On July 1st, 2013 Google will be shutting down its Google Reader product in an effort to clean up and create a more unified product suite for Google+.
This move was, of course, to compete with Facebook and other social media sites and offer products that can be monetized. In other words, Google Reader doesn’t make them any money, so it must go. Google Reader launched on October 7, 2005 and developed a relatively small but fiercely loyal audience. It is survived by its family of Google Products, including Google Maps and Google Play.
Let’s for a moment remember the glory days of RSS when it was the only game in town. A website created a Real Simple Syndication (RSS) and that was sent to your reader of choice, namely Google Reader. Along came the social media revolution and suddenly the simple yet effective RSS feed seems trivial. Along with the change in internet technology came a change in how people are using the web. We now have several ways of searching for and discovering content online and for most people an RSS aggregator is no longer the standard. What about the rest of us? What if I, like so many other people, used Google Reader as my sole gateway into the ever expanding, twisted, and often confusing universe of internet content. Google Reader was like a road map that showed me the express lane, cut out all the noise, and showed me what I wanted to read. Maybe it wasn’t perfect, but how could any RSS reader ever be? We had some great times Google Reader, but now it’s time to say goodbye.
But wait, what’s that, you mean I can still sort through my RSS feeds without Google Reader? In fact, there are numerous worthy replacements to Google Reader, and with a small amount of transitioning you should be able to make the move quite nicely. Since Google dropped the news about Google Reader techies everywhere have been doing research to decide who would be the heir to the RSS reader throne that Google Reader sat upon for so many years. In my research, I’ve found three replacements that I think are more than fit to wear the crown. These are Feedly, The Old Reader, and Flipboard.
The Old Reader
If you’re convinced that there is no replacement for Google Reader, than “The Old Reader” is the best option for you. The site proclaims they’re “the same as Google Reader, only better,” and they’re not just blowing smoke, the site almost mirrors Google Reader. While the product is still in Beta, The Old Reader appears to be a great replacement, and it allows you to sign in via Google or Facebook and import your old feeds. There is no mobile app yet, but the developers say it’s at the top of their list. The Old Reader is fast, simple, free, and definitely worth a look.
Flipboard is a great alternative to the traditional Google Reader-type RSS aggregator. Built solely for mobile devices, Flipboard now has versions for Android, iPad, and iPhone. If you do most of your reading on a mobile device then this is a great call for you. Like Feedly, Flipboard will allow you to import your Google Reader feeds, and keep them once Reader goes bye-bye. Aesthetically Flipboard is great, although it is probably better for browsing than real in depth reading.
Feedly is your best bet for a smooth transition from Google Reader and my personal recommendation as the best feed reader.
In response to Google, Feedly immediately made updates to the site that would make it the obvious choice. Already a popular alternative, Feedly is now the obvious next step for traditional RSS aficionados. Feedly will also serve as the feed engine for other feed readers. As the most robust feed reader, Feedly now gives users the ability to sort their feeds alphabetically, has a better contrast between read/unread articles, keyboard shortcuts, and overall better recommendations. On top of these changes, your current Google Reader content will automatically transfer when the July doomsday finally arrives. For now it will keep syncing with Google Reader, and when the fateful day finally arrives, poof it’s all there. That’s seamless.
These are just three of the countless reader alternatives for you to peruse before July. Whether or not this leads to the end of the RSS feed as we know it remains to be seen. One thing is for certain, Google Reader may be gone, but it will not soon be forgotten.
We are happy to announce the promotion of Olivier Sartor to VP of Account Services. Mr. Sartor, formerly the agency’s Account Director, will expand Nowspeed’s product offering and client base. He will continue to be responsible for Nowspeed’s account strategy and client services execution as well as lead the company’s social media team.
“Olivier’s marketing expertise and strategic vision have been invaluable to our company. He has brought in numerous Fortune 500 and technology clients plus expanded our social media revenues ten-fold. His innovative thinking will continue to enhance the strategic direction, growth, and profitability of Nowspeed,” says David Reske, founder and CEO of Nowspeed.
Sartor leads the account strategy for all Nowspeed clients and social media strategy for top clients, including Alcatel-Lucent, Corporate Technologies and HubCast. Prior to Nowspeed, Sartor managed his own marketing agency, Elbow Grease Marketing, a social media marketing agency based in Boston. Sartor is a MBA graduate of the F.W. Olin School of Business at Babson College with Summa Cum Laude honors. He also holds a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from the University of Rochester.
“I want to thank David for this new opportunity to help Nowspeed continue to grow and deliver excellent marketing services to our clients. We have a great account team here that is more capable of driving results than any other agency in Massachusetts. I look forward to expanding our team and continuing to build our marketing capabilities in social, search, email, creative, website and mobile marketing services.” says Sartor.
To read more about Nowspeed’s social media services, please download Mr. Sartor’s recent white paper entitled, “Social Media Success in 14 Steps” by clicking this link and filling out the form.
The leads you collect today aren’t necessarily ready to buy immediately. Some of them are, of course, but others may still be researching potential products or solutions and are not ready to make a purchase decision. Your existing customers may also be leads for other products you sell, or be interested in buying more of the products or services they already buy.
By leveraging your own qualified list of customers and prospects, you have the ability to shorten the sales cycle and generate additional revenue. The lead you collect today is a lead that may need to be gently and strategically nurtured to become a customer.
In order to build a strong program to nurture leads, you need to take the following steps:
- Decide which segments you would like to focus on for the lead nurture program
- Identify the buying cycle for each segment
- Create email messaging and offers specific to the buying cycle of each segment
- Think through the Touch Points, Triggers and Timing for the email campaign
- Design the email creative and produce all of the content
- Implement the lead nurture strategy using a marketing automation or email tool
- Develop a personalization and testing strategy
By carefully implementing each step in the process, you can create a lead nurture program that effectively turns contacts into sales-ready leads.
For more insight to help you build a complete Lead Nurture program, download the entire white paper here.
Once you build out your profile, you can start to connect with people by inviting them to accept you as a connection. You can do this one at a time, or upload an entire contact list and broadly send invitations.
I’ve found that different people feel differently about how well they should know someone before they connect with them. Because I’m letting them into my network and they will see my other connections, my rule is that I need to have personally met or connected with everyone on my list in some way. I don’t accept connections from people I don’t know, or especially from sales people who I have never met.
As you start to build out your connection list, it’s important to keep it current and organized. Every time I meet someone by phone or get their email address I send them an invitation with a personal note to remind them where we met. Whenever I meet someone and get a card I send them an invitation. A LinkedIn tool that makes this very easy is CardMuch. This is a mobile app that lets me take a picture of a business card, automatically verifies the information, and then invites them to connect on LinkedIn. By scanning and inviting people the same day that I meet them, a very high percentage of the people I invite connect with me.
Once I got several hundred LinkedIn connections, I found that it became very difficult to remember everyone on the list. A very useful tool in LinkedIn is categorizing people on your list. I create custom categories such as “friend”, “family”, “client”, prospect”, “employee”, “vendor”, “competitor”, “church”, etc. to keep my contacts organized. I even create custom names for associations or organizations that remind me where I met my contact. You can see that I use LinkedIn for both personal and business connections, since it’s a powerful way to stay in touch with everyone I know.
Since I’ve been using LinkedIn for years, I’ve found that there are people on my list who I met once and don’t remember well and may have no reason to contact again. Rather than disconnecting with them, I move them to a category I call “network”, so that I can still reach out to them in the future, but they don’t clutter my other lists.
By consistently adding new contacts and keeping them organized, I’m able to quickly reconnect with hundreds of people that I’ve met as needed. If you cultivate it well, this can be a powerful asset that will serve you well through your entire career.
Here’s a link to the full video from my LinkedIn Presentation. http://youtu.be/Vx8oBSW7YKo
LinkedIn is a powerful social media tool for professionals. With over 175 million members, it’s an excellent way to present yourself professionally, stay connected, build your network, and find new business opportunities.
Building your LinkedIn Profile Some people use it exclusively for job hunting, while others use it for keeping their business cards in order. In this series of articles I’ll discuss the basics of LinkedIn, as well as some of the more advanced ways it can work for you.
To get started on LinkedIn you first need to create a free account and build out your personal profile which will look a lot like your resume. Your profile will include your picture, a summary of your background, job experience, education, languages, skills, interests, organizations you belong to, as well as any personal details that you want to include. It will also include activity or messages that you post to LinkedIn. Because it has so many features, it’s so much more powerful than any resume you could ever send. And since it will be used by all of your connections, not just potential employers, you can include information that will be important to many different types of connections.
It’s important to build out every section of your profile in order to tell your story as fully as possible. Even your picture tells a story. For most users, it’s important to present a professional image that lets other people know more about who you are. This generally will not be as casual or goofy as your Facebook photo which might only be viewed by a few friends. Stay away from pictures with animals, expensive yachts and bathing suits, unless that’s the story you want to tell. In this age of easy and inexpensive digital photography, a current “selfie” photo at your office might be better than a professional photo at a holiday event years ago.
Another important part of your profile is the summary. It tells people who you are and what you are looking for. If you are looking for a job, you can make that very clear in your summary. If you are in business development, or an expert software developer, this is the place to make that clear and even give a few examples. Keep in mind that this is a summary and resist the urge to make this lengthy in order to keep your readers engaged.
LinkedIn also lets you list a number of skills which will be very important later, so take the time to list as many
skills as you think are credible for you.
A great feature of LinkedIn is that it helps you build your profile with suggestions and it even tracks your progress and how your profile ranks in ‘completeness.’
If you take the time to build out a solid profile in LinkedIn, it will serve you in many ways for years to come.
Here’s a link to the full video from my LinkedIn Presentation. http://youtu.be/Vx8oBSW7YKo