eduWEB 2009: “I can do THAT with Google?” by @bradjward, blue fuego

Presenter: Brad J Ward, CEO – Blue Fuego

Abstract: I will walk through many of Google’s services and products and show attendees how they can use them to increase productivity within their workplace as well as provide a better experience for their website visitors.Sites featured include, but are not limited to, Google Docs, Maps, Alerts, Webmaster Tools, YouTube, Analytics, Forms, GTalk/GChat, Blogger and more.

Notes during presentation …

Recommended Reading: Free, Chris Anderson

First step: get a Google account that you will use for all of this …

Thought: stop and think whether other staff will ever need access – should you create a corporate Google account instead of using your personal one?

Next: set up Google Alerts – great way to get buzz about your institution.

Thought: I am almost anti-google-alerts … relying too heavily on it can cause you to miss a lot of important web content/buzz.  Remember to regularly search your brand (you’ll be shocked by how much didn’t show up in your alerts).

Brad’s Experience: Brad found out that Butler’s $13K mascot costumes had been stolen via a Google Alert.  Caught it early enough to hitch a ride with the buzz and blow tweets and youtube out of the water, even get mass media attention.

Thought: Best practice is to track down specific mentions of your brand, individual applicants commenting about their school decision.  Don’t try to do this for every social mention. Just don’t. Catch what you reasonably can, but unless you have a social army, it’s not realistic to respond to every tweet, blog post, facebook note, discussion thread. If you end up getting them all – great, but don’t hate on yourself for getting 90%.

Next: Google Search Commands

Google search command “Site:uwo.ca” will only search uwo.ca.

Example of use: School decides to change application deadline to December 1 from December 15. Use site: command to find instances of both options to track down any instances of the “old” date.  Now you know everything that needs to be updated (give or take – Google isn’t perfect).

Boolean operators (AND, OR) work on Google and Twitter and most search boxes.  Use them to create a more inclusive search query (results that include multiple versions of your school name all in one result listing, versus 5 separate result outputs).

Next: Create a Google Map

Steps:

  1. maps.google.com
  2. create new map
  3. name & description
  4. save
  5. tag things – you can drop html right in there – images!.

Check out Sweet Briar College and what they’ve done.

Butler uses embedded, tagged Google Maps to show places to eat.

Next: Google Docs

Example: Uncovering Class of 2013 Facebook groups in December ’08.  Within 2 hours, edu webbers had pulled together over 200 links to these groups – would have taken Brad forever to do alone.

Forms: You can use Google Docs to create little online surveys?

Next: google.com/webmasters/tools/

Have to embed a little bit of code onto your site to prove you own the domain.  Provides a lot of quality information on your site – top searches, crawl errors (404’s), who’s linking to your site.

Submit a sitemap – directly influence the key links listed with your school on google search results.  “This is what we want you to feature.”

Next: Google.com/talk

“Live answer solution for free on your website.” This is a way your institution could have that for free! Our MBA site wants this – note to self! Your users won’t need a google account, won’t need to sign in.

Next: Google Reader

FYI, you can run your Google Alerts through here.  Also, search.google.com results can be rss’d into here.  Chris Brogan quote: “Make Google Reader your listening station.” You could check every blog every day to see if they have new content, or you can let an RSS reader check for you, and also deliver the content to ya.

Next: Google Voice

Transcribes audio but not very well. Use it to transcribe your voicemail.

Settings > Call widgets > embed “Call me” widget. They enter their phone number, Google calls them and says “Welcome, now connecting you,” then calls you and offers accept, voicemail, listen to voicemail, transcribe. Fantastic! A nice way to set up your mobile number without giving out your actual mobile number.

Next: Google apps for education

take the cost of running your school email off your hands.

http://google.com/apps/edu

Next/First: Google Analytics

free, all sorts of data about the people coming to your site, allow you to track your campaigns, use google url building to track what kind of traffic you’re getting.

Next: YouTube – owned by Google

New YouTube channel design … 77% of ppl that come to YouTube intending to watch one video, watch several.   Every minute, 20 hours of video is uploaded.  Third most visited site in the US, behind google, facebook, etc.

.EDU channels – additional branding options.  Custom header option (see Abilene), branding on every video. Longer videos can be uploaded.

Next: Full list of all the Google offerings: http://www.google.com/options/

Also, Google Labs (check out email goggles! answer math questions before you can check your email in off hours)

How can you Google your workweek?

Googlers get 20% of work week to focus on labs-type ideas, that end up being their best products!

Google Wave – coming soon.  “Going to shake up a lot of how we communicate – as if enough of that hasn’t already happened. Definitely one to keep an eye on.”

Do you have a Max strategy?

CEO of Google – take whatever you are doing and do it at the max in terms of distribution.  Marginal cost of distribution is free, you might as well put things everywhere.  “Max strategy = Max attention.”  But it’s not always good to have 800 videos on YouTube if they aren’t good.

Think And, not Or –  Seth Godin

If you have time to put pictures on flickr and picasa, do both.  Do you really want to alienate the percentage that are on the second most popular service?

“Not everyone is going to want to interactive with you online. Some just want to pull info and send in their application.” @bradjward – good to remember this, amongst all these ideas.

We don’t know what the next big thing is.  Facebook is 5 years old, Youtube is 4, Twitter is three.  The Internet is 4 years old, it is still a virgin.  @bradjward quoting Gary Vaynerchuk.

Neat thought – only ppl looking for a car will go to vw.com.  People open to great content will go to facebook.com/vw.

Sidenote: Always annoying that major brands get magical different rules on Facebook.  We tried to register Facebook.com/Ivey and were turned down because it was too short – and yet Volkswagon has www.facebook.com/vw – harumph.

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