One Click Online Meetings with Zipcast

Slideshare, the online presentation sharing service, kind of rocked the online meeting space last week with the introduction of a very nice virtual meeting/presentation tool called Zipcast that’s getting a lot of buzz.

Zipcast allows users to start a virtual meeting from any slides they’ve uploaded to Slideshare and present that meeting to an unlimited amount of viewers instantly.

zipcast from Slideshare

Viewer with slides, video, chat and social features built in

There is a free version, which is ad supported, but still allows for unlimited viewers, and a Pro version staring at $19 month, that comes without ads, allows for unlimited viewing and a dedicated teleconference number for two-way audio. With the paid version you can also password protect your presentation and make them public or invite only.

The biggest difference between Zipcast and established services like WebEx and GoToMeeting is that Zipcast runs fully in the browser using HTML5 technology and doesn’t require any downloads or proprietary software to run. Now, I’ve not tested the service with several thousand viewers or anything, but in initial tests the service is very fast and very easy to use.

Slideshare account holders can create a custom URL to use with Zipcast and then launch meetings immediately or at scheduled times. The viewer comes with built in video, group chat and social invitation functions that make it very easy to tweet or post a meeting to Facebook. Viewers can log in to their Slideshare account or use Facebook to log in and watch a presentation. Social functions are also available to viewers making the spread of ideas going on in a presentation very interactive.

Here’s how to enable a Zipcast meeting:

  1. Click Zipcast on any presentation you’ve uploaded
  2. Select Public or Private
  3. Start Zipcast & enable live video
  4. Invite friends on Facebook & Twitter
  5. Your Zipcast is on

There are some features missing from this offering, such as registration, email reminders and admin control, but for quick and frictionless meetings Zipcast should give some of the entrenched players a run for their money, particularly if they can effectively support that unlimited viewer function. Look for an upcoming meeting or two from me very soon.

The New SEO is About Relationships and Relevance

Last week Google announced an official update to Social Search – something they’ve been playing around with for some time now. The idea behind social search is that if a Google account user does a search for something they will get the most relevant results according to Google now mixed in with results that Google determines are important from those in your social networks.

The news for anyone thinking about SEO is summed by this statement from Google – . . .relevance isn’t just about pages—it’s also about relationships. Google has officially moved from playing with social search to altering the SEO landscape with it.

While the newly socialized results are dependent upon the surfer being logged in to their Google account, the significance from an SEO standpoint is potentially game changing. As Google continues to advance this type of thinking when it comes to placement of search results it will bring the online acts of content creation, network building and social participation to new heights.

Consider the images below – the first is a search for the term “social media system” while logged out of Google and second while logged in. The results are dramatically different. (Click to enlarge)

Results while logged in

Results while logged out

I’ve been begging and pleading with small business owners for the last five years to create and use blogs, claim all the digital real estate and profiles they could and get active building social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. While this is behavior that has long influenced organic search results in a more mathematical way, social search highlights the direct impact this behavior has in ways that should open some eyes.

The good news is that people that have participated fully in social media, network building and content creation may have just received a very positive jolt in the search game. There is still time to adopt this behavior because it may be years before this social search function becomes fully realized, but there’s no way to deny the need to make online network building and participation a primary business practice.

Now, this doesn’t mean that good SEO practices of link building and content creation around keywords goes out the window – those factors will remain extremely important, but social network participation just got a raise in terms of becoming a ranking factor that isn’t controlled by traditional SEO practices.

Here are a couple unscientific initial thoughts:

  • You can’t play without a Google Profile – if you have one go update it now and add more connections
  • Sharing content from your Google Reader account seems to get high marks right now
  • Twitter results are being adding pretty quickly
  • With Google and Facebook locked in war for social, don’t expect Facebook results to matter as much

You connect accounts that you want to be part of your public profile using the Google Profile tool, but you can also connect account privately through your Google Account. (Google is choosing your networks through the Social Graph tool.)

Results will be spotty and odd for some time now, but it’s still time to rethink your entire approach to SEO.

How to Keep Tabs on the Greatest Presentations Made Everyday

People are presenting incredible information about your industry or topic of interest in conferences, workshops and trade shows everyday. Wouldn’t it be great if you could know what was being presented in those venues in near real time, without every leaving your office? Or, better yet, wouldn’t it be great if you could also have access to the slides from those presentations the day they were made available?

You’ve probably heard about a tool called Slideshare. If you haven’t, then you’ll love getting to know it, if you already know about and use Slideshare, I want to share a little tip today that will make it even more useful for you.

You can visit Slideshare and do a basic search to find PowerPoint slides that contain information you are looking for, but I find that the presentations that come up to the top are usually quite old (2-3 years) and sometimes not very useful. When I search on a subject I want the newest content.

The way you make Slideshare show you the latest is to search using the tag attribute. Instead of using the search box just type your search into the address bar. So if I want presentations on small business I would type http://slideshare.net/tag/small-business into that address bar in my browser and presto – I get the most recent presentation in chronological order. But, it gets even better, I can subscribe to this search using an RSS reader like Google Reader and then each day I get the most current presentation sent my way. I can scroll through that day’s list and see if I want to view any or just ignore them all.

There, can’t you feel yourself getting smarter already?

Here are the steps

  1. Go to Slideshare.net
  2. Put the tag and search term in the address bar – http://slideshare.net/tag/your-term-here (remember to hyphenate phrases)
  3. View and subscribe to the search

Has Social Media Changed Customer Service?

Marketing podcast with Peter Shankman (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen)

Custom ServiceMy guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Peter Shankman. Many of you may know him for his great Help A Reporter Out, (HARO) tool, which he sold recently to Vocus.

In addition to HARO, Peter is the founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., a boutique Marketing and PR Strategy firm located in New York City, and author of several books, including Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World

The adoption of social media on every level of business has certainly changed how we serve customers and created opportunities for those that choose to take advantage.

In this session we talk about ways to:

  • Choose online media that make the most sense for you
  • Avoid wasting time with platforms that won’t help you
  • Earn your customer’s loyalty, trust, and credibility
  • Learn from other companies’ viral “disasters”
  • Rebuild your credibility after you’ve taken a public “hit” online

So, how has social media changed customer service as a customer and a business?

You can listen to the show by subscribing the feed in iTunes or a variety of other free services such as Google Listen (Use this RSS feed) or you can buy the Duct Tape Marketing iPhone app. (iTunes link – Cost is $2.99) or