How to Share Your Content in Social Media Updates

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Your window of opportunity to garner the interest of the consumer is small. With attention spans shortening due to social media induced comprehension issues, that window has shrunk even further. What you say to the public has to grab them from the first phrase. And any excess wordage or concepts results in attention drift. Once that happens, you’ve lost them. They are already moving on to the next update in their feed.

Consumers don’t want their social media pages to be overburdened with posts they aren’t interested in. ‘What will interest consumers?’ is the question which every marketer has foremost in his mind. Not every post you make will produce a like or a share. But knowing what to say and how to say it has a direct correlative impact on whether or not consumers will find your posts interesting and worth sharing. Below is a short guide on how to share your content in social media posts.

  • Have great content. It doesn’t matter how much your update garners consumer attention and interest if the content you send them to is subpar. They’ll soon stop bothering to read your posts altogether, much less share them, if they’re disappointed on the follow through. What makes great content? The marketing rule is that it must teach, entertain, or inspire. If your post rambles, is a mere narrative about your day, or otherwise fails to teach, entertain, or inspire, consider writing or hiring experienced content writers who can start filling your website or blog with content worth reading.
  • What posts you share are important. Don’t take for granted the content you have that can remind consumers of your company’s existence. Share your about page, your testimonials page, your most clicked on posts (see what those are via analytics), and the posts that consumers found the most useful.
  • Keep posts short. Twitter length is a good rule of thumb. Consumers skim through their social media feed, which means they spend about two seconds reading a post before the decide whether it interests them.
  • Post updates with a link attached, but draw them in with your words. Don’t rely only on content you’re linking to. Even if the content is important, consumers need to have a reason to click on your link.
  •  Ask a question you think your target audience will agree with. Ego is an important part of the sales process because consumers have to feel good about the product they buy. If the audience can give a resounding Yes or No to your question, odds are, you will be getting more clicks.
  • Make a statement that will surprise your target audience. ‘Surprise statements’ cause curiosity, and curiosity equals clicks. Get familiar with presenting the unexpected, but don’t mislead the consumer as to the nature and slant of the subject matter.
  • Keep your updates clear and easy to understand. Pick a single point to emphasize rather than multiple points that leave your reader confused about why they should click on the link. Use the simplest word and the shortest sentences. Simple and clear beats out elaborate and confusing any day of the week.THAT MOMENTWhen your updates start
  • Use hashtags. Not all social media has ease of use with hashtags (Pinterest is a noticeable hashtag exception to the hashtag rule). Research which hashtags are the most used and visited hashtags in your industry. Add a minimum of two of hashtags to each update and make sure they are appropriate to your content.
  • Know your business. And not just your business. Check out the updates of competitors and peers with a high number of followers. Pay attention to which of their tweets are retweeted, which of their FB updates receive a high number of likes or shares. Figure out why. Are there good ideas you can implement there?
  • Share updates that link to content similar to your own. Part of having a social media page for your business is not just about linking to your own content, making announcements, or offering discounts, it’s proving to the consumer that your business page is worth perusing more in depth for other articles they might find relevant or of interest. And it helps to sell your brand by creating a mental association of your business with a specific industry as a whole.

Knowing what to share and how to share it can take some finesse and a good sales sense. If you don’t think you have those kinds of chops, stop by our page. We can help with that!

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Google+, the walking dead?

800px-Forest_in_CantabriaOriginally created in June 2011, Google+ was supposed to take Google to the next level. Combining all of Google’s services into one place, it was hailed as the next social media powerhouse, allowing you to network with friends, family, employers, employees, sharing everything under the sun. Its rise to 50 million users in three months exceeded the growth of Myspace, Twitter and Facebook in the same period, and led to speculation that Google+ could even replace Facebook as the most used Social Networking site. As nuts as that seems now, it wasn’t so nuts in 2013. Google was the only company in the world that had a popular mobile OS, namely Android, which could be merged with its own social network as well as the rest of its products. It showed a great deal of promise. When one considers the wide range of Google’s reach, from Picasa photo sharing, to Youtube, Jetpack, Blogger, etc., it seemed that everything might become Google. But then, it didn’t.

Right off the bat, Google+ was a hard sell. All the things people value about Facebook, privacy (ha ha), the ability to have tiered pages so only friends and family can see them, or even to post anonymously were surprisingly absent from Google+. Google+ required real names, identify verification, and putting all of your details in one place… this made it a hard sell. The social layer to all things Google was not a standalone product, but an embedding of everything into one place.

So, not only were most people uncomfortable with a more realistic book of their face, but few were going to move all of their information off of Facebook and put it on Google+. That was like, secretarial work, not fun social stuff! The momentum cooled quickly, and not too much has happened since.

In April of this year, Google+ developer, Vic Gundrota, resigned unexpectedly. In the aftermath of that everyone involved in Google+ was shifted to other departments. This sparked rumors that Google+ was on its way to death’s door and was to be discontinued, like other Google products. But speculation about Google+’s demise actually predates Gundrota’s resignation. Techwatcher Adam Metz, noted:

“Here’s why I think Google’s high-priority social network is failing, fast. After Amir Efrati’s February article in the Wall Street Journal revealed that, after sign up, Google+ users aren’t really doing anything much with the platform, a pretty stunning info-graphic really jumped out at readers – it was a diagram that showed the average minutes-per-user for all social networks in January 2012.” (Source)

If you click on the link, you’ll find according to Metz’s source, Google+ users spend all of 3 minutes a day on it. Hm. This is compared to the average of 40 minutes a day people spend on Facebook (source).

Yet it’s still there! At least, for the moment. Google has, however, downgraded Google Authorship, by removing profile pictures and Google+ circle counts from searches. This was one of the most notable features of Google+, and without it one wonders what’s next.

What was intended as a grandiose Google takeover of the worlds containing Facebook, Office Online, and even LinkedIn, Google+ is an epic fail. It still maintains over 500 million active users around the world, but many more than half of those account holders also have Facebook pages. Google+ can’t begin to compete with Facebook’s 1.2 billion users. Though Google+ has had a good success rate maintaining its number of account holders, it looks more than likely, to those of us that pay attention to such things, that as Google moves on to other projects, it will simply leave behind Google+ until it fades into irrelevance. And nary a tear was shed.

But wait! Stop the presses… Google+, like chivalry, is not dead! In a recent 2014 interview with David Besbris, Google’s new social media guru, Besbris said:

“We’re actually very happy with the progress of Google+, [CEO Larry Page] said this at the time that Vic transitioned that he’s going to continue working on building this stuff, that he’s very happy with it.” “The company is behind it. I have no idea where these rumors come from to be honest with you.”

The ace the company is holding up their sleeve is that Google+ is ad free and will remain so, unlike Facebook, who’s pro-ad pages are starting to get some serious flack in the Facebookosphere,

“They won’t convert well, they won’t be beneficial, and it kind of just pollutes the space. I think for a social place that tends to be very intimate where you’re having conversations with people, you’re sharing pictures, you’re exploring things you’re really into, you don’t want to be at that point bombarded with noise,” said Besbris.

He went to on to say that Google+ is just misunderstood, and will come into its own someday. And if, IF, they DO decide to put ads in there for our, erm, enjoyment, they will be unique in such a way as only Google can make an ad unique. Oh… joy.

Internet trolls, hijackers and Glassholes… this is the world we live in?

You’re settling down in a comfy bistro chair at the best restaurant in town. No thoughts of price or budget can mar this evening. As relaxation sets in, you become aware of the scents of expensive perfumes mingling with the ever present wafting aroma of espresso and Italian cuisine. The sunglasses come off, the napkins unfold, you lean back ready to immerse into an evening of wining and dining… but what is that? Like a dribble of cold water down the back of your shirt, you feel that distinctive, unwelcome sensation that you are being watched. Turning around nonchalantly, you hope to catch the furtive eye glancing quickly in the other direction, but instead you spy the gleam of glasses staring pointedly at you without shame. And… is that a CAMERA attached to those glasses? Staring at you?

Isn’t this illegal or something? Your privacy is certainly being violated! Expensive… evening… ruined! Who do you complain to?

Welcome to the future, the world of Google Glass. Do people actually have the right to potentially video everything they see? How about video everything they see AND put it on Facebook? As in, “ha ha, look what this nerdy guy ate at all-you-can-eat sushi night! What a pig! ROTFL…” Officials are trying to come up with legislation that answers this question, as well as others, such as, does driving while wearing Google Glass constitute driving while distracted?

This stuff, of course, is not the “use for which Google Glass was intended!” A semi-robotic, brain implant-like device, Google Glass was designed to help us organize our lives faster, more efficiently (and in a cool way!), but, just as we have impolite drivers who think they own the road and therefore the world, a new crop of impolite people, media maniacs and Glassholes, is popping up. One lady who was asked to remove her Glass at a restaurant out of concern for the comfort and privacy of the other patrons, retaliated in a rather rude way for being asked to comply with the modern version of “no shoes, no shirt, no service.” It’s about respect for other people.

Our reputation on social media is something intrinsically connected to the success of our businesses. People’s comments and/or complaints weigh heavily on the mind of the person concerned with protecting his online reputation. It’s crazy trying to weave all the threads together from Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, Urbanspoon and more (and more and more!) into a reputation you can wear proudly. Here is yet another thing to keep your plates spinning!

Do you ban Google Glass at your establishment and risk offending the thousands of Glass wearers? Glass hasn’t yet hit critical mass, so this isn’t as big of a deal yet as it will be in future, but planning ahead, what are you going to implement as policy? Who are you going to risk offending, who are you going to step out to protect? Most patrons agree they are uncomfortable with someone else wearing the Glass and scoping them out. This is going to be a sticky little problem.

Google Glass does offer the world some great prospects. After following some simple rules of etiquette, using such a device has proven to be handy in many situations. Could you imagine having an influential friend in your head, like Jarvis from Iron Man, helping you evaluate and determine people’s body language, politely prompting the appropriate responses from you? To people that rate on the autistic spectrum, this kind of help would be invaluable! A young inventor, Catalin Voss, has invented just such a thing. His brainchild, Sension, is a software interface that reads people’s facial expressions and determines the underlying emotions for the wearer. Used with Google Glass, Sension makes it easier for people who have difficulty interacting to feel more confident and could definitely be considered an enormous boon to society.

Google Glass could prove invaluable for the professional blogger. Recording interviews, constantly photographing and storing memories and ideas for articles, responding to comments on the go… it’s a journalist’s dream tool!

Like everything else, things in our fast paced world are changing at a rate that is hard to keep up with. Luckily for you, you’ve got us to help scope stuff out for you.

How do you feel about Glass?

 

 

 

 

 

Hootsuite: Love It or Hate It

With the myriad of social media options out there, the thought has probably crossed each of our minds before at least once: “If only there was a way to condense all these into one place” or “I wish I could connect all these things and organize them on one page.” There are a couple of social media organizational dashboards out there, but this time we’re going to enter the wonderful world of Hootsuite.

Hootsuite: you either love it, or hate it. If you google it, you’ll find adamant camps of haters or admirers, the haters really hate, the admirers will hear of no other platform. Let’s take a look at what Hootsuite has to offer you, and you may decide for yourself.

Currently, Hootsuite’s free version offers you a web-based tabulated dashboard that can keep track of up to five different social media programs (you have to pay a pretty penny to go pro if you want Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, or more than five different sites in there). Hootsuite allows you multiple streams of information per site tab, so when you click on, say, your Facebook tab, you can create a stream for your current posts, a stream for comments you receive, scheduled posts, personal messages and more. All of this appears on one page, right before your eyes, no clicking back and forth to different, open tabs. They just recently added Google+ into the list of social sites they offer you, so right now you can put your Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, WordPress and Mixi accounts on the dashboard. It is fairly simple to create your account, and then click on the tab settings to add your social networks.

Entering your usernames, passwords, and giving Hootsuite authorization to access all these accounts takes a few minutes, and pretty soon you have a dashboard of tabs.  

If you are boring, and want to say the same thing at the same time on all your sites, you may choose which social media sites to post to (at the top of the dashboard there is an easily seen dialog box in which to do this), then there is a dialog box to type your post for the day. Choose all your sites at one time, type one post for all, add a link if you wish and viola, you post and it’s on all the networks you chose. You spent only a few seconds but reached all of your fans across your entire social media spectrum.

What if you’re not boring, and want to say different stuff at different times? With Hootsuite, you can definitely get more creative. You’re still saving time by operating on all the social media sites from one dashboard, eliminating the need to open up a bunch of tabs or manage usernames and passwords (basically, saving the minutes and then seconds that we have come to value in our fast-paced tech world), and you can see what is happening in one glance with comments, re-tweets, sharing, etc. all from this page. You can schedule posts for later days and times, reply to comments and interact with your followers; it’s an OC organizers delight! Want to carry a theme for a week but only have time today to plan it? Get together all your material and schedule a whole week of themed posts and links in an easy-to-view column of information, pick the time of day you want each one to post, set it and forget it! This is great for people with structured, planned Google+ or Facebook pages, but who want to keep, say, Twitter real, live and in the moment.

So far it sounds great, but for some of us who get lost in a world of a million and one options, where if one miniscule box is unchecked or checked it could mean professional embarrassment (double posts anyone?), or you are the kind of person who must see the actual Facebook page and familiar Google+ page to figure out what you are going to say for the day, then you (like me) need a bit of time to play with Hootsuite in order to learn how to use it effectively. If you have a question, Hootsuite’s Twitter feed is full of quickly answered queries on “how does one do x?” and the answers are prompt, polite and helpful. They also have a series of video tutorials called “Hoot Tips” available to help you (#HootTip), and if that’s not enough, for $21 a month, you can enroll in Hootsuite University, and even earn a social media certification! In addition to this, another company called Grovo is offering sixty-second video tutorials for your quick questions related to Hootsuite (and other platforms).

From what I can gather, the people that hate Hootsuite are people that want a quick, easy, one-stop-shop where they can glance at the screen and know exactly what it is they want done and how to do it. This is definitely not Hootsuite. But, if you have some time to invest in learning how to use this comprehensive social media tool, it can do great things for you. Their blog, HootSource, is worth giving a read, anyhow.

Let’s recap: Hootsuite offers you the ability to manage multiple social networks, schedule messages and tweets, track mentions, and analyze social media traffic. They will train you for free to use their tools, and they have excellent help available. Now go play with it!

Social Media Trends To Watch (And Use!) In 2014

This should be an extremely interesting year in social media.  Knowing what’s coming in social media is pretty much like predicting the future – you won’t ever be exactly correct all of the time, but you can make some pretty good guesses that are pretty likely to work out.  Here are some of those guesses.

Cross-Platform is Key

Facebook is still the big dog, of course, but others are getting bigger, and getting bigger fast.  Whereas 70% of social media users have a Facebook account, 50% of them diversificationalso have a Google+ account, and that number is still going up.  In fact, Google+ now gets the highest number of monthly visits, at 1.2 billion.  Ignoring Google+ used to be an option, but to do so now would be a detriment to your business.  In terms of sheer growth, Pinterest is considered by most to be the fastest growing platform, closely followed by Instagram, which has activity levels (i.e. checking frequently and overall time spent) just shy of Facebook.  If you have a business that can capitalize on any kind of image, these will also be key areas to tap in the coming year, especially because survey after survey shows customers are highly influenced by (and more likely to pass on) posts with pictures.  In fact, one recent study showed that in 2013 social media posts with images actually drove more revenue that standard display ads!  Tools like Hootsuite, IFTTT (if this then that), or Buffer can make it easier to manage the generation of content on multiple sites, but it still pays to know and understand the unique characteristics and benefits of each service.  Each major platform has its challenges and benefits, but the key takeaway here is that 42% of all Americans currently use multiple social media platforms regularly, so you need to broaden your presence into as many of those as possible.

Go Mobile

Over half of Facebook users and 35% of Pinterest users now access their accounts solely through a mobile app.  The numbers for other platforms are smaller but show the same trend.  Perhaps even more importantly, over 60% of Americans now own a smartphone in particular, a jump of 15% in just one year!  There’s no reason to think this trend will slow down soon until saturation is achieved, so the bottom line here is that if you want to get your business and your content out there, you absolutely must orient toward mobile.

Content is King

content-magnet

Social media has evolved to the point where following a person or company simply for the sake of following them is no longer enough.  There needs to be a compelling reason for the follow now.  Your social media posts need to provide either entertainment value, utility value, or (preferably) both.  Once you have a substantial body of work built up, pay attention to the posts that got the most interest and engagement, and try to understand why…then do it again.  And don’t be afraid to change it up every now and then – even the most useful content provider will get stale from time to time, so throwing in some inspirational quotes or just-for-fun off-topic stuff can help keep things interesting. Above all, you must be willing and able to tell a story.  Brief standalone nuggets of information are fine, but don’t exactly inspire loyalty.  A good story, however, sucks people in and compels both interest and a desire to come back again and again.  And that brings us to…

Engage!

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If there is one trend to capture in the coming year, this is it.  You must listen to, understand, and engage with your customers.  One recent survey shows that just 6 hours

invested per week created a noticeable increase in traffic for 74% of respondents.  Over half of these respondents acquired new customers by directly engaging with Facebook followers, and over a third gained new customers by engaging with Twitter followers.  Don’t look at social media as a marketing platform, but rather a way to engage your customers on a conversational level with the intent of building relationships and satisfaction.  These things will ultimately generate repeat business, positive word of mouth, and growing social media presence for your brand.

Jobs to Watch

The rise and popularity of the social media industry also means there is a whole new set of jobs available for talented people to fill.  One great example is analytics – having a mountain of data doesn’t do much for you if you don’t know how to interpret that data into actionable solutions.  Search engine optimization (SEO) specialists and social media strategists are also likely to be in high demand in the near future.  If you have these skills or are willing and able to learn them, you might find yourself riding the wave of these social media trends in a very literal sense!

Six Google+ Tips for Business

As much as many of us have run kicking and screaming from Google+, it sure is here to stay. It’s been a very useful tool for many businesses. Check out how +HM and +CadburyUK have been using the platform successfully in these case studies.

There is a lot of power in Google+ from establishing your personal brand to corporate brand, as well as improving your company’s search engine result presence. Here are 6 ways to get started:

1.     Connect your personal page to your content with Authorship

Have you searched on Google lately and seen headshots next to seemingly random search results? This is a result of Google+ Authorship connection. By connecting your personal Google+ page with the content you create, your image can appear in the search results. This has been shown to improve click-through rate, as users love to click links with thumbnail images.

2.     Set up Direct Connect for your website

Direct connect lets you search through to a Google+ page and add it to your circles by adding the ‘+’ operator before the brand name. To make this connection for your Google+ business page, you have to be “special” in Google’s eyes, but there are a few tricks to speed along this process. To assist Google in understanding your website and Google+ page are connected, add the Google+ badge to your site or by adding a snippet of code to your site. Your website link on your Google+ page should also match your website exactly, meaning, check if your website includes ‘www’ or not.

3.     Use your Google+ Business Page to Connect & Engage

Businesses are so successful on social media when they connect and engage with their followers. Google+ still is evolving, but spend time adding people to your circles (create many different types of circles, too!), commenting on relevant posts, asking questions and sharing images. Share information you create and that others create that would be useful to your followers, always staying true to your brand image. Feel free to get a little goofy on Friday’s and use this platform to find out pressure points from potential customers!

4.     Host Google+ Hangouts

This is probably one of the coolest features of Google+ and a key differentiator (for the time being). Google+ Hangouts are live video chats you can have internally (maybe your company is all over the world) or with your customers. I recommend using these to connect with your key influencers – offer them an opportunity to chat with your CEO or offer input about your product. You can set up invites and send them out publically or privately to specific people or circles and are a great way to build brand loyalty. The ways you can use Google+ hangouts are limitless, so get creative – this is an affordable way to product content!

5.     Use Hashtags (like on Twitter)

A hashtag is a word or a phrase preceded by the # symbol — for example, #Emmys — that helps people find and join conversations about a particular topic. Clicking on a hashtag will show related content on Google+ (or Twitter…or Facebook). You use hashtags to group relevant information and can either use a current hashtag or create your own to represent your own idea or event. You can search these hashtags on Google+ to find relevant and recent posts. Just don’t start using hashtags out loud in conversation – see Late Night with Jimmy Fallon #hashtag skit.

Have you used these Google+ Business Tips? Share your experiences below in the comments; we’d love to hear from you!