Tag Archives: Google+

Work and Social Media, Do you know the rules?

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I currently have a full time position where I work with social media all day long. While I only manage one brand, there is a lot of research that goes into finding good content to post, plan for the next week, and so on. That being said, I check Facebook about 10 times a day. While I don’t check it right when I wake up unless it is the weekend, I work with Facebook and am on it constantly. While I manage a separate page, all of the groups I monitor are linked to my personal page and in checking all of them periodically, I also check in on what my friends are doing for a couple of minutes here and there.

My company logs every site that we go on and I think it is completely ethical to do so. I know that I am being tracked because I am constantly coming across sites that are blocked while I am doing research and I know that is monitored. Ethically, I think that as long as it is acknowledged that they will be tracked it is fine. I think that while it should be common sense that everything can be tracked, I think it should be written down in an employee contract so that people really do understand the implications of what they are doing. Unfortunately, people still do not understand what they are doing when they are on social media at work.

I personally have my place of work show on my Facebook and LinkedIn page, however I am also very focused on not posting anything inappropriate on social media. I feel that I am my own brand and I am my own advocate and if I do not think it is in my best interest, I don’t post it. I don’t think posting something about having a busy day or a stressful day is a bad thing, however posting about being drunk or any kind of lewd behavior would make me think that it might just be easier to not attach anything to my profiles.

While I think that there are some policies that are more strict, I do think that there should be some kind concept of not allowing social media to overwhelm their work mainly because social media is a major distraction. While some people can handle it properly and only check things occasionally as a break, some people truly are addicted to checking and monitoring social media and it can create a really stagnant work environment where not a lot of things are getting done.

Watch Your Reputation

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Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 8.51.03 PMWhen it comes to reputation management, British Airways learned the hard way that social media is playing a bigger part than it used to. I have previously mentioned that Dave Carroll reached out and created a video after being upset with how his broken guitars were handled. Here is the story from Dave’s point of view. While British Airways did offer him flight vouchers and the cost of his guitar as chronicled in this article, a bigger part of that is how this got out of control before that happened.
When looking back at this, it is always easier to point out what works since hindsight is 20/20. To give you an idea of what I am talking about, this video went viral before it really got attention from the company.

So what does this mean for someone who is in charge of an online reputation? I think it should be treated just as an argument that would have occurred face to face. The first step would have been to handle this in a timely manner, since that didn’t occur right off the bat; I would start with an apology. A sincere apology can make people feel better about the situation that they are in. After that, an expectation should be set for resolution, such as, we will get back to you about this within a day, or however long the company sets as a time. As far as giving them a free ticket or paying them back for their guitars, while it may have been what would have made them happy originally, at this point and with this much media coverage it seems as though it would be British Airways trying to buy their silence. Instead of just offering money, something that usually makes people more at ease with the situation is changing policy. When any company has a situation and realizes that what they were doing doesn’t work anymore, they should change their policy and move forward instead of apologizing for the past or trying to justify their current policy.

I have never encountered this severe of a customer service problem, but a common frustration I have noticed by either myself or people around me is that companies choose to justify policies that don’t make sense. There is no need to stick to a policy that doesn’t work and customers would like to see a company work through an issue and come out with a better procedure than they had when they first began dealing with them. In this case, a change of policy when it comes to how soon people are expected to respond within would make a big difference.

Final Project – I learned a LOT!

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For my final project of the semester, I decided to create a promotion, for my own start up business. I knew it would be a lot of work, but really the amount that goes into planning is so much more than I had anticipated! I have consulted and helped people with their social media planning and branding before, but starting from scratch was very difficult. It all started with my company name, Social Solutions For You. I had to build a website, www.socialsolutionsforyou.com, but I also needed a logo for branding. In order to get a logo, I did a lot of research and saw that VistaPrint offered design services. I had heard great things about VistaPrint before, so I decided to look into it. This is a really cool program called Design Crowd that reaches out to designers and they send you designs after reading a brief that you had written. I was on a deadline, so I made the design due in 3 days. I was stunned by the amount of submissions, I had chosen the lowest pay scale, so I knew I wouldn’t get a ton of designs, but in that short time frame I got 25 submissions. Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 8.04.10 PMSome were great and some really weren’t, above are two designs that didn’t make it. What was great was how I could ask designers to change colors, fonts, really everything! It was a long process though, and since people were submitting from around the world it was very time consuming and there was a lot of back and forth. The winning design took about 2 weeks to formulate, so if you hate it, don’t tell me..Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 11.01.29 PM

Once I finally had a logo, it was time to get a website going!!! In order to do that, and do it well, I took a look at various website options that I could work on myself. I looked at Wix, and did some research on their blogs, some of which really look fabulous! I started working on one, until I realized that it didn’t work well with WordPress, and since I already use WordPress for school, I really wanted to use a site that worked well. So, back to the drawing board. I finally decided to a site through my BlueHost domain hosting. There were a lot of choices, and it came down to the right theme. I want to add that I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to websites, so this was an adventure in itself. There are a lot of various things that can go wrong when building a website, so of course I experienced a lot of them. From accidentally deleting pages or posts and realizing that different side bar options are just not working.

A downside I learned while I was working on my website, was that unlike WordPress that actually sends people your blog post if they have shown an interest in something similar, I am on my own. I will need to make all of the interaction and engagement happen and will need to know how I track the information as well.

Due to that, one of the main things I wanted to have happen with my website was Google Analytics. I have learned this semester how much I can learn from Google Analytics, and because of that I knew I needed to have it on my website. It was not easy to get it on there though, it should be easy, but clearly I was doing something wrong, about 70 times. Luckily, my husband was able to figure it out in under 10 minutes after I finally asked him for help.

Once I had that working it really became time to formalize a plan and decide what I was going to do on social media sites, as well as with a campaign. To start I back dated posts on Facebook from September on, since I had really not been posting lately and began to invite friends to “like” my page, as well as try to grow my circles on Google+. I  also updated Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn to make sure all of the pictures matched for continuity. At this point I realized is that I need pictures of myself. I mean, I have selfies or other random pictures, but I mean a professional headshot. I definitely think it takes a profile to the next level when there are more professional pictures, so at some point in the future I will look into getting some taken. This way I can update my information and have some more up-to-date pictures. Since this company is mine and all about branding myself, I think it is important to have a good selection of my own pictures.

The next step was to figure out how I wanted to attract people to my pages. I turned to Woobox. When I first signed up, I noticed that there was a quick and easy way to add my Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as static tabs to my Facebook page which I think is really great. I think it is important to always give people an opportunity to follow you in other places easily. The key is making it simple so that they don’t have to search to find your information, but by making it simple they can do so if they choose.

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To find out some more great techniques, I did some research on what is a great way to get more followers. While there are a lot of different ways to do that, most people agree on the idea that you need to be interesting, you need to respect your followers and connect with them and you need to be consistent. Simple ideas, but hard to follow through with sometimes. Social media is a constantly changing environment and to stay on top of it, we need to be constantly involved by posting and interacting.

While those are ways to keep followers interacting with you, at this point I need to play a numbers game and just begin to get followers. I know that it may not be the best way over time, since people may decide to unlike my pages or unfollow me, but in the beginning I think it is a great way to build a following. I had a lot of choices of what kind of promotion I wanted to run.

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 10.22.46 PMI have decided that when I make a promotion, I will most likely be using the sweepstakes option. I don’t know yet what my prize will be, but I can make a lot of different rules for my contest. I think this is a great feature since it means that I will be able to guide the settings to make sure that people sign up through Facebook, or email. How many times they can sign up and how many bonus entries they get if they have a friend sign up as well.

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Another great feature that Woobox offers, is being able to see which post I can use to pick a winner, as seen below.Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 10.47.22 PMRight now, as you can see these posts have no likes, or comments. That is what I think running a promotion will change. This is something that has worked for many companies in the past, and I do not think that it will be any different for my company. I do think that I will have more luck if I grow my company more in the meantime, before I run a promotion, but a promotion will help me have fast growth at some point in the future. I think that until I am ready to post a promotion, slowly gaining followers who are actually interested in what I am posting is my best bet. I have learned to post in groups or communities, depending on which social platform I am using. This helps with growth and followers on those sites, and by beginning to direct them back to my Facebook page, it will really create cross interaction.

While considering what kind of promotion I want to use, I think I will create an image about the promotion instead of just a post, since it is proven that pictures not only create more of a reaction with followers, but it also is promoted more in news feeds because of that.

Since I would be buying something to give away I want to look at all of the different reasons that promotions and posts succeed. This article talks about different ways to make sure that Facebook engagement occurs and continues. One of the best suggestions I read was about how instead of just thinking of posting something, think of it as planting something since you have to stick around on the page and increase communication with anyone who comments. That to me makes a lot of sense since it is a great way to increase engagement, which is my goal at the end of the day. Engagement in social media is what thrills me about this field. Being able to get notifications when someone is engaging with something I have shared or written still brings a smile to my face. I hope I never lose that feeling since it really is what makes me want to stay in this complex but rewarding field.

Another great concept I learned about are, “caption this” posts. Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 11.37.19 PMThe above picture was taken from the page Dlisted, and they use this caption idea almost every day! There are always winners, and a lot of people put in comments. On this picture alone there were 80 comments. This shows me how great the idea really is and how much I do need to implement it into my campaigns.

I have learned a lot in the past 6 months about social media that has led to me starting my own pages and campaigns. One of my favorite images that has stuck with me is this one.

36-rules-social-mediaI think that while this doesn’t include everything, there are a lot of great tips here. Two that I think relate to running this promotion specifically are numbers 25 & 30. The only way to scale word of mouth is through paid advertising and contests and sweepstakes are fine, if you want to encourage short relationships. I see a promotion as a type of paid advertising, but yes, it will create a short relationship if it is not built correctly. I do think that by slowly building an audience and directing them back to my page it will help enhance my promotion when I do actually run it. People will be more likely to share the post and try to win if it is a product they want and a company they already interact with and look at the pages of.

I am eager to get going on not only creating a business, but branding myself I really think I will be well on my way to becoming an influence in this field. I am very excited to continue to learn how to grow and build an audience and connect with people about social media.

Google Me, Google You!

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My name is Amanda Scheffer Cavanagh, now after I got married. However, before that it was Amanda Rachel Scheffer. As a child of divorce I was able to choose which name I wanted and to me that made a difference, I have always been proud of my name and felt it was an intrinsic part of myself. I put my name into Google and this is what I found..

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 8.19.41 PMOnly one of those pictures is me, and only my new name was found to really be me. What?! I have used this name for 24 years of my life, and the first result I found that was actually related to me was on page 4 with a press release that a professor from Hofstra University had written about coverage of the Presidential Debate that took place there in 2008.

Now, I know that I wasn’t doing a lot in the public eye, but I was doing things and posting things and commenting, but apparently I just did not leave enough of an impact to be associated with my name.

Enter my decision to work in social media and learn about social media marketing from the University of Florida, and now my new identity makes me a lot easier to find! Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 8.19.22 PMThis is all me! This is a huge transformation in a short period of time. I only started posted blogs and commenting in August 2013, and by staying on top of things and continuously posting I have been able to grow something of a presence online. It is only starting, and it is pretty small, but I am very excited to see my name actually reflect who I am. I had learned a lot of Search Engine Optimization tips and posted about them here, and by using them over time I have been able to grow a slight presence. This to me is increasingly exciting and is a constant reminder that I need to be posting more, commenting more and connecting more. That is the point of social media, right? to be social. I am increasingly interested in growing my network and connecting with new people about social media and other interests of mine. I think that it is amazing how people all around the world can connect and reach out to each other through the internet and I love being a part of it.

When I searched for my email address, my new email address came up with nothing that was actually me, while my old one actually had a couple of relevant hits.

Screen Shot 2014-02-21 at 9.29.24 PMThe top link was when my friend lost her dog, and we were reaching out via various social media platforms if anyone picked her up and took her home. Just to let you know, that story has a happy ending and the dog did make it home. The other two links were from my undergraduate days of school and various work that I did with my professors. I find it interesting that more information came up from my email address with my maiden name than my current address. I don’t know why that is, other than I used my maiden name email address more frequently since my new one is only a year old.

Results of my First Survey!

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surveyWhen I first set out to make this survey, I was hoping for a LOT of engagement, interaction and people taking my survey. This is not what happened, at all. I shared this survey on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. Between those three social media platforms, I have 1,500 connections. While there is some overlap, I can still safely say that I have 1,000 connections. I received 96 completed survey results. This is after friends of mine shared the survey as well, which brought the amount of people who saw my survey up to 2,500. This means that the amount of people who saw me or a friend of mine request survey results and completed the survey is 0.038%. WHAT?! While I knew that it would be hard to get people to take my survey, I really didn’t think it would be THIS hard. Especially since I was asking about social media, on various social media platforms.

Results:

Of the 96 people who took my survey, 21 were male and 75 were female

8% of people fell between 18-22 years old, 40% of people were between 23-27, 14% were between 28-32, 14% were between 33-37, 5% were between 38-42, 3% were between 43-47 and 16% were over the age of 48

60% had a Bachelor’s Degree, with 15% with a Master’s Degree and 13% only finished some college

77% of people did not have children, with 23% having children. Of that, 41% have only one child and 36% have 2 children

97% of people do use social media platforms, with 3% saying no they did not use social media platforms

Of the people who do use social media, 92% use their real names while 8% use fake names, when asked why a fake name would be used, the biggest response was that it was due to privacy concerns and not wanting their company to be able to find them on social media

When asked how please people are with the privacy level of the content an individual themselves places on social media, the results are: Screen Shot 2014-02-02 at 9.44.34 PM

I find this very interesting since so many people constantly complain when a new Facebook feature has been added that changes the privacy settings. The fact that only 21% of people are displeased in some way means that the people who get very upset about privacy and complain about it ad nauseam does not necessarily mean that they will partake in a survey.

So how often are people using various social media platforms?

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While I am not shocked that Facebook is used the most, I am a little more surprised that more people are not using Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or Instagram. I knew that Myspace and Google+ would be a long shot, but I really thought that more people would use the other social media platforms more.

Put the social media platforms in the order of your preference

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I put this question in as a safeguard against lying. For instance, if all of a sudden Myspace had come up as the third or fourth preference I would know that people were not paying attention to what they were choosing as an option. However, I think that these results match the previous results very well, which means that people didn’t lie! I am excited about this since I was very nervous of whether or not people would be honest.

While I am thrilled that I got these results, I do realize a lot of mistakes that I made that I could fix in the future. I missed a lot of data gathering information when I did not ask more about age groups, education levels, or even offer more social media platforms. I completely forgot to include YouTube or Tumblr. I know there are a lot more social media platforms, but those two are pretty popular and should have been included. I think that learning to include more questions, as well as figuring out exactly what information I want would help me a lot so that I would really be able to pinpoint the information that I wanted to know. Let me know what you think!

Social Media Survey

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This week I worked on creating an online survey. Since I am focused on learning more about social media platforms, that was what I decided to focus on. I want to know more about why people choose to connect on various social media platforms. For instance, I use my Facebook to connect with people, my Pinterest to learn new things that I can buy or create, LinkedIn to grow a professional network, Instagram to see my friends pictures and to log my weight loss journey and my life, Google+ to connect with more people and Twitter to see what other people are talking about.

However, I know that not everyone uses their social media platforms the same way. Some people use them for completely different reasons and others don’t use some of them at all! That is why I would like to learn why people are using or not using various platforms. I also would like to learn how often people use the sites. I may think using a site “frequently” means using it daily, while the same wording may mean using it weekly to someone else. That is why I was careful to use intervals when asking how often people use the various sites.

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 5.42.56 PMI also asked people to put the social media platforms in the order of their preference so that I can have an idea of which ones are preferred. Another aspect of what I want to learn with this survey is how many people complete a survey. I made this survey fairly short, only 15 questions, but I think it will be interesting to see how many people just stop in the middle of the survey. I included two open-ended questions to see if that is what prompts people to exit.

I also made sure that I used various scales so that I could tell if people were actually paying attention to what they were choosing, or if they were just selecting things at random to quickly finish. I am hoping that people will be truthful, since it is a really quick and easy survey!

However, I know that not everyone will be, it is an unfortunate fact of survey results.

In the end I am hoping to learn a lot from my results, but the truth is that I have already learned a lot just making the survey! I had never made a survey before and it is a really difficult process. Thinking of the questions and how to word them is very complicated. Another problem I now realize is forgetting things. For instance I realize that I didn’t include YouTube, which is a social media platform. Well, you know what they say, hindsight is 20/20.

If you would like to take the survey to help me out, you can here.

Also, feel free to chime in below and let me know what you thought!!

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?