Social Media Goodness ALS

#IceBucketChallenge
#StrikeOutALS
#ALSIceBucketChallenge

What a wonderful phenomenon the ice bucket challenge is. Raising money and awareness to fight and cure ALS is social media goodness.

Me personally, I simply wrote a check. I’ve known someone who lost their fight with the disease.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed. [source: http://www.alsa.org/about-als/what-is-als.html]

Join me in making a donation, visit the ALS website then select the donate button.

I’m growing weary however, many respondents are neglecting to mention ALS in the process. None the less, most affiliate the challenge with ALS. When we see someone dump water on their head, then name others we know what it’s for, right?

Many charitable causes turn to social media to spread their campaign news. The reach of social media is powerful, good news spreads.

Seek the goodness in your social surfing. Since donating the annoying videos I see of ice water dumped on top of random heads isn’t as annoying.

Did you need to wear a bikini though? Promote ALS not a lack of clothing.

hawking ALS

Learn about the remarkable Stephen Hawking here who suffers from the disease: http://www.hawking.org.uk/index.html

Instagram #Social Savvy Visuals Wow

Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. [via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instagram]

Instagram is where savvy businesses focus outreach.

  1. Instagram via the PC or a smart phone application is free
  2. Integration with Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Flikr and Mixi is easy
  3. Sharing is fast and efficient
  4. Filters transform mediocre mobile photos to professional looking snapshots
  5. Current Instagram monthly active users surpass 200 million just behind Twitters 255 million
  6. Instagram management believes growth will soon eclipse 1 billion
  7. Multiple ways to reach your target audience with video, text and photos
  8. User growth doubles every year
  9. Facebook owns it
  10. Two-thirds of Instagram users are outside the United States of America
  11. It’s fun to use

Instagram profiles are neglected, so are posts highlighting important calls to action.

Do visitors know what you do, who you are or what services you offer?

What does my profile say? Instagram

Instagram profile photo

My desire is that you know right away what I do and where to find my services.

Business growth begins as a desire from a customer.

Instagram forges a connection between personal and business. Customers know you are real, that your passion is making them happy and that you exist in many forms. Not many like fake people or fake business do they?

Tips and savvy outreach ideas:

  1. Complete your bio with relevant information, your website is a must
  2. Include informative text with each video and photo
  3. Ask for a double tap
  4. Share offers and discounts
  5. Use Instagram direct for privately shared photos or videos
  6. Run contests and giveaways
  7. Use hashtags
  8. Promote local success stories
  9. Take candid photos of your pets to share once in a while
  10. Develop a unique short hashtag for your business
  11. Post a photo of your QR tag
  12. Make a video of walking in to your location from the street right into the front door
  13. Have fun with photos, be goofy and keep a smile on your face
  14. Like others photos to engage your customers

 

 

Unplug and Look Up

Unplug your device, live your life. We don’t need to be socially connected all the time. Watch and see why we miss so much when glued to technology.

Gary Turk is a 27 year old writer, director and spoken word performer. He is the creator of the YouTube film ‘Look Up’, which has gained over 45 million views and has gone on to be a international hit. Watch his video below, then unplug for a while, live your life.

5 Socially Adaptable Web Efforts

Web authors reach audiences with strong, clear positive messages. Customers are who we strive to reach within the ever morphing web-o-sphere.

Social media networks change, it’s inevitable.

It seems like every few months social networks change dimensions, add new features or create new ways to share. Some just go away – poof….

What’s a person to do?

Here are 5 or 7 socially adaptable efforts:

  • use paid advertising on a rotating basis
  • focus on core marketing objectives
  • follow common sense rules
  • be nice, courteous and complimentary
  • outreach with a solution
  • remain actively engaged
  • don’t place all your eggs in one social network basket

Social networks are businesses, right! Advertising is how they make money, so use it. Your advertising budget doesn’t have to be huge, experiment and spend what you can afford, you may be surprised at the result.

Remaining focused on core market objectives keeps you moving toward goals instead of focusing on how the changed social network impacts you. Flip it and focus.

All networks have rules, so follow them. It makes common sense.

Being nice, courteous and complimentary is memorable because you make people feel welcomed, comfortable and valuable. People remember how you make them feel and will come back for more if they like that feeling.

I dont always socialize

Solutions to problems are what many customers seek. Retain customers and gain more by using outreach with a solution in mind.

Actively posting, listening with response and conversation will keep you involved, informed and ready to garner new or old customer attention.

Changes to social networks is expected, they are afterall in business to make money with a desire to adapt to changes in our behaviour. Keeping all of your efforts to one social network is tricky because not all of our customers are just on one network, are they? There are nuances to Twitter that don’t apply to Facebook that don’t apply to Google Plus. So being on a couple networks spreads your business awareness to more than one playing field. If that one network merges with another or just goes away or loses popularity your game can still continue.

Why shouldn’t social networks change?

Social network evolution is a means to improve.

How do you confirm details of social network changes.  Some sources include Social Media Examiner, Hubspot, Social Media Topics at Alltop and Google. Most social networks themselves have information available to determine recent changes such as image sizes and post parameters.

What’s your thought on this topic. I’d love to hear what you have to add. Please speak your mind and post a comment below.

 

 

 

5 Tips to Improve Your Social Media Marketing Efficiency

[singlepic id=113 w= h= float=none]

Almost 50% of all companies with an online presence also have specific content marketing strategies. Social media marketing budgets are expected to double in the next five years. SEO–search engine optimization–is more important than ever, with 33% of click-throughs going to the very first result of a Google search.

Still think your business’s social media marketing strategy is okay as it is? These tips will help you optimize, increase efficiency, and develop an online presence that will enable you to reach out to current and potential customers:

1. Listen First, Then Share Stories

According to Inc.com, some of the most successful social media marketing out there right now is from companies who tell personal stories, rather than try to sell right off the bat. This is an opportunity for you to get a bit personal and let customers get to know more about you. Creating that engaging link with your customers can make all the difference.

2. Actually Respond

Dave Kerpen, chairman of Likeable Media, reports that 60% of brands with an online presence do not respond to customers on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, according to Inc. By responding to both praise and complaints, you’ll set yourself apart from the competition–and let customers know that you are concerned with what they have to say.

3. Keep Your Communications Relevant

You don’t have to constantly, actively push sales through social media in order to keep your content targeted toward your audience. Providing helpful information and newsy bits keeps customers in touch and coming back for more. Need info about the latest in online security? Customers know they can log on to their favorite social media site, or just look up LifeLock’s Twitter page and find relevant info. Find your niche and give your audience the same kind of targeted information.

4. Diversify

Making sure your company has a presence on all the major social networks keeps your name out there, and prevents unruly web surfers from creating similar accounts with negative information that can derail customers. Also, tailor your social media to each network. You wouldn’t post the same in-depth article on Facebook as you would on LinkedIn Instagram. You’d focus almost exclusively on visual appeal. According to Wordstream.com, you should also stay active on Google+, which is likely to become a key player in the next few months and years.

5. Choose the Right Niche to Target

AudienceBloom.com offers a fantastic semi-statistical breakdown of the biggest social networks out there, their likely growth over the next few years, and the slices of population that favor each. Did you know that Google+ is dominated by men (70% of users are male)? Or that on Pinterest, college-educated women claim 75% of user accounts? Focus your social media on the networks most pertinent to your business’s niche.

5. Don’t Expect Immediate Magic

Patience and persistence are the kings of social media marketing; simply updating your business’s Facebook page or creating a Twitter account isn’t going to boost sales overnight. Stick with it, keep updating your pages and responding to customers’ comments and concerns, and work to target content to provide vital, interesting information about yourself and your products. Over time, you’ll be impressed by the results.

Guest post by: Britney Nicholsen

Britney runs the marketing department for a real estate firm while preparing to go back to school for her masters in English. She blogs to keep her writing skills sharp.

Drive Business by Joining the Mobile Payments Conversation

It’s well-established in the business press that mobile payments are a growing trend among businesses and consumers. Business Intelligence reported in October 2013 that credit and debit cards are being replaced by smartphones with mobile wallets and payment applications, further bolstered by QR (Quick Response) codes and the smartphone-driven Square Reader.credit card connected to mobile phone

If you are the owner of a small or medium-sized business, you’re the ideal candidate for driving mobile payments. Consider adopting or converting to mobile payments and streamline the payment process for both you and your customers.

Use Social Media to Start the Conversation

Regardless of your audience’s size on Facebook or Twitter, it’s important to let them know that you’re offering or considering this convenient service. Use social media as a tool to find out your customers’ preference and purchasing habits. Try these conversation starters:

  • Ask customers if they currently have mobile wallets or PayPal Accounts
  • Find out what their experience has been using these services
  • Provide links to consumer reviews of mobile payment services
  • Invite customers to share their own thoughts or research on the topic

By opening up the conversation you might find that some of your customers are already well-versed on it, particularly if they are online customers.

If you receive less feedback than you hoped for, this could be an opportunity to educate your customers about mobile payment, particularly if you have both a brick-and-mortar shop and an e-commerce site. Explain what it is, and emphasize that it’s growing and could be as routine as credit cards in a few years.

Instill Loyalty Through Mobile Payment

If your small or medium-sized business is already signed up for a mobile payment service, make it an opportunity to remind your customers how connected you are with cutting-edge technology. Be forward about making customers aware that mobile payment is an option for them, and share the benefits in both time and efficiency. As mobile payments continue to grow in popularity, customers familiar with the process are likely to seek out and remain loyal to business where it is offered.

Assuming that mobile payments continue to rise in popularity among US consumers, customers who already shop online and/or already use it will be interested to know this, and possibly drive them to shop more often at stores and sites that accept it.

Let Customers Know All Their Payment Options

Research your mobile payment services options—there’s more than just PayPal out there.

For example, in November 2013, MasterCard announced that its Simplify Commerce service will allow merchants to accept e-commerce and mobile commerce payments, regardless of the payment brand. And U.S. Bank offers U.S. Bank Go Mobile, an iTunes app that lets customers place their iPhones over a secure terminal to pay for purchases with their Visa cards.

Guest post by: Olivia Wilkins

Olivia has crowd-sourced multiple technology projects and loves to write about the tech world.

Blog Comments Let’s be Social

Blog comments were social long before social networks. Interacting online, submitting feedback and comments is a mainstay of the social network.

Opening your blog to comments comes with baggage in the form of comment spam. Think email spam but take it up a few notches.  My content management system of choice is self hosted WordPress. I rely on two WordPress plugins to protect against spam. One is named Akismet advertised as the worlds best way to protect your site from web spam. In addition I use GrowMap anti-spambot plugin.

Comments made with the sole purpose of gaining a backlink, which in turn will send traffic or link juice (provided the blog in question doesn’t use the nofollow tag) to the site of the spammer. Some spam comments are very explicit and come with several links to drug or gambling related sites. (definition from http://www.dailyblogtips.com/the-bloggers-glossary/).

I compare spam to a dirty window that can’t be cleaned no matter what technique is used. Spam is annoying and persists because somewhere somehow money is made from it.

Bloggers, good bloggers that is write to share valuable content with readers. Readers, good ones leave comments in praise or to debate different points of view.  Smart bloggers harness the power of social media and offer social sharing buttons for readers to use.  Social sharing is great and comments are too.

Responses to comments and the resulting conversations is what makes the commenting relationship social.

Many social sharing options are preferable, we’re not all on your favorite social network are we?

I find my social sharing stats within the content management back end of my wordpress website. I monitor and measure social shares often.

arrow171While we search the web for answers, take a few moments to leave comments if you can on valuable blog posts. Then tweet it, share it and post it on social networks. Good bloggers often reply. The process of interacting is welcomed here, please leave your comment below.

 

 

 

Social Network Etiquette for the TMI Drama

Too much information with social sharing is a filter many users need help with. Filtering drama, arguments, opinions and controversy within social networks comes with its own dose of patience.

We don’t want to know that Aunt Mary’s toe is infected, or that our friend Sue and her significant other broke up again for the tenth time.

Social network drama – it’s everywhere. How you handle it is the question.

 

social-media-sharing
Photo Credit: ePublicist via Compfight cc

Our friends lacking a filter for too much information are our friends after all. Strangers who ride the drama roller coaster on the other hand can be unfollowed, unfriended or blocked. It’s simple unless it’s your friend creating and posting it all the time, then it’s a trickier decision.

You can flat out tell the drama curator that you are unfollowing or unfriending them. No explanations are needed. Or just do it, chances are they may not realize it happened. What if that’s not an option because their social connections are so small.

Drama filters:

  • Realize the drama doesn’t impact you so don’t read it, scroll past the post fast
  • Use the block user setting
  • Ignore posts
  • Take a deep breath
  • Find happiness in rainbow photos
  • Don’t envy

Humans are imperfect, we all make mistakes. Do we have to share them with the whole social sphere though?  If you find yourself tempted to post TMI and you are hesitating, listen to your inner voice and wait an hour. Maybe you’ll find the emotional trigger for the drama has passed and thankfully you didn’t tell Aunt Mary to stick her toe business elsewhere.

Many socially unconnected people have found friendship and conversation within their web connected network. Maybe there isn’t anyone else to speak to nearby for the venting they need to do. Let’s take the high road and use some of the drama filters above to get past it all.

My Dad used to say if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it. Advice I try to follow.

What are your thoughts? Do you have anything else to add?

Create a Social Media Logo for Your Business

Designing an impeccable logo requires the consideration of multiple dynamics. Black and white framing strips everything away, confirming a logo is sensible in its simplest form. A logo mark is designed to complement the actual graphic, as seen on the famous Cardinals, Red Bull, Yamaha and Adidas ads. Logos need to be properly color balanced and convey a message in a simple manner.

But social media logo design changes these dynamics dramatically. By appealing to a social media platform, users are witnessing the brand in a different light. This touches on how they interact with the brand and how the logo is perceived.

There are two core strategies for tackling a social media logo design, and they are rather oppositional.

Social Networks -- A background pic for @Spillly's talk at SuperSport

Image by Flickr user royblumenthal

Clean and Easy: Fit the Box, Get the Job Done

Many of the most effective logos are simple ones, such as Shell, USA Network and Mitsubishi. These single color and often singularly enclosed logos are visible from a distance. In a social media platform, bright graphics, advertisements and feed posts distract users. The best logo could be one that is simple and streamlined. Look at the famous Apple logo. It has recently been converted from its rainbow schematic to a single mildly transparent gray tone. Of course, Apple allows users to change their logo color on their computers, another small addition that speaks wonders about the interactivity of the company.

Buffer reports another point of concern in the fact that 189 million Facebook users use the website strictly on their mobile. On a mobile platform, screens are smaller and resolution is lower. This could potentially make a noisy and busier logo a mess on a mobile screen. Simple logos extend into a square format, are easily read from a distance and stick out among the noise of a traditional social media page.

Take, for example, the Logo Garden logo design. The company itself specializes in allowing customers to design their very own brand logo. But the logo for the company is eloquent. It follows all those simple attributes that make a logo excellent, iconic and memorable. And in the social media format, it is stacked and formatted in a cohesive and logical way. Professional graphic designers such as my favorite Garrett at Shobiz Media and Design is another great option.

Take Advantage of the Digital Format: Add Flourishes

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a great logo is adaptable. These logos have various forms and deviations that fit specific types of means. A simple logo fits for an online marketing ad; but on a T-shirt, a glorified and fantastical version of the logo is more acceptable. On a social media platform, a radiant and intricately layered logo could help tremendously. Consider the fact that a logo on social media is not limited by ink colors or ink print size. Facebook specifically allows users to post a cover. Many companies incorporate a more detailed logo into their cover design.

Guest post by: Steven Clark

Steve is a graphic designer who transitioned to being a work-from-home dad last year, after his triplet boys were born.

7 Social Media Lies Revisited

7 Crazy Social Media Lies was a post I originally wrote last year about this time. Time for an update and a refresher.

The Northeastern USA air is transitioning to winter (again). It makes me think of holidays, family and friends. I’m wired that way and I love it.

Before the holidays, I spend time following the news and reading the paper because I want chit chat material to talk to friends and family about. Yeah I ask about Aunt Marge’s sore foot and Uncle Larry’s surgery and Grandma Betty’s dog but in between I need some filler material. I can talk to anyone for hours, even a total stranger. I’m wired that way too.

This year is different. My filler material is social media and the lies that are told about it.

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.
Albert Einstein

 

social media lies Chris via Compfight

Here are 7 crazy social media lies refreshed:

  1. Social networking is for the young. Older people are more active than ever on many social networks, especially Facebook. In fact the fastest growing demographic is 45-54 year-old’s [http://www.socialnomics.net/2012/06/06/10-new-2012-social-media-stats-wow/]
  2. Nobody likes Google +. Google Plus attracts millions of monthly active users and it’s growing much faster than any previous social network before it [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google%2B]
  3. Automatic sharing of content on Facebook is fun. Not really. Are you sick of your friends locations check ins too? Don’t even get me started with how annoying Bitstrips are! There are thousands of web based articles about how to limit your sharing on Facebook. Here’s a good one from the Dummies people [http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-limit-who-can-see-your-facebook-posts.html
  4. My kids aren’t on social media. Scary right! My kids are aged 12 and 15. My youngest is on seven social networks and my oldest on eight. My 12 year old has a YouTube Channel, two Instagram accounts, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr where she writes micro-blogs. Add on Facebook and switch out Tumbler and another and that’s the differentiation between them. Facebook is a huge negotiation I’m not willing to begin for my 11 year old. I crossed off the previous statement because my youngest is now on Facebook! If your child has their own email account, I can almost guarantee they are on one or more social networks. Ask them. [http://blog.sysomos.com/2012/06/13/the-new-social-question-how-old-are-you/]
  5. Twitter and Pinterest are social networks too. These two networks are actually micro-blogging sites for sharing snippets of text or photos that can link to other websites. Twitter is more text and linked based however images are more popular than ever compared to a year ago.
  6. They can’t do that. Sorry, yes they can. All social networks have terms of service and privacy policies that you agree to when you signed up. You know that long wordy text you scrolled past when you signed up that changes once and a while (it did?). Social networks are businesses, they’re not all publicly traded companies like Facebook but you can bet the terms of service and privacy policies protect them, not you. Here are Facebook’s terms of service  and privacy policy: [https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms] and [https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy]
  7. People care about privacy. Sadly this is not true. You think the settings you chose last year are still the same don’t you? Click this chart by year, the bluer it is the better it is for Facebook. And they aren’t the only social network that have changed their privacy settings, Twitter is on it’s sixth iteration [http://mattmckeon.com/facebook-privacy/] and [https://twitter.com/privacy] Did people even notice, I doubt it. Did I freak you out?
  8. Sex offenders aren’t on Facebook. Oh yes they absolutely are. From first hand experience I’ve seen them there. To Facebooks credit when you report any registered sex offenders profile to Facebook through their reporting system they do take prompt action, at least they did in my case and deleted the two profiles for the same offender I reported. I did notify the local police who were concerned. The police advised to call them first and let them screen capture the profile first which is what I wished I had done.

Do me a favor? If you click this button and pay with a tweet you’ll get my free eBook about kids on social media. Be cooler than them this year and learn a trick or two!