update does is change the search algorithm to place a much greater emphasis on what your Google+ friends are sharing. Every single search page is now personalized. Even if they aren’t signed-in to their Google+ account, previous search history, geo location and other search behaviour is taken into consideration. For example, Gary Vanyerchuk is in one of my circles and when I searched Facebook on Google. The fourth result was Gary Vaynerchuk’s Facebook page – not because of him having the most link backs or best SEO optimization, but it was because he had previously shared it. To appear on the search results page above the paid ads (of very competitive keywords) it only takes a few thousands fans. Try searching cars for instance; right now it only takes Ferrari 6,350 fans to appear at the top of search results, above the paid results. By having Ferrari included in my circle it also means they have an impact on what I see in my search results. Searching for fast cars? They may have shared a fast car on Google+, so it will influence my search results.

3-D Printers will change the economy, taking China out of the picture in the next 3-5 years.  Both Canada and the U.S. have primarily outsourced majority of its manufacturing to China. At the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Makerbot showcased a 3-D printer that you can purchase for your home for $1,749.00 – not exactly within the average budget for a printer. Also, it is not practical as it takes hours to print. However, flat-screen prices have fallen 800% in the past decade and have greatly improved. Three-dimensional printing from digital designs will transform manufacturing and allow more people to start making things. Soon, I believe everyone will have a printer in their house, a bucket of raw materials and we’ll just buy the blueprints to make basic objects that are one material based and have it in our house within an hour. This takes China out of the picture because we’re doing all the manufacturing ourselves. We won’t be able to make iPods on 3-D printers (yet), but for most basic objects that are one material based, we’ll be able to print ourselves in the comfort of our homes.

Everyone will learn basic coding skills.  Initiatives such as CodeYear are showing people, who want to learn, how to write code. Already 355,739 people have signed up for the 2012 weekly programming lessons. Even the Mayor of New York City has signed up . Local initiatives, for instance Ladies Learning Code in Toronto, are popping up to help people learn basic coding skills.

Tech expert Nicholas Montgomery can be seen regularly on THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW, which airs Weekdays at 10 a.m. ET on CTV, 11 a.m. ET on CTV Two and on-demand at marilyn.ca

For more information on THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW, visit marilyn.ca. Follow THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW on Twitter (@TheMarilynShow) and Facebook (Facebook.com/MarilynDenis).

For more information on Nicholas, visit NichM.com. Follow Nicholas on Twitter (@NichM) and Facebook (facebook.com/nicholasmontgomer).

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