Popularity of Visual Content

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Visuals are extremely engaging content. There are social media platforms dedicated just to them and some of those platforms allow for both photos and videos.  The main channels centered on visuals are YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Vine.

If your brand has any type of video content, it is imperative that you utilize YouTube. According to How To Make YouTube Part Of Your Social Media Marketing, YouTube is second most popular search engine and it only serves up videos. The reason to be on YouTube is because it allows you to be found when users are doing a search. It also will pull your videos up into the related video area. YouTube can be accessed from almost all mobile devices. The one point that stuck with my from this article was to not hide your videos on your website. I’m guilty of this. I get greedy for website traffic and forget that YouTube is just another way to distribute video content and serve it up to those users who are searching for something on that platform.

I have a hard time agreeing with the article Research: YouTube beats Facebook with consumers. They said users reported use of YouTube ahead of all other social sites. I find this hard to believe because I’m not a big user of YouTube. What I can agree with them on is that brands are planning to increase their video budgets. I know at my job we’ve put a big emphasis on video content and are making it a priority. That means increasing the budget and possibly taking away from other things we’ve done in the past. Video content is too popular to ignore it at this point and it has to be a priority if you want users to find you in certain places on the web.

While I may not spend much time on YouTube, I spend way too much time on Pinterest. I can believe it when the article Why You Should Not Ignore Pinterest in Your Social Media Strategy says that users spend more time on Pinterest than on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. I love PInterest because it allows me to look through fun categories of content and store the ideas I like in a very organized way. The reason it has so much success for inbound traffic generation is because the content isn’t stored on Pinterest. The link to the content is represented by a photo and to consume the content you are taken back to where it was posted originally. No matter how many times a “pin” is shared, the link back to your website will remain.

The article Move Over, Facebook: Why Your Business Needs to Be on Pinterest says that businesses need to take a look at Pinterest. I’m not sure all businesses fit with Pinterest. The important thing is to find out if Pinterest is a place where your consumers spend time and if it isn’t then don’t waste your time. I work for a company that doesn’t sell anything. We promote our events and athletes and I have a hard time finding uses for our content on Pinterest.

Pinterest requires a special strategy. Your content needs to fit into the popular categories on the platform and with food and drink, DIY crafts and home décor being the most popular ones. A good way to incorporate Pinterest into your website would be to add “pin it” buttons on content. This allows users to easily share your content on Pinterest.

Vine and Instagram are two of the latest social platforms to become popular. When Instagram launched their video function, I think it put an end to Vine’s popularity. I only dabbled a little in videos on Vine but decided I didn’t need two apps where I could post short videos. Instagram won out. I’m sure there are people that agree and disagree with that same choice.

Do you find yourself using YouTube as a search engine?

When it comes down to posting short videos, do you prefer Vine or Instagram?

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How to be LinkedIn correctly

ImageI haven’t been on LinkedIn for that long. I not sure what kept me away all these years but it wasn’t until about six months ago that I joined the platform. I use to think that because I had a stable job and wasn’t looking for a new job there wasn’t a reason for me to be connected on LinkedIn. I’m learning how wrong that thinking was and the benefits that LinkedIn can provide to everyone.

I wasn’t aware of how LinkedIn made money until reading LinkedIn: The Ugly Duckling of Social Media. Their three main revenue streams are ad sales, talent solution listings and premium subscriptions with corporate customers making up for more than half of that revenue. I can certainly see the lure of LinkedIn to recruiters and companies looking for new hires. They have a huge database of potential employees at their fingerprints. The important thing to learn and remember is how to stand out on LinkedIn and keep from making mistakes that will keep you from being recruited.

There are many ways to optimize your LinkedIn profile and the article Preparing for the New LinkedIn Design: How to Optimize Your Page and Profile does a great job of breaking down the main points. The headline is the most important part with the summary being next in line. These are two things that will help you stand out from a crowd. I’m not sure I have either on my profile. These two things must be really important because the article 7 Quick Ways to Turn Your LinkedIn Profile into a Social Media Marketing Workhorse also listed them as points one and two.  

You want to be sure to have important keywords in your headlines and write about who you are in your summary. Things I would include are website management and social media. I’d also call to attention that while working a full work week managing a website and mobile platforms, I also spend my time getting my Master’s Degree in social media. Another area to make sure is up to date is the contact info where social media links should be provided.

The next time you visit your LinkedIn profile think about if you’re making any mistakes on your profile. The article 8 Mistakes You Should Never Make On LinkedIn says that not having a picture is the worst mistake. Your profile is seven times more likely to get viewed when you have a picture. The second mistake is to not have a professional looking picture. This isn’t the social network where a photo of your dog or baby is appropriate. I remember when first setting up my profile I contemplated using a photo of my baby and I. I’m glad that I changed my mind. You want to pick something that shows your professional side and potential connections aren’t drawn in by a baby, even if it is a cute one.

Other mistakes include not updating your status, skipping the summary, or not posting all job or volunteer experience. I don’t know that I’ve ever made a status update on LinkedIn. Updates aren’t needed every day but it is important to post something new every few days to keep your profile fresh and make your profile top of mind for your connections. My tactic will be to share articles I find interesting and helpful to those I’ve connected with.

What mistakes have you been making on LinkedIn that you will start to correct?

Do you make status updates on LinkedIn and if so what are usually?

Stop Controlling My Newsfeed

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I have a very love hate relationship with Facebook. I love the social interaction and being able to share the parts of my life I chose to share with my friends and family. I also love being connected to those that don’t live near. What I hate about Facebook is that it chooses what I see based off the algorithms it’s created.

According to Kurt Wagner’s article Facebook: Here’s How Your News Feed Works, the average person’s newsfeed has 1,500 possible stories per day but only 20% of those stories will make it into that person’s newsfeed. Facebook created an algorithm called EdgeRank to determine what it will allow you to see. It assumes you will find certain things interesting based off your past engagement with friends and brands.

What bothers me is I’ve chosen to be friends with someone or like a company but because the post doesn’t have a high EdgeRank, I might not see it. A great example is I’m an administrator for the LPGA’s Facebook page but for more than a year I didn’t see any of the posts. Just because I didn’t interact with the content doesn’t mean I don’t want to see it. It angers me that Facebook gets to decide what I see and don’t see. There are probably plenty of people out there that enjoy not seeing everything but I’m the type of person where I want to see all the posts but Facebook doesn’t allow all of the posts through to me.

EdgeRank boils down to how close you are to someone and the amount of interaction you’ve had with them. It puts a value on a post has based on comments and likes and how long it has been since the post was created. The article The Importance of Engagement in Facebook Marketing – EdgeRank explains it in much more detail. What brands need to learn from EdgeRank is to put more time and effort into posts to make sure the post will be engaging. Only 16% of followers will see a brand’s post on average because of EdgeRank. The more engaging the post, the higher the likelihood that more people will see it. Some great tips were given to help improve engagement. It boils down to short posts that include visuals, a call to action and posting during the right time for your followers.

When it comes to Google+, Facebook’s competitor, I don’t know much. I’ve used it less than a handful of times. I’m ready to understand more about it and how marketers can successfully utilize the platform. Unfortunately, this week’s readings left me still wondering what Google+ is all about.

What I did gather from the article Why Google+ is an Inevitable Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy is that posts on Google+ have an effect on Search Engine Optimization. Working on a website, I know how important SEO is to a brand. It’s free traffic back to your website. Google+ is a content sharing platform that is significantly integrated into all of Google’s products. Posts you make to Google+ can have a very positive impact on your SEO. Brian Clark said in the article above that not contributing to Google+ could make you lose traffic to your website.

Apparently Google+ made some changes and Kim Garst details them in the article How to Use the New Google Plus Changes to Build Your Brand More Effectively. Not having used Google+ before doesn’t allow me to say whether they were good or bad changes. What I do know is that you aren’t forced to accept the new three column layout. Google+ allows you to revert back to the old version. Photos and videos have been made larger and a really cool photo enhancement feature has been added. While I say hello to Google+, I can say goodbye to blemishes.

Do you like the fact that Facebook chooses what you see or don’t see in your newsfeed?

How often do you use Google+ and what benefit do you get from it?

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet?

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I’ve been on Twitter since 2009 but these days you’d probably just consider me a lurker. When I first joined I tweeted a lot but it was about silly things I did during the day. At the point I realized no one cared what I was saying, I just became a listener on this platform. For years that’s all I’ve been. I will push out an occasional tweet or retweet but most of my time is spent reading tweets from the more than 600 accounts that I follow.

I’m learning that it’s important to have a personal brand. I’m getting my Masters in Social media, yet I’m not utilizing social in a way that I should be personally. Things are about to change for me. Just like any business I need to set a goal, figure out my voice and do some research.  With Twitter businesses need a goal. It will help figure out what type of voice, engagement and content it’ll need to succeed.

When it comes to developing my personal brand, I have to remember it’s not about the number of followers but the amount of engagement from my tweets. To get followers to engage, I need engaging content. To be successful, I need to know what my followers are looking for in terms of content. If I figure out how they are engaging on Twitter, I can create content that works for them.

The point of Twitter is not to sell your product. I find this very hard at my job when I constantly want to tweet links to our web content to drive up our traffic. My tactic needs to be about starting conversations that can then include links to photo or video content our followers will find engaging.

As you ease into Twitter, it’s important to do thorough research. Look for influencers in your industry and for people that will be good for you to follow. It’s important to read through the conversations taking place on Twitter before diving in. This will allow you formulate how you can add to the conversation and to present yourself as an expert in that industry.

A very important lesson for everyone on social media is to have conversations. An easy way to do that is to respond to your followers. Our readings said that you should respond to everyone, but I’m not sure that is possible for all brands. For my personal brand that is an easy goal to achieve but it might not be for a large corporation that receives thousands of tweets a day.

Our readings this week were full of great tips and tricks. It’s important to keep tweets short. It’s easier to retweet something when it doesn’t hit the 140 character limit initially. Hashtags are very important and no more than two should be used in a tweet. It’s easy to follow conversations when hashtags are used and it’s the best way to track analytics on your tweets. Images, videos and calls to action are a must when you tweet. All three will bring more engagement, which is the goal. Finally, it’s important to be authentic and portray a human voice. Your followers want to connect and who is the one behind the tweet.

Prior to this class how involved were you with Twitter?

If you tweet from a business account, do you engage with every tweet you get? If not, will you start?

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Content Needs Strategy

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Social media experts are full of tips and lists of how to go about navigating social media. For someone just starting out, it can be quite overwhelming as they try and remember each little piece of advice offered. One of the main things to learn is to crawl when starting out in social media. This applies when taking others advice as well. You don’t have to try and accomplish everything that someone recommends or all the tips and tricks from a good blog you found. Take your time and pick out one or two things you can implement now and once you’ve mastered that area, move on to a few more.

All of our readings this week had great tips. Here are the ones I found to be most important and how you might apply them. Pam Moore gave 50 tips but I found inspire, entertain, it’s about them, respect their time and tell stories to be the most useful tips for me. Content that is going to resonate the best with your consumers needs to make an impact. Think about what the impact will be of your post prior to hitting the post button. You should have a goal for each piece of content. Don’t just find ways to push out your company’s message. Develop content that is about your fan. You want to be respectful of their time on social media and provide them content that they can connect with.

Guy Kawasaki had 10 influential tips and I really connected with almost all of them. I need to follow my own advice though and only pick out a few tips to incorporate and master now. Once I’ve successfully utilized the first few tips, I can move on to a few more. The tips I found the most useful to start were find the right network and restrain yourself. I think a lot of companies jump into social media and create pages on all the major social platforms. They feel they need a presence in all areas when some social spaces won’t work for their company. Do a little research and only join those social channels that work best for your strategy. Joining others will just be a waste of time. Restrain yourself means sharing good content and not just using self-promotion.  This can be a hard one to master. What you need to realize is that sharing good content will only make the consumer more engaged for the few times when you do allow yourself to self-promote.

In Craig Silverman’s 9 Steps to Creating Engaging Content, I really related to his tip on finding good sources. Do research to find blogs and websites that contain good content. Analyze why you think that content is good. You can then carry over ideas into your own space. Another great tip came from Dave Kerpen in Content is Fire. He said market your marketing. You have to find ways to market your social media space. How are consumers supposed to know you are there? Kerpen pointed out that social isn’t about shouting louder and louder to get attention. It’s about breaking through the clutter. You will find yourself breaking through the clutter when you’ve developed content based on a strategy.

Again I want to stress how important it is to pick a social network based off what your company wants to achieve. Don’t just create a page to have a presence in that space. Look at your demographics and find out where they live on social. The social landscape is huge and that is apparent when looking at the Conversation Prism.

What tip that I shared do you find the most useful?

Do you also find it hard to not self-promote instead of creating useful content?