Going beyond Facebook and Twitter

Is your Imagebusiness getting the most out of social media? If you’re only using Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus you’re missing out on a lot of traffic and potential customers, and you may want to consider integrating other networks into your social media strategy.

YouTube

According to a survey conducted by Technorati, 80 percent of social media users are utilizing YouTube, making it the most used social media network. YouTube allows consumers to see the products being used, and consumers trust what they can see. Earning consumers’ trust is essential in business, and 29 percent of consumers say they trust YouTube more than any other social media network.

Social Media Director Julie Perry emphasizes the importance of businesses maintaining YouTube channels in order to boost their SEO. YouTube is not just a site for watching hours upon hours of cute babies and puppies. The video-sharing network is the second top search engine because people trust the network and it’s accessible from nearly every mobile device. Tag your YouTube videos with keywords so potential customers can discover you.

In order for a brand to be successful on Twitter or Facebook, it’s important that they’re sharing valuable information, not just pushing sales. On YouTube, how can a brand go beyond posting commercials for their products and keep consumers entertained? Is it even necessary to go beyond push marketing on YouTube?

Pinterest

In order for a business’ social media strategy to be successful, they have to reach their target audience on the social networks where they’re spending their time. Social media users are spending an average of 98 minutes per month on Pinterest, which is more time than Google Plus, Twitter and LinkedIn combined. Part of Pinterest’s success is due to the visual nature of the site. Images generate more engagement on social media, so use Pinterest to drive traffic to your website.

Roye Okupe provides the benefits a company can receive by using Pinterest:

  1. Drive massive quality traffic to your website
  2. Platform allows you to build relationships with customers and establishes your credibility
  3. Share content with followers without having to write lengthy content
  4. Better for sharing product images and videos than Facebook or Twitter

Because of the visual nature of Pinterest, it’s critical that your products or services are displayed in the best light, which may mean hiring a professional photographer. C.C. Chapman says that with tools like smart phones and Instagram, anyone can take quality pictures, but photography remains a skill. Your products and services are the livelihood of your business, so hire a professional to ensure that people click on your pins, and ultimately buy your products.

In order to have my personal content reach more people, I’ll pin images from blog posts. I have a lot more traffic on my Pinterest page than my blog, so by connecting the two, I benefit from the increased traffic and improve my integrated marketing strategy. 

Vine

Vine is a site that allows you to post six seconds of video to your Twitter account. The site garnered 13 million users in only six months, and five vines are tweeted every second. Like Twitter, Vine is acting as a news-breaking network. A record 19,667 Vines were recorded and shared on the day of the Boston Marathon bombings. Consumers want to see pictures and videos, and this is another network where you can extend your company’s reach and expand your audience. 

Vine allows individuals to showcase their personal brand. I follow United States gymnast McKayla Maroney on Twitter, and she uses Vine to show her fans different gymnastic maneuvers and what’s going on in training. The outlet allows her to inform while also showing off her personality, which will only engage more fans. What companies are using Vine effectively in their marketing strategies?

 

 

Making LinkedIn Work for You

ImageMost employees and businesses understand that it’s crucial to have a social media presence, especially in a competitive job market. In 2012, one out of every six job seekers landed a position with the help of social media, and 93 percent of recruiters were utilizing LinkedIn. LinkedIn is no longer just a network where job seekers copy and paste their resumes. Kristi Hines suggests updating your profile regularly to show employers that you’re engaged and the right fit for their company. 

With so much emphasis placed on LinkedIn profiles, and because the network is rapidly expanding, it’s important that you make your page stand out from the crowd. Here are four basic tips for getting your page noticed, and in a good way!

1. Create a headline with keywords that you want to be discovered by

Lewis Howes says your headline should say who you are, who you help, and how you help them

2. Upload a head shot of yourself 

Your profile is seven times more likely to get viewed if you have a photo. Remember that LinkedIn is about professionalism, so don’t post a picture of your baby or dog. According to Libby Kane,  19 percent of recruiters look only at your profile picture on LinkedIn. Are you surprised that so much emphasis is put on the profile picture? Shouldn’t your credentials be more important?

3. Create a summary about yourself

A summary is the place where you can tell companies about your goals, passions and accomplishments. Even though the site is a business tool, the summary section allows you to make a human connection, so you’re not just another job seeker.

4. Make sure previous experience and contact information are up-to-date

You never know what type of experience may attract an employer. Even if a previous job was unrelated to the industry you’re pursuing, a recruiter may have had a similar experience, and will understand the benefits of that experience. If an employer is interested in you, they’ll need to have up-to-date contact information. Link your other social media accounts to your LinkedIn profile so employers can connect with you in multiple places. 

If you want to go beyond the basic steps, add work projects to your page, join industry groups, get endorsements for your skills, and cater your connection requests to the person you want to connect with. I’ve discovered that if you want your connections to endorse your skills, try endorsing their skills. Anytime someone endorses me, I usually go to their page to reciprocate. Endorsements are a great way to showoff your skills. How have you made your LinkedIn page stand out?

With more and more people utilizing LinkedIn, some people believe that the site is a target for hackers and scammers. Viveka von Rosen wrote an article about how to secure your LinkedIn account. While some of Rosen’s tips, like adding all of your emails addresses and scoping out competition anonymously seem helpful, others seem to defeat the purpose of the network. Rosen suggests turning off your broadcast feed and hiding your groups and connections. LinkedIn is a place to network and sell your brand, so why would you want to hide your activities and professional groups? It’s connections and transparency that get you hired, so I think it’s best to forgo Ronsen’s advice.

Giving your Social Media the Edge(Rank)

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The Facebook search allows you to connect with people who share edges with you. Through Facebook search, I was able to find all other users who liked Taylor Swift. The search feature allows you to take the search a step further by searching for users’ who like Taylor Swift’s employer, current city, etc.

Facebook is no longer a site intended for posting arbitrary daily updates, creeping on exes and playing Candy Crush; it’s a tool for making connections. According to Shel Israel, Facebook’s social graph allows you to find people, places, photos and interests based on who you’re friends with. Every time you like something on Facebook, you create a connection to other users who also like that brand, photo or status. These connections are called edges. Edges are critical for marketing because they determine what information is seen.

Facebook has developed an algorithm that governs what posts show up on a news feed, and how high on the news feed the posts are displayed. As a brand, it’s crucial to get your posts on a news feed because 88 percent of Facebook users won’t return to a fan page once they’ve hit the like button.

The algorithm is based on the sum of edges. EdgeRank is determined by an edge’s affinity, weight and time decay. The more involved interactions a user has with a brand, the higher EdgeRank the brand will have. This is why it is crucial for brands to post engaging content on a consistent basis. The more your fans comment on your posts, the higher your posts will show up in their news feed.

Kurt Wagner said the EdgeRank algorithm has led to a 13 percent increase in user engagement and a 5 percent increase in interactions on Facebook. This increase shows that Facebook users want to interact more and be informed by brands that are relevant to them, as opposed to seeing all of their connections’ ranked solely by the time they posted, like Twitter. Do you think Twitter will develop a similar algorithm to keep users engaged?

If you want more ways to improve your EdgeRank besides posting relevant content daily, Amy Porterfield and Broadsword Communications suggest posting images and videos, or just straight forwardly asking for what you want. Posting a photo on Facebook will get you 120 percent more engagement, and asking opinion-driven questions will bring you 90 percent more engagement. Most of the time I spend on Facebook is spent looking at pictures. I get far more likes and comments on photos I post, than I get on statuses I post. People feel more engaged by visuals.  

Last week when I posted that I needed responses for class and asked my Facebook friends which social media site they liked to receive content on, I was shocked by the amount of responses I received. Just by asking people to comment, they felt more engaged and wanted to share their opinions.

Facebook’s improvements were sparked by the advancements of Google Plus. The content you create on Google Plus is indexed by Google, and it will show up in Google search results. Steve Rayson said over half of the searches performed in the U.S. occur on Google, so it’s essential that your content can be found on the site. 

Google Plus authorship also provides you with a higher visual profile in search results. Rayson said that Google likes to give a higher priority to the content that is created on their own site. This led me to wonder about a question that was asked in a post by Brian Clark: Isn’t the point of search engines to point you to the most useful information, no matter what site it’s on? Is Google’s site less helpful or legitimate because it gives higher priority to those who use Google Plus?

Whether Google is hurting itself in the long-run or not, it’s evident that currently having a presence on Google Plus is critical for a brand.

Tweet relevant content, not ads

Despite Bill Keller’s belief that Twitter is destroying our ability to actually communicate and contemplate thought, if utilized properly, the social media network gives companies the opportunity to engage more potential consumers. The key to Twitter success is sharing relevant content, not just trying to push a sale.

According to Mark Fidelman, Jill Duffy, Kim Darst and Emily Price, the worst thing a brand could do on Twitter is push their products instead of pushing relevant content. Many tweeters suggest following the 80/20 rule (80 percent content, 20 percent sales), but as a consumer and a Twitter user, I would prefer a 90/10 ratio. Sure it’s great to be knowledgeable about promotions every once in awhile, but if a brand if constantly trying to get me to buy something, I’m going to unfollow them.

Pushing sales is a lot like walking into some clothing stores. I loathe the stores where as soon as I walk through the door, I’m bombarded with employees telling me all of the latest promotions. If I even so much as look at a shirt, an employee comes over to tell me what a great deal it is. Enough is enough! Constant pushing of sales is only going to push potential customers away, and the theory holds true for Twitter.

Sharing relevant content helps you appear like an industry expert. Even if your followers aren’t in the market to buy what you’re selling, the content you share will have them constantly engaged with your brand. When the customer is looking to buy, you will have already won their trust. 

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Someone should have told my friend that social media engagement drops when you use three or more hashtags!

Aaron Lee, Garst, Duffy suggest that in order for a brand to be fully engaged, they must respond to the tweets they receive. Responding to your followers shows that you care about your customers. Many customers will retweet your responses because they’re pleasantly surprised that someone took the time to respond. Just this week, I noticed several of my classmates excitedly posting responses they received from big companies. My classmates’ excitement makes me wonder, how many larger companies are taking the time to build relationships through social media? Is it reasonable to expect large companies to respond to every single tweet?

Twitter not only allows you to have conversations with your customers, it allows you to see what customers are saying about your brand and your industry. Cheryl Conner and Michael Brito encourage brands to monitor what they’re customers are saying and how they’re using Twitter. Once you have a better understanding of what the customer wants, you’ll be able to engage them more successfully.

It’s important for both companies and professionals to know how to successfully use Twitter. Ryan Lytle explains that Twitter helps students and professionals create a brand for themselves. Good grades aren’t enough anymore, it’s important to have a social media presence.

Teaching students how to properly utilize Twitter will eventually allow companies to have less restrictive guidelines for their tweeters. If a professional knows how to use Twitter, and understands the company’s goals and audiences, shouldn’t they be trusted to carry out the brand’s goals without having their voice restricted?

Content is King

One of the keys to successful social media is content. If you create high-quality content that centralizes on a specific interest or topic, social media users are going to want to read what you have to say. As Solis said, social media is evolving into an era of content that is defined by shared interests. If you write what you’re passionate about, that passion will transcend through social media, and make a personal connection to the reader.

Pam Moore gives some great tips on how to keep your social media audiences engaged, but I think it’s a lot more concise. All 50 of her points could be summed up by number twelve: Respect your audiences’ time, attention and presence. If you’re respecting their time and attention, you will be entertaining them, listening to them, and ultimately giving them what they want.

Guy Kawaki’s advice to find and share content from other social media users is beneficial for multiple reasons. Sharing other users’ content helps you form a connection to that person, and they’ll be more likely to read your content. If the user’s content that you’re sharing is seen as a professional in your topic area, that will help you to establish yourself as a leader in the topic. I’ve found that when I’m struggling to create content on my wedding blog, sharing others’ photos or content usually helps me attract more followers. Kawaki’s advice to share content that’s trending isn’t only applicable to blogs, it’s also extremely relevant on Pinterest, a site that’s all about sharing. I’ll look for content that has been repinned a lot, and I’ll pin it to attract a larger audience.

This article talks about sharing content on Twitter when you don’t have any engaging content of your own.

I was surprised to learn that you shouldn’t include any pets or spouses in your social network pictures. I can understand why you wouldn’t want a picture of you and all of your college friends as your LinkedIn photo, because that site is geared toward business. Is it really detrimental to have a picture of you and your dog or you and your spouse as your Facebook profile picture? I don’t believe it is. Facebook is a site that is intended for personal connections, and posting personal pictures only helps you increase your human connection.

It also was surprising to me that you can tweet the same content multiple times. Despite Twitter’s transitory nature, if someone I followed tweeted the same thing multiple times in a day, I would stop reading their tweets. The repetition is like advertising, and if you keep promoting the same thing over and over instead of engaging your followers, they’re going to tune you out. Do you agree, or do you think the repetition helps to get your point across or to promote you ideas?