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?

Are you listening?

ImageEntering the social media world with your business can be a very exciting yet scary place. While embarking on this new adventure, you may want to make your business presence known on all social media channels but at the end of the day it isn’t about quantity but quality. Think about the resources you have and how you will be able to maintain all the social channels you create. You don’t want to just join to join. You want to have an active presence and that may mean you don’t join them all. To find that quality base of customers, you have to do a lot of listening before talking.

What does it mean to listen on social media? Go out there and see what your competitors are doing and figure out how you can do it better. When you find out where your target audience hangs out, listen to what they are saying through their social channels. You want to push out compelling content that people will engage with and not just look at as another advertising ploy. These days it’s about pulling customers in with your messages instead of pushing on them what you want them to hear. Monitor the conversation happening around your brand to see what people want. Another reason why listening is important is so that you don’t miss conversations being had about your brand. If you don’t engage in that conversation, then you are allowing the customers to speak your message and it might not be the right message or a positive one.

Social media requires a strategy. You wouldn’t start any other big project without a strategy, so why should social media be any different. Know who you want to target and what social channels they use. If the demographic you are after doesn’t participate in Instagram or Pinterest, what is the use in putting your efforts into those areas? A big part of your strategy should be storytelling. It’s how humans connect. Most of the shares I see on Facebook are heartwarming stories. Find stories that can relate to your brand and tell that side of your product instead of the data. Your customers will have more to relate to with that type of post.

Your personal social brand can also play a major role in your life, for instance in obtaining a new job. More and more human resources departments and recruiters are evaluating your social media presence. Some interesting points were made in our readings about resumes being a thing of the past and your Klout score being a major factor in hiring. I don’t agree completely with what was being said. I think the resume will be around a while longer but social media will play a larger role in making or breaking you as a candidate. Job seekers are becoming more and more creative with ways to set them apart and I think short videos will replace cover letters in due time. When it comes to a Klout score being important in the hiring process, I think it has to do with the position. An accountant probably wouldn’t be judged on it like a social media manager would be.

A great way to look at start in social media is to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your social media presence. Not many companies will be an overnight success. If you build it, they will slowly come.

What’s the biggest mistakes you think companies make when starting social media accounts?

Do you see Klout scores becoming more important in the hiring world across all departments or just specific ones?

What you should know about me…

I loved every minute of attending the University of Florida getting my Bachelor’s degree in Advertising and I’m excited to be considered to be a UF student again. When having a tough time landing a job after graduation, I secured an internship with the website department at the Ladies Professional Golf Association. I didn’t know anything about websites and not much about golf but I loved sports and the position intrigued me. I set off to Daytona Beach for two month position that ended up landing me a full time job with the LPGA and I’ve been there pretty much ever since. There was a short stint in Miami with the FedEx Orange Bowl National Championship that filled the year between my internship and being hired full time by the LPGA.

I manage the day-to-day operations of a website and several mobile platforms. I incorporate social media in many different ways across these channels. I have the pleasure of promoting the best women golfers in the world. They are not only the best in their sport but they are fantastic role models for young women. I consider myself lucky to be able to spread their message and provide fans of the LPGA the information they seek.

Lily_8702With social media, my experience has been self-taught. I would consider myself a social media addict when it comes to my personal accounts. This degree intrigued me because I could learn more about all the social channels and really get on the forefront of new developments. Working alongside professors and fellow students will also allow me to learn tactics that have already been tried and tested. In the long run this degree will set me a part. A lot of people will say they are social media experts based off what they’ve taught themselves but I will have the academic backing and learning to effectively apply what I’ve learned.

On a personal level my time is spent chasing after my one-year-old daughter. Now that the fall is upon us, my weekends will be filled with nonstop football watching, especially the Gators. When I do get a free moment to myself, I love teaching myself how to sew and take on other crafty projects.