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Top Social Media Trends 2015

Year end brings thoughts of the new year – so in that spirit, here are the top trends I see for 2015 in social media:

Top Social Media Trends for 2015Social Media Trends 2015

  1. LinkedIn – remains my favorite social network for business purposes. Fatigue and ennui have hit Facebook, ads are proliferating on many social channels which distract from engagement, and time has become even more precious.  LinkedIn is THE social channel for jobs, work and business. My career advice? Make sure you keep up with, and look good on, this site.
  2. Pay to Play – gone are the days of “free” social media exposure and marketing. Businesses will have to pay to be seen and heard on social networks, making strategic targeting of appropriate social media channels and specific audience messaging even more important. Customer service on social networks continues to offer both opportunities for exposure and pitfalls if neglected – make sure you’re listening and responding on social media.
  3. New Social Networking Sites – New platforms targeting distinct audiences, like LibraryThing, Foodie, Gentlemint, Fitocracy, and VampireFreaks, offer themed updates, info, interactions and engagements on topics of special interest to members of these sites. No longer does one size fit all.
  4. Micropayments – the quest for quick, easy, safe and fee-less money transfers online remains unsolved…for now. My bet is that these micropayments are coming, and with them could be valuable content in a whole new light. Providers of relevant, quality information can now be paid by micro donations from people interested in their ideas. This can save readers from annoying ads, and can compensate good creators for their time and effort.
  5. Social Buying – social media networks from Facebook to Pinterest to Twitter are all experimenting with enabling purchases within their channel. It’s a natural to be able to buy something you want/need AND have reviews and experiences from people you know guide and support your purchase decision. Lots of back-end wrangling to make this happen and user angst ahead, so stay tuned!
  6. Mobile – mobile usage continues to accelerate, apps have proliferated, and social will continue to be engaged using mobile devices.

With these thoughts and speculations of social media trends, 2015 here we come!

My best wishes to you for peace, joy and success in the New Year.

Posted in LinkedIn for Business, Social Mobile, Trends in Social Media Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Use Pinterest to Drive Traffic to your Website

Pinterest used effectively can be a strong source of traffic to your website and can help drive people to your blog posts.Pinterest, pinning and boards to get noticed

How can Pinterest Drive Traffic to your Website and Blog?

People are so visual today, the ol’ “picture’s worth a thousand words”, and are drawn to clicking on powerful images. That’s good news in Pinterest, as Pinterest is all about images. On Pinterest, each pinned image is linked to a place on the Web.

By creating arresting graphics, pictures, or images with text overlays that have standout messages, you encourage people to click and that will take them to your website or to your blog post – whatever URL you select when you pin it to your board.

Tips to Help Drive Traffic to your Properties

  1. Work on your Pinterest Profile – make sure your name and the About section of your Pinterest presence reflects clearly what you do and what you’re about. A good tip I got from the recent Social Media Success Summit – Tip #1 if your name does NOT reflect what you do, add a hyphen to it and describe briefly using keywords what you do (example: “JLC Inc” would be expanded to “JLC Inc – best floor tile selection in NC”). Tip #2 – fill out your About section using keywords and keep to the 180 character count.
  2. Optimize for Pinterest Search – Pinterest has evolved into a significant search tool, so using keywords that address what your people are interested in and looking for is a key to being found in a broader context.  This applies to your Profile and to each Board and individual Pin.
  3. Make use of Rich Pinsyou can add price tags for goods you showcase, as well as include other pertinent data that can lead people to take action.
  4. Board Placement – because Pinterest is accessed on multiple platforms (PC, laptop, mobile, tablet), organizing your Boards so that your most important Boards come first is important, as on mobile, for example, only the first two boards show up on the screen (you have to drill down to get to the others). It’s easy to re-order your Boards (drag and drop).
  5. Promote your Pinterest presence on your Website - optimize your website with ‘pin it’ buttons on your images, and add Pinterest to your social sharing buttons on the site. This will let people know you’re active on Pinterest and can let your supporters/fans spread your messages/images.
  6. Advertising – Pinterest now has Promoted Pins in Beta testing (think CPC advertising). Use these to drive traffic to specific landing pages on your website for strategic conversion opportunities.

Pinterest is a unique network that, for the right businesses, nonprofits and individuals, can make good sense. The key is to have AMAZING images and to be creative with your headline text, descriptions and visual style.

 

 

Posted in "How To" basics, Blogging for Business, Trends in Social Media Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Use Reddit to Get Results

Reddit marketing strategy – is it an oxymoron – or can Reddit be used to get results? Reddit’s different.  Reddit is a social media network that, used knowledgeably, can offer small businesses, nonprofit organizations and individual professionals unique strategic value.How to be strategic with social media

Reddit

First let’s look at what Reddit is:  it’s a curated bulletin board of information where users share stuff, comment, and vote posts up or down.  It’s a huge social news aggregator that aspires to curate the best news on the web.

It’s purpose, if you will, is to filter through “all” of the stuff online, avoiding the “bad” stuff and finding the “good” for you.  The “good” floats up to the top via the voting system, where it’s easy-ish to discover.

Who’s on Reddit?

The average Redditor is male between the ages of 18-24, college educated with an average income of $25,000-$50,000. They are “skeptical, Internet savvy, geeky and liberal,” and likely to “downvote blatant advertising.”

Reddit is more like the old online forum world – it basically looks like a giant white board, according to Rafael Sangiovanni. Its design seems to draw in people who tend to be more passionate about a given topic. 

Reddit Tips

  • Check out reddiquette for Reddit’s etiquette tips
  • Play around on Reddit before you post and see what people like and don’t like
  • Work on your headline – it needs to be catchy as well as relevant to your post
  • Post to the most appropriate community – to do this, search through reddits and subreddits

Reddit Cautions

Reddit Marketing Strategy – or why Reddit can work for You

That being said, if this is your demographic, you can improve your search engine rankings if your content becomes a hot topic. This can happen through backlinks and increased visits to your website.

So, think about what kind of content could work for you on Reddit – fun and unknown facts about your business or organization, odd tie-ins to current events, showcasing your blog posts IF they add new and interesting information are some of the ideas that could work for you on Reddit.

Do you have any other content ideas that you might suggest for organizations trying to get their word/words out?

 

 

Posted in "How To" basics, Social Media & Small Business, Social Media for Nonprofits, Trends in Social Media Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Twitter Strategies that Get Results

Learn how to use Twitter strategically and get results with social media.How to be strategic with social media

For small businesses, nonprofit organizations and individual professionals, just knowing how to tweet or post a Vine on Twitter is just the beginning.

The next step is learning the nuances of social networks. Different social media networks have different audiences who are interested in different things.

Knowing the basics, and adding higher level knowledge can give you an edge that will help you meet your digital communication goals.

Let’s start with the basics:

  • Twitter is a social network that allows users to send and read short, 140-character text and visual messages, called “tweets”. 
  • Twitter has over 34 million users in the US which in the latest research shows 18% of online adults use Twitter
  • 78% of users are active via mobile devices

Audience demographics according to Pew Research:

  • the typical Twitter user is an 18-29 year-old educated minority with a well-paying job,
  • they are slightly more likely to be male than female.
  • 19% of online Moms use Twitter

Twitter strategies that get results

Twitter is a great place to do market research and to listen, it also offers close-to-real-time information and breaking news, and provides savvy users with  customer service  and crisis management opportunities.

Marketing 

  • Follow existing customers and learn more about them.  Use this knowledge to create more relevant messages for them. Uncover ways to talk with them directly, to help, provide better service, or in some way assist in meeting their needs.  This is NOT about promoting yourself.
  • Prospect for future customers.  Use Twitter to find people with certain interests that intersect with your organization. Reach out to them. Mention them in tweets.
  • Listen to what people are saying about your brand, your industry, about the problems your organization addresses.  Learn from this and incorporate this market intelligence into your product or service.
  • As for messaging, integrate your online and offline marketing messages so you present a consistent brand through your tweets.
  • Mix up your messaging, and 20% of the time talk about your business and why you’re wonderful – provide links to promotions, your website, include videos, Vines (short, looping videos that you can create via the Vine app). 
  • Offer Twitter-user-only deals and promotions as incentives to follow you on Twitter.
  • Provide links to online deals or twitter coupons, discount codes and time-based promotions.
  • Interact with your followers by retweeting their good tweets.

Events

  • Use Twitter to enhance and promote your events – both before, during and after the event – to widen knowledge about it and increase interest through interaction.
  • Follow individuals or groups interested in your events. Provide event notifications, reminders, twitter-based event discounts, updates, photos, videos, articles.
  • Tweet live from events. Encourage attendees to tweet during and after about the event, developing spontaneous conversations with attendees.

Crisis & Issues Management

  • Monitor your brand, products, name(s), and issues related to your business or organization.
  • Provide relevant information to address customer needs such as company info, tips, frequently asked questions.
  • Dialog with followers about the issues, encourage them to get involved and to retweet your posts.
  • Incorporate Twitter into your crisis communication plan.

Reputation Management, PR, Customer Service and Customer Relations

  • Follow thought leaders, industry giants, as well as journalists known to cover your sector. Develop a reputation as an authority in your industry or niche and look for opportunities to weigh in as an expert in your field of knowledge. Search out conversations on topics of interest to your customers and industry and participate.
  • Engage customers by asking them questions.
  • Answer questions.
  • Build positive sentiment about your brand.

 

 

Posted in "How To" basics, Social Media & Small Business, Trends in Social Media, Twitter for Business Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

May 2014 Social Media Trends, Tips and News

Liz Horgan - Strategic Social Media Charlotte NCWith the sun out, birds calling, flowers growing, grass needing mowing…you know Spring 2014 is here.  So to keep up with the new, here are some of the latest social media trends, tips and news:

LinkedIn News

1.  LinkedIn is joining forces with apps:

Evernote and LinkedIn want to digitize those business cards you always lose anyway. The way it works is quite simple: tap the “business card” button in Evernote’s iOS app and snap a photo. That’s it. The app then scours LinkedIn for you until it finds a match. Now you can toss that thing into the trash without the guilt. This in from Dave Caolo.

2.  Tips on how to grow your business using LinkedIn today

Three ideas: First, enhance your personal branding by improving opportunities for media exposure by connecting with journalists, writers, and others at publications/news outlets appropriate for you.  Second, use LinkedIn to find key business allies and explore joint venture partnerships. Third, use the one-on-one connection capabilities of LinkedIn to connect directly with key decision makers your target market.  These came from Jeff Bullas interviewing Alex Pirouz.

3.  LinkedIn’s made it easier to find Groups tailored to your interests.

LinkedIn has made it easier for you to “boost your professional brand on LinkedIn is to find other like-minded professionals to connect and exchange ideas with in LinkedIn Groups.” Daria Axelrod Marmer shows you how to more easily get involved in the right Groups. 

4.  Publishing on LinkedIn to increase your visibility

LinkedIn opened their publishing platform to its users.  Posts you publish will now automatically be shared with your connections, making it easier to gain visibility. What you post will help you build your business, your brand, and your resume. Tips and details from Brian Murray

Google+ Tips and News

1. Google+ and SEO

Better understand the ins and outs that help you use Google+ strategically today as a platform for your business efforts. Explore the reasons for social media post rank roller coaster, and learn more about how authority works on Google+.  Get tips and more details in Joshua Berg‘s blog.

2. Google+ Change in the Wind without Vic Gundotra ???

There are allusions to the Walking Dead, and talk about what Google and Google+ will and will not be now that one of the key visionaries at Google has left the building.  Check out TechCrunch and Huffington Post for their takes.

Facebook Trends

1.  Facebook’s declining organic reach

One of the biggest topics in Facebook marketing today is the decline of organic reach and the increased demands for Facebook advertising as the only way for businesses to have their content seen.  Read the discussion by Justin Lafferty on short term vs. longer term views on the News Feed and what that means for Facebook as a whole, and marketers specifically.

Twitter Trends

1. Twitter’s slow growth

Statistics about Twitter are mixed, and show that 16% of Americans use Twitter – which make it a significant outlet for news, conversation and messaging.  Visual elements with Vine have added to it’s growth, and the negative news is more about the stock price than the nuts and bolts at this point.  Read more from Tom Webster.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Why Google+ is your new Social Media Best Friend

Google+ - Social Media and Your New Best FriendGoogle+ is your new social media and SEO best friend in 2014. Why? Because if you want to be found on search, you need to be on Google+.

Here’s why Google+ is your new Social Media best friend:

  1. Google+’s user base is growing,
  2. Google’s getting better engagement which leads to conversions and sales,
  3. Google Search is giving greater weight to social signals coming from Google+,
  4. Google+ has improved content identification through author ranking

Google+ Growth

The user base is growing by more than 800,000 users per month. The stats for Google+ also paint the picture for why Google+ is worth your attention in 2014: Carolyn Coats compiled stats worth considering…like Google+ has 6.6 million users are located in the United States and the +1 is clicked more than 5 billion times a day.

Google+ Engagement

Google drives user engagement with its platforms by seamlessly integrating experiences across devices. This came out of Social Media Week (Feb 24, 2014). By automatically signing in users across devices, Google has demonstrated a potential purchase conversion increase of 20% and an average purchase size increase of 14%.

Google+ and Social Media signals

Social activity on Google+ plays an important role in the latest version of Google’s organic ranking algorithm, so reports Entrepreneur.com in one of their latest blogs. They state that Facebook and Twitter have no impact on Google’s SEO rankings.  A big deal!  Why? It’s easier and more self-validating/serving for Google to focus on mining their own Google+ data…it makes sense that Google supports Google platforms and services.

Google’s Improved Content Identification

Indications are that Google rewards those that are actively involved in Google+. This means content writers as well as social participants.

It is a challenge to identify relevant content for people who search. It used to be keywords that informed the search results, but that is changing. Another element Google is elevating is Authorship, which helps identify content and tie it to the correct author.  Over time, Google builds a portfolio for each author, and uses algorithms to score the authors based on publishing history, amount and “expertise”.  The more you publish, and the more “expert” you are in Google’s eyes, the greater the odds that it is relevant and the higher such vetted content should rank in Search.

Ranked, known authorship will help Google better deliver search results – just one more way Google is trying to improve search experience.

Tips on Google Authorship:

  1. To set up the linkage between you and the content you create – Google Authorship – click here.
  2. You can test your content using Google’s Richsnippets tool to make sure that Google has, in fact, tied you to your content.  A word of explanation in the event you don’t see your picture gracing your next blog post in Search – Google will only show your author portrait in search results when they “think it will be useful to the user”.

Take Away

A key business strategy today – if you want to be found on search, you need to be on Google+.

 

Posted in Blogging for Business, Google+, Social Media & Small Business, Trends in Social Media Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

Social Media Helps You Get a Job in 2014

How Social Media can help you get a good jobUsing social media effectively can help make your job search easier, and can help get you a job in 2014.  While most people are already online searching for jobs – think Monster, Indeed and Careerbuilder – there are more reasons you want to go deeper digitally.

3 Reasons Social Media helps you get a job

  1. Recruiters
  2. Identify hidden jobs
  3. Reputation management

People that are hiring look for professional experience, hard and soft skills, indications of industry-related knowledge and presence, education levels and specifics, personal attributes, cultural fit and more.

1.  Recruiters – Recruiters use social media extensively in recruiting.  Anyone not using social channels is behind the curve, according to a recent study by Jobvite.  Much of recruiters efforts center around LinkedIn, the number one business-oriented social network.  It’s a place where recruiters are both proactive and reactive.  They use LinkedIn and other social networks to find candidate leads, to screen queries and submitted resumes, to dig deeper and get more information on all potential job prospects – all with the goal of identifying the best candidate for a job opening.

According to Jobvite, LinkedIn remains the king of searching (96%), contacting (94%), vetting (92%) and keeping track of candidates (93%).  Statistics show 78% of recruiters have made a hire through social media, and almost all recruiters (94%) use or plan to use social media in their recruitment efforts.

But it’s not all about LinkedIn. Recruiters also check out personal blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, GitHub, Instagram and more as ways to both vet and source talent.

The challenge for you is to make sure that you and your knowledge, skills and experience are showcased in the best possible light.

2.  Identify hidden jobs – here’s where you use social networks to your advantage.

Use LinkedIn proactively yourself! Use LinkedIn to build relationships, uncover needs, and provide you with information so that you don’t have to cold call for jobs.  For example, be proactive in identifying shared connections with potential employers, or discovering patterns within their connections, and develop conversation around a shared person or insight.

You’ll still need to call, but a warm call, based on mutual connections or uncovered shared interests for example, can improve your chances of success.

3.  Reputation management – craft your online brand and nurture it regularly.  Build up your social media presence by creating a solid social media foundation.

Create detailed and full profiles for the social networks you choose to participate in. Make sure your profiles are consistent – this is job #1 for building your personal brand.

Optimize LinkedIn first and foremost, and keep updating your profile with work samples, coursework, video, and more.

Engage on Twitter around your desired industry’s issues, listen to what is being said (search for your industry keywords, go to Social Mention) and comment, follow others, thank people for following you, and become an active presence in the arena of jobs you are interested in.  Being well informed and up on the latest news will make you a much more attractive candidate and can help you get your dream job.

Facebook – much has been said regarding Facebook.  Instead of recreating the wheel, I’ll only offer the suggestion that you check your privacy settings and think carefully about what you post.  There’s a lot that can damage as well as enhance your reputation…look at your Facebook presence from the point of view of a recruiter or HR director.  Make adjustments as necessary.

If visuals are your thing – look at YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook as avenues to showcase you and your talents via pictures or video.  So much of what we absorb today is done visually – the ol’ picture’s worth 1000 words.  Post visuals if it makes sense – they’ll enhance your brand and build your reputation.

Next Step

Get started.  Work on your LinkedIn presence to begin with.  Add in other social networks over time. For all you do-it-yourself-ers, yes, you can do this yourself. There’s a lot of information in my blogs and online that can help you work through these areas.

For those of you who would rather have expert advice tailored to your unique situation, consider one-on-one personalized social media consulting. I live and work in Charlotte, NC and would be happy to help you develop an effective online presence that can help you successfully change careers and/or land the job of your dreams. You can contact me, Liz Horgan, at 704-301-0135 or can email me at liz.horgan@strategicsocialmedianc.com

 

Posted in Trends in Social Media Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,