Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

100 Social Networking Statistics & Facts for 2012

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In my mind, successful “social media” strategy lives at the intersection of the information needs of the social audiences you can grow, obtain and nurture, the content you can create or curate for them, and the right choice of social platforms that you use to deliver your message.

These intersections happen in minute slices of time – those seconds when the user was browsing for content when that social network happens to deliver them your content in their social stream.

But the desire to create more of these intersections happen has made the challenges of creating that content more daunting than ever.

Fragmentation

When I wrote early last year on this blog about the “Fragmentation of Social Networks“, and shared some of these thoughts at Social Fresh East last year, I saw the industry already starting to change course.

In short, trends from that time seemed to dictate mostly that the information needs and user experiences of social content were changing for many end users, and audiences were starting to move from big “shopping malls” of content to “boutique shops”, focusing on destinations and brands that would deliver what they wanted.

The destinations of these “social intersections” were starting to move from the familiar to the less familiar in terms of networks.

Visual Social Strategy

Later in July 2012, I spoke at the Ad Age Small Agency Summit and shared how the first beginnings of social media strategies for visual networks had started to appear.

With the explosive growth of Instagram, Pinterest and changes to Facebook’s display of photographs in the timeline, the die was being cast – visual assets had to be a part of the mix. Early adopter brands had started to figure out how to use their vast content stores in effective ways, and test the waters outside of what they knew best.

Content Strategy Takes A Back Seat

At this point, the reality for many brands was with limited resources, deeply thought out content strategy were still a secondary concern.

It was more often about “keeping the lights on” and getting as much content out as possible, with quality often taking a backseat to speed.

After all, in many cases, posting more often just lead to more opportunities for engagement, with limited penalties (unlikes, unfollows) for too much content, since such a small percentage of your audience was interacting anyway.

Enter Edgerank

Then spawned what I’ve dubbed the “Great EdgeRank Crisis of 2012“, which in a split second, made brands re-evaluate their content strategies (and, often, establish a content strategy for the first time), and the people behind sourcing the content that would run.

The loss of access to large parts of the audience brands thought they had built, through good content and effective community management, and often through spending money on advertising, to was frustrating to many. Instead of living in the periphery through networks that, in theory, brands could ignore, the content strategy question spawned it’s head right in the belly of the beast, on Facebook itself.

The lesson in a nutshell: your Facebook content needed to be better than ever to avoid negative feedback, or it would run a much bigger risk of never being seen by the people you want to reach, and even more concerning, first level friends of those people who could be coerced to build a relationship with you.

Content Must Be Awesome

For an organization with a reasonably large fan base (both offline and online) and a desire to be active on social media now likely having to at least consider and understand the inherent content challenges for having presences on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, the goal became crystal clear.

Your content had to be more than occasionally entertaining – you had to be entertaining, or relevant just about every time out of the box, and the penalty for going too far for the first time was a legitimate concern. And it had to be right for the platform it was on.

This really required a new way of thinking.

Ian Schafer of Deep Focus described this way of thinking in an excellent AdAge piece called, “Why It’s Time Your Brand Invested in a Creative Newsroom“, where he suggests that “The best content is not what surfaces most often through search results, but what travels most often between people.

When we look at the success of content these days, there is often an inverse relationship between how good it is vs. how much we had to pay for people to actually see it.”

I couldn’t agree more.

The Content Newsroom

The newsroom approach is probably the best analogy I’ve heard so far about this new way of thinking. An independent content strategy for each platform has started to become part of THE content strategy for the brand. With new platforms, the approach used to be, “let’s develop a strategy for ____”.

What this left many brands with was bits and pieces that lived in multiple places, and often in multiple people, and a bolt-on approach which didn’t really meet the objectives of the brand.

Now, the fragments of platform specific strategy are being pulled together into a cohesive overall one.

They have to be.

It’s too expensive to fragment limited people. To borrow the newsroom analogy again, let’s take the late evening news, as an example.  While the weather, sports and business report have been produced by different people, the end broadcast is the product people rely on and tune in for.

They expect a package product for their information needs. Someone needs to pull this altogether to make sure while they are proficient in answering the specific needs of that audience, the overall show feels complete.

This is why I think your social media team will have (if it doesn’t have one already) a dedicated content strategist. I think it’s time to spin out this role into it’s own speciality and recognize the unique skill sets it requires, if for no other reason than the time and complexity involved in creating and distributing “good content”.

This role has to answer these questions:

1. What, when and where?

Simply put this is the rapidity and frequency of content you share, what, when and where. Most social media teams bake this into a content calendar, but with the fact that each platform has very specific content needs, this is more of a challenge than ever.

2. What content is fair game?

Rights and clearances will be one of the, if not the biggest challenge, in this new normal. Being tight with your legal term and understanding the minutia of content use, licensing, fair use and reuse is often one of the most time-consuming parts of the job. Good example: Often content will be licensed for “editorial use”, but the question of if social media is considered a part of “editorial use” often depends from vendor to vendor and even contract to contract. And, of course, the question of “curation” applies here.

3. Who will create our content?

With the growth in visual content, having people who are skilled in graphic design, photography, video, and other digital content tools (hello, animated GIFs) mixed with those who can create the written word and expects in social media culture will result in the most success.

4. How do we keep it relevant?

As we all know, social media is real-time, and heavily influenced by pop culture and breaking news. The time to create relevant content is short, and when you involve heavier digital creative, it gets even shorter, given the time involved in making this content.

5. What’s working and what isn’t?

The real-time content flow needs to be evaluated nearly real-time. The pressure to produce content that works has never been hire, and it’s more necessary than ever to “fail fast”, because the next shot at your audience is often just minutes or hours away.

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The good news is that a content strategist often already lives within because they’ve probably been playing some part of this role as a social strategist, social marketing manager, or community manager.

It’s just time to recognize them for what they are – the people who will take on the fight to develop good content for your social audiences. And if you have one of these folks on your team already, and are doing all of the above, congratulations!

Give them a hi-five or a hug, and keep them happy. They will be a very key part of your social business for a long time to come.

via SocialFresh

 

 

Facebook has changed the size of the profile picture on all pages, which means both your personal and business pages will need a quick refresh.

The new Facebook profile picture size is 160 x 160 pixels, which is noticeably larger than the old size of 125 x 125 (as you can see by Coca-Cola images below).

On April 26, Facebook automatically made this update and left many users and brands asking why their profile pictures were now so blurry. It’s a minor change but a must to fix. After all, no one likes a blurry brand image.

It’s also important to note that Facebook crops images when generating a thumbnail, so part of the image you use will be lost. This is why many users and brands end up dragging the image so it’s either centered or positioned correctly.

Facebook asks that you upload a profile picture that is 180 x 180 pixels and it will crop the image automatically.

Lastly, the new Facebook profile picture size changes the image position slightly. It now sits at 23 pixels from the left and 210 pixels from the top of the page. Again, you can see from the Coca-Cola images below there is a clear difference between old and new.

OLD PROFILE PICTURE SIZE:

Old-Facebook-Profile-Picture

NEW PROFILE PICTURE SIZE:

New-Facebook-Profile-Picture

via Social Fresh

 

Here are some really useful tools, some of which you will use every day, if you aren’t already. Exercise some critical judgment though: a tool is only as good as it’s data – so take a moment to check if the data is believable, and to think about other sources you can cross reference against.

Search Engine, Browser and Device Stats

One tool I come back to again and again is StatsCounter – there’s data on the market shares of search engines, browser versions, computer, and mobile hardware and operating systems here for most countries. Whilst it’s always sensible to compare two sources of this data, this is always where I start.

Google Insights and Trends

It always seems confusing that there are two Google tools showing search trends – Insights and Trends with the later linking to the other with the text; “Explore advanced features with Google Insights for Search“. I keep expecting Trends to be closed down, but it soldiers on.

Both offer a quick way to view search trends over time by country run comparisons. Trends will also show data for 5 URLs, if they have received enough traffic to register. As well as analysing seasonality, they can be used to look at cause and effect (e.g., recession and unemployment searches rising as concerns about the economy grew in 2008 in the UK, prompting an increase in insomnia searches).

Google Ad Planner

Google’s DoubleClick Ad Planner show visitor levels and demographic data for sites drawn from visits to them using data from Google’s own servers, a partnership with comScore and XYZ. It’s perfect for profiling individual sites or, when planning a display campaign, drilling down by country, age group, interest etc. and finding a list of sites that fit your target audiences – and then filtering down to those that are in the Google Display Network and can be targeted using AdWords. It’s a useful tool for benchmarking against competitors, too.

Google Keyword Tools

Everybody should already know this one – it’s the pre-eminent source of keyword data. Data can be viewed at a national level, with mobile search volumes split off separately. Login for the ability to download to CSV, or to add them directly to AdWords.

Less well known are the Placement and Contextual tools available from this URL. The placement tool will, based on keywords, URLs, a category or combination of these, suggest sites within the Google Display Network to place ads on. The contextual tool will, based on the keywords you input, suggest further keywords to add to GDN campaigns.

Yandex and Baidu Keyword Tools

Remember the power of Yandex and Badiu in Russia and China, with 63 and 78 percent market share respectively. Yandex’s keyword tool covers Russia, the rest of the CIS and international traffic, showing the keywords you enter and related keywords with “Display” volumes.

Baidu has a keyword tool that only PPC advertisers can access, but they also offer an open trends and keyword tool called Baidu Index and there’s a good explanation of it in English, and a list of other Chinese tools on the ChineseSEOShifu blog.

SEOBook Keyword Tools

A Swiss Army Knife of free keyword tools – one to clean up keyword lists copied off webpages or from other sources by removing numbers, punctuation and words you don’t want (e.g. “free”); another tool to generate all the variations of two lists of words and one to generate typos/misspellings of keywords.

Microsoft Advertising Intelligence for Excel

A free Excel Plugin that brings in keyword data including volumes, additional keywords and other data from MSN AdCentre.

Ubersuggest

Find more keywords using Google Autocomplete and other sources. It’s a quick way of understanding the universe of searches around word or phrase to find negative or positive keywords.

Google Preview Tool

Is that ad running OK in Slovakia? Who’s bidding on your brand on mobiles in Mexico? The Google Ad Preview tool allows you to view PPC and SEO results as if located in a specific country on a fresh computer with no cookie or login based personalisation. Essential for checking campaigns are live, reviewing competitor copy and the search landscapes outside your current location. It offers the ability to view ads based on a local area too, by entering a town or region.

YouTube Keyword Tool

YouTube is the dominant video search engine – and evolving as a fully-fledged entertainment hub with the obvious short-form video uploads alongside professional content from broadcasters and brands. Advertising opportunities here are detailed on their own micro site and Promoted Videos are shown next to video search results and managed through AdWords. The keyword tool will let you see what volume of searches are being made for specified keywords each month.

YouTube Trends Dashboard

An often over-looked tool that shows, per county, what videos are trending in a specific country by gender and age group – ideal for spotting content to advertise against, and knowing what’s “hot” on YouTube – or if you’re really doing well, watching your own videos trend. There’s a trends blog too.

via Search Engine Watch

 

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Here’s a Thank you letter from Ari A. Matusiak, Executive Director of the White House Business Council for the participants of Urban Economic Forum.

Friends –

On behalf of all of us in the Administration, I want to send a quick note to thank you for taking the time to participate in the Urban Economic Forum this past Thursday and for making it the program it was.  We heard positive feedback throughout the day and are still receiving emails from attendees, glowingly recapping all they learned.  While they may have our email addresses, you are the ones they are really writing to. 

We know how busy you all are.  Thank you again for being a part of the day.  We look forward to staying in touch and to the opportunity to work together again some time soon.

I trust this finds all of you well.

Best, Ari

Ari A. Matusiak
Executive Director
White House Business Council
(202) 456-6809 (o)
(202) 503-5542 (m)

 

The White House Urban Economic Forum took place in Los Angeles on Thursday, March 22nd on the campus of Loyola Marymount University. The day long event focused on Urban Entrepreneurs, Small Businesses, Emerging Businesses and High Growth Businesses.  Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa opened the forum and Earvin Magic Johnson lead one of the early panel discussions on Urban Entrepreneurs. The event profiled Urban Entrepreneurs, explored investing in Urban Entrepreneurs, discussed how to start and fund businesses and the use of Social Media to grow your business.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America

Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, Earvin "Magic" Johnson
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images North America

Kalika participated in the Technology and Social Media Action Workshop along with:

Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer, White House
Russel Buetow, Microsoft
Charles Lee, CEO, Ideation     
Albert Cheng, Google  

When you’re just starting out on Facebook, you’ve got to figure out how to attract your initial fan base. Here are three key milestones to pass on Facebook, and there are good ways to get past each milestone, without ever having to spend a dime on ads.

#1: 25 Fans

Getting to 25 fans is a significant milestone for a brand new page.  Once you’ve reached 25 fans, you’re allowed to set a vanity URL like facebook.com/citrusstudios Pages by default have a long, random number in them, Like Facebook.com/pages/Citrus-Studios/101681279873681 which is hard to promote.

The best way to reach 25 fan milestone is to send a message to your friends in Facebook with a link to the page and ask them to like your page. Like the one below:

Hello!  I just started a new Facebook Page, and I need  to have 25 fans before I can get a username for my page. I’d really appreciate you being one of the first 25 people to like my page – It will only take a few seconds. Thank you! [Insert your link here]

Once you get your 25 fans, claim your new vanity URL at facebook.com/username

#2: 100 Fans

Reaching 100 fans means that you’ll no longer be able to change the name of your Facebook Page — so make sure that you’ve got a name you like, *before* using these tactics.

The best method for getting to the 100 fan mark is to work your network. Announce your new vanity URL to your friends via a wall post on Facebook. Ask that your friends do 3 quick things to help:

(1) Like your page – if they haven’t already,

(2) Like your wall post and

(3) Share your new page by writing a post themselves.

Here’s a sample script:

I’ve just gotten a cool new username for my Facebook Page. Please help me grow the page by doing 3 quick things: (1) like the page, (2) like this wall post and (3) share this page with a Facebook update that says: “Check out my friend’s new page, [Insert your link here],  for tips on how to market your business on Facebook.”

#3: 1000 Fans and Beyond

Having over 1000 fans shows prospective customers that you have a strong fan base on Facebook and gives you a large base of people to reach when you need to announce a sale, drive new sales, or otherwise interact with.

But reaching 1000 fans doesn’t need to be an expensive affair. The best way to reliably reach 1000 fans, is to take a slow growth strategy using the places you’re already getting others attention.

If you have a website, utilize social plugins like the Like Button and Like Box, they are free to add to your site and they do a great job of turning website visitors into fans.

If you have an email list, send an email inviting them to Like you on Facebook.

If you operate a physical store, add some signage to your window, next to your cash register, or on your receipt.

The ideas are endless, and different for every business, but think about places where you are already getting attention from people and where you could ask them to become your fan on Facebook!

Many thanks to Roland Smart of Involver for the content of this article.

SocialOomph.com formerly known as Tweet Later is a service that provides free and paid productivity enhancement services for social media users and internet marketers. It consolidate your social networking activity so, if you have a Twitter and a Facebook account etc. for your business, you can control them all by logging into this one place!

Key features of SocialOomph:

  • Add/Manage an unlimited number of Twitter, Facebook or blog accounts
  • Schedule Tweets, Facebook status updates and even blog posts.
  • Save and reuse your draft tweets.
  • Auto Follow New Followers in Twitter and sends an automated Direct Messages (DMs)
  • Choose to vet new followers and Auto-Unfollow people who choose not to follow you back
  • Shows your @mentions and/or retweets for all your accounts on one page.
  • URL shortening and analytics tools.
  • Tracks keyword usage that monitors your social media accounts and sends you a report of tweets and other updates that contain the keywords you have selected.
  • Offers one central location for managing your social media updates and your blog posts simultaneously. You can easily view scheduled blog posts and social media updates to ensure that the two coincide with each other.

It makes life easy for yourself and your business, increase your social productivity and enhance your social networking encounter.

Why not give it a try and see how it works for your business.