- How To Tweet Without Being An Annoying Spammer
- Google Plus for Business: Magnet Minute [video]
- Facebook: The Need to Feel Important
- Social and Speaking Out on Religious, Political and Personal Beliefs
- 6 Secrets for Increasing Your Klout Score
- Godrej Security Solutions Brings ‘Spot The Thieves’ On Facebook
- Content Marketing from A to Z: 5 Things That Start with B
- I Hate Social Media Research Because: It Provides No Insight
- Is Social Media A Marketing Tool Or Not?
- 10 Quick Hits to Create Content for Your Blog
- London 2012: Has Social Media Ruined the Olympics Viewing Experience?
- RSJI Insights: Tips to Heighten Engagement on Facebook
- HHNA’s Colorful Intranet Design Engages Healthcare Employees
- MOBISur Digital Campaign Is Clueless On Social Media
- Will Do.com Become Salesforce’s Attempt at a Social Enterprise Case Management Tool ?
- ONGC Launches On Facebook To Support Indian Olympians
- Fans, Followers, Friends, and Freaks – Gather Followers, Not Just Fans
Posted: 05 Aug 2012 03:26 PM PDT
People ask me frequently how to get the word about their books or business without spamming (sending out repeated self-promotional links).
I've written about this before on 25 WAYS TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK WITHOUT CONSTANTLY SPAMMING LINKS, so I suggest reading that first.
Let's go deeper today.
Promoting others IS a great way to engage, of course, if it also goes beyond the RT. What else can you do? Follow their blog, buy their book, give a review, interact with them on Facebook, sign up for their newsletter, introduce them to a friend, and trade guest blogs!
Zarrella showed that the tweeps with a ratio of 60-80% links have tweets that contain 'interesting' content also have the most followers and RTs (his study was based on millions of tweets).
The only way for you not to spam your following is to combine content tweets (no links) with promo tweets (links). A good ratio is 3 to 5:1. This should fit fairly well into that ratio (if that works for you). If you're a professional stream only, then a 1:1 ratio is acceptable.
Twitter isn't rocket science. Many people say they don't know what to tweet. Hmmm. Do you know how to speak? Then you know how to tweet. Sure, there are a few 'cultural' tools to learn (hashtags, search, lists) but you're smart. You can do it.
I attended the largest Hubspot webinar recently and have pages of info, but what's relevant here is this: the most popular topics (in terms of RTs): sports, breaking news, music, tech, free, fashion, photo (not photography). Least: giveaway, hotel, iPhone, corporate, school, new, tips.
Also, 70% of people studied (hundreds of thousands) will make a purchase decision because of a blog. That's A LOT. 50% read blogs at least once/day.
I schedule about two hours apart (using Hootsuite), and then mix in with links to current events (using Buffer or Hootsuite), RTs of others' links, an occasional link to my own books (tip: add your book link to your Twitter bio!), blog posts, and other interesting info.
I say partial automation because I check in frequently, interact, engage, and live tweet also. Using a combination of Hootsuite and Buffer (they have a great Chrome extension) works best for me. I also like Pluggio.
I hope this gives you some ideas about what to tweet about and how to improve your content (no links) to promo ratio (links). The key is balancing your content so it's not an automated stream of strictly self-promotion.
I'd love your thoughts and comments below!
Posted: 05 Aug 2012 03:00 PM PDT
Recently, Ryan McBurney shared some insights into the power of Google+ for brands and businesses, as well as some actionable advice in our latest downloadable FREE Tip Sheet.
Continuing with that theme, in our latest Magnet Minute video, Amy shares her own thoughts on why your business should be on Google Plus as a part of your social media marketing and how to get started.
For those who question whether there is an audience to market to on the network, Google Plus' latest statistics show they have a reach of 250 million users, 150 million of them active on a monthly basis. 75 million are active on a daily basis for an average of 12 minutes. This makes their monthly total an average of 360 minutes on Google+, very much comparable to the 441 average monthly minutes of active Facebook users.
When you get started on the network, you're going to want to start a business page for your brand on Google+. It helps Google classify the brand name as a business across all of their platforms and gives you more options in terms of monitoring and reach. You can have multiple admins, similar to Facebook fan pages. And recently, Hootsuite, a popular third-party social media monitoring platform, incorporated Google Plus brand pages monitor. So that tool is now readily available for your marketing or community management team to implement.
Make sure your business page is properly branded so it easily connects to your business' logo and color scheme. Much like on Facebook, it's typical for the profile picture to be a company logo and the cover photo to be a more styled image related to your business matching in design with your existing branding. The profile picture is the most important real estate because most of your followers will see your updates in the news feed where your cover photo does not play a role.
As a business page on Google Plus, you are able to "Circle" other brands and people on the network by organizing them into audiences, called Circles. (Note that brand pages cannot actually follow back individual people unless they first follow—or "circle"—your page.) This comes in really useful for you to track different types of profiles' activity, especially your company's more interactive followers. When you start keeping track of those people who interact with your page most often and start returning the favor, you're nurturing the relationship of people who are likely to be your biggest brand advocates on and off the site. You can also segment certain status updates to go to certain Circles, so if you wanted to give your advocates a discount for all they've done you can do that on Google Plus.
Last but not least, make sure you're updating the account with multimedia status updates. Video and photos are the most attention-grabbing format on Google Plus because they are so prominently displayed. Facebook doesn't make YouTube videos as big as they do on Google Plus news feeds, so you have a great opportunity to work the video angle on this network. Text is also more visible on Google Plus because of the different font format methods you can use (bold, italics, etc.) but when you can use multimedia you are likely to get more eyes on your updates.
Do you have some advice for Google Plus business use? Leave a comment below!
[ Check out all of Amy's Magnet Minute videos on YouTube -- and be sure to subscribe! ]
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Posted: 05 Aug 2012 02:30 PM PDT
Every few months I deactivate my Facebook page.
The synthetic communication slowly pushes me towards insanity and I start to feel like a vagrant sitting on a park bench, confused by the world around him.
When I first joined Facebook I received a horde of friend requests from people I knew, yet had nothing to do with in life; loose associations. In some cases I hadn't seen these people in 10-15 years.
I found it peculiar, but what astonished me more was how quickly they began to live their lives like an open wound. It became the Big Brother house, without the respite.
Those we know and those we don't know
I watched as people started to dip their toes into the narcissistic waters and as the weeks passed by the warmth of adulation began coursing its way through their veins. Eventually they realised that the burning desire for affirmation could be appeased by answering that remarkably well engineered question: What's on your mind?
Facebook tells us that it brings people together. It reconnects us with the past and can act as portal into the future. We build relationships based entirely on Facebook and also sever ties because of it. We might have a weekly online rapport with less than 5% of our friend list and we have a real relationship with less than 1%. We peer into the lives of the other 94% and we expose ourselves to all. It becomes that school yard many of us tried in vain to escape.
Tune into the evening news
When you log into Facebook you're taken directly to the News Feed – much like an unsuspecting tourist being ushered into the gift shop. You're plugged straight into lives of others and the voyeur switch is flipped to 'on'. Facebook now has you hook, line and sinker.
The news feed churns out non-stop content and acts as a window into the lives of those you know, those you thought you knew and even those you've never met. It's a deluge of content exposing the deep levels of vanity, self-promotion, conceit and self-pity that seem to have become the benchmark of our online vernacular.
The Facebook Avatar
When Myspace and Friendster were the pacesetters, there were limitations on the depth you could give your online persona, or 'avatar'. You could hope to influence another's perception of you through a contrived list of bands and movies, but you always kept a few cards close to your chest.
Facebook has forced us to go all-in by enticing us with the opportunity to develop a far more sophisticated avatar. An avatar that can convey where it goes, who it goes there with, what music it's listening to at the time and what it looked like. All while working symbiotically with that seemingly innocuous query: 'What's on your mind?'.
By giving you and your avatar a blank canvas, it doesn't feel like there is any imposition on your life. You can login and logout at your own discretion, say what you want, post what you want and be where we want while doing it.
A list of ambiguous privacy settings makes you feel like you're in control. Using your laptop, desktop and cell phone you're invited to spend as little or as much time on Facebook as you like. You select the blue-ribbon content you're happy with and you create a fragmented production of your life.
The innocence of Facebook & the burning desire to feel important
While conceit and vanity are strong themes in the news feed, others have simply been taken along for a ride. Not being able to resist that question: 'What's on your mind?'. It's a question that they are unlikely to be asked with with the regularity that Facebook seemingly does.
This kind of pressure can be insurmountable and can result in the person being brought to their knees and forfeiting personal content at an alarming rate.
I've seen photos of a bride and groom exchanging their vows at a wedding, followed by photos of them relaxing on their honeymoon and eventually photos of them playing with their children. The projection of their perfect life was eventually tarnished after a scornful status update informed Facebook of the divorce.
I've been at a dinner table where 7 out of the 8 people spent the majority of the evening using their iPhones to document what was taking place around them, without really being conscious of the surroundings themselves. This kind of content is being constantly boomeranged into cyberspace with in hope that it will return with a few 'likes' and 'comments'.
One morning you log on and you're greeted by a new notification. It's a friend request from your mom. You realise your avatar now needs to project itself in a far more conservative light, so you start to water down your content.
Another friend request appears from an ex-girlfriend of four years ago and all of a sudden your avatar needs to project itself in a confident, successful, fit and healthy light.
Then one day your boss adds you. You find yourself hastily altering your privacy settings before accepting. By now, your avatar has had so much self-censorship imposed on it that Facebook no longer serves its purpose and you can no longer feel important.
You realise what you do in the Facebook world can dramatically affect your real life. The life you have to physically exist in. The warm adulation is no longer in your veins and all you can feel is the cold from the contrived realm you've been apart of. You deactivate your page.
The future with Facebook
While some of us were introduced to Facebook in our later life, it will be congenital for many. Younger generations will not have an alternative paradigm to compare and contrast against.
This means the 'What's on your mind?' question will exist intrinsically in their makeup. In years to come these people will be running the companies, delivering the verdicts in court, stamping the forms and educating the children.
These sentiments may ring through next time you tell us what's on your mind.
Posted: 05 Aug 2012 01:30 PM PDT
Should CEOs keep their religious views for themselves? That's what the headline in an email asks me. It directs to a Forbes interview with Bill Marriott. Marriott is a Mormon. He also runs a hotel chain, as you probably know. His views are interesting. However, let's take the question a bit further. Can you tweet about your religious views? Your political views? Your sexual life? What you believe are your rights? Do you link to political content on Facebook? Get religious or political in debates?
Let me start by quoting Marriott, who speaks about his approach in the interview: "Marriott has both a deep faith and a deep understanding of his responsibility as a leader. Many of his shareholders, customers, and employees don't belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Their values matter, too."
Remember that last part: their values matter too.
Personal convictions and (personal) branding
Here is probably the simplest moral 'code' you will ever read: "try actualizing your true self, don't prohibit – and even help – others to do the same, refrain from stealing the personal space of fellow beings or to hurt them in the process of your development; also defend them from others trying to hurt them as much as you can". It's my code, a simple one, isn't it? I am simple I guess.
When do you hurt someone? It depends. You can't hurt me when speaking about religion or politics. You can hurt others when doubting the very existence of a supreme being though. Should you refrain from debating openly about something when it hurts someone in this sense? And what about cultural differences? Where I live, few people will judge you because you say you do not "believe". In the US, religion is everywhere, even on the dollar bills. You will get more "trouble" when openly declaring atheistic principles or specific political convictions in some parts of the world.
Many of us work in or for businesses. What we say or do impacts their reputation. There are guidelines. "You can't talk about your personal beliefs" – for the 'greater good' – is often one these guidelines.
There is a reason why few people I know on Facebook or Twitter mention politics or religion. Many have been trained not to do so, again depending upon where they live, work, etc. Some simply prefer to shield their private beliefs since they don't see the value – or do see the potential danger – of making them public. Others (remember that I'm in the business of marketing and perception or, worse, sometimes even deception, does play a role now and then) are very cautious. They want to protect the reputation they want to build and work hard to create the perception they like people to have about them. In case you didn't know: there is quite some 'hot air' in my line of work. For the latter, personal convictions in 'sensitive' domains are – ironically enough – often seen as the enemies of precious so-called personal branding. Finally, there are obviously people with no convictions at all or with no desire to share them.
Social profiles are merely reflections of parts of our selves and no one is obliged to share his personal views or enter into debates with others. And, yes, we do have responsibilities, depending on whom we work and live with and for. However, in the end we choose where we work and how we live.
No one can force anyone to get personal and talk about important topics. At the same time, the social Web is an excellent forum where discussions about religion, politics and other matters can be held if you do not fear a culture of debate. Do you take a risk when doing so? Sometimes. But disagreeing and voicing opinions is not 'hurting' anyone. Does it hurt the business you work for? It depends on how the 'business' feels about the individual, its' own role and its' activities. It also depends on the people 'running' it and the culture that reigns in it. You decided whether you like that or not. And, in case of doubt, you can always discuss about it…
Sacrificing the sense of security
However, one thing is for sure: if no one speaks up in this very public space, we call the social Web, we are intellectually and socially dead in it and better leave it, unless we really don't like debate, think the world is perfect, are on social media for fun or for the money as many marketing folks I know, etc.
When I voice an opinion about politics, gender issues or religion, I always see the same thing happen: people unfollow me, whatever the social network is. It's the only negative effect I see, if you can even call it negative at all. None of my customers ever forbid me to debate anything, so I consider myself lucky.
In other circumstances, people have other considerations to take into account. However, you still decide how far you are willing to go There is often a sacrifice to make in choosing between the (false) feeling of security and the rules and restrictions that often come with it on one hand and the freedom to speak up on the other, if for one or the other reason you feel the silly need to and/or are one the naives that still believe in the potential power of debate and openness in causing change. Just like I do.
Discussion, debate and deliberation can improve understanding of what those we live with think and feel. If we understand and respect it and come to a mutual understanding since we will always disagree, we can move on. That's the very essence of a society.
It's just a matter of respect. I respect what you believe in, though I might not agree and will probably tell you so (and why). I accept the same. Like Marriott in the end says: all values matter. Which doesn't mean I agree with his.
Could have, would have, should have
How free are you in speaking out about your political or other personal views when stumbling upon debates where you strongly feel the urge to react if you ever feel that urge? Can you allow social media to suck you into arguments about thinks like gun control? Gay marriage? Do you fear the consequences? Are you scared about the potential impact on your future, knowing that what you say today probably is online tomorrow? Do you feel you have a choice in defining that future and thus the consequences of your desire to deliberate? Do you feel secure? Do you feel you live and can make a change? Do you know what the business you work for thinks in that regard? Or doesn't it matter at all? I'm interested, really.
Here is a personal thing: I have one fear in life, as far as it concerns myself: that the day I have to go, I would look back and have to admit to myself that I'm thinking "if I wanted or had the guts I could have / would have / should have…." Because that's what happens when you listen to fear and seek excuses to stay in the comfort zone.
Think about it. Or not. It's a free world. Well, not really. But at least I can keep speaking out when I feel it isn't once again. Can you? No one should live or think as I do. However, do keep talking when you feel the need to, unless you don't want. And the rules and policies? They can be discussed. It's all about respect and finding ways to live and work together, always. If others can't know what you think, they can't respect it. If they can't respect it, they're probably not worth it.
Posted: 05 Aug 2012 12:30 PM PDT
Klout is everything. If you have sufficient Klout, some companies will even give you free perks as these people will tell you.
So how can you increase your Klout score to benefit from these freebies? It's pretty easy. All you need to do is follow these 6 secrets and you'll be on your way towards those fabulous freebies.
I know what you're thinking. Hey Annie, those aren't secrets at all, this is just common sense stuff. I thought you were going to share secrets? And my response to that is yes indeed, this is all common sense. But are you following it? Because if you are, your Klout will increase.
But if you don't feel like practicing these secrets and you just want a big score, then head on over to flout.com where you can decide for yourself what your score should be.
Posted: 05 Aug 2012 10:30 AM PDT
Awarded with the Superbrand and Powerbrand status, Godrej Security Solutions, the company with the most locks around ever since we've grown up is engaging with its fans on Facebook with a fun thief-busting game called 'Spot the thieves'.
I came across a Facebook ad by Godrej Security Solutions inviting me to bust some thieves and was delighted to be led to an app directly. The game is apparently only for fans, so I liked the page to proceed with the game. After a little introduction about the notorious thieves on the prowl and a warning to use security solutions to bust them, I clicked 'next' to begin.
A cheerful, flash-animated screen opens up for you with a trio of mean-looking thieves, before coming to a halt. Then, as you can see in the screenshot, there are two buttons below 'PLAY" – 'How to play' and 'Invite your friends'. The buttons are self-explanatory so do go through the simple rules of the game before you click 'play'. For every chor busted, you get 100 points but every time you hit an innocent shopper, you lose 10 points. All the chors, have to be busted within 45 seconds.
You may choose not to invite your friends but at the end of the level, you can always challenge your friends with your score. As the timer begins at 45 seconds in a busy shopping mall scenario, you got to be real fast in spotting any of the three thieves and clicking on them at once to bust them. The challenge is that these mean guys pop up anytime and at any place amongst the security systems, personnel and shoppers.
The good thing is that there is an option to play again and you can improve your score. I liked the fact that you can mute the background music, unlike the 'Angry Devgn' game in the Bol Bachchan Facebook page, where I had to mute my speakers to play in peace.
How cool is 'Spot the thieves'?
As promised by the game, it is a 'fun' game alright. I liked the simplicity and appeal but most of all, I liked it for its sheer objective. The Facebook ad that got me aware of the game, led me directly to the app. The app got me to 'like' the page before I could play the game. Although the app does not play a major role in bringing about awareness for the brand, it does help in building fans.
The option to 'share' with your friends, invite your friends is good to have when you are running a Facebook campaign.
However, two things need to be clarified here: what is the incentive for a fan apart from fun? I didn't see any prizes being announced. Also, as soon as you finish level 1, it says 'level 2 – coming soon'. Shouldn't the game be deployed when all the levels have been designed and tested?
In addition, I would prefer to see a Leaderboard with the top scores and names. Moreover, the theme of the game could be sharper – it would have been really impressive had the game been about the various security solutions provided by the brand and how fans can bust thieves with the help of these. This would have served for a fun-filled awareness drive for its products.
I think 'Spot the thieves' could do much better and am hoping 'Level 2' will take care of that. What do you think?
Posted: 05 Aug 2012 06:10 AM PDT
Today you'll learn about how you can check broken links on your website, why you should use bullet lists in your content, what breadcrumbs are, and more… All together 5 things that helps you make the best of your website content – and they all start with the letter B.
This blog post is part of our series about content marketing. For more information see
You do not want to send your visitors to a non-existing page. Not on your own website. Not on another website you're linking to. It just comes across as unprofessional.
Your links are there for a reason, so make sure you give your visitors what they expect – to land on the correct page with the information you're linking to.
There are a few good tools out there to make sure you're not running a website with broken links:
Let's talk about each of your options:
Google Webmaster Tools – crawl error report
Keep track of your broken links via Google Webmaster Tools (under Health > Crawl Errors). Now, go to your own Google Webmaster Tools account and check if your site has any errors (I'll be amazed if you have no errors listed).
If you don't have a Google Webmaster Tools account for your website, what are you waiting for? It's one of the most popular and useful SEO tools you'll have at your fingertips. Oh, and it's free!
Plugins and extensions – broken links checker plugin for WordPress
If you're running WordPress, you can install the clever little Broken Link Checker plugin. It monitors your site and will automatically let you know in the dashboard of your WordPress admin when it detects a new broken link.
HELP! I've been trying to find similar plugins/extensions for Joomla, Drupal and other content management systems…but with no luck. If you know a good broken links checker extension for your CMS, please let us know in the comments.
Other tools for checking broken links
If you want to scan your site for broken links right now, you can use any of these popular tools:
Checking your broken links is important when you do a content inventory of your website, which is a great start for creating your content strategy…but we'll talk more about that when we get to the letters I and S in this series.
In the meantime, make sure you prepare your basics: in our previous blog post you can read about "Audit your content – what do you have and what do you need?"
Source: Lisa Barone interview
The topic of blogging is huge! Your blog is the heart of your content marketing, especially for small businesses. Yes, it's a lot of work…but it's worth it, and not as difficult as you might think. A good blog post for both beginners and pros is "7 business decisions to make before you start a blog" by Nicholas Tart.
If you are wondering what a blog is, read more at What is a blog?
My general top 3 tips for blogging are:
What about you? If you're struggling with your blog, what's your biggest problem? Time? Ideas? Know-how? Anything else? Share your thoughts in the comments and I'll reply with some tips and trix for you.
When you've been blogging for a while, your focus usually turns to finding good blogging tools. My absolute favorite tools for blogging are WordPress as a publishing tool, and Scrivener as a writing tool…but you'll read all about it in an upcoming blog post.
What about you? What's your number one blogging tip? Which blogging tool makes your life easier? Please let us know in the comments – we love to spread the word about awesome stuff!
To get some new ideas, Social Media Examiner just published a curated list of 22 useful blogging tools.
More blogging for both beginners and pros
Later in this series you'll learn how to make your blogging and content creation easier:
Make sure you get notified about new blog posts!
Love them or hate them – lists are a great way to help your readers quickly scan your content. We're not talking about blog post topics like "Top 5 tips to blah blah blah…". We're talking about actual html coded lists, like the one below telling you about the difference between numbered lists and bulleted lists:
You should only use bulleted or numbered lists to enhance your content. A blog post only made up of bullet points is really boring to read, so surround your lists with paragraphs of text.
Bullet points are not only good for your readers – it's also very practical when you're creating an outline of a new blog post. List the things you want to write about, and then convert them into headings and sentences. If you number them, you'll quickly be able to see if you have a gap in your content flow.
Some ground rules:
For more information about how to create great bullet lists, see these blog posts:
Buffer – schedule your social media updates
You know when you find that awesome website that you want to share with your followers, or you just published your own great blog post and you want to spread the news about it…but:
If any of the above rings a bell for you, then check out Buffer (referral link). It helps you schedule your updates on Twitter, Facebook (both pages and profiles), and LinkedIn. That way you can make sure your new blog post pops up in your target market's streams at the perfect time of the day.
Now when you've heard of Buffer, I'm sure you'll notice the specific sharing buttons on many different blogs. If you have a Buffer account, you can quickly add those blog posts by just clicking the sharing button (just like you do with Twitter and Facebook buttons).
Get extra space for Buffer!
There are many ways you can improve the looks of your content in Google's search results. What we're talking about is something called "Rich Snippet Markup".
You will read about more about the different things you can do with rich snippets markup in our upcoming blog posts, but in the meantime you can test your own pages with the help of Google's rich snippets testing tool.
What are breadcrumbs?
Breadcrumbs markup to look better in Google search results
If you look at the screenshot above (from Google search results), you'll see a breadcrumb trail for one of my blog posts. This gives Google searchers some extra useful information about what category the blog post is in. The main reason you would do this is to (hopefully) increase the amount of people clicking on the link to your page.
If you scroll up to the top of this blog post on my website, you'll also see a breadcrumb path. This helps you navigate my website better (as an addition to the main menu navigation), and gives you a better context for the page that you're on.
SEO isn't only about what you see in the search results – it's also about your website visitors. What's the point of visitors coming to your website if all they do is getting frustrated and leave? Help your visitors, and they'll thank you by staying longer on your site and visit more of your pages. If they like what they see, maybe they'll sign up for your newsletter (hint) – and that's one of your conversion goals, isn't it?
How to you implement breadcrumbs?
In this video, Google explains what breadcrumbs are and how you can implement it on your site:
If you're not a coder, don't worry. For WordPress websites you can use Yoast's SEO plugin and easily implement breadcrumbs for each post and page.
HELP! I've been trying to find similar plugins/extensions for Joomla, Drupal and other content management systems…but with no luck. If you know a good breadcrumbs extension for your CMS, please let us know in the comments.
In upcoming blog posts you'll learn how to get your profile picture to show up in the search results.
Did you find this blog post useful? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.
Posted: 05 Aug 2012 06:00 AM PDT
I recently wrote a blog post citing ten of the biggest complaints about social media research. Today I address complaint #4.
Social media research provides no insight.
Let's start with what I mean when I use the word insight. I don't mean data. I don't mean describing results. I don't mean putting a series of results into a story that makes logical sense. When I say insight, I mean that magical moment when an idea you've never considered before suddenly pops into your brain and a light bulb explodes over your head.
First off, whether you're conducting survey research, focus group research, or social media research, all of these research methods result in data and descriptive results at your fingertips. Tables, lots of tables, and charts, lots of charts, will be at your disposal. But no matter the method, just because you have data at your fingertips does not mean insights will spring forth like a popcorn maker.
Of course, in the case of social media research, if consumers don't want to talk about something, you won't learn about that particular aspect. But in the case of surveys, if you don't ASK about that particular aspect, you still won't get an answer. Either way, we aren't talking about insight. Insight requires the application of brain to data. No brain = no insight. No brain applied to social media data = no insight from social media data.
Social media data provides no insight? FALSE!
Posted: 05 Aug 2012 05:25 AM PDT
Last week we came upon an article in Forbes that really grabbed our attention. The article is authored by Shel Israel, primarily known as an author of books having to do with the social media space. The article got our attention because of the title: Will Marketing Muck Up Social Media?
If you are not involved heavily in social media, you might find the gist of this article particularly confusing. You've probably heard at least some of the benefits that social media can offer marketers. You may have heard about the influx of Twitter and Facebook users, and perhaps you've even had conversations about whether or not social media would be a good marketing tool for your company to use. So why are we talking about marketers "mucking up" the social media space?
"Humanizing the Brand"
When social media first began to catch fire (around 2007) one of the big areas of discussion and excitement was that brands could now be "humanized." This meant, initially, that if you started a Twitter account and mentioned that you work for xyz company, potential customers would now be able to put a face to the company name. "Oh, right, xyz company. Hey, so and so works there and they're great!" The thought was that connecting people with a brand or company name, existing and potential customers would feel more comfortable buying from that company. They'd no longer feel like they were buying from a company, in fact. They'd feel like they were buying from that individual.
Over the last couple of years, it seems like this message has been diluted a bit. Humanizing the brand has been replaced with the idea that social media is about networking, relationships, engagement, the conversation, and other non-transactional sorts of exchanges. Articles like the one mentioned above even have begun to give the impression that trying to market a product or sell a product using social media platforms is now frowned upon. Social Media, at least according to some social media purists, should just be about conversing with other people. Anything else is "mucking it up."
How do you use a phone?
For marketers who have been exploring how to use social media, the best analogy is that social media is like the phone. It's a tool. You can use it to connect with other people, and the only difference is that other people can "listen" to your conversation. When you use the phone for business, you probably exchange some niceties. You might ask how your contact's mother is doing, how the new puppy is working out. If you've known your contact for a long time you might share some laughs. But there is always the knowledge that this is a business call. If you are a salesman, your contact won't be surprised that the conversation eventually comes around to you trying to sell something. If you're a marketer, your contact won't be surprised if the conversation begins to focus on marketing plans. The conversation is in a business context, even if it ventures off into more personal types of conversation now and then.
Social Media should really be thought of in the same way. If you are using a social media platform as a marketer or as a salesperson, you can talk to people. You can "engage." But there needs to be an underlying understanding with your contacts that ultimately, you're there to do business. You're there because this is part of how you want to earn your living.
Mucking Up, or Marketing?
Beginning to use social media for marketing purposes can be extremely intimidating because it seems like there is so much that can work against you. The kinds of marketers that Shel Israel is talking about in his article are the ones who don't take the time to understand the tool. If you join Twitter and do nothing but post links to your press releases, you're not going to get off to a good start. If you learn how the tool works, learn how much leeway you have, and if you have a plan going in, social media can be an effective marketing tool. However, if social media purists continue to argue that any marketing online is bad, it becomes increasingly difficult to see how social media can be seen as a marketing tactic in any light.
As with any form of marketing, there are good examples and bad examples in the world of social media. The simple act of using social media as a marketing tool or as a selling tool is not an inherent negative. Social Media purists will have to embrace the fact that the novelty of social media is beginning to wear off, just as has been the case with fax machines, phones, and email. Social Media is at heart a tool, and it's a tool marketers and salespeople have a right to use.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/darwinbell/522009553/ via Creative Commons
Posted: 05 Aug 2012 05:20 AM PDT
Some days, despite your best intentions and efforts, you find yourself staring at a blank screen wondering how you are going come up with a topic for your blog. Don’t worry, you are not alone. We go through that here too. We have a few secrets we’re willing to share that we know can help you quickly and easily create content for your blog on those days you are stuck.
The first two are easy ones:
The first one is something that any writer will recognize. The advice beginning writers in any profession receive is read other writers to learn how to write. Well, that same advice applies to blogging, though we would alter it a bit: read other bloggers to see what they are writing about. Follow bloggers in your industry. Look for hot topics in which you can add to the conversation. Remember, blog writing is about sharing educational, top of the funnel information.
As for list making, people love them. It’s an easily digestible way to present information and they are generally easy to compile: list of improvements, list of favorites, list of benefits your product or service delivers. You get the idea.
And you are about to get a list – a list of 10 other ideas that can help you quicly and easily create content for your blog. (I was asked by a friend the other day how I find ideas, and I was inspired by another blog I saw that listed 88 ideas. I thought I would combine the concepts.)
10 quick and easy ways to create content:
This is by no means is a definitive list, but it certainly is a good place to start when the clock is ticking and you are looking for a quick way to create a blog post that will be relevant to your followers and prospects. It’s helped us to generate more than 260 blog posts in the last calendar year.
For more content creation ideas, check out our tip sheet 13 Ways to Keep Your Blog Stocked With Great Content.
Posted: 05 Aug 2012 04:50 AM PDT
NBC's decision to tape-delay many of the Olympic events has left many fans frustrated and aware of the result hours before it's on TV
Just as "video killed the radio star," social media has ruined the Olympics.
"Ruined" might be a tad too harsh, but it has certainly sucked a lot of the fun out of it.
In 1999, effort was made to circumvent that "one friend" who would likely blurt out the surprise plot twist of The Sixth Sense before others had seen it. Now, we live in an electronically connected universe filled with "that guy" blabbermouths—who are not nearly as easy to avoid. Between being active on multiple social networks and having a bevy of news/score alerts coming directly to our smartphones, we're the picture of a society obsessed with knowing it all, and knowing it now. And for the most part, that instantaneousness has been awesome. Until it wasn't.
Sitting in front of an HD flatscreen (which single-handedly made me a fan of golf on TV) over the weekend, I anxiously awaited the showdown between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, which I (in hindsight, foolishly) thought would be covered live at 2:30pm. As the seconds past race-time ticked by, I realized either something was up, or the biggest story of the Olympics would not be played out on TV until prime-time…That is, until my phone beeped, and CNNmobile told me who won.
At that moment, I threw my hands in the air and yelled some four-letter words to Ted Turner.
In fairness, if it wasn't CNN ruining it, then it would have been Twitter or Facebook, or any other number of up-to-the-second information exchange platforms.
American swimmer Nathan Adrian won a thrilling race in the 100M, but many knew of the result before it was aired on NBC
While I typically adore being in the loop on everything happening in the world—important or not (I felt like Kim Kardashian informed me personally that she was ending her 73 day marriage), this was like a punch to the gut.
The magic of the Olympics comes from the drama of the competition, and knowing that at any moment the unexpected can happen. The lack of live TV coverage in combination with the immediate nature of today's information swapping, is like a magician revealing their secrets. Basically, Twitter just spilled the beans about Santa Claus.
Are we at the point where we must accept that huddling around a 13-inch computer monitor 24/7 is the only way to ensure we're not tipped off on what happens on the world's biggest stage? Or, has the time come to unplug? As simple as that sounds, the fact remains, the times of changed—even since Beijing. And while spoilers have always been an issue with all sports to some extent, today, committing to a spoil-free Olympics requires essentially an entire lifestyle alteration—canceling updates, resisting feed-checks, abstaining from news sites, and the old classic: avoiding water-cooler chatter. For most people, that's not likely, or even possible.
There are endless ways in which social media technology has changed life for the better. But the Olympics? Just might not be one of them. That is, unless you were okay with knowing that Bruce Willis was really a dead guy.
(Photo Courtesy of www.twitchy.com)
Posted: 05 Aug 2012 04:20 AM PDT
This week Media Logic's Retail Social Juice Index (RSJI) sheds light on new tricks to amp up your brand's engagement. All five of the Big Movers This Week relied on different tactics — including some classics and some newer strategies — to connect with likers and inspire social participation from customers. See which strategies pushed brand's to the top of this week's RSJI:
Tactic #1: Cross- Platform Promotion
Tactic #2: Utilization of Infographics & Charts
Tactic #3: Give Back!
Tactic #4: Simple and Engaging Games
Tactic #5: Turn Likers into Decision Makers
Has your brand begun to utilize all five of these tips successfully? Still need some help? Reach out to us.
Posted: 05 Aug 2012 04:15 AM PDT
Huntsworth Health is a global family providing consulting and communications services to the healthcare industry and the pharmaceutical world. HHNA is the parent company of six sister companies who support the development and post-launch marketing lifecycle of new drugs. HHNA as a whole provides those six agencies with their IT, HR, Accounting, and Marketing services to help them get their daily jobs done. Lauren Koller, Executive Assistant to the CEO, explains how their healthcare intranet uses engaging visuals to provide their 450 employees with company resources.
Design & Branding
HHNA's graphics team added an animated header image using Adobe Flash. The intranet's theme and colors change monthly to match their corporate branding. They are taking this tactic a step further by facilitating color coordination for all departments throughout the company.
Lauren uses their corporate color scheme to help organize email and intranet communications. Now employees can automatically associate colors with their corresponding departments.
Lauren and her team have a unique spin on displaying employee forms on the intranet. They take screen shots of documents to give employees a quick preview of the form they are about to download. This illustrative approach facilitates how people locate forms.
In the employee forms area there is a quick poll asking "Did you find what you are looking for?"
Lauren gathers feedback daily and acts on requests right away. Recently an employee couldn't easily find a time off request form so they let Lauren know. Lauren took the employees advice and added it front and center in the HR document area. Gathering employee feedback improves how employees find information, allowing them to work faster.
New Employee Recognition and Onboarding
The Team Members page shows who's coming to the HHNA team. New employees are displayed in alphabetical order with pictures and short biographies to introduce them to the organization. To onboard new employees, Lauren provides them with a welcome packet and walks them through the intranet in a 15 minute one on one session. This approach adds a personal touch to bringing new employees to the organization and helps identify intranet areas that may be problematic and not as intuitive to a new user looking for information and advice.
HHNA in the News
The Corporate Communications menu houses press releases. This keeps the six agencies under the HHNA umbrella in the loop about what's happening publicly in their organization.
Lauren embeds a monthly newsletter on the intranet. Information provided in the newsletter is linked back to areas of the intranet.
HHNA's CEO records videos to share company updates which are then posted on the intranet. Topics include holiday messages and quarterly financial results. To promote executive involvement on the intranet, Laura is considering having other executive record videos to fill the gaps when their CEO is away on business.
Go Green with HH Blog
The Go Green committee uses the intranet to promote and educate employees about being more environmentally friendly. Green travel tips like commuting with public transportation or eating at locally owned restaurants were included in the most recent edition.
A big thank you to Lauren for her time and sharing such a wide variety of screen snaps to show the unique and innovative ways in which they are using their social intranet.
Posted: 05 Aug 2012 04:00 AM PDT
Shankar Mahadevan is on the hunt for a singer with whom he plans to record his new album via MOBISur, a digital campaign launched by Hungama, in which social media is being used extensively.
Shankar Mahadevan, the well-known music composer and singer is on the hunt for a new singing sensation duo and for that a digital campaign called 'MOBISur' has been designed. The contest that is accepting entries till 26th August 2012, is a talent hunt available both online and on mobile. The objective is to find the next big male and female singing sensation selected by the maestro Shankar Mahadevan himself.
The campaign has been designed in such a way that maximum people can take part in this talent hunt. A full-fledged website has been created where you can upload your songs for selection. In addition to this, at the same time you can have a look at the videos uploaded by other participants and vote for them too. At present the gallery shows more than 144 videos and I think this number is going to grow exponentially in the coming days.
The contest also allows you to upload your entry via mobile if you don't have accesses to the web. Additionally, the talent hunt has made a presence on social media too. But quite interestingly, the MOBISur campaign has not created a new social media presence but has integrated itself with Shankar Mahadevan's social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. There is no point in inventing the wheel again when Shankar himself is the face of MOBISur and already has a huge fan following across both the social networks.
MOBISur Facebook app
The Facebook page of Shankar Mahadevan, which already has a fan following of more than 600K fans, has a Facebook app created for the talent hunt. After authentication, you are shown couple of tabs out of which 'Start' and 'Instructions' are essential if you want to be part of the contest. If you click on 'Start', you would have an option to upload your image or select your Facebook profile image. Once you are happy with the image then leave your mobile number and message for Shankar. If you are lucky then you get a call or message from Shankar.
The app follows Facebook guidelines. Before posting content on my wall, it gave me a preview. A norm that most of the apps ignore on Facebook. Navigation of the app is smooth, its bug free and has sharing options. However, I couldn't find the Terms & Conditions for this contest link on the app. This could create confusion for a fan who lands on the app for the first time but has no idea of the contest. One simple reason for confusion could be – how long the contest is open. Also, is there a need to collect phone numbers?
How creative is the campaign on Social Media?
The MOBISur campaign, which is quite effective on digital, fails to impress on social media especially on Facebook. The talent hunt that is being run on the web has no similarity with the Facebook campaign. In both the platforms, the objective is to find talents but the contest that is being run on Facebook has left me clueless.
On Facebook, it is asking fans to upload a picture, number and message for Shankar who would call or message fans later. Now how would a fan be chosen or given a chance to sing is a mystery to me! The Facebook campaign has clearly left a bad taste in my mouth due to its lack of brainstorming on Facebook. Apart from this, the campaign is using Twitter but here also it is using the personal Twitter account of Shankar. The downfall in doing this is the lack of buzz being created for the campaign on social.
Nevertheless, MOBISur is a great digital initiative giving opportunity to the hidden talents of India. Although, it claims to be a complete digital initiative, this kind of digital-only talent hunt has been done before – crowdsourcing talent via digital or social. Bollywood has been doing this and recently we saw T-Series long with Vishesh Films hunting for actor and actress for an upcoming film.
It would have been really great if the campaign had given attention to the social space along with the digital initiative. What do you think?
Posted: 04 Aug 2012 05:15 PM PDT
I read an article from Techcrunch in which Salesforce's new baby, Do.com, is building out it's capabilities with new features and open APIs.
Do.com is a task management service built on the Manymoon technology that Salesforce.com acquired last year. Manymoon coined the term "social productivity," for the platform environment.
At it's most basic level it's simply a task management platform. But…..it could also be a first attempt at handling unstructured work and building out a 'social' case management tool. While I dislike tagging on 'social' to anything related to BPM in a social enterprise context you can begin to understand that knowledge workers who perform loosely coupled tasks which don't follow rigid workflow patterns could turn to this tool to handle such work, and given the 'social productivity' angle and leveraging Salesforce's own social enterprise platform tools it could extend their capabilities in the Cloud from simply CRM to encroach Case Management territory.
A couple of years ago they bought out a small BPM player called Informavores and built out their visual process manager for Force.com. It's not a giant leap of imagination to make a connection (assuming that Benioff does himself, he doesn't like BPM much given it's hazy history as a workflow integration layer) and see where this could lead.
And if that's the case (no pun intended) could Salesforce beat the BPMS vendors to having a real social enterprise enabled case tool before BPM does?
Posted: 04 Aug 2012 03:10 PM PDT
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) has launched itself on Facebook to support the Indian Olympians at London Olympics 2012.
ONGC, the only Indian energy major to be featured on 'Fortune's Most Admired List, 2012' is also ranked as the world's number two exploration and production company by Platts, 2011. Founded on 14 August 1956, the energy company is also home for more than 32,000 people, who are working for it round the clock.
ONGC, apart from being an energy major company, has also invested in socio-economically responsive projects. One of the projects that ONGC has been involved in is Sports Promotion and hence it is also the Principal Sponsor of the Indian contingent for London Olympics 2012.
ONGC Facebook Page
To gain more support and to reach out to the fans, ONGC has launched itself on India's biggest social network – Facebook. The ONGC Facebook page was launched on July 13 , 2012 and has already gathered a fan following of more than 500 fans. The page has impressed me in the way ONGC has used the Facebook timeline feature for story telling, apart from a lovely cover page. Effort has been taken to showcase the legacy of ONGC. The below screen grab is one such example:
The content that is being shared for now, has majorly focused on its objective of promoting the Indian Olympians. Pictures backed with content do the trick on Facebook and it is working for ONGC right now. The below screen grab gives a glimpse of one such content which is also being appreciated by fans:
How effective is the move by ONGC?
Businesses launching themselves on social media with an objective will definitely reap results. We saw the same happening with Seaspan on Facebook where it is using the network to spread its company's culture and also looking to recruit people. ONGC has done a similar thing and I would refrain myself from judging it's activities on Facebook considering the fact that the page is not even a month old.
However, it would be interesting to see how the page grows once the Olympics is over. If the company envisions this to be a community for Indian Olympic lovers then it would be spectacular.
This is a great move from ONGC to evolve with the changing times and not jump into the bandwagon aimlessly. Early days but a good start from a 56 year old Indian company!
Posted: 04 Aug 2012 03:00 PM PDT
The conversation drew clear distinctions between fans and followers. Fans are great to have because they often swell audience size. But they mostly consume content, and don't contribute much to the social discussion. On the other hand, followers are active participants who ask questions, contribute perspective and expertise, and interact with others via social channels, e-mail, phone, and sometimes in person. In many cases, followers were customers or prospects about to become customers.
Fans and followers can evolve into two other categories: friends and, well, freaks. Some people who follow you may end up as stalkers and go overboard with their enthusiasm for a particular post or contributor, and extrapolate upon posted topics in ways nobody expects. You know who these people are—they're one of the reasons for moderators.
But fans and followers can also become friends, or even better, evangelists, who are engaged and contribute ideas shared through social media; in turn, they adopt and incorporate those ideas into their own outreach with enthusiasm. So what's the difference between evangelizing friends and stalking freaks? The evangelists get it. Stalkers don't. Evangelists we identified in our discussion represent many different roles: employees, partners, customers, contractors, and academics, to name a few. In each case, they expand the audience for content by sharing it through multiple channels.
What kinds of fans/followers/friends/freaks are you attracting via your social media outreach?
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