I'm B.L. Ochman, and I've been helping blue chip companies incorporate new media into their marketing mix since 1996.

I'm an accomplished and expert digital strategist, certified YouTube Channel Creator, president of whatsnextonline.com and publisher of What's Next Blog.

I'm CEO of Maximum-Plus.com Live-streaming event production & all things Google+, serving leading brands, associations and agencies.

I contribute to Ad Age Digital Next, Social Media Today and others. On Twitter, I'm @whatsnext. Find me on Google+

I'm also co-founder of the pet lovers' site and blog, Pawfun.com - where you can use favorite photos of your pets to create and send free Pawfun photo e-cards.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

How the Google-Twitter Partnership Changes SEO for Brands

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By B.L. Ochman


Social Relationship Management Heats Up for Brands

In a move that changes the SEO game for brands, Google is now including real-time Tweets in its desktop search results. They made the announcement in a Tweet, natch.

Results show recent Tweets in carousel format for searches on a person or brand’s name. Approximately 5 Tweets are shown, generally close to the top of the main search page. Tweets began appearing in mobile search results since May, but this desktop rollout – for English language only right now – has been slow in coming.

A win-win partnership

The partnership is a win-win for Google and Twitter. Google gets access to more real-time news results, and Twitter gets broader exposure, which should please investors and advertisers. The move also adds fuel to rumors that Google is considering buying Twitter. I’d bet on that outcome!

A challenge for brands

Tweets now become an even more critical part of the SEO puzzle, and brands need to pay 24/7 attention to content appearing in their Twitter stream. That’s because Tweets can influence consumer behavior. Complaints, and brand response to them, will gain even wider exposure, making it really bad business to ignore consumer input.

Searchers also will know if a brand Tweets infrequently or repeats the same Tweets many times. That kind of content is likely to discourage visits to brand sites.

Social relationship management platforms benefit too

The other winners in the formula are social relationship monitoring platforms like Brandwatch, Sprinklr and StatSocial, each of which help brands monitor their social presence and alert them to immediate issues.

Images Help Tweets Stand Out in Search Results

Including images in Tweets is more important than ever, because they attract the eye in search results. Here’s how an image shows in a recent search on my name:


Google search tracks #Hashtag Tweets Too

The latest Tweets for #hashtags and trending news stories related to them also show in search results. Here are some recent results for hashtags #DonaldTrump and #AshleyMadisonHack


SEO gets even more complex, beginning today. Ignore these changes at your reputation’s peril.

BL Ochman | August 22, 2015 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Google Hangout Video Calls & Hangouts on Air Now Easier to Start

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By B.L. Ochman


Both types of Google Hangout video conferencing apps – Hangout Video Calls and Hangouts on Air – now have their own stand-alone start pages. The new start pages are a clear indication of two things – that Google wants to increase emphasis on their excellent and multi-featured video conferencing apps and that they still suck at explaining the difference between the two.

Dear Google: How about calling Hangout Video Calls “Google Video Calls” because that is what they are. Then it would be clear that Google Hangouts on Air are NOT Google Video Calls. Just saying….

Hangout Video Call features:

1. Create a video call with anyone who has a webcam or camera on their computer,
2. Or to make a video phone call to them with your Google Voice phone number
3. Have a text chat with them which can include links and images.

You can start a Hangout Video Call from within gMail as well as from the new landing page.

Hangout video calls cannot be recorded, but Hangouts on Air can. Creating one starting page for both types of conferencing would make the differences clear. But Google does not seem to like to make any of its announcements clear. Sigh.


Hangouts on Air features:

Hangouts on Air are a remarkable – no cost – video conferencing/chat that up to 15 people can join and an unlimited number can watch and interact with the live event. The feature is unique to GooglePlus and it quite simply antiquates platforms like GoToMeeting.

Hangouts on Air place an amazing array of tools at your fingertips. With the click of a mouse, you can hold a chat with 10,000 of your closest friends (just like President Obama or NASA), share slides and collaborate on documents with colleagues and clients, broadcast a performance or a concert, conduct on the street interviews, or set up a weekly talk show that you broadcast globally from your living room.

Hangouts can be public or private, free or paid. You can choose to record them, in which case they are automatically added to a connected YouTube channel where they can be edited, branded, time-stamped and search optimized.

David Erickson and I co-host the award-winning weekly Beyond Social Media Show podcast via Hangout.

I’ve produced virtual field trips for school districts, private online arbitration for attorneys, and scores of meetings, demonstrations and webinars using Hangouts.

Ways companies use Hangouts on Air are myriad

Here’s a Hangout I produced with the social media editors of NASA and The NY Times explaining how and why they use Hangouts on Air

Here are 26 examples of companies large and small using Hangouts as their Intranet.

Here are six Great Examples of G+ Business Hangouts on Air: from career counseling to Chinese classes.

Is there a learning curve for Hangouts on Air?

You bet there is! Just like there’s a learning curve for Excel, or Photoshop, or Canva, or gmail, or anything you do that involves varying levels of possibility.

I can teach you all about Hangouts on Air, show you the minimal equipment you need for lighting and sound, and help you get up to speed on one of the most remarkable platforms you’ll find online.

HT to Ronnie Bincer

BL Ochman | August 17, 2015 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Bic Pens’ Women’s Day salute offends women

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“Look like a girl. Think like a MAN” graphic: Spurs Outrage on Twitter and beyond

Bic Pens, no stranger to offending women, has done it again. This time, Bic offended women on Women’s Day.

Happily, a Tweeter named Harmony fixed it.


Bic Pens apologized on Facebook, twice. The first time they said they thought they were “empowering” women. Then they deleted that comment. But, of course, what goes online stays online:


Dear Bic Pens: you really must stop writing.

Bonus Link: ‘BIC for Her’ pen is lambasted as hundreds of women hijack Amazon reviews
That time, hundreds of women, and a few intrepid men, had a wonderful time lambasting Bic Pens on Amazon.com for their “thin barrel designed to fit a women’s hand” and “an elegant and unique feminine style.”

HT/Karma Martell

BL Ochman | August 13, 2015 | Permanent Link | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush Interns’ Photoshop War

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By B.L. Ochman

In a political season where not much seems to make sense, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are battling for social media supremacy – and it gets pretty silly sometimes.


In what clearly had to be an attack of the PR interns: Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush had a Photoshop war on Twitter. It started with Hillary talking about issues and quickly devolved.

But, hey, at least THEY were discussing issues, unlike the leading Republican clown, er, I mean candidate.

Hillary’s team Tweeted:

And Jeb’s team responded:

But they’re not done!

My favorite response:

Trying too hard to be hip Read More…

BL Ochman | | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

D.C. Diner’s Donald Trump Sandwich: Full of Bologna

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American City Diner in Washington, D.C. is offering a $6.95 Donald Trump Sandwich which is full of bologna.

Owner Jeffrey Gildenhorn said he was inspired to create the sandwich by Donald Trump’s outlandish ways, according to WJLA.

The sandwich is advertised on the marquee outside the restaurant located at 5532 Connecticut Ave. NW.


BL Ochman | August 11, 2015 | Permanent Link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The PR Makeover of Cecil The Lion’s Killer Dr Walter Palmer

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Cecil+MurdererDr Walter Palmer, killer of Cecil the Lion, now finds himself hunted. With bodyguards, he is in hiding to escape death threats, vandalism and the wrath of millions.

His career as a dentist is over. He needs a major PR makeover. And as a public service – here’s the only one will do.

Just to recap Dr Palmer’s issues: He’s killed rhinos, lions, leopard, elk and black bears as trophies of his “hobby”. He’s violated hunting laws more than once. He paid $127K+ to settle sexual harrassment charges by a former employee who also was a patient, according to the NY Daily News.

A PR makeover for Cecil the Lion’s Killer

Here’s Dr Walter Palmer’s only hope of redemption: come out in public and throw himself on his arrow, so to speak. He needs to tearfully proclaim that he’s seen the horrors of his hunting ways. And sound like he means it.

And then he has to announce that he has created a foundation, devoted to dental work for lions and other endangered species.

In a few years, when wildlife dentist Walter Palmer can show videos of himself frolicking with the – living – rhinos, lions, leopards and black bears whose toothaches he’s relieved, people may start to hate him a little less. Perhaps.

Here’s the segment of Beyond Social Media Show 106 in which my co-host David Erickson and I discuss the marketing options available to Palmer.


(You can watch the whole show and get the show notes here.)

BL Ochman | August 6, 2015 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Google and Facebook race to provide global connectivity

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By B.L. Ochman

Balloons and drones will deliver universal Internet access

Dueling announcements were made by Google and Facebook this week about their respective missions to provide universal connectivity to the two thirds of the world’s population that does not have Internet access.

Google’s Project Loon announced that it has signed a deal to make Sri Lanka the first country with universal connectivity – using balloons that travel at the edge of space.

Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook’s Internet.org has developed and tested solar powered drones that use lasers to beam down internet connectivity.

How Project Loon Works


Google’s Project Loon website, notes that its network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, are designed not only to connect people in rural and remote areas, but also to bring people back online after disasters.

The lofty goal of Loon: “to finally make all of the world’s information accessible to all of the world’s people.” And that would allow “everyone to create new opportunities for everyone.”

News, photos and video updates are also presented on the Project Loon Google+ page, which has more than 1.5 million followers.

Loon Balloons float twice as high as planes and weather

Project Loon balloons float in the stratosphere, twice as high as airplanes and the weather. In the stratosphere, Google explains, there are many layers of wind, and each layer of wind varies in direction and speed. Loon balloons go where they’re needed by rising or descending into a layer of wind blowing in the desired direction of travel.

Signals are transmitted from the balloons to a specialized Internet antenna mounted to the side of a home or workplace, or directly to LTE-enabled devices. Web traffic that travels through the balloon network is ultimately relayed to Google’s local telecommunications partners’ ground stations, where it connects to pre-existing Internet infrastructure.

Loon began with a test in New Zealand, California and Northeast Brazil, and will expand based on those results.
The Loon website says the goal of its current phase it “establishing a ring of uninterrupted connectivity at latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere, so that pilot testers in these latitudes can receive continuous service via balloon-powered Internet.”

Google brings free wifi and cellphone charging to New York City

As if Project Loon wasn’t cool enough, Matt Payton reported in Metro.UK, Google also is bringing free wifi for New York City beginning this fall as part of a trial the company hopes will eventually span across the whole of the world.

This daunting task will be accomplished by turning the Big Apple’s idle old phone booths into ad-supported ‘Wi-Fi pylons’, where you’ll also be able to charge your phone, make free domestic phone calls and get city and transit directions on a touch screen!

The Mission of Facebook’s Internet.org

On Thursday, July 30, Mark Zuckerberg announced a news update on Facebook’s mission to expand connectivity, saying:

“I’m excited to announce we’ve completed construction of our first full scale aircraft, Aquila, as part of our Internet.org effort. “Internet.org is a Facebook-led initiative bringing together technology leaders, nonprofits and local communities to connect the two thirds of the world that doesn’t have internet access”

“Making the internet available to every person on earth is a goal too large and too important for any one company, group or government to solve alone. Everyone participating in Internet.org has come together to meet this challenge because they believe in the power of a connected world.”

Companies working on the project with Facebook include Samsung, Ericsson, Nokia, MediaTek and Opera Software


10 times faster than any other system

Aquila is a solar powered unmanned plane that beams down internet connectivity from the sky. It has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but weighs less than a car and can stay in the air for months at a time.

Zuckerberg continued, “We’ve also made a breakthrough in laser communications technology. We’ve successfully tested a new laser that can transmit data at 10 gigabits per second. That’s ten times faster than any previous system, and it can accurately connect with a point the size of a than 10 miles away.”

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the introduction of the Internet.org app in its first country, Zambia. Over the past 12 months Facebook has worked closely with more than a dozen mobile operators across 17 countries to give people access to relevant basic internet services without data charges, and today Internet.org is available to more than a billion people, Zuckerberg said.

Two absolutely unique titans of the Internet, one begun in a garage and the other in a dorm room, will soon change the world.

Eat that, Time Warner, Comcast, et al.

BL Ochman | July 30, 2015 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Huff Post will cover Donald Trump campaign as entertainment

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Donald Trump Hair

Is Donald Trump is a candidate or a clown?

Huffington Post is categorizing Donald Trump as a “sideshow” and has announced that they will no longer cover Trump’s campaign as news.

Danny Shea, editorial director and Ryan Grimm, Washington Bureau chief jointly announced:

“After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we have decided we won’t report on Trump’s campaign as part of The Huffington Post’s political coverage. Instead, we will cover his campaign as part of our Entertainment section.

Our reason is simple: Trump’s campaign is a sideshow. We won’t take the bait. If you are interested in what The Donald has to say, you’ll find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette.”

Is it right for news media to refuse to cover Trump’s campaign?

Guest co-host Ray Hiltz and I discussed this topic on episode 105 of Beyond Social Media Show. You can watch that segment, which begins at 10 minutes and 5 seconds into the video. Please share your views in the comments of this post.

The video is time-stamped, so it will jump directly to that segment when you click on the time beside the description below the video.


Bonus: Take this quiz by the Washington Post to see if you can recognize Trump’s outrageous quotes.

BL Ochman | July 29, 2015 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Poof! All Twitter profile background images disappear

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Last week, without warning, Twitter removed the custom background images from all 300 million+ Twitter profile pages. The backgrounds on all user timelines are now blindingly white. Now there’s plenty of room for ads. Sigh.

Your custom masthead and photo or avatar remain, but the customized backgrounds that tens of thousands of people created, or paid designers to create, are history.

Drew Olanoff, writing in Techcrunch said “…the possibilities, and something I’ve heard, is that Twitter wants more control of its ad display experience. For example, if the company were to want to sell a full-homepage-takeover-background-ad that you see on a lot of sites, they couldn’t. Because of your cruddy customized one.
Now they’re toast.”

See all that white space on either side of my Tweet stream? That used to have a wonderful photo of my Labradoodle’s first day at the beach.

I took the photo and I have it on my drive, so it’s no big loss for me. But if you paid a designer a tidy sum to customize your Twitter wallpaper, you’re entitled to be more than a little miffed.


My favorite comment about the change is from DW Sin

BL Ochman | | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

#AmazonPrimeDay Bashing Was Fun, But Sales Are Up

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By B.L. Ochman

But sales were up 80%!

Amazon promised that #AmazonPrimeDay, July 15, would have “more deals than Black Friday.” Alas, it didn’t turn out that way and shoppers took to social media to complain, with hashtags including #PrimeDayFail, that the deals were more like a bad garage sale.

The bargains were few and many of the deals were downright weird. But the weirdest one of all has to be the giant blue 55 gallon drum of All Natural Passion Lube.

No, it’s not from The Onion

Amazon Passion LubeHere’s the product description:

“What are you going to do with all this lube?! Wrestling match? Biggest adult party ever? If you are looking for a simply jaw-dropping amount of lube, Passion Natural Water-Based Lubricant is ready to get the fun started with this 55 gallon drum! With its superb formula you will have a natural feel that keeps you moist longer and also works great with all toy materials. Easily washes away with warm water and mild soap. You may never run out of lube again! Size: 55 gallons. Note: Includes pump. Ships via freight due to weight limit.”

The original price was $2500, but for #PrimeDay, you could get a deal:
Sale: $1,361.80 ($1,361.80 / Count) & FREE Shipping
You Save: $1,138.20 (46%)

The makings of a party

Oh, and Amazon so helpfully noted that customers who viewed Passion Lube also viewed a 40lb case of dehydrated marshmallows and a Men’s Male Oldie Vinyl Mask. There’s the makings of a party, if ever there was one.

As Mashable reported, #PrimeDay also offered Chef’s Hats, granny panties, beard growers and snore cures.

Then there was LURE home Lip Plumper and Wrinkle Reducer. Prime members could save 40% off the list price and fatten their lips for a mere $14.97.

“Use The Ancient Secret of Vacuum Cupping to Quickly & Easily Plump Up Your Lips in Minutes!” the product page excitedly promises. “Non-Invasive with Effects Lasting for up to Several Hours!”

Despite complaints, sales soared

According to Forbes, Adobe tracked social mentions of “Amazon Prinme Day and “As of 1 p.m. EST, 10 hours into the sale, “Amazon Prime Day” had been mentioned 90,000 times on social networks, with more than 50% of sentiment related to “sadness.”

Disgruntled shoppers complained loudly, and often hilariously, that deals were boring, savings were minor and anything worth having was sold out. Unless you wanted a XXL Diane Keaton Tshirt, Adam Sandler DVDs, socks, or chef hats.

Nonetheless, TechCrunch reports that Amazon sales for the day were up 80% in the US and 40% in Europe. And Amazon claimed early in the day that its “Prime Day” peak order rates passed that of 2014’s Black Friday. Around mid-day, the company said that Prime members had already bought tens of thousands of Fire TV Sticks, 35,000 Lord of the Rings Blu-Ray sets, 28,000 Rubbermaid sets, and 4,000 Echo devices in just 15 minutes. A Kate Spade purse was gone in less than a minute, and it sold 1,200 of the $999 TVs in less than 10 minutes.

Go figure!

BL Ochman | July 16, 2015 | Permanent Link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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