We’re listening. New features and enhancements on MightyBrand.

We’re listening. New features and enhancements on MightyBrand.

Whew, what a week. Last Thursday, we launched the first version of MightyBrand and sent it to a few folks for feedback. The response was overwhelming and encouraging, and we’re very grateful to everyone who took the time to check it out. We’ve been listening to your feedback and we’ve added a lot of features and enhancements that people have requested. We’ve got a lot of other features that we’re working on, but some of them are larger changes and we wanted to go ahead and get these out the door immediately. Here they are:

Pricing plan changes
We’ve added a “Solo” plan that lets one user track one brand for just $12 / month. The other plans have been adjusted as well.

Affiliate program
We’ve launched an affiliate program to let you earn some recurring revenue by referring others to our service. Read more on our Partners page.

Filter by source
On the conversations tab, you can now select exactly which types of conversations you’d like to see.

Search your results
Search through your conversations and mentions by keyword or phrase.

Manual refresh
Addicted to MightyBrand? Keep hitting the refresh button and getting new results.

Misc. changes
We’ve tidied things up here and there to try and make it more intuitive and easy to use, so let us know if we’re heading in the right direction.

We’re really excited about these new changes, as well as the next round of changes that we’re hard at work on. Please let us know what you think, and as always, we’re grateful for any feedback or suggestions you might have.

PS – as with all major changes, there may be bugs and issues, so please don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know if you see any issues or problems. Thanks!

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MightyBrand goes live – New and Improved

MightyBrand goes live – New and Improved

It’s been about four months since we launched our early prototype BlueSwarm and today we’re proud to announce the launch of MightyBrand.  We have made some major improvements under the hood, added more sources, and created even more ways to collaborate and engage with people talking about your brand.

We want to thank everyone that checked out BlueSwarm, we have taken all the feedback we’ve received and we’ve worked hard to integrate it into MightyBrand.

The previous version of MightyBrand will continue to exist as mightybrand.com where we will continue to bring you articles on social media and branding on the web.  We look forward to another great year of further exploring this space, and we hope that MightyBrand will be an excellent complimentary service to mightybrand.com.

PS – We’ll be posting lots of great tips about building a mighty brand online, as well as news and updates about the MightyBrand service, so please subscribe and follow us on twitter.  Thanks!

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BlueSwarm v1.0 (a.k.a MightyBrand) is coming very soon

BlueSwarm v1.0 (a.k.a MightyBrand) is coming very soon

A few months ago, we launched a very early preview of BlueSwarm.com as a prototype to gather feedback from users and refine the concept. We’ve gotten some great feedback and a lot of good ideas and we’re hard at work on the full public release of BlueSwarm, which should happen in the next few weeks. Here’s a little preview of what we’re adding:

  • More reliable aggregation – Demand for BlueSwarm has been much higher than anticipated, so we’re overhauling our indexing spiders to be more efficient as they probe every nook and cranny of the web for mentions of your brand.
  • Indexing more social channels – We launched with blogs and Twitter, but we’ll be adding a lot more social media channels to ensure that you don’t miss any opportunities to connect with your customers
  • Better collaboration tools
  • More tools to engage in conversations
  • More accurate and transparent analysis
  • Lots of bug fixes, design enhancements, and minor tweaks to the platform

So that’s a bit of what you can look forward to. In the meantime, please feel free to check out the prototype version at BlueSwarm.com and we’ll notify you when we launch v1.0. And as always, we’d love to hear any feedback you have, so drop me a note at ryan at blueswarm. Thanks!

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BlueSwarm.com on KillerStartups.com

BlueSwarm.com on KillerStartups.com

We were surprised this morning to discover we had been added to KillerStartups.com.

BlueSwarm.com – Listen To Your Customers

The philosophy behind this product is really a simple one: customers talk on blogs, Twitter, and several other social channels. If companies could learn about these conversations about their brands or products, they will be able to give the people what they want. Thus, BlueSwarm was born.

Thank you to everyone that cast their vote for us, and thanks to KillerStartups.com for the excellent write up.

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The Three Things You MUST Do to Build a Mighty Brand

The Three Things You MUST Do to Build a Mighty Brand

133654479_da812b2a52_o.jpg Image by lakshmi.prabhala

Building a brand is hard work, and terms like “brand management”, “brand equity”, and other corporate buzzwords get thrown around a lot in meetings and vision statements, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated. Building a strong brand may be hard work, but it can be boiled down into a few simple principles:

Be Passionate

It all starts here. If you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing and the brand you’re trying to build, stop. Life is too short, there’s too much noise out there already, and there’s way too many people living lives they hate. Don’t be another one. Figure out what your passion is and work hard on getting there. If you don’t, the next two steps will be almost impossible.

A good example of this is blogging itself. There are tons of blogs out there posting the same content about the same topics, in hopes of making some quick cash. However, being a financially successful blogger is a tremendous amount of work, and if you don’t have the true passion for it, and are just in it for the money, you’ll find yourself posting a lot of the same types of content as everyone else out there, because passion drives original thought, creativity, and honesty. And in the end, you’ll probably make less money than you would doing something a lot less stressful, like working at Starbucks.

Be Authentic

This ties in really well with the one above, but the message is slightly different: be who you are and don’t try and hide it. You can’t hide it very well anymore anyway, and over the next few years, your ability to hide will continue to erode as more and more of our lives move online and become more transparent. Because a brand is about building trust, your partners, clients, and colleagues need to know who you are in order to be able to trust you. Find your voice, decide what positions matter to you, and don’t be afraid to champion them.

I think this is one of the reasons that TechCrunch is so popular. I attended a roundtable on the Mobile Web that was hosted by TechCrunch and Michael Arrington, the founder of TC, was one of the people on the panel. There was this guy in the audience who was absolutely livid at Mike’s position that the iPhone had made Nokia and other platforms irrelevant. The guy was ranting and raving about the lunacy of such a claim and how Michael was so irresponsible for making such a brash statement, and Michael just said that if he didn’t say the things he believed, no matter how extreme they are, no one would pay any attention to him. I think there’s real value in not worrying about what people will think if you throw an extreme belief out there. But the key is, do NOT throw extreme statements out there if you don’t really believe in them (linkbait). People will see through that, and you’ll end up with a lousy reputation.

Be Relentless

Now that you’ve found something that you’re passionate about, and found your voice about that thing, you have one more principle to keep in mind: never settle for doing something half-heartedly, for turning out a mediocre product, for getting by. Concentrate on winning the hearts and minds of your customers by finding out what they want and need before they even know it, and giving it to them without compromise.

Now, a final warning about being relentless. There’s a very dangerous slippery slope here, where you can strive for perfection so much that you never really accomplish anything. That’s a topic for another day, but in general, I would say that if you’re facing a problem where you don’t have the resources to be relentless in your development of a solution, you have three options:

  • Cut the problem down into a smaller piece that you can solve
  • Find another problem to solve
  • Try to do it all, fail, and harm your brand

A good example of this is Apple’s recent release of MobileMe, which has been plagued with problems from day one. In an internal memo, Steve Jobs told Apple employees that “It was a mistake to launch MobileMe at the same time as iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store,” and that “We all had more than enough to do, and MobileMe could have been delayed without consequence.”

The moral here is that Apple has created a couple of great products (iPhone and App Store), but they tried to be relentless on too many fronts at once. Better to conquer a small niche and expand from there than try and take on everything and fail.

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We’re Growing! Writers Wanted.

We’re Growing! Writers Wanted.

MightyBrand.com is growing and we’re excited about where it’s headed. With this growth we are looking to bring some more writers and editors on board to join the fun.

If you’re passionate about helping others build their brand using social media, then this is a great opportunity for you to share your knowledge. We are looking for writers who can write a substantial post a couple of times a week and post a daily roundup of links to resources around the web for the off days.

Contact Ben Rasmusen (info at mightybrand dot com) if you’re interested. Thanks!

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Daily Percolation – Links for Friday, 5/6/08

Daily Percolation – Links for Friday, 5/6/08

Rounding up some of the best content out there for you to mull over with your morning cofee, we have the following:

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Seven Tips for Organic Twitter Branding

Seven Tips for Organic Twitter Branding


Image by frischmilch

Twitter is a microblogging platform whose main objective is to document what you’re doing in 140 characters or less (here’s a great video about it). Or at least, that’s how it started. But in the last year or so, it has grown tremendously and become a powerful social media and messaging tool.

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding Twitter these days, from discussing the plague of issues they’ve been experiencing as they try to scale the service, to the myriad of uses for Twitter. I’d like to continue along those lines and go over how you can use Twitter to build your brand.

I’ve read some articles by marketing folks on how to use Twitter, but I wanted to offer a different strategy that’s worked well for me. My approach to building your brand on Twitter is an organic one, one that naturally grows through genuine connections and interactions. Most of all, my approach is based on restraint. So here they are, my seven tips for organic twitter branding:

1. Start small
It’s not a popularity contest. It’s ok if your community grows slower than others’ by comparison. The focus should be finding people you really connect with, not amassing followers that you won’t interact with. Start by adding friends and then check out some of the people they follow; if they add to your chosen conversation, then add them too.

2. Be judicious about who you follow
There is something to be said about returning the favor when someone follows you. But I don’t think there is an obligation to do so. It will just ruin your experience of Twitter if you follow people that you don’t really relate to. Don’t just follow everyone that follows you, or that you stumble across. Make sure that they fit with your Twitter stream. If they just add noise instead of value to your stream, drop them.

3. Tweet value
Make sure you’re adding value to the Twittersphere; for example, constant complaints about whatever you’re currently frustrated about aren’t helpful. You don’t need to hide frustration, but try to employ moderation. Constructive criticism and offering alternatives are a good route to take if you need to vent a bit, that way everyone wins.

4. Start conversations
Start conversations by asking a question about a topic, getting people’s thoughts on subjects, etc. Starting dialog with your Twitter community is a great way to get to know people. It lets you see who specializes in what and also give them a glimpse of what you’re interested in.

5. Add to others’ conversations
The opposite is also true. Look for conversations other people are starting and join in. Answer questions, voice your opinion. This shows you’re genuinely interested in the conversation and further encourages camaraderie. But keep it genuine and don’t throw your two cents in just to appear interested. In the long run, you’re doing a disservice to both your community and yourself.

6. Keep a good balance
Try to maintain a good balance of professionalism and personality. Give your Twitter friends an idea of who you are without boring them with personal details, but it doesn’t need to be business all the time. Remember that you attract people who are interested in the same things as you are. So if you joined twitter to make friends, then focus more on the personal side, but if you joined to grow your professional network and build your personal brand, make sure you don’t go overboard on the personal details.

7. Know when to stop
Follow some basic Twitter etiquette and know when it’s time to drop a subject or move it off Twitter. No one likes a drawn-out conversation between a select few, just drowning out other people on your Twitter stream. If a topic becomes a bit too verbose, I usually begin direct messaging or send them a direct message with my IM screenname or other contact details so we can continue the conversation privately.

Conclusion
Once you’ve created this network and built genuine connections (which doesn’t happen overnight), you begin to have some weight in this community through adding value to the passing conversation. Your brand equity gradually grows as your community (and your involvement in that community) grows. My community isn’t big by most Twitter users’ standards, but that’s not the key to building your brand online. The classic approach to marketing seems to be to get as many people through the doors as possible, or in online terms to get as many eyes on your site as possible. In some cases, this just creates a lot of unnecessary overhead; my alternative approach is to always be looking to further qualify my demographic. So by creating genuine connections, I’m guaranteed a higher-quality of people tuning into my brand, because I’m genuinely involved in the conversation, and so are they. The bottom line is that it’s more about quality than quantity, and adding value to the Twittersphere, rather than just noise.

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5 Minutes Mightier – Staking Out Your Territory

5 Minutes Mightier – Staking Out Your Territory

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Image by *L*u*z*a*

We’re going to be doing a weekly post called “5 Minutes Mightier” that has several easy tips and actionable items you can accomplish in five minutes or less that will help you improve your brand.

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Intro to social media

Intro to social media

For many of you, the term social media is a familiar one, and so this post may not contain a lot of value for you. But I’m sure there are some readers who would like to get a broad overview of social media and what it entails. Like many things on this blog, I don’t think it makes sense for me rehash definitions and explanations that others have already written, so I’d like to point you to the some of the better sources about what social media is and how we can use it.

First up is a video by Common Craft, who always does a great job at explaining things in a visual format to make understanding it easy and fun. Take a look at their other videos as well, especially social networking and twitter.


Social Media in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.

Further reading: