Monthly Archives: October 2013

Show Me the Money.. Through ROI

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Dollar BillsA lot of people want to make money from their social media efforts, but few people are extremely successful at it. Why is that?

One reason is that a lot of people don’t want to ask for money. When fundraising, they only want to reach out to the people they know, or people they know care about the same cause that they are raising money for. The truth is, with social media, everyone can donate money, they just need a reason to give that they believe in. Jason Boies talks about how telling your story gets people to want to give. I agree. Not only does telling the story make people want to give to you, but it also has them connect with you in a way that has them share what is going on with other people. This goes back to the altruism idea, that people want to share something that makes them feel good and also makes them look good. I think this is a great concept and can really help when raising money for a cause.

However, what if it isn’t for a cause? What if  a company just wants to make sure that they are getting a good return on their social media investment? Well, one way to do that is to always be engaging. Adam Popescu talks about how people want to interact with the brands they like and want to have that connection. I agree, when I reach out to a brand and see that they only respond to the negative comments and ignore all of the good feedback, I get annoyed. Every comment should count, every opinion should matter, that is one of the benefits of social media.

Chris Heuer talks about how R.E.A.L. relationships are important in today’s society. R.E.A.L. means reciprocal, empathetic, authentic, long-lasting. Chris talks about how when people interact online, they are doing so in a public manner and that can create a huge positive or negative effect on your brand. To ensure that more positives are being said about your company, create relationships, build connections with people. Especially since customers are more likely to do repeat business with a company that reaches out to them and connects with them.

Zeynep Tufekci agrees that social media is a benefit, and argues that it is a positive role in peoples lives. He argues that the conversations we have through social media, we wouldn’t have otherwise. I tend to agree with his argument. If it wasn’t for these sites I wouldn’t know a lot of what is going on with people since I wouldn’t be involved in their lives. Does it enhance my friendships with my close friends too? Yes, it does. I constantly reach out with funny images or articles that I find, and so do my friends. It is a great way to connect in a way that we couldn’t over the phone.

What does this mean to you?

What do you think of Zeynep Tufekci’s argument that social media is a benefit to relationships?

Do you think acknowledging every comment a brand receives is important?

Would you consider launching a fundraising effort through social media?

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SEO – Ways to Rank Higher

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ladderBefore this week, when someone talked to me about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), I thought that it was about adding keywords so that when someone looked for something it came up. While I wasn’t completely wrong, it is so much more than that.

For instance, Google allows you to do so much when it comes to increasing traffic. Ian Cleary talks about the different ways that you can use Google Webmaster tools to increase traffic to your own site. Part of these instructions sound as though you need a lot of knowledge in HTML coding in order to do it, however, some of it is simple. For instance, changing titles on different articles and blogs so that you get picked up with more keyword usage.

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Google Results for Amanda Scheffer Cavanagh

To really see what was going on, I actually googled myself to see what came up. In years past, before I started in social media, I was listed on the 6th or 7th page of Google for having stood up to the local government in support of more educational funding. Really nothing that would help me be seen now. However, after looking myself up, I was stunned that it was actually all me! My name and actually who I was right there on top! The fact that I am now coming up in regards to my own name is a huge start for me. I have always known that keeping an eye on your online presence was important, which is why I realize how hard it was for me to actually come up this often. Being a presence online is not always easy and maintaining that presence can be difficult as well. Which is why these tips are so helpful.

Another tip from Cleary that I found helpful was being able to turn on geographic targeting. This is something I hadn’t really thought about until I started my own business. While it would be amazing to be well known worldwide, I would much rather target an area closer to home to increase business locally.

In this article, Ian Cleary talks about optimizing images. I find this to be a great tip since I always include a picture or two, but I had never really thought to name the picture in a certain way or add keywords to the title in order to have it found easier, but now that I know that tip, I will focus on doing both of those things. I also found it interesting that he mentioned that captions on images don’t help SEO.

Dan Simon has more tips to follow when it comes to SEO, one of them being updated content. It would seem like this is a no-brainer, but the truth is, it can be hard. Not only to write content but to come up with content on your own and to update all profiles, to not stay stagnant. This is something I know I am struggling with when it comes to writing across 6 platforms. However, having content that is constantly being updated helps with ranking higher since when it is categorized by date the more recent, the better.

The question that remains at the end of all this, is why does this matter to me? The truth is there is a lot of value to being on top of the Google search results page. Ayaz Nanji takes a more in depth look at this and tell us that a website that is listed in the first position in Google results will receive one third of the traffic. It talks about how 91% of traffic stays on only the first page. That is a high percentage, so if you aren’t even high up on that first page, you may not be receiving any traffic.

So how can you use all of these tools and more? Sign up for Google Analytics Academy, I know I will today.

Have you been using the right optimization tools when it comes to images, if you used any?

Take a moment, and Google yourself, do you come up on the first page? Are you happy with what comes up?

Measuring Success

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measuring_successBefore this week I thought that any measure of interaction was a measure of success. To some extent, I still do. However, I now know that there are a lot of other tools that I can use to define success in order to truly gauge how I am doing when it comes to social media.

Peter Odryna talks about what the most important steps are for landing a client with social media research. One of the concepts that truly stayed with me is the idea of watching trends. I know that Twitter and other social media platforms will let you know what is trending, but I haven’t always known what to do with it. Now though I realize that you can use trends in two ways, one is to be able to jump in on the conversation and the other is to watch what is going on so you can monitor what is important to people and be able to do more research to know as much as you can about an important topic.

Why does keeping up with trends matter? Nils Mork Ulnes talks about how important analytics are when it comes to discovering what matters to potential customers and prospects in order to truly understand what they want to know about, hear about, and care about. When customers know that the businesses they are working with, it gives them a feeling of power and connection that not only has them connect back to the company, but excites them to share as well.

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I was so excited when Staples replied to me about a product I bought! I not only shared this with some other social media students, I talked about it in my own personal life as well. I shared it on Facebook and showed people what I bought, it was a really nice experience to have a company take notice of what I said and respond. I had reached out to a few other companies and had received nothing as a response, so this made a big impact with me. That is one of the reasons I believe paying attention to what is trending with people and potential customers is so important. Everyone has something to say and wants to feel as though their thoughts matter, just acknowledging them can have such a meaningful impact on who they decide to work with in the future.

So how do you use social media metrics to define and measure success? There are a lot of ways that you can look at different pieces of your own social media influence. Ian Cleary talks about 7 different ways to track links some are free, while others you need a membership to use. The only one that I have any kind of knowledge about is bit.ly. With bit.ly you can shorten extremely lengthy links so that you can fit them in your tweets. However, since you can also use bit.ly to see where your links were shared it makes sense to use them even when you don’t need to shorten the link for a character limit. This is one great way to determine how often your link is being shared and one which platform you are connecting the most on. This is a great way to monitor how you are doing and on which platforms you can use to engage more and which platforms you need to tweak your methods to get better engagement.

One thing I always like to keep in mind is that even though I am focusing on using social media, each platform is different. Something that works well on Twitter might need more of an in depth explanation on Facebook or Google+. Also, even though visuals should be used for better engagement on all platforms, what is posted on Instagram doesn’t always work with what is posted on Pinterest even though they are both visual platforms.

Another way to keep track of what is working and what isn’t is by using Klout. Ian Barker talks about how Klout measures influence across every platform that you link to it. It gives you a score from 1-100 that will vary depending on your current activity and engagement from other people. I do like Klout, but I recognize that it is only one measurement of influence. There are a lot and as I grow I know that I will have to use various tools in order to measure my own success.

So how do you measure your success? What tools do you use to track engagement?

Do you connect with followers differently on different platforms or do you use the same posts and information on every platform?

Ways to go Viral may make your head Spiral!

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viral-marketingOne of the great gains we have gotten through social media is the ability for every single person to be heard. Unfortunately finding people through all the noise and chatter is something that is hard to do. So how do you make sure that your content is seen?

While some people differ on their arguments on how to go viral, there does seem to be a lot people agree upon. For example, emotions. Kelsey Libert & Derek Halpern agree that virality is heavily linked to emotions and here are some of the reasons why:

– Emotions trigger responses, whether they are good responses of warm, cuddly feelings, or anger and angst about the topic people react.

– When people share content it is a reflection on them and how they feel and what they are thinking. This is something that helps with things going viral since it is a great way to share information and share a little bit about themselves.

– Another key point that is made is that while anger incites a lot of sharing, it is a good rule of thumb to not try and push too much content with the intent to anger too often. While controversial topics are always a good idea in order to push through barriers and create thought provoking content, making people angry towards you will quickly decline any growth that was sustained.

A great part Dorie Clark makes is how to not forget that word-of-mouth is still a very powerful tool in making something viral. Not all companies can create content that naturally leads to a viral trend. Some content is just not as interesting as others, however, by consistently reaching out to people and remembering that most of word-of-mouth still happens through face-to-face communication you can eventually get your word out. This is such an important detail to remember when it comes to social media. Networking in person is constantly a key part of any business. Not just waiting for people to find your content online, but meeting with people, handing out business cards and getting to know people. If people meet you and like what you have to say, they have more of an inclination to go online and find out what you are saying in other forums.

Lastly, Larry Kim spoke about staying in front of the news cycle. This is something I had not  yet thought of and it makes a lot of sense. When you have a story that may not really make a big splash, if you can time it to get it in front of a news story that is about to break, it may be a great way to get in and get seen. While this doesn’t work for every story, this is a good idea for when you can have it work for you.

I think all of these are great tips, if you can figure out a way to implement them. Can you be emotional about a story or add an emotional element to a story? For some people that is harder than you would think, but if you are able to do so, it would be a great help to you. Another big plus would be a visual element since that also helps in going viral, but sometimes you can’t find or create good visuals. It is important to remember that just because you work hard and want your content to go viral, doesn’t mean it will, and sometimes you just have to keep adding in various elements in order to get your own “special sauce”.

What do you think of adding an emotional element to your stories?

Do you think you could work on timing a story to get in front of a big news break?