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  • subQuark 9:40 pm on May 19, 2010 Permalink
    Tags: branding, , , subquark   

    Branding. It is easy but . . . 

    Online branding is very easy to do, but takes discipline, persistence, and more time than many people think.

    What is online branding?

    Awareness of something – that something could be you as an “expert” and an expert does not always mean some self-proclaimed smarter-than-you person. Not at all and that often makes the word branding seem bad. A comedian, a virtual world event planner, or a freelance journalist may want to increase their online “reach” and bring awareness to their community of their services.

    That something could also be a product. Dell computers does a great job with their online presence, especially with Twitter. They offer deals and coupons, and have won the trust of you, the consumer.

    We are all consumers. We consume products and services and also knowledge. Some knowledge is just for fun, some is to make decisions on new software purchases, some is deciding what land to buy in Second Life.

    Without sharing your “message”, how will anyone find you? The Internet is great for serving up information on nearly anything. That means there is a lot of chatter out there, but it also means there is a lot of good “stuff” too.

    Much chatter is easy to detect, just look at all the Twitter messages on joining Trump networks or making big bucks with your twitter account. While there seem to be legit Trump networks for some nutritional supplements, I have yet to see how you make money with just your tweets. I think the people that are making that money are the ones getting paid $12.95 to show you how to get 1,000 new followers a day. People are looking for the easy buck – no doubt.

    Branding online is easy, but it takes real sustained effort. That’s why Ener has so many followers on Twitter and had so many friends in Facebook. Ener never paid for or used any type of automated service but actually just participates in “the conversation”. Sounds easy doesn’t it?

    Well it is, but again, it takes time. About 30 minutes a day and for the last year; Ener has done this everyday. This blog [iliveisl] is an example of that. Ener insured that at least one blog post would be done per day for a year. There has been help from a few other authors who are listed in the right sidebar including the number of posts they contributed. But no day was missed and that year promise of daily posts is up in a week. Pretty good job Ener!

    As Ener indicated in a past post, effective branding takes a certain strategy (btw, thanks for announcing my blog move, which I have yet to do!). None of it is difficult, it’s just setting up accounts in several places and connecting what you can together. For example, this blog automatically sends out a tweet to the iliveisl Twitter stream. That tweet can also update a Facebook wall post (I did warn the beaner about making a friend page versus a fan page, but fan pages don’t offer that really personal feel, so I understand). This blog also automatically updates Ener’s LinkedIn page. These all occur without doing more than publishing a post.

    Another good account to get is a Flickr or Photobucket account. We use Flickr but either would have the same effect. Yahoo owns Flickr and your Flickr images help you in the Yahoo search algorithm which, in turn, affects the Google algorithm.  It is a good practice to include a Flickr pic or two in each blog post.

    If you do video, use YouTube since it is owned by Google. We messed with video a little and I do video using virtual worlds but we mainly use Blip.tv. While Blip helps SEO, and thus your online branding, YouTube is slightly more effective and content could live in many video sharing sites at the same time. We use Blip because it allows for larger videos and runs them at 30 frames per second.

    So far we have talked about blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. And all of those accounts should, ideally, use the same name. iliveisl is great for this because it is not a common term.

    You also should setup both Yahoo and Google email accounts and fill out the profile information. That profile information also ups your SEO for your branding.

    Gravatar is critical if you comment on other blogs so that you can display a consistent online avatar associated with your online name.

    Once all of these things are connected you have done a big part of setting yourself up to create greater awareness of your “message”. You’ll notice that this blog displays the iliveisl tweets and flickr pics in the sidebar. Again, the more your material is out there, the more it aids in your branding. Setting a Creative Commons license on your images also helps because it allows others – mainly bloggers – to use your images in their posts.

    Effective tagging is also important and Ener and I share many of the same tags since we often promote the same thing. We both simply have a Notepad text file on our desktops with a list of terms and links used in tagging. Don’t go too crazy on tags and limit the number you use.

    The central part of this strategy is in the blog. That forms the heart of this type of inbound marketing. In light of recent changes of services like Ning, Facebook, and Second Life, it may be wise to consider hosting your own blog on your own domain. While websites are somewhat antiquated in today’s online world – they still have their place and part of that can be in hosting your blog. While Google’s Blogger does say you own your own content in their terms of service, so did Linden Lab in the past. But a TOS can change and Linden Lab’s did last month. Now your content is yours only via license from them. Google reserves the right to change the Blogger TOS and could do the same. Hosting your content on your own domain makes sense but is not absolutely necessary.

    I admit to going a bit overboard when setting up all the accounts for the foundation of iliveisl but knew that Ener would ultimately settle on those efforts producing the most return. We even have a CafePress store, Blogger account, Urban Dictionary entry, and several others that I don’t remember at the moment.

    Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, and YouTube are the heavy hitters and if done right, one leverages the other and increases your impact.

    The big key is persistence and honesty. Don’t just sell yourself. No one cares if you think you are the best. Offer content that interests your community and may be of some use to them. Ener blogs from the heart and let’s it all hang out. No sales are trying to be made, no big morals are being pushed, just the ramblings of an avatar journeying through virtual worlds.

    If you have been thinking about doing more online, maybe try this. Blogging everyday is the accepted frequency for inbound marketing (twice daily is a rough and broad rule of thumb from groups like Hubspot). However, if this seems daunting to you, make sure you have a clear goal in mind (if it’s just rambling like Ener does, that’s fine too), and try just once a week to start. It takes a little while to get into the “blogging state of mind” like Ener is in, but only in doing it consistently will that change and you start to develop a larger online presence.

    Measure your presence with Google alerts, tracking back on blog referrals and ping backs, using analytics, Yahoo and Google search results, and general benchmarking as offered free by HubSpot.

    There are many more little tips, but you will find them on the way and tweak your methodology to use those tools and social networks that are most effective for you.  Good luck!

    Y not? =)

    note: this post originally appeared on the iliveisl blog and this blog is now self-hosted at blog.subquark.com

  • subQuark 2:04 pm on August 28, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , subquark   

    2010 TxDLA conference 

    I highly recommend this conference, even if you don’t live in Texas. I loved speaking at it this year and am glad to see my video being repurposed. They are also hosting a special in-world component that should be well worth attending.

    Dr. Stephen Covey will be the keynote speaker; that speaks volumes to how well respected a group this is and the value of their conferences.

    Thank you Brenda of the TxDLA for all your work!


    special thanks to Ener and the iliveisl estate

  • subQuark 1:31 am on August 24, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , second liofe, subquark,   

    TxDLA Promo Video 

    “Better late than never.”

    That expression is surely stretched in this case. I spoke at a conference in Corpus Christi, Texas back in April and created a video to run as a promo between sessions. The presentation was made as a Flash projector file to ensure it would play on any PC. After the conference, I was asked if I would provide a web-friendly version. Being five minutes long, it becomes difficult to export it out as a movie from Flash effectively.

    The projector piece was 42 MB, far too large to present well online. But, you can always go back into the flash piece and update the compression settings for all the video clips. Going from 1,100 kbps to 400 kbps on the video clips and dropped the SWF from 42 to 20 MB. Still very large but closer to acceptable.

    Being a fan of online tools, I finally decided to let blip.tv handle the conversion and streaming aspect (CODECs are always sketchy when handing off video files to other site). But being able to embed the HTML from blip.tv into any site avoids CODEC issues. So here it is, better late than never!

    [blip.tv ?posts_id=2528656&dest=-1]

    reposted from the iliveisl blog

  • subQuark 3:06 pm on August 17, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , subquark   

    subQuark’s many endeavors 

    subQuark.com has a new simpler landing page created to reflect my current direction.

    After being invited to speak at three conferences and two online forums and holding dozens of in-world sessions aimed at the eLearning community in the last year, I am shifting away from the eLearning aspect of Second Life.

    The highlight of all that was meeting with two business people at Linden Lab last fall and having my first fish tacos!  =)

    The video tutorials and resources remain. I am focusing more on custom projects including Second Life builds, sim development, and creating virtual world podcasts of other people’s training. Plus the running of Ener Hax’s social efforts and our virtual land business.

    Only the ongoing video tutorials and blogging about how to do it are ending.

    Basically, everything you need to know is in my tutorials, resources, and this blog.

    Last week we had Oque (David Anderson) from the eLearning Guild doing an online forum presentation from our sims.  Visit our flickr stream to see some shots of his setup.

    Look for my blogging, as Subquark Hax, on the far more popular iliveisl blog as I ride Ener Hax’s coat tails to fame and glory!  Who knows, she may end up on the cover of Wired magazine (thanks Kennedy!).

  • subQuark 2:47 am on July 15, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , subquark,   

    Does Twitter Work 

    A media darling, Twitter, seems to be in everything these days. From the newspapers to many TV shows. But it’s not new, not by internet standards.

    Twitter was created in 2006.

    Wow, three years old and just coming into the spotlight! So why does iliveisl* tweet? It started out as another channel to get the word out about our Second Life estate and now has turned into a fun activity. We have had the best results from it compared to Facebook, LinkedIn, Urbandictionary, Cafepress, YouTube, blip.tv, Yahoo 360 (now defunct), Ning, threadless, busted tees, blogging (well, it may be a tie with that), technorati, delicious, plurk, Second Life forums, commenting on multiple blogs, SLUniverse, real world conferences as speakers and presenters, and some others that slip the mind.

    It’s nice to have some automation tweeting too – when a new blog post is published, it automatically tweets. But how do we know it is successful? Analytics.

    *so that’s what subQuark does* =D

    We have had more feedback inworld from people telling us they saw us on twitter and subQuark has landed three projects inworld and the estate has seen additional business.

    This chart shows the iliveisl website traffic (not much of an impact, but the site is only informational), our flickr stats (since we actively add images every week, it’s growth is somewhat independent of twitter – 3,300+ images now), and the iliveisl blog (it has benefited the most from twitter).

    The lower graph is the occupancy of the estate, just by pure tier box count. The start of that is low from the openspace conversion backlash in January and it is leveling out due to fewer parcels being available. That means it’s nearly time to add another sim so that growth can continue.

    Before you think it’s about money, talk to our residents. You’ll see we care about fostering creativity. And besides, take a look at the twitter cloud below the graphs; we rarely promote our land. Maybe we should be all corporate, but we sure like the people on the estate and that’s a result of letting people do their own thing and us not being pushy sales people.

    In fact, Ener just talked a lady into looking around at other estates (we say that on our website too). We assume people have a brain and grasp the land ownership concept. No need for us to make promises of extra pixie dust (our residents supply that on their own!). =)


    o_O major yawn fest! =p


    iliveisl twitter cloud - not much self-promotion here! =)

    reposted from the iliveisl blog

    * iliveisl is a Second Life private estate with over 100 residents on 12 sims

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