Instant Messaging on ShoutEm

Last week, ShoutEm was enriched with a cool new feature – instant messaging. Instant messaging allows you to receive notifications on your Google Talk / Jabber account whenever there is new activity on your network. (Note that only Google Talk is supported so far, but other protocols such as MSN, Aim and Icq will be added soon.) You will receive new instant message whenever someone you follow posts a new shout or whenever you receive a new private message. Posting a new shout is as easy as it gets – just type the text in your chat client window and you are all set.

So, what do you need to do enable instant messages?

Step one

On your network’s website, go to Settings and then choose Notifications. Notice Instant Messenger section of notifications.

Step two

Under Instant Messenger section, choose Gtalk from drop-down list.

Gtalk

A new text field will appear and you will be prompted for your Google Talk username. Be sure to enter the correct username in the form username@gmail.com.

ScreenShot031

After you have entered your username, click Save.

Step three

You will be prompted to add network bot to list of your IM contacts.

request

Select Authorize and bot will soon appear on your IM contact list.

Step four

You’re all set! A welcome message will be sent to you and afterwards you can start chatting.

To help you get started, here is the list of most useful IM commands:

help
Display help.

message text
Post a new shout to your profile.  Just type in the message text, without any prefixes.

@N comment
Comment on entry N. Every message you receive is prefixed with @N, so you can easily reply to it by starting your comment with @N.

@N
Display content of entry N.

D username message
Send private message to user on your network with the given username.

ON / OFF
Pause/resume receival of instant messages. Note: when receival of notifications is paused, you can still send new shouts to your network.

Please note that instant messaging on your network will work only if an admin of your network has enabled instant messaging for your network.

What can you do to promote your microblogging network?

You create your own ShoutEm microblogging network, you invest some time tweaking it, you make custom design, you buy your own domain… and you wait. But you don’t see many users joining your network, and those who join don’t shout a lot. And you start asking yourself: “What am I doing wrong?”. You may not be doing anything wrong; perhaps you simply aren’t doing enough to promote your microblogging network. We’ve assembled 12 steps that you can take to promote your microblogging network. Read them and take action!

 community

1. Engage your social networking friends
You probably have hundreds of Facebook friends, maybe even thousands Twitter followers, who knows how many friends on other social networks… why don’t you use them? As them to join your microblogging network and ask them to help you spread the word. You will be surprised by the results. Create a Facebook fan club for your microblogging network, and invite all your friends to join the group. Tweet about your social network, ask your followers to retweet and spread the word. Maybe you can even create a Twitter account for your microblogging network created on ShoutEm. There are also numerous other ways to use other social networks, like Ning, Orkut or StumbleUpon to promote your microblogging network. The important thing is: use your community!

2. Use your content
If you have something interesting posted on your network (for example, some interesting statistical data about Twitter usage in your country/region), post that data on other social media sites. For example, if your network is used by 80% student of some university (and we already wrote about possible usage of microblogging networks in education) and your network is a way students communicate with their colleagues and professors, spread the news about that. Post that info on Twitter, make a PR about it, send it to big social media sites, some bloggers… it might be interesting for them. One shout can make a difference.

3. Print the URL on your visit card
This one is very simple, print URL of your social network on your visit card. Whenever you give it to someone, you promote you microblogging network.

4. Posters
If your social network is about some region, or your hometown, maybe it might be worth investing some money and printing some posters, which you can put on bulletin boards. Or you can print A5 posters, and give it to random people on the street. You’d be surprised what a little offline promotion can do.

 

posters

Image by r@chel mOmmy


5. Give something away of value

Know your community niche? Maybe you’re an expert in blogging, insurance, web design… Why not write a short guide, turn it into a 10-page e-book and let your users download it for free? People like things that teach them how to be better at something, even more when it’s free.
Also, try to organize some kind of prize game. If you can invest some money in something valuable or interesting, then try to organize a prize game for all members of your microblogging network. This way you encourage them to spread the word among their friends, which can bring you more and more users. If your network in interesting, some of them might stay and participate in discussion. If you don’t have money, then try to find a sponsor. If you have a friend who has some product (book, software etc.) ask him to give it to your members, in exchange for maybe a link to his webpage.

6. Signatures! E-mail, forums…
You send e-mails and participate in other forums and communities, don’t you? Put your link in the signature and get people informed whenever you participate yourself. On social networks, inform others about conversations on your website. Tweet it sometimes, submit a link to Facebook. Don’t overdo it, just do it right!

7. IRL
While social media is taking off on the internet, don’t forget that people still live and meet in real life. Facilitate that and get some real life user meetups going. Twitter users around the world are organizing Tweetups. Geeks, from Toronto to Sydney, are organizing Barcamps. Find a venue, invite your users, have a beer and make your community stick.

8. Write a guest post on some high traffic blogs
Find some blogs who write about your niche. They have readers who are excellent candidates for your microblogging network, and who are most likely, willing to participate in your network. Select good subject to write about and offer it to a blogger, with a request to put your short bio at the end of your post, together with a link to your microblogging network. If he is interested (and many bloggers are interested in guest posts, especially if you’re an expert on some subject) write a good post (try to mention your microblogging network somewhere in the text) and an even better bio with a link to your network. This way you build online reputation in your niche and promote your network to surfers interested in your niche.

success

9. Paid marketing
This is also one of the possibilities; if you have some money to invest, of course. You can use Google AdWords, or any other paid-to-click systems. Try to have your link to your network on blog or website in your niche, because it will bring you more valuable surfers. Banners can also help.

10. Web directories
Submitting your microblogging network to web directories won’t move mountains, but it can help a little bit. Try to find as much web directories as you can, and spend some time to submit your microblogging network.

11. Other blogs
Follow blogs in your niche (actually, follow as much interesting blogs as you can) and write interesting and useful comments. This is also good way to build online reputation, and if you include your microblogging network URL along with your name and email address some surfers might visit your network.

12. Keep
it simple, stupid!
Maybe the easiest (or hardest, depends on how you look at it) way to promote your microblogging network is to make it interesting for your members. If you have network with interesting discussions, and if you, as network owner, invest a lot of time to keep those conversations going and if you regularly start new conversations, your members will be happy and they will spread the word. There is nothing better than happy users.

 

Have another idea how to promote a microblogging network? Please describe it in the comments. 

Tweetie supports ShoutEm

When it comes to popularity of Twitter clients for iPhone, Tweetie is definitely one of the top contenders. With its cool features and ease of use it soon became one of the most used Twitter clients for iPhone. Our team likes it, too, and now we have another reason to like it even more: new version of Tweetie supports ShoutEm!!! Now you can use Tweetie as a ShoutEm client, and shout from your iPhone.

 

How to setup Tweetie to use ShoutEm?

 

Step One – Press the ‘+’ button

tweetie_1

Step Two – Enter your ShoutEm network’s credentials and then click on the settings button (bottom right)

tweetie_2

Step Three – Enter your network’s URL and add ‘/api’ at the end

tweetie_3

Step Four – Shout!

tweetie_4

Advanced customization of your ShoutEm network

Update: this post is outdated as of March 17th, 2010

At this moment ShoutEm supports 18 different styles that you can use on your network (and we are adding even more styles, like Marble), but you may want to customize the look of your micro-blogging network just the way you want.

Using ShoutEm Admin pages, you can change look of many parts of your network, sometimes even without special knowledge of programming and/or designing. For example, look at the great example at HorseTweet network. These guys created a great skin using Settings page under their ShoutEm Admin panel. Let me show you what can you do using your admin page, and how can you modify some of our skins to look just the way you want.

For starters, let”s see the screenshot of my test network ilijabrajkovic.shoutem.com. I use “Elegant Dark Groove” skin, which (because of its dark color) gives me good foundations for what I want to achieve.

 

elegant_dark_groove

 

Let’s try to change it a little bit.

First, go to your admin page, then from the left menu select Appearance –> Settings. You’ll see the page where you have a lot of options to change the look and feel of your ShoutEm network. The first part of this page is called Header settings, and here you can change look of the header of your network. For example, you can change the logo image, if you have a logo for your network. Just be aware that the maximum size for the logo is 990×50 pixels. Also, you can setup background image for your header, and also text, navigation and background color.

header_settings

In the Body settings part of the admin page you can change the way how the main part of your network looks like: list of the shouts on your network and users panel. You can setup Body font, Font size, colors… This procedure is pretty much straightforward, so spend some time playing with these settings and choose the right settings for your design.

body_settings

 

Shout settings area gives you ability to change the look of a single shout on your network. You can change colors of the text, links, info and background as well as shout transparency.

shout_settings

You can see the preview of these settings applied to my test network in the screenshot below.

 

shout

Also, if you want to monetize your network and you want online casino to show Google ads on it, you can change the Ads style. You have the option to choose between five different styles: Red, Green, Blue, Dark and Light. Just choose the one the will be the best fit for the design of your network.

 

ads_style

You can also change the background color and/or background image on your network. Using the simple color picker you can select the color, or upload a background image from your computer.

background_settings

You can even upload your own Favicon. Just create an icon that is not larger than 16×16 pixels, convert it to .ico file, and upload it.

favicon_settings

I’ve been playing with these settings for a little bit, here you can see the end result:

 

final_result

As you can see, most of the design is changed. This is just a quick, rough style change; I”m sure you can do better than me with a bit of effort!

This tutorial shows you how easy is to change design of your Shout’Em network, if our predefined designs don’t satisfy you.

Also, there are some other things that you can do to change some of the design of your network, but we’ll leave that for some other post. For now, go to your Admin page and play with these setting for a while, and if you still don’t have your network, go to http://www.shoutem.com and create one for free.

ShoutEm speaks Chinese

In addition to 6 other languages you can use on your ShoutEm network, we are very proud to announce that you can now also switch to Chinese! Not just that, you can use versions of Chinese: Simplified and Traditional.

All we can say is:

歡迎ShoutEm

 

How to change the language of your ShoutEm network?

Changing the language of your ShoutEm network is very simple; go to Admin pages –> Settings –> Languages, and select any of available languages.

shoutem_languages

Also, you can always customize any of the current languages, and even translate the entire ShoutEm to your language. Using ShoutEm for local micro-blogging networks has never been easier.

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6 Ways to Get Followers by Being a Polite Microblogger

followers
Image by Biewoef

1. Don’t be a spammer

If you have opened your Twitter account just to promote yourself, your services or your company, you’re doing it the wrong way. Twitter is not (only) about marketing! Of course, from time to time you can say something about your company; post a link to a product or service, but doing only that will simply annoy your followers. Worse yet, you’ll have a hard time getting new followers, and people will start un-following you, blocking you or even report you to Twitter as a spammer. There’s an exception to the rule: big companies can do this, because generally people are interested in what they have to say and offer, but for everyone else, it’s a bad idea.

2. Share interesting news and links

If you are, for example, a web designer, you’re probably reading a lot interesting web design related stuff daily. The rule is simple, but oft forgotten: whenever you find something interesting, share it! Be sure to use any of the URL shortening services (we recommend bit.ly), and shorten the URL. If the content you share is interesting, some of your followers will retweet it. Their followers will see that RT and your name, they’ll check your profile, and if they see that you post some interesting links for them, they’ll follow you. How long does it take to do this? Less than 15 seconds. By sharing interesting news and links you show Twitter community that you care about them. Don’t overdo it, though; link spam is frowned upon, even if you share great links.

3. Share interesting thoughts

Sharing links is fine but it can get monotonous; you’re not a machine, you can and should share your thoughts about almost anything. Show that you are a “person”, say what you think about politics, stars, events… This can start a nice discussion with your followers, which means your name will be shown in your followers’ timeline, which brings you name to more and more Twitter users. And some of them might join the discussion, and start following you. Don’t get offended if somebody disagrees with your thoughts. There will always be somebody who has a different opinion, if your view is different, just learn to accept the fact that not everyone is on the same page.

more_followers

4. Join the discussion

Also, if you see an ongoing discussion, join it! Tell what you think about the subject, use the #hashtags if you see others are doing the same (or you can be the first one using it), so everyone can follow the discussion more easily. If you’re an expert on a particular subject, people will recognize it and be thankful for your participation. Rule for not getting offended also applies.

5. Recognize your audience

See who your followers are, visit their profiles and get to know them. Think about what kind of followers you want to have. If you have followers that mostly speak English, that writing in German won’t be such a good idea. If you have German speaking followers, and you want to position yourself as a good web designer who works with clients in Germany, than there is no need to write in English. If your company operates only in Germany, then there is also probably no need to write in English.

Sometimes, you’ll want or need to write in two languages. You have two solutions of this problem. If you, for example, tweet in English most of the time, but sometimes you tweet in your native language, then prefix your tweet with something like [lang=ger] if you are from Germany, or [lang=fr] if you are from France. This will immediately give a signal to your readers who don’t speak your native language that you’ll write in another language and that they can skip that particular tweet.

If you tweet half of the time in English, and half of the time in your native language, than having two Twitter accounts is not such a bad idea. On one account you can tweet only in English and have English speaking audience, on other account you can tweet only in your native language. For example, ShoutEm CEO Viktor Marohnic has two personal Twitter accounts: @vikot where he writes only in English and @vikot_hr where he writes only in Croatian. Another example is Stanislav Prusac, CEO of Polar, who also has two Twitter accounts: @prusac and @stanislavprusac.

6. Attend local Tweetups

Tweetup is a live meeting of Twitter users. Follow some people from your area, ask them if there is going to be a Tweetup somewhere near, or organize one! This way you can meet many other Twitter users, talk to them, and in the end, get more followers.

ShoutEm statistics for September 2009

shoutem_networks

Ever wondered which Shout’Em micro-blogging networks are the first in terms of stats such as new member influx, number of members or shouts written? We’ve assembled a quick top list of networks for these three categories.

As you can see, having a lot of members does not automatically equal a lot of activity within the network, and vice-versa. Check out the lists below.

Top 10 networks with highest member inflow:

Name Sub-domain
artylizer | creative micro-blogging artylizer
NFL Shouts nfl
H-art H-art
Christian Music Chat christianmusic
ShoutEm Support team
jahboo jahboo
Twitsurance twitsurance
Zrikka zrikka
News France Photographie photographes
WeHarlem weharlem

Top 10 networks by the number of members:

Name Sub-domain
Zrikka zrikka
Twibeo twibeo
Horse Tweet htweet
Ku Ku Roo Ku kukurooku
artylizer | creative micro-blogging artylizer
CaribTweet.com CaribTweet
ShoutEm Support team
Christian Music Chat christianmusic
Razzle razzle
The Real Estate Twitter Network therealestatelist

Top 10 networks by the number of shouts written:

Name Sub-domain
Ku Ku Roo Ku kukurooku
Zrikka zrikka
Cigar Shout cigar
NMS Shout Outs northmiddleschool
Nasz mini Śląsk slask
Horse Tweet htweet
NFL Shouts nfl
CaribTweet.com CaribTweet
artylizer | creative micro-blogging artylizer
ShoutEm Support team

Would you like to have your own Twitter-like micro-blogging network and be listed on this list? It is very simple: go to http://www.shoutem.com, create your own network, promote it, and start shouting!

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What We Learned at SeedCamp

Shout”Em went to SeedCamp this year. It took us three tries; we were selected as one of 20 finalists and we didn”t win anything, but it was definitely a great experience.

We can tell you one thing, though; getting in and getting something out of it are two different things. If you come underprepared, you can end up looking silly. Most importantly, being ready for all the questions you”ll be asked there will also help you understand what you need to do to make your service/product better.

Seedcamp mentors and teams on the street during the fire alarm at UCL :)

Seedcamp mentors and teams on the street during the fire alarm at UCL.

1. Never forget the importance of numbers.

You work on your service every day. You love it; it”s your baby; you think you know everything about it. But do you, really? When was the last time you”ve looked at your stats? Do you know how many users you have? Do you have projections on how many users you”ll have in two years? How about this: how many users do you plan to have in two years?

If you want to present your service well, you need to be able to spew out all relevant numbers – approximations, at least – at any time, and draw a quick graph to go with the numbers. If you can”t do it, who can?

Dave McClure and his gang gave us an especially hard time when it comes to numbers. If you want to know more about it make sure you”ve read http://www.slideshare.net/Startonomics/startup-metrics-for-pirates-presentation

2. Don”t underestimate the people from the VC industry

We”re not saying we”ve done that :), but we can definitely see how one could fall into that trap. These guys and girls may not be as tech savvy as your lead web developer, but very often know what they want and what they”re talking about. Watch out about numbers you”ve presenting. These folks may have completely different metrics than you. An example: take whatever revenue you consider good and multiply it by 100; then figure out how you can reach that number. Otherwise do not show any financial projections 🙂

3. Focus on your users. All of them.

A lot of the questions we were asked at SeedCamp had to do with various groups of users and how they can benefit from our service. Would your service be interesting to religious groups? How about women? On the other hand, can it be used to promote pornography? Would your users pay for your service or product? Which ones? Etc.

Geography is also very important. Some services work great everywhere; some work especially well in developing countries. You need to know not casino online only that your service or product works; you need to know where it works best.

If you haven”t put yourself in the skin of your users – and we mean all the various types of users out there – then you won”t be able to answer these questions.

4. Keep it simple, stupid

The good ole” KISS principle applies here, too. You need to know what you”re doing, who you”re doing it for and why they need it, and you need to be able to explain it in no more than a couple of sentences.  Focus on one thing and try to make it as clear as possible. I”m sure you have plenty of ideas, but more that one idea at a SeedCamp mentoring seesion will just confuse your listeners.

5. Don”t forget the competition

Whatever you do, you have competitors. You also have services that you rely on, and services that complement your service. You need to know everything about them; if you”re competing with Facebook, you should know their numbers as well as you know yours. If your product doesn”t work without Twitter, then you need to know Twitter inside and out.

Furthermore, you need to be prepared to what your competitors might do in the future. You may be alone now, but what if Google decides to start a service similar to yours next month? If you cannot answer that question, you have a problem, and people from the industry will notice it.

All of the above may sound a bit gloomy, but believe us, we”ve also learned that simply coming to an event such as this is a fun experience. You”ll meet new people and see how other startups prepare for such events. It”s an invaluable lesson, and even if you don”t win over a big investor, you”ll go home knowing much more than before.

How to Get into Seedcamp (In Three Tries)

So, we’ve managed to get into Seedcamp with our white label Real-Time/Mobile/Microblogging solution ShoutEm.Seedcamp

It wasn’t easy, but it’s been an amazing experience, and we’d like to share some of the important things a young startup company needs to have in mind when applying for such a fund or working towards VC investment in general.

First, some brief history. It took us three tries; the first one doesn’t really count, as it consisted of me  filling up an application in half an hour, pitching one of the social networks we’ve built; what the hell, we thought, we can give it a try. Of course, that didn’t get us anywhere.

For the second Seedcamp, we’ve worked like crazy for a couple of months trough the whole summer and had everything setup on time. Unfortunately, we’ve got another one of those “Sorry, but no thanks” emails. We haven’t given up hope, because we knew we’ve had a great product. Here’s what helped us succeed on the third try.

1. Launch a web based service, and keep working on it. Well, this one is quite obvious. We’ve launched ShoutEm at LeWeb08 and gave it everything we’ve got from there onwards.

2. Apply to all startup competitions out there. If you don’t try at all, you can never succeed. We were finalists of almost every startup competition in Europe: Mobile 2.0, LeWeb 08, TheNextWeb and finally became one of the winners at Mini Seedcamp Ljubljana in April.

3. Polish your pitch to perfection. We kept it simple and clear, making sure that our audience gets what we’re about – microblogging, real-time, mobile – in no more than a minute. We’ve also cleared up our presentation and demo. We’ve changed the initial design and made it more appealing and fun. Make sure you’ve only got a couple of slides; somewhere after the 5th slide the audience stops paying attention.

4. Now practice it to perfection. Don’t let a lousy presentation ruin your pitch. I’ve practiced our presentation in front of various audiences, such as VCs and journalists, and got rid of nervousness.

5. Build a significant user base. Another one that’s easier said than done, especially if you’re HorseTweet hoping for Seedcamp and similar events will be your starting point for reaching a wider user base. But, if you’re able to do it, it’s easier to convince your audience that your product is valuable. At this moment, ShoutEm hosts over 7000 networks. Ex: HorseTweet, NFLShouts.

6. Don’t forget the business side of things. The people that need to understand your product are Vcs. We’ve worked on understanding how they think and what they expect to hear. We’ve adjusted our pitches to emphasize our business achievements, current and past. When we reached Seedcamp, we’ve already had a couple of deals with major companies such as VIP (Vodafone Croatia), RealNetworks and 24 sata (Styria) and generated some cash income which was reinvested back into development.

7. Some other things that helped us: we’ve never forgotten about the value of good PR, which brought us coverage on TechCrunch, Mashable, TNW. Also, we’ve gotten a lot of friends and users all around a world that are spreading the word about ShoutEm!

New styles and new features

While Viktor and Sasa are traveling around the world promoting Shout’Em (first at Seedcamp, now at TechCrunch50, then again at Seedcamp), the rest of the Shout’Em team is working hard to bring you new features.

Marble is here

As you know, you can use predefined styles for you network (or you can create your own style), and today we present you new style, Marble, which is available in 3 colors: Gray / Orange, Green and Blue.
If you want to test new styles, login to your administrator page, click on Appearance, then Styles, and among other styles, you will see three new: Marble Gray / Orange, Marble Green and Marble Blue. Choose any and click Save, and your network will have fresh new look!

Marble Gray / Orange

Marble Gray / Orange

Marble Green

Marble Green

Marble Blue

Marble Blue

Other features

There are also many other new features, for example:

  • Pages for network administrators have totally fresh new look and navigation. Now they’re much more user friendly, we’ve added sidebar that contains feed from team.shoutem.com and also feed from Shout’Em blog which brings you all posts tagged with “tutorial”.
  • Owner of the network is a friend with every new user in the network
  • Attachments are now embedded in the feed
  • Integration with Facebook is now much better. When you forward something to Facebook, your attachments (pictures, links) are forwarded too.

If you wish some new features to be added, please send us a shout at http://team.shoutem.com. If you still don’t have your own microblogging network, what are you waiting for?! Go to http://www.shoutem.com and create one! 🙂

Also, we are developing mobile applications for Shout’Em networks (you’ll be able to use them very soon), and we are looking for beta testers. If you want to have sneak preview, contact us.