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By Knowlton Thomas

ViDoBounce, a live video social networking website, is the brainchild of a Bishop’s University freshman in Quebec.

Most easily described as a marriage of Facebook and Chatroulette, ViDoBounce allows users to log on and activate their camera to start talking to people from their college, region or really anywhere in the world. Unlike Chatroulette, you can select filters (thankfully).

And if you like who you e-meet, you can friend them like on Facebook, and then video-call them as you please, akin to Skype, or instant message them. In fact, ViDoBounce is quite integrated with Facebook (you can login through your Facebook and go through to friend’s Facebook profiles).

While at first it seems a shameless ripoff of a couple currently popular services, its simple and clever mesh of three different successful things (Facebook, Chatroulette, and Skype) creates what has the potential to be a fairly useful network.

The vulnerability I observe is that if Facebook created a Skype-esque component, ViDoBounce would be DOA. Same goes with Microsoft adding a social network element to Skype. Or even Chatroulette… nevermind, that site will never change. Anyway, ViDoBounce is definitely worth taking a look at.

Reposted from Techvibes Media

Knowlton Thomas is the Associate Editor of Techvibes Media. He is also the Web Editor of The Other Press, a weekly newspaper, and a regular columnist for them as well.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By James Burchill

Participating on company-branded or managed social networks is the most commonly used tactic, with 87% of study participants indicating that they execute it. This is likely because of the ease of setting up profiles on social networking sites. Creating a social networking profile on Facebook or LinkedIn may only take minutes, but without a strategy and consistent execution, results will likely suffer.

This is also the case with the next most commonly used B2B social marketing tactics; microblogging on company branded or managed microblogs. It only takes minutes to create a Twitter profile, but the results will be reflective of the strategy and consistent execution of this tactic.

Another commonly used tactic is blogging on company-branded or managed blogs. Consistently creating and publishing blog posts requires significant resources, but since it is a highly effective tactic, more than half of B2B marketers participating in this year’s study indicated they were doing so.

* Source: Marketing Sherpa

JAMES BURCHILL shows individuals and companies how to profit from the innovative use of Internet technologies, strategic content and social media marketing. You can find out more at James’ website and you can subscribe to his J-List and get over 40 articles, reports and advice on Internet Marketing today.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Stephen Rhodes

More and more, I hear clients talk about being lost when it comes to the latest trends in marketing, meaning, of course, social media.

It reminds me of the mid 90s when many small businesses migrated to the Internet because…well because they thought they had to be hip. Many jumped on board without much consideration for why they were among the newly converted or how it would help their business. “We gotta be there,” was the mantra in many boardrooms. Some are still trying to figure it out.

The same thing is happening today with social media. Businesses are setting up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn, Flickr and even YouTube accounts without so much as a …how will this help our business grow?  “We gotta be there” is still the clarion call.

Advertising hasn’t changed much in 100 years. It’s still about  attracting attention, engaging minds, triggering  emotions, and changing the way people think. If you can do that you will generate sales.

What has changed is the delivery methodology.

If you want to influence behavior there is a spectrum of tools including direct mail, newspaper and magazine ads, commercial websites, radio and TV, and, of course, social media – the new darling of marketing.

The key is knowing which tool(s) works best for you. And not all tools will be effective for your business. I have a client who can track new sales every time we deliver a direct mail piece to a group of targeted clients. The key word here is targeted, often lost among the “I gotta be hip” crowd. But the point is, direct mail works for him, and he can see (measure) the return on his investment.

First and foremost is understanding your customers. Who are they and how can you reach them is the pivotal question. What do you have that they want. (the what’s in it for me question) Can I build an ongoing relationship and how can I capitalize on that to build an even bigger customer base.

These are questions you should ask every day.

Don’t get me wrong. Social Media is the future of marketing and communications. Building your own group of followers, a community of customers, all engaged and part of your business is a powerful opportunity to communicate a targeted message.

But take a measured approach. Who is your customer, what message do you want to deliver and what is the best way to get it there? Some things never change.

Reposted from The Marketing Pad

Stephen Rhodes is President of The Marketing PAD, a full-service strategic communications and marketing company. Read Blogpad or visit The Marketing Pad online.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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facebook encountersBy Knowlton Thomas

The results of a new study suggest that Facebook may actually enhance real-life social experiences, contrary to the popular belief that Facebook triggers the disintegration of face-to-face interaction.

Research from the University of Texas probed nearly one thousand students and recent graduates and made some unexpected discoveries. Quoth The Province:

“Our findings suggest that Facebook is not supplanting face-to-face interactions between friends, family and colleagues,” said S. Craig Watkins, an associate professor of radio, TV and film who headed the research team. “In fact, we believe there is sufficient evidence that social media afford opportunities for new expressions of friendship, intimacy and community.”

More than 60 percent of Facebook users said posting status updates was among the most popular activities, followed by 60 percent who wrote comments on their profile and 49 percent who posted messages and comments to friends.

The research also suggests that, although Facebook is used by both males and females equally, each gender does so in different ways.

“There is a noteworthy difference in orientation in how to use a tool like Facebook. We found that for women the content tends to be more affectionate, and (they) are especially interested in using it for connection,” said Watkins. “For men, it’s more functional,” he added.

Watkins pointed out that, for example, women are more likely to post pictures of social gatherings with friends, while men are more likely to post pictures of hobbies, or post a political or pop-culture related link.

The last interesting point raided is how Facebook audiences are everyone – from friends to family to your boss. Yet, historically people act very different in front of these separate groups of people, often even in front of different friends.

“Facebook brings all our different networks and social scenes together. We present ourselves in different ways, whether to friends, co-workers, or family,” Craig noted. “Facebook engagement is not uniform. It’s constantly evolving and in a state of flux, and that presents a challenge.

Reposted from Techvibes Media

Knowlton Thomas is the Associate Editor of Techvibes Media. He is also the Web Editor of The Other Press, a weekly newspaper, and a regular columnist for them as well.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Knowlton Thomas

globalHate him or love him, you can’t deny that Mark Zuckerberg is passionate about his beliefs. The still-young Facebook CEO is open about being open, and never shies away from sharing his vision for the future.

Needless to say, being as he is the founder of a social network, his vision revolves around people.

In an interview at this year’s Web 2.0 Summit in San Fran, Mark implied that Facebook’s role is, or at least will be, far greater than today’s constricted definition of a social network. He said that Facebook plans on playing a crucial role in disrupting and restructuring myriad industries to expand their social aspects. It’s happened to the gaming industry, and music and television are likely followers.

Over the next five years, most industries are going to be rethought and designed around people.

His prediction is bold, especially considering the narrow timeline, but the social trends do lean in his favour. To those resisting the social revolution, Mark has a few impacting words: “Get on the bus.”

Mark also talked about Facebook “building value” in contrast to stealing value from others. He also addressed the social networks’

At barely six years old, Facebook still must survive the tides of time to prove itself a fixture in tomorrow’s landscape. The higher you fly, the faster you fall, and companies once poised for global domination diminished into mere trends seemingly overnight.

But in a world where the people increasingly determine what is right, can 500 million people be wrong?

And, after all, isn’t the world just one big social network?

Reposted from Techvibes Media

Knowlton Thomas is the Associate Editor of Techvibes Media. He is also the Web Editor of The Other Press, a weekly newspaper, and a regular columnist for them as well.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Etienne Bruchet

Picture this scenario: you’re in a packed nightclub one Saturday evening, wondering whether anybody you know is partying here or nearby. Here’s another scenario: you’re shopping on Bloor Street in Toronto, spending most of your time searching for bargains or discounts within the high-end stores. Here’s one more: you want to indulge a craving for an iced cappuccino, and want to know where the closest Tim Horton’s outlet is.

Not long ago, you may have needed to make a little effort to get what you want. Whether it’s calling each and every one of your close friends for a heads-up, or a possibly tedious slog in and out of every store you pass, or maybe passing several minutes of walking or driving around till you see the familiar red logo of Canada’s favourite coffee joint. Nowadays however, a quick look on your mobile phone can give you the answers for all these ‘questions’.

Say hello to location-based advertising (LBA), a phenomenon largely born of the recent development of mobile phones with Internet and GPS capabilities. Users can access the Internet wherever they are, and that the phone itself can determine its (and by extension, the user’s) physical location.

Craving Italian food? Do a search on your phone for the nearest Italian restaurant. You can also read reviews of the place by other users, or get informed about any ongoing deals or promotions for its menu items.

Consequently, a number of online platforms have been launched in the last few years offering these services. Several of these platforms, such as Foursquare and Gowalla, allow users to “check in” at their location and receive any relevant alerts about the place. Facebook similarly allow users to reveal their current location to their friends, through its recently launched Facebook Places application.

Navteq, a Nokia subsidiary, believes that location-based services will be a $7 billion industry by 2013; Borrell Associates, an online advertising research agency, forecasts that location-based mobile spending will reach $4 billion in 2015, 11 times the amount spent in 2009.

Despite these predictions, many current and potential issues may hamper the proliferation of LBA. One issue is market size. According to the Economist, the largest mobile social networks have only a few million members (Foursquare hit 3 million in August 2010), with only about 4% of users have used location-based services, with 1% regularly letting others know their current location.

For now, merchants and major firms alike are still trying to figure out how to properly utilise LBA for their purposes, and many are yet to be convinced of its potential value for their business. Additionally, providers and platforms will have to address the concerns potential customers have with the services.

Chief among these concerns are privacy and security, as revealing your current location to the public can have very worrisome and unintentional side-effects (such as letting a stalker or would-be mugger know where you are). These concerns (along with the fact that most users have little to no incentive to use location-based services beyond the novelty value) have held back LBA from being viewed as a successful trend, despite its admitted potential.

For now, LBA is still being experimented with by a number of firms. Convincing businesses of its ability to create value for them, and reassuring individuals of its confidentiality and relevancy, remain the biggest obstacles to LBA’s growth and proliferation. Nevertheless, with decreases in the use of traditional and print media by consumers, as well as increases in smartphone use, LBA can offer merchants a new path to their target market, as their old paths begin to fade.

Etienne Bruchet is a University of Toronto student in the Communications, Culture and Information Technology program. He is currently completing his Specialist major in Digital Enterprise Management. He works as a Webmaster and Marketing & Communications intern at the RIC Centre.


The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By James Burchill

In business, you have but one function–to find new customers and keep them. Today I want to talk to you about using social media to augment this natural process.

The interesting thing about social media is that as a technology it facilitates something that we as humans do naturally. Social media accelerates the relationship from unknown to known. Sadly it has a tendency to bypass some of the natural checks and balances that we would normally implement (but I’ll save that for another time.)

Before we talk about social media’s ability to build our business, perhaps we should talk about the value of your network. The question I would ask, is this: Are all contacts in your network created equally?

Instinctively you realize this is a foolish question. You know some contacts are mere acquaintances, while other contacts have a deep bond to you in your business and represent true value.

The process of moving a contact (a prospect by another name) is simple and involves three stages. The first is to generate AWARENESS. This means people in your contact network know you exist, you are visible to them.

Although you’re visible to them, they are not sure about your business, your true value, or what you can do for them. To increase their value (to you) it requires moving them from awareness to TRUST.

At the level of trust (and you could subdivide this into two categories) contacts have a sense of what you do. They have proof. Second level of trust would be social proof, whereby they not only know what you can do, they’ve heard other people say so as well.

Finally the third stage is ACTION. They are now aware of you, trust you, and have heard good things about you, and are now ready to take action (which usually means they buy from you).

Now you understand the three stages you can probably see how social media facilitates and accelerates the movement between stages in your network. Here’s a question for you: Without thinking too much, do you know what kinds of social media would be good for each stage in your network’s evolution?

For instance, Twitter (which is publicly available) would be a prime example of building awareness. Facebook, which requires either personally friending an individual, or permitting someone to fan your page, is a prime example of an engaged, trust based platform.

Moving your network to take action can occur on almost all social media platforms but there is one that lends itself very well, your blog. Capable of sharing detailed information, pictures, video and audio, your blog is a perfect “grand central” for your online social media activities.

You might find it interesting to note that studies have indicated approximately 85% of your network is in the “awareness” stage. Approximately 10% of your network is in the “trust” stage, and about 5% are ready to take “action” (buy something.)

Armed with the understanding of how you move a prospect through the value proposition in your network and increase their overall value to you and your business, I imagine you are wondering how you’ve allocated your social media activities to date…

If you’re like most people, you’re probably spending a disproportionately large amount of time on the awareness stage (which is a bit like trying to be seen in a crowded room), when you really should be focusing on converting them to the trusting stage on your network’s evolution.

It’s certainly something to think about isn’t it?

JAMES BURCHILL shows individuals and companies how to profit from the innovative use of Internet technologies, strategic content and social media marketing. You can find out more at James’ website and you can subscribe to his J-List and get over 40 articles, reports and advice on Internet Marketing today.

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