@twitterStories: Get Inspired

A man in need of a kidney gets one. A famous movie critic regains the voice he lost. An innocent man finds refuge when snipers invade his neighborhood — all thanks to Twitter.

If you don’t already believe in the power of Twitter, you will when you read Twitter Stories. Twitter says they’re publishing these stories because showing the humanity behind the Tweets will make the world a smaller place.

That’s a little too global touchy-feely for me, but I do think that these stories are worth a look because they’re all about creativity and the “can do” spirit. They’re also mostly about marketing.

In Japan, a fishing association uses Twitter to sell the day’s catch before the boats return to port. Her Majesty, Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan used Twitter to promote her children’s book and, in turn, her culture.

Holiday Shopping: Most People Will Buy At Least One Gift Online

Tomorrow is November 1, and that means that if you aren’t already hawking your holiday wares, you’re late. But don’t worry. MarketLive just published their 2011 Holiday Shopper Survey and it’s loaded with information that will help online retailers see black this holiday season.

83% of those surveyed said they were planning to buy at least some of their gifts online. This is a small rise over last year. One in four said they plan to do most of their shopping online.

Even if they aren’t buying, consumers are using the internet to research products. 61% said they’d use their computers and mobile devices to get the lay of the land before plunking down their hard-earned cash.

Deal Hunters Talk Scary Villains and Scarier Halloween Spending

It’s Halloween and we thought we’d kick off the holiday with the results of two scary surveys from online saving sites.

First up is CouponCabin. They asked their visitors to state which scary movie villain best represented their financial situation. The results were surprisingly positive — if you can call identifying with Michael Meyer positive.

When asked which famous scary movie characters best described their current financial states, U.S. adults said:

  • Michael Myers from “Halloween” – I’m superhuman; no matter what circumstances arise, I find a way to make ends meet – 32 percent
  • Ghostface from “Scream” – Unexpected financial circumstances catch me when I least expect it – 11 percent
  • Freddy Krueger from “Nightmare on Elm Street” – My financial situation haunts my dreams and I lay awake at night worrying about it – 11 percent

73 Percent of People Think Employees Overshare on Social Media

Social media is an excellent tool when you want to spread the good word about your business. Unfortunately, it’s also a minefield of potential security and reputation problems.

Over and over, we’ve seen cases of employers having to apologize for the Tweets made by impulsive employees. And I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen someone post a bit of company news only to delete it minutes later with an “oops” in its place. Legal departments around the globe have to be cursing the day social media was ever invented.

But it’s not just lawyers and CEO’s who are worried. A new infographic from Barracuda labs shows that 73% of those surveyed think employees share too much online. 1 in 5 said that they themselves have been negatively impacted by information exposed on social media and that number is likely to climb.

Sears Gets Hip with Even More Zombie Action

Last Halloween, Sears stepped out of their comfort zone with a zombie overlay on their online store. It must have been a hit, because this year, they took it a step further.

The Zombie Apocalypse at Sears couldn’t have been better timed. Zombies are all the rage at the moment. Even though they are gorier and gooey-er than their classic creature counterparts, people (human people) can’t get enough.

The Sears site is like a game. It leads you through either survival gear for humans (Escape the infected with new athletic shoes) or zombie gear (a blender for brain smoothies!). In a few spots, the joke runs two levels deep before dropping you in a plain, boring Sears shopping page. But then, they can’t re-theme the entire site, can they?

Google+ Update: What’s Hot, Ripples and Photo Fun

Google+ pulled the wraps off three new features today and for the first time, I’m really starting to see the shift from same old to something new.

Two of the new features, What’s Hot and Ripples are all about expanding your social media world. For marketers, this is a big step away from the one-way conversation of Twitter and the me-centric world of Facebook.

What’s Hot

The title of this new feature couldn’t be any plainer. Google+ now provides a stream dedicated to the trending topics. The list will appear at the bottom of everyone’s profile stream, or it can be viewed as a stand alone stream by choosing that option from the sidebar.

He Who Has the Most (Social Media) Friends, Wins

Every Friday, I prepare a social media report for a client and the very top number is how many Facebook followers we gained that week. Sure, it’s a random number with no proven correlation to the success or failure of a campaign, but it’s all we’ve got.

Facebook has taken a stab at creating more meaningful metrics with their new “reach” and “talking about” stats but it comes down to this: the number of followers is the one metric we all understand.

That’s why Chief Marketer found that 60% the marketing professionals they surveyed use follower (friend, fan, etc) count as their chief method of measuring social media success. And it’s the favorite by a mile. Sharing, leads and time spent came in under 39% and incremental sales was only mentioned by 25%.