Monthly Archives: September 2013

Pinterest, YouTube and Vine, which is your favorite?

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Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 9.16.15 PMThis week our focus is on visual platforms and how to use them to grow your company. One of the platforms discussed is Pinterest. Kathleen Davis talks about why it is important for your business to be present, explaining that “Pin-It” buttons get 10 times more clicks that “Tweet This” buttons. That is incredible! We have been learning how Twitter is such a great live feed updating platform, but when it comes to sharing content it seems that Pinterest is the way to go! Part of this stems from the visual aspect of Pinterest, I don’t see why people would want to tweet about their dream home, but building it on Pinterest is fun! This happens with a lot of various topics such as Food and Drink or Home Decor. Roye Okupe also points out that in January 2012 other than Facebook time was most spent on Tumblr and Pinterest. The two platforms has people spending an average of 89 minutes per visitor, the next highest was Twitter at an average of 21 minutes per visitor. That is a huge difference and that alone should create enough of a reason to be on Pinterest. I am on Pinterest and I love it! I planned parts of my wedding from that site alone. It really is a great place to connect and find great ideas and new things to do.

Another incredibly important platform is YouTube. Rich Brooks explains why it is so important to be creating videos and housing them on YouTube. This makes a lot of sense, since she points out that people may not find your website and go to it to watch a video, but it can come up in the search results on your YouTube channel. I have always been hesitant to create videos, especially about social media since I know that so many videos are just funny or whimsical, but it seems I have to embrace the way of the future and figure out how to make short content videos to help grow my presence.

John Swartz talks about an incredible point, that potential consumers trust YouTube more than Facebook. This I can completely understand. I think it makes sense that people want to see someone using the product before they make a purchase. If you can see something you can believe it. On Facebook if you see a before and after snapshot that is all it is, but if you see a before and after slideshow on YouTube you can see much more information.

Screen Shot 2013-09-24 at 9.24.33 PMI included this infographic to give an idea of the differences between Vine and Instagram. I use Instagram a lot more, mainly because I enjoy taking pictures rather than having the creativity to come up with videos. However, Vine has really taken off, I am just becoming acquainted with Vine. I have to say though, I find it hilarious. I have enjoyed watching various videos, and judging from the comments that are up in the hundreds and thousands, a lot of people are enjoying Vine. Nick Cicero tells us that 5 Vines are tweeted every second and that is a huge number that will help this platform grow even more.

Some things to think about, do you think you would be able to use the 6 second Vine format to grow your business? Do you have any ideas on how will you present your business on Pinterest?

Ways to Make Sure Your LinkedIn Profile Stands Out

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Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 10.52.54 PMBefore doing the readings for this week, I thought I had a decent LinkedIn profile. I had 257 connections, a decent picture, experiences listed, and had been endorsed for various skills. I have even had head hunters reach out to me based on my profile, and yet, as LinkedIn grows in popularity, we need to find more ways to stand out and my profile doesn’t make the cut. I learned that I need to add a headline with keywords as well as a summary. I would look at the side circle that tells you how your profile is doing, and when it said my profile strength was all-star, I believed it.

I was wrong. Now, I knew enough to not have my Facebook or Twitter status updates link to my professional page, but really I didn’t know more than that. Until today. Libby Kane makes a few great points on how to improve interaction and profiles on LinkedIn. For instance, she talks about making sure there is a picture on your profile, and to have a status update every few days. Not one where you talk about a party you went to, but talk about what you are working on at work. Even if it is about a meeting you learned a lot at, it is always beneficial to keep your content fresh and let people know what is going on with you professionally.

Another big part of being on LinkedIn, is protecting your profile and reputation. Viveka talks more about how to ensure that you are able to maintain your identity online. She specifically talks about making sure that you add all of your emails to your profile so that you can make sure no one can set up a fake account in your name. I was shocked to see this, but truthfully it makes a lot of sense. There is a lot of personal information on these pages, first job, high school you graduated from, lots of things that identify you but if it is stolen your entire identity may be at risk.

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 11.18.09 PMOn the left is a partial picture of a great infographic called, Job Hunting? by Reed Marketing and Creative. The picture makes a lot of great points including the fact that even if you don’t post anything too personal on your LinkedIn, don’t think you can post photos of incriminating behavior on other sites and it won’t be found. With the internet becoming more and more accessible, a good rule of thumb is thinking that every social media site is open to any viewers. Even if you have strict privacy settings on, the truth is anyone can screenshot your information or save a photo to their own computer, so you never really know what happens to the information that you put out there.

Making sure that you keep an eye on what gets out on any of your social media profiles will help you fine tune what is seen on all platforms and will help you build your brand. Another great point was made by Lewis Howes, is to “make a call to action.” He makes a great point that even if you make a great profile, if you don’t tell people to get in touch with you, or tell them to contact you for more information, they won’t. I think that is a great idea and after learning all of these things I will be spending time creating a much better LinkedIn profile for myself.

What about you? How will you update your profile with all of the new information on how to improve your LinkedIn profile? Do you agree that people should monitor all of their social media sites and keep them all semi-professional, or do you think on other sites you should be able to post whatever you want? Chime in and let me know!

Facebook and Google+, What I Learned

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This week we looked at why Facebook and Google+ are both important. Here is some of what I learned:

Facebook has always been so easy for me to use, that I have taken it for granted. I have been using Facebook for personal reasons for a long time, and really enjoy it. I didn’t really think about what I was seeing on the newsfeed, I knew that if I didn’t want to see someone I could choose to “see less,” but other than that I thought all posts were equal. Boy was I wrong. Not only are all people or pages not equal on Facebook, but even the types of content that is shared is not equal as well. When it comes to Facebook you need engagement, in order to get seen. When you lose engagement, you lose affinity and weight which means no one will be liking or commenting which means it will drop out of their newsfeed. While I don’t have a problem with not always seeing things about people that I don’t want to engage with, that does mean I don’t see anything that goes on with them unless a lot of other people have already interacted with the post.

I do have a hard time maintaining my own business Facebook, part of it is laziness, and part of it is lack of ingenuity on my part. So many people mainly use Facebook for personal use, that I think people don’t just blindly “like” things, they think about whether they want to see it on their newsfeed. I definitely think that visuals get a lot more interaction than anything else. Yes, sometimes people will read a blog post and share it, but they are much more likely to comment on a picture they like. This is something I always need to keep in mind when trying to have my business page seen more often.

When Google+ first came out, I honestly thought it was a joke. I figured since Facebook was so popular it would never gain traction and it would die out. This class has taught me again that I was completely wrong. In fact, now I realize that even if I just think of SEO, I need to be on Google+ all the time posting and reacting to posts in order to create engagement. One of the ways that Google+ differs from Facebook is that when someone has you in their circle, even if they don’t engage with you, you will show up higher in search results. Which is the complete opposite of Facebook where you get penalized for lack of engagement. It really shows how important being a member of Google+ is.

I think people need to learn why they want to be on social media in order to really think about why Google+ benefits them. Some people only use social media to stay in touch with close friends and family, so they will stick with Facebook. However, for people who want to grow their influence, I can understand why Google+ is the way of the future. The truth is, people just need to be able to dedicate time to creating something a little different for each site. For instance I am much more personal on Facebook than I ever think I will be on Google+, but I recognize that in order to grow my business I need to grow my presence on ALL social media outlets and not just choose one or two. That means dedicating a lot of time and energy to keep my content fresh. However, since I want to work in social media, I recognize that this is something that needs to occur and welcome it, as soon as I figure out how to manage my time better.

Facebook or Google+, How Do You Choose?

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facebookvgoogleBefore these readings, I have been struggling with Google+, don’t get me wrong, I am still struggling but now I know why I need to make more of an effort with Google+. While my business page still isn’t doing well with Facebook, on a personal level, Facebook and I get along very well. I get to chat with all of my 700 friends, and keep up with what is going on in their lives, or so I thought. The truth is, when reading an article by Kurt Wagner, I learned that Facebook does not show you everything, it has an algorithm to show me what it thinks I will like the most or be most interested in.

At first I was highly disappointed, but the more I think about it, the more it makes a lot of sense. If I have over 700 friends on Facebook, am I really interested in what all of them are saying? The answer is no. Boonsri Dickinson explains the Social Graph very well, she says “In computer speak, when you “like” something through Facebook, it becomes an edge. The edge is the connection point between you and other people, places, or things.” Truthfully, this makes a lot of sense. These connections are what help people find others with the same interests. Shel Israel talks about how the Graph Search feature allows people to find people based on interests, photos, and places that are listed in their profile. The idea of being able to find more people means that people have to increase the information that they post on their profile if they would like more people to find them.

Screen Shot 2013-09-15 at 10.19.20 PMSo, how do you create more circles on Google+ and get more “likes” on Facebook? Believe it or not people recommend some of the same techniques. The first two recommended tips for engagement on Facebook from Broadsword Communications actually has been recommended for engagement on Google+ by Kim Garst as well. Both companies respond well visually. Kim recommends to use high quality graphics to make sure your photos always look great on the site. Broadsword talks about how having more visual content will help improve “likes” and “shares” which will create a better Edgerank with more people interacting with your page. When it comes to Google+ having nice visuals will assist people who are interested in your information and having you in their circles. Having high quality visuals enhances your content and catches more peoples eyes to get it seen more often.

Amy Porterfield talks about how not only having fun visuals will help a page, but also having a “call to action,” or asking for “likes” or “shares”. When I share fun visuals and quotes on Facebook I do notice that quotes in a visual format get shared more than a quote written in standard print format. This speaks true to what everyone has been talking about when it comes to visuals. This is something to keep in mind while also sharing content on Google+. Especially since as important as Facebook has been to people and businesses, Google+ is on the rise when it comes to importance. Steve Rayson talks about how Google+ content stays around for a long time and gives your profile page rank and comes up in search results. This in itself is huge and creates the ability for more people to find the content that you are posting. Part of the reason for this is that Google+ is Google. Brian Clark acknowledges the fact that Google has integrated all of their products into features of Google+, thereby creating a more integrated social platform. With that in mind, Google search results will help you find all the information you need while still creating a place where people can see what you post on Google+.

While I am more comfortable with using Facebook it is increasingly apparent that not only businesses, but people who want to be more influential online need to get more used to Google+. Which platform are you more comfortable with, Facebook or Google+? While you may be more comfortable with one or the other, do you see the importance of the other platform? How do you plan on using the information we read this week to increase social engagement?

Tips to Tweet Effectively

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ImageThis week I learned a lot about Twitter, it is great for me since I have had a hard time figuring out how to best behave on Twitter. Mark Fidelman spoke about different ways to ensure top engagement. What stuck with me most was that he said to respond and acknowledge every tweet. This is something that I agree with, recently I reached out to Kohl’s, Old Navy, Costco, Petco and Michael’s Stores through Twitter and not one of those companies responded to me. This makes me wonder if any of these companies could be higher up on the Top 25 Most Engaged Companies, if they took the time to respond and acknowledge tweets.

Another great tip I got was from Jill Duffy, she speaks about being engaging. It seems to me that no matter what social media platform you are using, the best thing to do is be engaging and let your personality shine through. However, that can be hard to do when Aaron Lee suggests that we should keep tweets less than 100 characters. The truth is, information on Twitter needs to be concise, and done consistently. Don’t let your audience wonder where you are, as Kim Garst says, that would be a “Fail”. This is something that I struggle with, while updating my Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter, sometimes it is hard to not only consistently update everything, but with different and new information. It is important though, since it is all a part of building your brand.

Twitter is being used in colleges to assist with that, something I would have found very useful. When I was in college, in 2008, my Professors had us use Twitter and told us to be inspiring, but I don’t think that was enough guidance. Especially since it is 5 years later and I am learning a lot more about Twitter now than I ever did before.

Michael Brito speaks about how people should “listen and observe before engaging.” Finding your own Twitter community can be complicated, so don’t just jump in and start following anyone. Find people that you want to engage with and who you think will want to engage with you. Not just follow everyone who follows you, unless you find them relevant. Aaron Lee also spoke about creating Twitter Lists early on to categorize communities and therefore not miss anything in an overflowing feed.

Bill Keller speaks about The Twitter Trap, and I actually think it is the trap of every social media platform. While people are constantly getting information in such small bursts, it has given us shorter attention spans and more possibility of quick quarrels. It is easy for people to battle each other without using lots of words, as is the case on Twitter. Is that bad though? I feel as though that should force people to make concise arguments instead of long debates.

However, with as much information that is out there to help people learn how to use Twitter more effectively, the truth is that like every social media platform, as soon as you think you know what you are doing, something new is being developed. For instance, now there are Tweet Chats. Cheryl Conner speaks about this and how people can gather together to chat while using a #hashtag to note that it is part of the same conversation. I know that I am not ready for that kind of tweeting yet, but after learning a lot this week, my new goal is going to be reaching out to followers and working on becoming an interesting person to follow on Twitter. After learning about Twitter, what will you be working on when it comes to building your own brand? Do you think more schools should be using Twitter as a part of their classroom learning experience?

Content is Key!

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This week the lecture focused on how important content is. I am going to be honest, and tell you that content is something I have constantly struggled with. I have always thought that I should be blog posting, but being scared to start has stopped me. What I thought was key in Professor Bornstein’s speech is that you can be paralyzed by that fear and not move forward. That is what I was doing. Well thanks to the lecture and learning just how important content is, I have made a conscience decision to focus on creating more content.

This week I reached out to Facebook about a topic that I have always wondered about, whether or not people decided to comment on religion or politics on Facebook and why. I actually received a bunch of responses, which made me really happy. It showed me that people were willing to comment whether they were agreeing with it or were against it. That is something else that was spoken about in the video. Even if someone responds negatively, it is important to just acknowledge that they are responding. This is a great concept, one of the most important parts of sharing isn’t making everyone agree with what is being posted but being able to stand your ground and defend what you wrote to begin with.

We were told to look at some people or brands on Twitter and I decided to look at the things I was interested in, which for me is health. I started following @Nike, @nikesportswear, @DailyHealthTips, @FITNESS, & @WomensHealthMag. I am currently very interested in fitness and making fitness and diet change into a lifestyle choice and all of these brands interest me and provide interesting content. Even though they are all part of the same theme, they all create different content. Content that educates, inspires, and teaches me things for free.

Which is another big part of what I took away from the video. In order to get you have to be able to give, freely. Give content, ideas, help, resources, and share so that you build an audience that trusts you and that grows. This lecture really gave me a lot to think about, and made me realize how much more work goes into being a social presence.

 

 

Inspiring connections between you and your audience

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This week the reading focused on engaging with our audience. While there were many different ways that were brought to light, some stuck with me more than others. Guy Kawasaki spoke about how something to keep in mind was showing restraint when it comes to self-promotion. This spoke to me since I agree wholeheartedly that when someone constantly sells themselves to me, I not only want to tune out, I de-friend someone, or un-follow them.  Another great point that Guy makes is finding good content and getting it out there while it was trending or on the verge of trending. Dave Kerpen speaks about how important content is as well. Dave points out that it isn’t about just finding content, but finding content that is relevant to what you do while not shouting what your company does. It seems like a fine line to walk, being able to provide information while not soliciting business directly.

Craig Silverman spoke about how finding good sources and reading will lead to creating good content on your own. This is something that is incredibly hard to do, in my opinion. Craig speaks about how hard it is to create content and how it is done by repeating the process over and over. Pam Moore’s article was about “50 Ways to Energize Your Social Media Community & Audiences”, this article provided me with a lot of great information, but what I found interesting is that all these articles tied together. Pam also spoke about how leaving your own blog and visiting others will help you. I agree! It seems like all of these people not only encourage your own content and writing, but by reaching out and finding content that other people write, it is a great way to communicate with new people and also learn new things. It is a way to find new content to talk about, while not promoting your own business directly or staying stagnant.

Lastly we read an article by Brian Solis  that spoke about how much has changed over time when it comes to how the internet is used in an infographic called The Conversation Prism. ImageHe talks about how by looking at this it can not only validate social media, but it also shows different ways to use the Prism to explore new ways to reach out to people. When I look at the Prism I am astounded by how much more information there is out there. Every time I think I may be getting proficient in something, it shows me that there are so many more things I have yet to even explore. It stands by what everyone has talked about, realizing that there is so much content and that in order to be educated, we have to educate ourselves. Do you ever find the amount of information out there on social media daunting? How do you find your own content? Do you stick with only content about your field or do you branch out? Feel free to chime in and let me know what you think!