National Small Business Week: Social Media and Small Businesses

National Small Business Week kicked off in Washington, DC this week and it looks like the next few days will be jam-packed for those attending.  Discussions range from the impact of Small Businesses on America’s economy to Innovation and Social Media, and of course they will be announcing the winner of National Small Business Person of the Year.

I for one am particularly interested to hear what they have to say about Social Media and Small Businesses.  Recently I have been talking to businesses of all sizes about how they are leveraging Social Media in more and more innovative ways.  One trend I see emerging is the use of new Social Media tools to build deeper relationships with customers, one that goes beyond 140 characters and one that drives true engagement with the brand.

I thought that in the spirit of National Small Business Week I would share some of the innovative ways in which TokBox is being used to do that with you.

Real Life Plus is a virtual world that is actively engaging with their community to build their product.  They haven’t launched yet, but they regularly get their community together on TokBox, using Broadcast Video Chat, to get feedback on features, to generate new ideas and keep their ears (and eyes) to the ground on what is happening in the gaming world.  They simply circulate the chat URL and everyone hops on!

Long-time TokBox user, Scott Jordan from Scottevest, uses TokBox video messaging a lot to send video messages to his users rather than just emails. Whether he is trying to introduce a new product or answer a customer question, it helps to put a face to the brand and makes him stand out from the crowd.   We were also interested to see self-confessed Marketing “geek” Lorraine Ball talk about using TokBox in the same way on the Marketing Tech Blog only last week.

The Marketing “geek” in me thinks that one of the most powerful ways to use TokBox to engage with customers is for customer service.  My own personal belief is that customer service is one of the most powerful tools that any marketer has.  If you receive high-quality service you not only form a positive opinion of that brand, but you’re also more likely to tell your friends about it.  Couple high-quality service with being able to offer that service face-to-face, rather than via ‘phone or email, and I think you’re on to a winner.

We have been experimenting with doing this ourselves, hosting Broadcast Video Chats on TokBox for anyone to join with their questions, comments or ideas.  We’ll be doing another one of those this Friday at 11am PST, so feel free to join us to talk about innovative ways in which you use Social Media tools, including TokBox, or simply to share your ideas with us! Just click on this link to join the call  http://www.tokbox.com/Micky/TokBox-Community-Call

I look forward to talking to you then.

Micky

Re-inventing large-scale video chat

For some time now many of you have been telling us that you want to have more than 20 people in a call.  Now you can.  Today we launched a new feature, Broadcast video chat.

Broadcast video chat allows you to have 12 people on-screen (essentially in the video chat) and up to 200 people in the audience.  But that’s not all.  We know that the audience has something to say, they don’t just want to sit there and listen, they want to contribute.   With TokBox Broadcast video chat they can.  They can either request to go on-screen or they can submit a video question to the moderator who can then decide whether or not they want to play it for everyone to see.  Then of course, there is text chat.  Everyone can share their ideas here too.  It’s one large, fluid conversation.  You can see more about how it works by watching our demo video or by joining a Broadcast video chat with me and some other members of the TokBox team today, Wednesday 31st March at 2pm PST.  Simply click here.

Each chat will cost the organizer (and no-one else) $18.99 per chat, or only $12.99 if they are already a subscriber to moderation and scheduling.  Start your call and we’ll send you the bill later.  Don’t worry though if you only need 20 people in the call, that will remain free.

The ways in which you can use Broadcast video chat are endless – seminars, talk-shows, conferences, company meetings, press conferences and more.  We’d love to hear about some of the ways that you think you can use it.

Micky

Take a tour of new features with the TokBox team

A few weeks ago I invited people to join me in a video chat to show them our new moderation & scheduling features and give me their feedback.  It was a great chat and the people that participated gave me some interesting ideas to share with the TokBox team.  It also seemed, in listening to the Twitter-sphere, that there were more of you that would have liked to take part.  So, we’re going to do it again, this time with more advance warning so you can get it on to your busy calendars 🙂

So, join me and some other members of the TokBox team on Wednesday 31st March at 10am PST. Update: Moved to Wednesday 31st March at 2pm PST We’ll take a tour of some of the new TokBox features that will have launched the day before (they’re still a secret, for now), share some things that we’re thinking about doing and of course, our ears will be perked to hear your ideas and feedback.

So, join me next Wednesday, 31st March at 10am PST. Update: Moved to Wednesday 31st March at 2pm PST I’ll be sending the link out via the blog, Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday next week.

I look forward to chatting with you then.

Micky

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Check out our new demo of moderation and scheduling

Since we’re all about videos here at TokBox, we decided to record a quick demo of all the new moderation & scheduling features.

Remember that all of these features are now part of our moderation and scheduling package, which you can try right now for free. Then, when you purchase it for the bargain price of only $9.99/30 days you’ll get another 30 days free.

Enjoy!
Lauren

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Schedule your TokBox video chats in advance

There’s been a lot going on at TokBox in the last month. We’ve moved office, hired last summer’s Ultimate Intern to work for us permanently, not to mention the fact that we launched moderation a couple of weeks ago. Which brings me to the main subject of this blog post.

We got some great feedback from all of you on our moderation features, as well as lots of brilliant ideas for how we could make moderation even more useful. I’m excited to say that today we are launching several of the features you suggested. Now you can schedule your video chats in advance, invite people to join you and, best of all, everyone can add it to their personal calendar with just one click. That’s what I call handy.

But that’s not it. You can also give your video chat a name that will then magically become the unique URL for that video chat. So, for example if I wanted to video chat with you all and get your ideas for TokBox, I could schedule a call for tomorrow, 12th February 2010 at 10am PST, call it Micky’s TokBox brainstorming and the URL for that call would be www.tokbox.com/Micky/Mickys-TokBox-Brainstorm. You can then send out that URL any way you like – email, Facebook, Twitter, IM, carrier pigeon etc. (By the way, that’s a real video chat, feel free to join me, but remember there’s only room for twenty!)


Finally, we’ve introduced the ability to be able to queue the media for your call in advance. Imagine, you’re going to share a presentation with your team, or a YouTube video. You can add them to your queue in advance so that once the call has started, you don’t need to fumble around looking for the link to share. Perfect, no-one likes to fumble 🙂

All of these features are now part of our moderation and scheduling package, which you can try right now for free. Then, when you purchase it for the bargain price of only $9.99/30 days you’ll get another 30 days free.

So, take a look, try it out and feel free to either email us with feedback, or even join me in a video chat tomorrow, 12th February 2010 at 10am PST. Just click on this link.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Micky
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Take control of your video chat with moderation

We’re excited to announce that TokBox offers a new premium feature that allows you to take control of your video chat. With moderation controls you can:

* Control who joins and remains in your call
* Silence the audio of participants
* Promote another participant to a moderator
* Control the media shared within your chat

Sign-up for your 30-day free trial now and pay only $9.99/month after that. The TokBox you know and love will continue to remain free.  For a sneak peek at how moderation works check out the video below:

We look forward to hearing what you think so don’t hesitate to shoot a note to contact@tokbox.com.

Best,

Lauren

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Collaboration Moves to the Next Level!

Hey Tokbox Fans!

I am very happy to announce that today Tokbox has partnered with EtherPad, the really real-time collaboration tool. Now, all Tokbox users can simultaneously collaborate on one text document or “pad” while chatting in a video call. These pads can easily be added into any call by dropping in an EtherPad URL, just as if you wanted to watch a YouTube video. When multiple people edit the same document simultaneously, all changes are instantly reflected on everyone’s screen. The result is a new and productive way to collaborate on text documents, useful for meeting notes, drafting sessions, education, team programming, and more (EtherPad). EtherPad is already being used by Fortune 500 companies and Top 100 global universities. Pretty cool, huh!

To start collaborating on text documents today, just follow these 4 simple steps. Don’t forget to let us know how you like it. (Just send me a VMail at http://www.tokbox.com/dudum or an email at andrew@tokbox.com)

Step 1. Start a video call

pic1

Step 2. Invite up to 20 friends or coworkers

invite friends

Step 3. Drop in an existing URL pad

new baby

pad in

Step 4. Start collaborating in person, in real-time!

etherpad cool

*If after dropping in an EtherPad URL, the pad is unable to connect and continuous to display the “Reconnect Now” message, please go into your preferences and make sure EtherPad.com is “allowed” to use cookies on your computer.

cookies