Practical Mobile Marketing – Part 1

In this article, we are going to describe powerful mobile marketing methods you can implement in just a few minutes. We will investigate what the industry and the technology allow us to do today, how to persuade people to sign up for your service and which file formats to use when you deliver your content. We will also take a sneak peek on what will happen with mobile marketing in the near future.

The hands-on experience is based on solving marketing problems with the help of InfoNU (www.infonu.com). InfoNU is a free web based mobile mass communication platform that supports the latest trends in mobile marketing. With InfoNU you can:

  • Send SMS messages such as personalized alerts and mobile coupons
  • Push mobile content like banners, mp3-songs, ringtones, video clips, visiting cards and java games
  • Push links to mobile websites
  • Create and schedule mobile campaigns
  • Sign up and manage consumers
  • Get your own icon next to the address book and calendar to publish mobile content without cost
  • View statistics on how mobile marketing efforts are received by users

As in all sectors in explosive growth, bright people gravitate towards mobile marketing, create start-up companies, offer solutions and unfortunately also create a big creative mess full of definitions, standards, ideas and solutions. This article series is the authors attempt to untangle the web of technologies into easy-to-use patters you can use in your everyday marketing of your brand, company, products and services.

A second part of this article is planned. In Part 2 we will take a closer look at advanced concepts in mobile marketing like tailor-made mobile applications and mobile community services.

Permission Marketing and What Mobile Marketing is NOT

A mobile phone is a highly personal communication device. Mobile marketing is not about spamming uninterested people with irrelevant SMS messages at 2:00 am. Marketers have to respect this. Never send messages to someone without having their permission. Sending unsolicited SMS messages to people is not good marketing. Aside from the ethical aspect of spam, it does not work and costs you a lot of money. Do not do it.

Marketing activities that depends on the permission of the consumer is referred to as permission marketing and is central to mobile marketing. Embrace permission marketing and protect your list of consumers, it is the people who have given you permission to speak.

The Mobile Marketing Dance

Instead of sending unsolicited SMS messages, the trick in mobile marketing is to persuade people to sign up for your service and then to find a balance between providing sales driving information and offering value so that your customers are both informed and happy.

How to Persuade People to Sign Up for Your Service

What can you offer that makes your consumers accept the commercial side of your company? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Promote the following message by printing it on your packaged goods: Text COCACOLA to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost). The first 100 people to text us will win a free subscription on Coca-Cola magazine. After you received 100 replies, call up the winners and get their address.
  2. Promote the following message on billboards, posters, banners or signs around your town: Text WHEATIES to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost) to get our new ringtone.
  3. Promote the following message with an ad in your favorite newspaper: Text ABBA to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost) to get our new song.
  4. Promote the following message with an ad in your favorite newspaper: Text ROXETTE to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost) to get our new video.
  5. Promote the following text on your web site: Do you want information about us in your mobile? Click on this link and enter your contact details.
  6. Promote the following text in your TV commercials: Text ARMANI to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost) and win a trip for two to Paris. The winner will be notified the 16’th of August.
  7. Promote the following text in your radio commercials: Text ATARI to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost) and get Pac-Man to your phone.
  8. Promote the following text in your TV commercials: Text MCDONALDS to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost) to claim your 10% discount coupon.

In other words: Send something back as a Thank you for signing up. Give your new user something for free. Give your new user a possibility to win something nice. At least a thank you SMS.

To configure InfoNU so that you automatically send something back when new consumers sign up to your service, log on to your InfoNU account, select Settings in the Intranet Home menu followed by SMS Signup settings, click on Details for your code word and enable Respond automatically with an SMS message. You can send back an SMS message, mobile content like images, video and music, a link to your mobile web site or a Java application.

To integrate your own web site with InfoNU as in the fifth example above, select Help in the Intranet Home menu followed by Integrate InfoNU and click on Generate Link.

File Formats to Use when Distributing Mobile Content

Since virtually all mobile phones support SMS messaging, sending SMS messages is the simplest and most reliable way to come across to mobiles. SMS messages are as we all know limited to 160 characters but can contain links to mobile content.

All mobile phones does not support the same media formats. If you have no a-priori knowledge about your consumers phones but still want to reach the biggest possible audience, use to the following file formats:

Media, File Format,File Extension

Images, Portable network graphics, .png

Sound, MP3 songs, .mp3

Video, 3GPP video 3gp

Ringtones Midi music .mid

This list of file formats comes from analyzing mobile phones produced by the biggest manufacturers and ranking the phones after how common each phone is in practice.

Three other interesting file formats can be used for more specialized tasks:

Media, File Format, File Extension

Visiting cards and address book entries, vCard, .vcf

Calendar entries, vCard, .vcs

Java games, Java application descriptor files, .jad

Distributing links to mobile content with InfoNU is performed in the exact same way regardless of file format: You log on to your InfoNU account, select Uploads and upload the content from your PC to your InfoNU account. To distribute the content to a single person, click that person’s Communicate link. Make sure that Upload is selected as Type of Content.

If you want to send an SMS message to many people, create a campaign by clicking on Campaigns in the Intranet Home menu followed by New campaign. With InfoNU, you can also schedule campaigns to be run at a specific date and time. Go to Campaigns and click on Schedule campaign to define the start date of your campaign.

A Catalogue of Mobile Marketing Patterns

After your user signed up for your service, his/hers mobile phone transforms into an excellent communication channel. This section lists proven marketing methods for you to reuse:

Task: Inform customers about new products and updates, new offers and relevant company news.

Solution: Send an SMS message at an appropriate time with the information.

Note: To know when to send your message, ask yourself the following two questions: When is this information relevant to my mobile user? When will the message have the biggest impact? If you are selling umbrellas, sending your message when your customer is outside your store on his way home and it is raining outside might be a good idea. When is it not a good idea to send a message? At night? In the morning?

InfoNU supports sending personalized SMS messages. By using the tags {FirstName}, {LastName}, and {Mobile} in your SMS text, you can personalize the message with the recipients name and mobile phone number.

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Task: Promote your rock groups new album.

Solution: Promote the following message: Text THECHAINSAWS to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost) to get our new song. Follow up by sending an SMS message to everyone who signed up when your new album is released.

Note: Distributing video to mobile phones is possible today but do not expect top quality and do not expect to send out more than 10 seconds. Advances in mobile streaming technologies will make longer video transmissions possible in a few years.

To distribute a song to mobile phones convert it to an .mp3-file, log on to your InfoNU account, select Uploads and upload your song from your PC to your InfoNU account. You can distribute the song either to an individual person or create a campaign to send content to large groups of fans.

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Task: You have a nice jingle that you would like to be recognized in the metro.

Solution: Produce a ringtone and send it to your consumers for free.

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Task: Increase sales by distributing a mobile coupon to your customers.

Solution: Send out the following SMS message to your consumers: Here is your coupon for the movie. Show this message and get two tickets for the price of one. A43-K32-F83.

To create SMS coupons with InfoNU, use the {Coupon} tag in your SMS text. InfoNU will automatically create the coupon text for you. To view coupons and its owners, select Mobile Users and click on Mobile coupons.

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Task: Get new customers by using viral marketing.

Solution: Create an SMS campaign with the following text: Welcome to Marty’s Bar. This is your VIP pass. Show this message and get a free beer. Feel free to send this message to your friends.

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Task: You want to create an SMS newsletter that is delivered once a day.

Solution: Create several days of SMS campaigns with your content. Schedule the campaigns so that one is run every week.

To schedule a campaign to be run at a specific day, log on to your InfoNU account, select Campaigns in the Intranet Home menu and click on Campaign schedule.

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Task: You are having an event together with all your employees and customers.

Solution: Send out an invitation as an SMS message one week before the event. Send an SMS message the day before to remind everybody. Schedule SMS messages to be sent during the event to sychronize people. Send out an event the day after the event to say thank you and to follow up.

But…We have Invested in a WAP Site?

If your company has a mobile web site or a WAP site, use SMS messaging to simplify access to your site. Send an SMS message with a link to your site. To visit your site, your consumer simply opens the SMS message and does not have to enter your URL adress on the mobile phone:

Task: Promote your mobile web site and make it easier to access.

Solution: Add the following text to your web site: Mobile Access At All Times. Get our news on your mobile. Text REUTERS to +44 77 86 202 988 (normal SMS cost). Send back an SMS message that contains a link to your mobile web site. Your consumers can access your site by opening your SMS message instead of entering the URL address on the handset.

To distribute a link to your mobile web or WAP page, create a text file that contains the URL to your site (i.e the text http://wap.sl.se), save the file with a .lnk file extension and upload the .lnk-file to your InfoNU account. To automatically send back the link, select Configure Settings, SMS Signup settings so that people receive your .lnk file as a response when they sign up to your service.

The Future of Mobile Marketing

Handset manufacturers are now working hard to unify the user experience on mobile phones. This will make Java applications and mobile web pages look and feel the same way regardless of handset manufacturer.

Manufacturers are also implementing a video compression standard called h.264. This compression technique is twice as efficient as the one used today. If you ever have tried video calls and been disappointed, expect to experience higher image quality within a year or two. The h.264 compression technique will be used for video calls, mobile-TV (in the standard called DVB-H) and for video streaming. The telecommunication industry believes that h.264 will make video calls and mobile video streaming useful in practice.

In Part II of this article series, we will take a closer look at mobile applications and how marketers can design mobile chat, newsletters and community services in just a few minutes.

Anders Hansson is with IntelliTech Software AB, a mobile software development firm. The company is delivering consulting services for customers like Ericsson, Symbian, Sony-Ericsson and several European mobile operators. The company also develops the open mobile marketing platform InfoNU. For more information about IntelliTech, visit

[http://www.intellitech.se][http://www.intellitech.se].

Author: Anders Hansson
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

How to Commit Social Media Suicide – Social Media Mugging and Linking Up!

Internet marketing and social media have become inextricably linked, you cannot engage in one without engaging in the other, if you hope to achieve optimum results. Yet, in the zeal to chase the buck, by way of relationship building platforms like Twitterand Facebook, to name only two, many have corrupted the process and actually invite failure in doing so…the Internet marketing version of social media suicide.

I heard an interesting phrase the other day while doing research for a new venture and it’s been with me ever since. The term? “Social Media Mugging!” I don’t remember where I heard it, probably should have written it down. The funny thing about it is I get so much of this stuff in the course of any one day, who would have known that such an apparently mundane phrase would stick and grow into, and take on a life all its own in the course of just a few days. The phrase brings up some interesting images, doesn’t it? The most interesting thing about it is that it is right on the money in a large number of instances and for a surprising number of different social media platforms. Sadly, in an attempt to convert friends, followers, connections, and the like into dollars, many relationship building applications and platforms have been overrun by a phenomenon called “Social Media Mugging,” something I also refer to as “linking up,” particularly as it relates to Twitter. In the last 24 hours, I have even envisioned producing, directing, and starring in a YouTube video complete with mask, toy gun, and a gruff voice threatening people to “Click my link…or else!”

A bit much? Perhaps, but just barely!

It is interesting how the landscapes of the various social media platforms have been reshaped, even corrupted in the view of many, in an attempt to convert followers to dollars. In fact, with the emergence of the various marketing groups on Facebook, it seems all but overrun by marketers, of late. The Facebook I joined, the one I connected with my high school friends on, has all but disappeared and many of my high school friends along with it. The height of irony? I was just contracted by a client to do a study on the feasibility of converting friends to clients for local business on Facebook. I have my own ideas about the outcome but the study intrigues me because it is symptomatic of the pathology now affecting much of social media…greed.

Greed and the 1980s Revisited

Greed! The word harkens back to the 1980s and Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen in the move Wall Street. Michael Douglas, to a board of directors and stockholders, claiming for one and all that “Greed is good! Greed is right!” Perhaps in a sense greed is good, but as the movie clearly illustrates, it is also corrupting, and ultimately counterproductive, even downright bad. Yet greed drives much of business and its corrupting influence is manifest throughout social media and what is now referred to as social media marketing.

Almost an oxymoron, isn’t it? Social Media Marketing!

To resist the hall monitor urge in all of us, I have tried to look at this from both sides of the equation. You remember the hall monitors from middle school, junior high school for those of you old enough to remember junior high schools, and high schools? The “I’m gonna report you” type of so-and-so everyone hated. You know what I mean, the hall monitor as the classic example of “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely?” We’ve all witnessed a bit of the syndrome here and there on the various relationship building sites like Twitter, Facebook, and some of the others. The typical response is to first verbally and publicly reprimand, a figurative b#t*hslap of sorts of you will, then they unfollow, and finally they block you, just so you know they disapprove in the most strenuous way possible your sinful ways. It is more of the social media version of “I’m gonna tell” combined with a temper tantrum because you haven’t conformed to their way of thinking, their idealized vision of a social media utopia in which everyone freely associates and no one seeks any sort of gain other than the fellowship of mankind, or womankind.

Social Media Nirvana, in other words!

Fortunately, there are a variety of different expressions for relationship building sites, all mixed into one big ball, like a microcosm of the world we live in; and yes, complete with hall monitor types, greed, self-serving and selfless behavior, and much, much more. The fact is, social media is about as close to “all things to all people” as anything can get. The nice part about it? As Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, friendfeed or any of the rest change, evolve, are overrun by marketers or simply take a new shape, filling a new niche in the vast and ever changing world of social media, other platforms evolve and fill the void. Ironically, we speak of Twitter or Facebook as if they represent social media in total, when in fact they are only a part, albeit a large part, of a very diverse whole that includes video, social bookmarking, podcasts, applications for the applications, and a variety of other expressions and platforms.

Twave and Bing!

With the emergence of Google’s new Wave and Microsoft’s Bing, who is to say where this will all end, clearly this is just beginning, particularly in light of the suggested Twave, a Twitter + Wave synthesis. Ultimately, social media is as much about business as it is about being social. Right or wrong, that is the reality, a reality here to stay. That being the case, the fact remains “linking up” and “Social Media Mugging” are counterproductive, they do not work! I would suggest that as an income producing strategy, social media is not all many envisioned it to be, it does not convert well, at least initially. Social media is about building a brand, relationships, connections, friends, followers, all the label we use to define the exchange of thoughts, ideas, and information between participants and not about conversions.

Social Media Mugging!

What do I mean? OK, real quick! Let’s say you follow someone on Twitter or they follow you, happens all the time, right? How many times before someone even says hello are they throwing a link in your face:
“Hi! How are you? Wanna buy something?”

Or worse yet? You follow someone and they do not follow you back, which is their right, but they still cannot resist the opportunity to throw a link your way!
“Hi! How are you? No, I won’t follow you back but wanna buy something?”
Now that is colossal nerve! You are not good enough for me to bother following you back but I’m gonna give you a shot anyway!

“Wanna buy something?”
Amazingly nervy, isn’t it? Yet it happens every day, all day. Those people go to the bottom of the heap…forever!

Linking up?
You know the type, don’t you? Ever post, every tweet (still can’t believe I use that term!) is:
“Wanna buy something?”

This individual never engages in a conversation, never makes a connection of any sort, just:
“Look what I have to offer!”
Or
“Look what I did!”
Or
“Look what I posted!”
And the culmination:
“Wanna buy something?”

The “I”s have it! It is all about “I” and not about “we!” The ultimate result? Social media suicide….Cuz it ain’t social media!

Social media marketing is in fact an oxymoron, the two do not fit. Social does not match up with marketing, the latter changes the dynamic of the former entirely. In a one to one relationship with the other, they are separate and distinct, one altering the other beyond recognition. Social media marketing is what the old-timers, like yours truly, used to call image building and now is referred to as branding or building your brand. If you attempt to “link up” too soon or too often, before an actual relationship, friendship, connection or following is built up, you will be unfollowed, blocked, or worse yet dismissed as irrelevant. In an environment where authority and relevance are considered to be of crucial importance, to be tagged as irrelevant and/or simply dismissed as such is a fate far worse than death; and, it is in fact social media marketing death and that equals failure in Internet marketing.

So, if you wish to commit social media suicide, the fastest way is through “Social Media Mugging” or “linking up” before connecting with, building upon, sharing ideas, thoughts, information…before becoming friends. On a positive note, we have all been guilty of a certain amount of “linking up” from time to time and our true followers, friends, connections, and the like seem to tolerate it and even do a bit of it themselves, all but the hall monitors, that is. It is in balance that all things are possible and it is through a balanced approach to this very new relationship building tool, in concert with other methods of marketing, that we can achieve success in online business in concert with one of its most powerful tools, social media.

The Internet Marketing Quest Revealed and The Ultimate Internet Image are the culmination of a year long “second doctorate,” an immersion into the world of Internet marketing, in all its aspects. After more than 30 years of entrepreneurship, Internet marketing has presented an interesting puzzle, and social media and social media marketing within it. The result of the past year is an understanding, based on literally thousands of hours studying, testing, and reading everything I could get my hands on. I have volumes of data and almost 100 different programs that I have personally researched and studied in order to get a firmer handle on this line of endeavor.

I hope The Internet Marketing Quest Revealed and now its sister endeavor The Ultimate Internet Image will help you achieve the same understanding of this interesting and complex pursuit, without spending the time, and making the mistakes, I have. It is my hope that you can avoid many of the traps and pitfalls I see others falling into, some I have fallen into myself, as part of a very harsh and expensive learning curve.

The Internet Marketing Quest Revealed

The Ultimate Internet Image International

John P. J. Zajaros, Sr.

Author: John Zajaros
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Twitter Demystified For Business Users

Twitter is the current top “hot property” on the Web, but its popularity and how to use it has mystified many business owners. Many people think that they want to, or should be using Twitter, but simply do not understand the platform, its use, or its place in building web exposure. This article will demystify Twitter and help you to learn how to use it in the workplace and to promote your business.

First, I have to say that I had been confused on how to use Twitter to benefit my own business until I downloaded TweetDeck. TweetDeck is a desktop application that allows you to review and post status updates on Twitter and Facebook simultaneously. I consider it a “must have” application for anyone who wants to make sense of Twitter. TweetDeck allows you to sort the people you follow on Twitter into groups, allows you to limit the number of Tweets (Twitter micro posts) to be shown at any one time, and also allows you to remove all Tweets you have seen with one click. Additionally, using TweetDeck, finally a Twitter search on a topic makes sense.

Since using TweetDeck, I have had a much better Twitter experience. As a Twitter newbie, visiting your own Twitter home page is intimidating; it consists of post after post from people who you are following, who you may not know much about, and it just seems like a huge volume of content. To get started effectively first group the people who actually have something interesting to say on TweetDeck and voila, you have a powerful tool that keeps you at the forefront of what is happening in your industry and on the Web.

So how do you get started with Twitter? Well the first thing is to start on Twitter yourself to understand what you like to read, who you like to follow, and to clearly identify what you like about Twitter. For me, it boils down to this: I like to follow people in my industry who say something of value, who provide a link to a new application or point me to an interesting new article, video, or blog site that I should review but may have never have found myself. Based on what I like, and the people who I find interesting to read, I now write my Twitter posts using this same formula to grow my own Twitter audience.

What I also like about Twitter is that the people who I follow also know how to show their true personality in their Tweets. Ye,s I do like to know what Danny Sullivan (famous search engine marketing guru) ate for lunch, but better yet is the link to the video he thought was funny. I love following Ashton Kutcher (movie star married to Demi Moore who just hit 1 million Twitter followers in April). Man, that guy is really funny and is having a ball with Twitter. His posts are great and he has just earned the status of the user with the most followers. This is why you can’t hire someone to “Ghost Twitter” for you. It’s about showing the real you – you can’t fake that!

So how can you use Twitter for business? Twitter is an excellent tool for linking and this is the real value for businesses. By using Twitter to point people to content on your website, articles you have written either on or off your website, or by linking to a service you want to highlight, you drive traffic. On top of that, Google actually indexes Twitter and so your Twitter page can appear in the organic search results so make sure your bio is well thought out. Don’t waste time using Twitter to point to blog posts, use TwitterFeed to post your blog posts directly onto Twitter. If you have a blog or website, you’ll get new Twitter followers by posting your TwitterFeed right onto your web pages. People who may not have known your Twitter ID can simply click the bottom “follow me link” and start following you on Twitter.

What’s important to be successful in using Twitter is to identify what you personally like about this new media and then deliver the same type of things that you like back to your own followers – work to provide value not drivel! So you’ve got to play with Twitter and learn how to use it first before you can really become successful with it for your business.

So how do you get followers? Well, I started by following everyone (who I found by doing a Twitter search) who had the last name McCord. Then I searched for web design, search engine optimization, and pay per click. Any site profile that looked good, I clicked to follow the writer. It was that easy. Many times people who you follow yourself will choose to follow you. That’s how you initially build up your Twitter base. Over time you will start to identify your “Twitter voice” and refine the type of Twitter presence you want to have by changing your content style and the things that you Tweet about. As you refine your presence, you will build a following.

Another cool Twitter use is that you can reply to any of your followers by simply putting an @ in front of their Twitter ID. For example to send something to my attention use @mccordweb at the very front of your Twitter posting and click enter. Just remember that this post is seen by all followers on my site and on your Twitter site. If you need a more private exchange, go to the direct message link on the Twitter.com site and select a follower by Twitter ID name and send your message from there. This note will be private. If you are using TweetDeck you can click on a follower’s Twitter ID icon and then select to send a direct message or @reply to them. TweetDeck will automatically insert the correct syntax for you in the Tweet.

For many businesses the ability for users to communicate with top management using Twitter is an invaluable resource. This one-to-one exchange allows a company principal to keep tabs on customer viewpoints, concerns, and interests. As a Twitter reply or direct mail does not use email and does not require a response, this is a great way to tap into social networking to test new ideas and to ask for user feedback. For example, if you have a new software product ask your Twitter followers for feedback on a specific feature, or provide a link to your beta version for their testing.

How you use Twitter is all about your personal business needs. The best advice that I can offer to you is that you need to use Twitter a bit yourself first to understand the medium and to find out what you like to read best using Twitter. Then, create your own Twitter network sharing information that you find interesting and have some fun.

Currently I am following 204 people and 183 people are following me on Twitter. Personally I find Twitter great fun and a very cool way to find out first what’s happening in the world before you see it on TV, read it on the Web, or see it in the newspaper. That’s the real power of Twitter; you share, you find out, and you know, all by a person-to-person exchange of information.

For those of you clicking in from my e-newsletter the rest of the content on Twitter applications and uses follows.

Below are some of the Twitter applications that I like and use regularly for my business.

Twuffer – I love this one, it is a Twitter post scheduler. Some people feel that Twuffer defeats the immediacy of Twitter posts or Tweets, but I like it as I will schedule Tweets on days that I am not blogging to keep my followers advised of things I find important. It is easy to use, allows you to Tweet ahead, and lets you select a posting schedule by day and time. If you are pushing content on a service or product this is an excellent tool to use. Set your Tweets up one week or one month at a time and feed your content to readers in addition to your regular Tweets. Make sure to use http://www.TinyUrl.com to change any long URLs you point to in the Tweet to a Twitter-friendly short version to save space.

Twitter Feed – This is another one of my top favorites. TwitterFeed allows me to show my blog posts from “The Web Authority” directly onto Twitter. It also allows me to post my Tweets back on my blog (by installing a widget) in my blog template – very cool cross interaction! I pick up many Twitter followers with this technique. Readers come to visit my blog and then choose to follow me on Twitter.

Twitter Grader – This one is a vanity application that allows you to see where you stack up against other Twitter users. Twitter Grader measures the power of a Twitter user based on followers, number of updates, and posting frequency.

TweetBeep – With this application, you can manage your online Twitter reputation. Alerts will be emailed to you whenever a Twitter user Tweets about your business, name, or domain. You select the alert criteria and what to watch for using TweetBeep. This is great for a business that is concerned about branding and online identity. PR professionals should make sure to use this tool to watch for comments about their clients.

Twitoria – Clean up your Twitter followers by finding out which people never use Twitter or post infrequently so you can delete them right from the Twitoria interface.

Qwitter – If you want to know when someone stops following you, sign up for this service. Actually, this can be an excellent tool to find out what a reader hated that you posted about and caused them to “chop” you, so you can fine tune your message. If you get a flood of drops after a Tweet, it allows you to learn that people don’t like a certain type of Tweet – instant feedback at an anonymous level!

One big thing about Twitter that I have not even mentioned yet but is actually one of Twitter’s best features is the ability to text-in Tweets from your mobile phone. Although you can’t easily link to great content typically on the fly like this, the ability to connect with others without being tethered to a computer is an opportunity to show the “real you”. Maybe your followers do want to know what you are eating for lunch or about a seminar you just attended, just be kind and don’t vomit out Twitter spam using your Blackberry on meaningless drivel.

You can easily set up the ability to receive text messages from your Twitter account to your cell or Blackberry, but be careful as you may be inundated if you have a large following. I would recommend receiving Twitter updates via text message to your cell only from a small group. For example if you have a project team, set up a Twitter account for each member to allow them to post just to this small unique circle of team members. The value to track and interact with each other at anytime and anywhere using Twitter by computer or by cell phone adds real value for work groups and teams – particularly team managers. Twitter even allows you to make this type of group private.

Another feature of Twitter is the ability to add hashtags in front of keywords in your Tweets to help with sorting to allow others to find your important content. For example if you wanted to Tweet about a recent earthquake in LA you would use #laearthquake in the front of your Tweet. By using hashtags you enable Twitter to return your information for topic searches on newsworthy Tweets. You can visit Hashtags.org for more information on the current hot hashtags that are in use for today so you can follow, add to the topic, or create your own. For example in Twitter World, Fridays are the day you post with #followfriday and enter in the Twitter IDs you want to recommend to others. You would be amazed at the cool new people you can follow and interact with from recommendations of the people you follow.

In conclusion, Twitter is one of the hottest new mediums to arrive on the Internet scene since Facebook. Although it is not exactly “new”, Twitter has just recently become very high profile. If you are in business, Twitter definitely warrants your attention. Not only is it a very smart new tool to use in your marketing arsenal, but I think that the more you use it you will grow to love it and find it fun to use. The ways that you can use Twitter are endless: for teams, for family members, for business networking, to stay at the forefront of news, to promote yourself and your services, and to just have fun connecting with others online. Just remember you can’t really make sense of Twitter for business without using TweetDeck or another similar aggregating and sorting application. Thanks for reading, see you on Twitter, you can reach me at @mccordweb or visit me at www.Twitter.com/mccordweb.

Nancy McCord is an expert in the field of search engine marketing and Web visibility. She is the owner of McCord Web Services LLC based in the Washington DC area. Her firm provides web content writing, blog writing services, webmaster services, web design, and Internet marketing services. You can find out more about the services that she provides at http://www.McCordWeb.com.

Author: Nancy C McCord
Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Top Medical Mobile Apps For Doctors

According to the Manhattan Research firm, there are approximately 1,500 apps for health care professionals alone. In 2009 doctors owning smart phones surge 64% from the year before. That same year the number of physicians owning iPhones doubled. It estimates that by 2012, 81% of doctors will have smart phones with medical apps installed. This market continues to flourish with many useful medical mobile apps flying off the virtual iTunes shelf every day. The creative and invaluable apps offered leave the health industry and even health insurance brokers in perpetual awe. Worth noting is that most of these health apps are not regulated by the FDA, but this may soon change. Below is a list of the top mobile applications for physicians and medical professionals.

Epocrates Rx is a clinical reference application that provides information on drug, disease, lab, and drug safety for physicians at the point of care. The mobile app displays drug images that feature a multitude of information including directions, side effects, etc… alongside the image. A unique feature is the multicheck whereby the software is able to give information on the adverse effects of the interactions of a patient’s drug cocktail. Another feature is the ability for the medical mobile app to identify the drug given the doctor’s description of the medication (i.e. color, pill shape, and etc.). Epocrates also offers a CME credits program on the medical iPhone app where everything from studying to taking the exams are done at the doctor’s finger tips without any traveling hassle, not to mention that all work is saved and tracked via the web app.

Compatibility: iPhone, Palm, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and Android

Price: Four versions offered ranging from the free Epocrates Rx to Epocrates Essentials Deluxe, which costs $199 on a one year contract and $299 on the two year contract. Group discounts are available.

Medscape, which is part of WebMD, is similar in features to Epocrates Rx, except Medscape touts an extensive library of clinical and drug references and it offers video to its portfolio of offerings.

Compatibility: iPhone only for now but Blackberry coming soon

Price: Free!

Medcalc is, you guessed it, a medical calculator. The mobile app supports US and SI units. The iPhone app is able to compute medical formulas. The physician or medical staff can search for formulas based on name or keyword. They can look up a list of recently viewed formulas and they can archive favorite equations.

Compatibility: iPhone

Price: Free!

Medical Lab Tests provides a quick reference to normal lab values of common clinical lab tests. It offers a concise reference to over 100 blood tests. Both search and recently viewed features are accessible. The reference values are in US and SI units.

Compatibility: iPhone

Price: $5.99

Dr. Rounds is a health mobile app that allows doctors to keep patient records all in a pocket size piece of hardware. This tool keeps track of visits, diagnosis, procedures, service rendered, as well as helps physicians stay on top of their billing so that no patient is left unaccounted for. The purpose of the iPhone app is to remove the paperwork from the doctor’s daily rounds and support patients more effectively and efficiently with many advance capabilities such as search, archiving, emailing, and even data sharing.

Compatibility: iPhone

Price: $24.99

Drug Trials gives doctors and health professionals information about clinical trials around a disease or illness. It even brings up Google Map to provide them with locations of where these clinical trials are taking place and also offers bookmarking capabilities. Additionally, it provides eligibility criteria and even emailing capabilities.

Compatibility: iPhone

Price: Free!

Blausen Human Atlas provides 3D animation in video and imagery form to help physicians communicate effectively with patients at the point of care. It is easier to show someone something, rather than tell them and this does just that. This mobile application offers several features: 3D animation (360 rotation) that physicians can zoom in and out of, video, still images, and a searchable medical glossary that they can cross reference to related animation and images. Unfortunately, an internet connection is required to view the videos, medical glossary, and still images. This app is offered in 10 different languages.

Compatibility: iPhone

Price: $19.99

Xprompt Multilingual Assistance is a translation tool to enable physicians and medical staff to communicate with their patients in situations where a translator is not present or a family member is unable to translate. The mobile app comes pre-installed in German, English, and Spanish. Features offered include gestures, supporting communication, a general dictionary, and more. Health professionals can favorite phrases. Translations are shown and spoken through the iPhone audio. Two sign languages in German and British are offered in video format.

Compatibility: iPhone

Price: $3.99 with three languages pre-installed. Additional $2.99 per language (22 languages available, 50 more languages in the works)

For the OB-GYN

Airstrip OB is essentially a mobile health monitoring system. More specifically it is a portable ICU monitor that tracks the mother-to-be and fetus’s waveform data which includes heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, maternal contraction patterns, and any other vital signs all in real time during a woman’s labor. Information is transferred from the hospital monitoring system to the obstetrician and gynecologist’s and nurse’s mobile phones. This allows the OB-GYN and nurses to remotely keep an eye on the mother-to-be anywhere and anytime. Other information that’s provided in the medical mobile app includes the woman’s documentation like current medication, allergies, lab work, and notes. Personal information is not stored so the patient’s identity is safe. This mobile app is FDA-approved and compliant with HIPAA standards.

Compatible: iPhone, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile Smart Phones

Price: Free, but the hospital at which the doctor is employed must purchase the Airstrip OB System

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Author: William D. Dyer
Article Source: EzineArticles.com