Getting Your Fiver's Worth

By Carl Weiss

Like it or not, the way we Americans do business has changed a great deal in the past few years.  Whether big business or small, outsourcing and freelancing are the name of the game today.  So much so that a number of enterprising entrepreneurs have devised online portals that specifically cater to this stock in trade.  While some people lament a lack of quality control or even a failure to communicate (due to language differences) with these far flung resources, the fact is that these services are in ever greater demand as business owners strive to tighten their belts in current economic conditions.  So if you have been thinking about giving online outsourcing a go, below is a list of some of the more prominent resources.

Have a need, find a gig. for those new to the site, allows freelancers to post tasks for hire (called
Image representing Fiverr as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase
 gigs) that if purchased by an individual will be accomplished for just five dollars.  Recent gigs have included such things as royalty free music creation, life coaching sessions, copywriting, proofreading, video testimonials, flyer distribution, web starter kits and more.  The site even offers a dozen categories that make finding the right gig for you a snap.  Just don’t expect Hollywood special effects in a video that costs five bucks.  Still some of the work turned out by gigsters can help you build your business for pennies on the dollar.  The best way to understand the ins and outs of Fiverr is to go to Youtube and watch the many helpful tutorial videos.  They costs you nothing and are designed to make sure you get your fiver’s worth.

Needless to say, with the success of Fiverr, other sites have popped up to fill the micro job vacuum.  Like, these sites promote offers from freelancers looking to accomplish simple online tasks for a small fee.  However, unlike Fiverr, these sites allow their members to post gigs that range from $5 to as much as $50.  Sporting such monikers as,, and, the pricing structure is agreeable, as is the army of freelancers ready, willing and able to get the job done quickly and cheaply.  There’s even a site called that posts tasks for hire for only $4 a pop.  You’ve got to love that competitive spirit. and

As they say, you only get what you pay for.  While sites like Fiverr can be of use some of the time, when you want to shop a serious project around, there are other online resources that offer to help.  Two such sites are
English: Worldwide Offshoring Business Deutsch...
English: Worldwide Offshoring Business Deutsch: Weltweites Offshoring Business (Photo credit: Wikipedia) and   Known as peer-to-peer job sites, the way they work is by helping business owners to hook up with talent needed to take on more complex projects.  While Elance started off as a site touting programming and other technical skills, they have since broadened their offerings to include everything from accounting to architecture, marketing and legal services. Odesk offers many skill sets as well, including technical, writing, translation, sales, marketing and customer service.  Both function as a kind of online temp agency, allowing employers to contract with one or several dozen providers at a time.  Unlike hiring “employees,” these resources allow businesses to work with talented and experienced professionals on a per-project basis.  When the job is complete, you can cut the cord and move on without having to deal with firer’s remorse or unemployment benefits. 

According to Elance data, the number of professionals using their hub to find freelance/remote work opportunities increased 52% over the past year, with hiring by businesses using Elance increasing 60%. Businesses, by the way, report hiring freelancers is faster - taking about 3 days compared to the 20+ days it takes to hire a full-time employee.

The real dilemma for many entrepreneurs is the fact that there are now so many different ways to outsource a project that it’s a case of trying to tell the players without a scorecard.  To help you make sense of the many nuances involved in the outsourcing process several resources devoted to the genre are available, including the International Association of OutsourcingProfessionals, Outsource Magazine, Professional Outsourcing Magazine, HROToday, Medical Project Outsourcing, and Sourcing Speak just to name a few.

Whether you are looking to outsource tasks, projects or entire departments, either domestically or internationally, there are organizations dedicated to helping you get the right people for the job.  From a business owner’s perspective, outsourcing is no longer the question, it is many times the only affordable answer to staying competitive.

Carl Weiss is president of WSquared Media Group, a company dedicated to helping clients compete online.  You can interface with Carl every week at 4 pm Eastern when he co-hosts Working the Web to Win on Blog Talk Radio.

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Are You Socially Acceptable Online?

by Hector Cisneros

Several years ago I heard about this great new network that was going to eliminate the need for going to network meetings.  I decided to join that network to see what all the hubbub was all about. This was the beginning of my association with  LinkedIn. A year later I also joined Facebook and then followed that up 
Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
by joining Twitter. Later I also joined FourSquare, Stumbleupon, YouTube, Ecademy, MerchantCircland Google+ (just to name a few). I soon learned that using social networks was very different than most forms of online marketing. I quickly realized that social networking was very much like face to face networking. Both were a form of word of mouth marketing. Both had fairly ridged rules of how you could build credibility, specific rules that would endear you to followers and rules that would get you un-followed or un-friended very quickly.

Back then, I was looking to come up with a set of social networking rules that would be considered universal. A set of principles, if you will, that would guide a social networker through the ever changing landscape of social networks. Granted, I had been using similar principles to work a number of live networking groups. I had learned these principles over more than 30 years of  business experience. I found many of these principles as a member of various networking Groups like BNI.  I even penned a book called "60-Seconds to Success" that detailed the ABC's of using a 60-second elevator pitch to create a referral network through such groups.   

In 2010 I had a big revelation. I discovered that a lot I the principles that worked for me in Social networking were the same principles that I had written about in my book in 2009. So, I set out to see if all the principles I had learned in face to face networks would apply to online social networking. I quickly discovered that there were many overlaps with only subtle differences. I also discovered that these two different forms of networking could complement each other. Since then I have complied 12 rules, (actually a baker’s dozen) that act as guidelines both in social networks and face to face networking. This article explores these principles and lays them out for you to learn and use. These 12 secrets will allow you to grow your following and build your credibility. Doing so will increase sales and make your social networking easier. So let's get started.

                                              The 12 Secrets of Social Media Success
1.    No one likes to watch commercials. People join social nets to connect with friends, find interesting facts, be entertained and to share information like documents, photos and videos.  At the same time, however they are giving up a lot of personal information. This information is in turn used to target them with advertising messages. To reach these prospects, provide targeted and useful information that fulfills their wants. Rarely post subtle commercials. Any commercial had better provide useful benefits like discounts, coupons or free access to other useful material. Overselling is a fast way to get blocked and unfriended.
 2.    Social networks are some of the best word-of-mouth marketing mediums. Testimonials and referrals are powerful and viral in this medium for getting your message out. If you can get your customers to sing your praises, you will do well. Every testimonial can be used many times. They can be used in multiple networks and be introduced in multiple ways. Also once posted in a testimonial album, they can become focal points where you can send prospects who need reassurance. They can also be used in ads via pay per click. These ads can be very powerful. This is especially true if you incorporate testimonials from that specific social network in that network’s ad space.
 3.    Is Social Networking Free?  Not when you consider the amount of time and effort to setup a social network profile. Multiply this times the top five networks and you can see why you could spend a significant amount of time getting setup.  However, this is only the beginning. You now have to provide useful, relevant and timely content to build your audience. Researching this type of content takes time and posting it also takes time. In any endeavor time equals money. This is why social media is used by so many startup businesses. They have more time than they have money. However once you reach the stage that you have revenue coming in (cash flow), it makes sense to outsource this because it takes a lot of time and thus you would be losing money because this will take away from production and sales.
This is icon for social networking website. Th...
This is icon for social networking website. This is part of Open Icon Library's webpage icon package. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 4.    Social Networks are not private. You also give up a significant amount of your privacy. For some this is a heavy price, for others it’s worth getting the infrastructure for networking without having to pay a monthly subscription fee. Having said that, understand that social networks are frequently perused by criminals fishing for unsuspecting victims to defraud them or steal their identity. Make sure you never provide financial information, passwords or too much information that could allow a criminal to guess your password. Purchase Life Lock or another ID protection plan and be vigilant and suspicious of what people are asking for.
 5.    Followers need your attention in two ways: The ones you want to keep need one type of attention and those you want to get rid of need another. Once you start having followers you will need to manage them. Thanking, engaging followers and answering their questions takes time. You will also have to manage who is following you. Removing undesirable followers is a maintenance chore that must be done on a regular basis. You don't have to follow everyone and you don't have to accept everyone who wants to follow you. You will have to walk a fine line between being tolerant and selective
 6.    Like plants, social networks won’t grow on their own! To build a large social network you will have to actively invite people to follow you. Most people underestimate the time it takes to build a following of customers and prospects. A network of a few hundred people is not that useful. To play a significant role you need 1000 plus followers. This cannot be reached overnight. However, you can easily reach 1000 followers by inviting 10 people a day and converting this effort to 4 new followers each day. By the end of the year you will have over 1400 follower as fans.
 7.    Subscribing to the top five Social Networks isn't the same as using social media! Having social network symbols listed on your website is useless if you're not actively using these networks. Networking means Net-Work, not net-wait! Having setup your social profiles and adding them to your website is only the beginning. If you are not working the network it is not going to do anything for you. Work means posting and engaging followers on a weekly if not daily basis.  If you want to get a return, you will have to put the effort into utilizing your networks. If you post useful content and have either a highly targeted audience (like your customer base) or a very large audience (say 10,000+ followers) you can use your network to launch products, and drive traffic to produce sales.  However, this is all predicated on the premise that you have built up social equity, credibility and trust with your followers; otherwise your posts will be ineffective. Think of the sales rule of 10! For every 100 people you touch only 10 will be paying attention and of those 10, only one may be ready to act.
 8.    Your audience won't follow you unless you give them want they want! Audiences follow people for many reasons. They might follow you because you both share similar views. Another reason could be that you provide useful and relevant information they want. A follower may find your content timely and or entertaining or they may just follow you because you are famous in their eyes. All of these reasons have one thing in common: It’s all about them, the follower and not about you! Make them happy by providing them with the timely, useful, relevant and entertaining content they crave on a consistent basis. Sometimes you have to give, give, and give in order for followers to reciprocate!
 9.    Always strive to look professional and competent. Make sure your posts are checked and double-checked for grammar and spelling errors. Grammar and spelling mistakes never make you look good. Always give credit where credit is due. Never take credit for something you did not create. Understand your audience and provide posts at their education level. Don't try and be cool, fancy or smart by using big words, unless your audience is a bunch of PhD's. Minimize tech speak and acronyms if at all possible. Try and write on fifth grade level whenever possible.
 10.  Leverage your messages to produce buzz and viral distribution. Whenever possible, post to as many social networks simultaneously as you can. Be aware that some networks require a different format or have different limitations. A post for Facebook can be very different than a Tweet! Use aggregation tools like Hoot suite, Hootlet, Tweet Deck and others to schedule and post to your networks. Use information gathering services like Google Alerts, PaperLi and others newsgathering services to have content brought to you. Gather and organize your posts in advance then schedule your posts with the aggregation software of your choices.
 11.  Thank all followers whenever it’s appropriate.  This includes new followers, mentions, retweets, shares, forwards, likes, comments and even questions. We all have heard Grandma’s rules of social etiquette. Rules like be nice to nice people. Be courteous, say please and thank you, help others, etc… If you want people to follow you, be nice to them. A simple thank you carries more weight than you realize. However, don't patronize people, it makes them mad and it's disingenuous.
 12.  Help others get started and you will grow your network.  As a matter of fact, helping others in general will help you grow your social networks. Helping new subscribers connect with others builds social equity. The more help you provide, the more value you create, the more social equity you will generate. Go through the trouble of pointing out help files and network tutorials. Show followers a few of the useful tools the network has and of course, add them to your network. Then ask them to connect you to their friends.
13.  Ask and you will receive. If you want people to share your information, retweet your tweets     and comment on your latest post, ask them to.  If you want to engage people, be engaging, ask open questions, complement their achievements, praise their good fortune and don't forget to "like", share and retweet their post as well. Don’t be pushy! Like begets like, if you don’t ask you won't receive!
Since I began using social networking in 2004, I have looked for universal rules that govern all networks. In my 30+ years of business I have engaged in face to face networking and found many principles that have not changed in all that time. Social networking follows many of these same rules. I have written extensively about word of mouth marketing and have been writing about social networking since 2009. The fact of the matter is that social networking is word of mouth marketing gone electronic.  This makes it faster, viral and much more pervasive. It is also more powerful as your message can be spread faster and farther than face to face could ever do. However, these two word of mouth venues are not mutually exclusive. They actually complement each other. Face To Face networks allow you to build trust and credibility faster. In turn you can use this trust to create testimonials and referrals that can spread around the world much faster that they could with your local network. In this article I have discussed over a dozen universal principles of social networking. Use these principles to grow your prospect contact sphere, expand your client base and spread your positive message around the world. Used correctly nothing can outperform word of mouth marketing to easily close a sale. Use these principles wisely and make this your best year yet.
If you liked this article pass it along to your friends. If you have a comment or other ideas leave them in the comment section. If you want to contact me, my contact information is listed below and on this blog. I appreciate your sharing your time with me. That's my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours.
Hector Cisneros is CFO of W Squared Media Group, a company that specializes in online marketing.  You can hear Hector live on Working the Web to Win every Tuesday at 4 pm on Blog Talk Radio.

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Is Google Glass the Ultimate Game Changer or a Dud?

By Carl Weiss

While technological revolutions come and go, there has never before been such controversy over a product that has yet to reach store shelves.  What I am referring to is Google Glass, the wearable computing device that is going to take technology to a whole new level…literally.  The device itself sports nothing radically new.  All the devices and operations performed by Glass are available on any Smartphone or tablet PC.  However, what has rankled many is the fact that Glass is a virtual camera/video platform that can start snapping away unnoticed.  This has caused a number of institutions to ban their use and has spawned a legislators to consider new laws designed to limit when and where people can use Glass.

Glass Go Home

Most movie theaters already forbid customers from bringing in audio or video recording devices, but
the more subtle Google Glass could add another wrinkle to those policies. Lawmakers in West Virginia have attempted to make it illegal to drive wearing the connected eyewear, while casinos that normally prohibit recording devices are also likely to enact rules for wearing the glasses in sensitive gaming areas.

Dave Meinert, who runs the 5 Point CafĂ© in Seattle, said that Google Glass users would have to take off their high tech eyewear if they want to enter. He has put up a sign that reads: "Respect our customers' privacy as we'd expect them to respect yours." 

Parks departments across the country are just itching for the chance to call a ban on Google Glass, according to the Daily Mail. "This is the ultimate snooper's gizmo. If you walk around with a video camera filming, it's obvious what you're doing, but with Google Glass, it's much, much more invasive," Dan Tench, of legal firm Olswang, told the Daily Mail.

West Virginian lawmakers are working on the passage of a bill to ban Google Glass while driving. They say that the advanced computerized eyewear could become another distraction for drivers, the Star Tribune reported. They have offered an amendment to include language that would make it illegal to "use a wearable computer with head mounted display" while driving. 

Whether any of these prohibitions are even constitutional will need to stand the test of time.  What is certain is that with only 2,000 pairs of Google Glasses roaming the planet at present (at $1,500 a pop), this is only the tip of the techno-hysteria iceberg.  What will happen once glass reaches store shelves is anybody’s guess.  Of course, whether the device will be adopted by the general public at all is still uncertain.

The Giggle factor

Already detractors have been pointing out everything from the obvious loss of style points that Glass wearers will need to deal with to skits on Saturday Night Live that make Glass owners seem like the ultimate geeks.  And while there have been other notable tech concepts that have bombed big time in the past, such as Apple’s Newton, it will be interesting to see whether the urge to unleash your inner Borg will outweigh the giggle factor in the long run.

If you will recall, Apple Computer introduced the Newton in 1993 as one of the first personal digital 
Photograph showing Apple Newton hand held comp...
Photograph showing Apple Newton hand held computer, cleaned up background in photo editing software (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
assistants in existence.  This was in the days before Smartphones or tablet PC’s were invented.  Still the device’s resemblance to later technology cannot be denied. Equipped with a pen-stylus that enabled users to draw or write notes on the device (which would be automatically be translated into text), Newton came equipped with a limited number of applications designed to untether a computer user from their PC.  While clearly ahead of its time, the Newton was largely considered a failure and was dropped in 1998.

So is it possible that Glass could suffer the same fate?  Unlike Newton, Glass can do much more than read and write.  Google is already wooing app developers as well as predicting that the wearable-computer market could be as big as $6 billion by 2016.  Like Smartphones, which were considered a niche product for the first few years after their introduction, only time will tell whether Glass or any imitators that arise can overcome the stigma of sporting these in-your-face devices, as well as the high cost of ownership.

Carl Weiss is president of W Squared Media Group, a company dedicated to keeping clients on the cutting edge of technology.  You can hear Carl live at 4pm Eastern every Tuesday on Blog Talk Radio.

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Is YouTube Really a Social Network in Disguise?

By Carl Weiss 

When you ask most people to name the most influential social networks online you will hear household 
Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
names such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn bandied about.  But you will hardly hear anyone mention YouTube in the same breath.  This is a shame, since YouTube gets followed more avidly than any other social site on the planet.  While Facebook boasts more than one billion followers, YouTube followers watch an average of four billion videos each and every day.  More importantly, YouTube , just like any other social site, fulfills all the other requirements of true social networks.  Just like Facebook, you are encouraged to build a following on YouTube.  Like Twitter and LinkedIn, people can like and comment on your posts.  They can also repost your videos to the other social networks.   But the most important reason to use YouTube as a social medium is the fact that videos are five times as likely to be watched as written posts. 

Lights, Camera, Online Action

Face it, people like to be entertained.  I mean, a million cat videos can’t be all wrong.  But when that entertainment is informative, then the audience is more likely to respond.  That’s the one reason that television is still one of the most effective and expensive methods of advertising on the planet.  Like TV, YouTube offers those in the know a means to deliver a message visually.  Anybody with a smartphone, laptop or tablet computer can shoot, edit and post videos at will on YouTube.  If you’re all thumbs when it comes to editing, don’t worry.  YouTube has a built-in editor that offers such things as color correction, image stabilization and even royalty free musical scores onsite.  Unlike the boob tube, YouTube has one other advantage…It’s FREE.  Literally anyone can post videos on YouTube.   

So why isn’t every business owner on the planet flooding YouTube with videos?  Some people say that it’s 
Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase
just too complicated to write and shoot weekly videos.  Others lament the fact that video production is just too time consuming.   Yet these same professionals will take the time to write blogs, create ad copy and memos day in and day out.  What they don’t realize is that YouTube’s parent company, Google, offers a way to create and post videos instantly.  It’s called Google Hangouts.

Anyone who is a member of that other social network known as Google + has access to a videoconferencing facility known as a Hangouts.  This facility is accessed by firing up Google+ and then hitting the Hangout tab on the left hand tab bar.  (It’s sometimes located by mousing over “More.”) Once activated, Hangouts allows you to interface live via video with up to nine of your friends.  Even better, by toggling “Hangouts on Air” when you initiate a Hangout, not only will you be able to broadcast your event live to the world, it will also create and post a video on your YouTube channel at the same time.

Can You Say Instant Video?

What this means is that any time you write a blog, you can create a Video blog (otherwise known as a Vlog) on YouTube.  We routinely create a vlog of our weekly Working the Web to Win radio show on by spawning a Hangout on Air at the beginning of each broadcast.  Once the Hangout is concluded the video posts in about fifteen minutes, at which point you can edit it right on YouTube.  Think of the possibilities that Hangouts on Air could offer your company.  If you host a webinar, you can post a video.  Want to do a product demonstration?  Fire up Google+ and launch your Hangout on Air. 

Show Me the Money

Ultimately, the reason that every business should start taking advantage of the power of YouTube has to do with the money making potential of the world’s most watched superstation.  There have been a number of savvy entrepreneurs who have turned their business around overnight due to YouTube. 

Case in Point: OraBrush.  A couple of years back inventor Bob Wagstaff spent eight years trying to bring a tongue cleaner called the OraBrush to market.  After spending more than $40,000 developing the product, he approached a number of big box retailers, all of whom declined to put his product on their shelves.  In desperation, Bob took his product to the Marriott School of Business at BYU and asked a market research professor to have his students come up with a different way to promote the OraBrush. One student, Austin Craig agreed to help Wagstaff create a humorous video for the OraBrush, which they shot in a pool hall.  That video was such a huge success that tens millions of viewers were introduced to the product and more than a million units were sold online.  Today, OraBrush has generated in excess of 40 million views and is the third most popular site on YouTube after Apple Computer and Old Spice.

The point is if you are sitting on the fence regarding YouTube, all I can say is that if this is what online video can do for a tongue brush company, think of what it could do for yours.

Carl Weiss is no stranger to online video.  His companies, W Squared Media Group and specialize in online marketing via video.  

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