Tag Archive for social media

An Open Letter To the Makers of Google Plus

Google Plus Headline

Dear Google,

Rather than politely segue into the reason I write, let me make my point immediately. Google Plus sucks. It sucks badly and it’s dismal performance doesn’t bode well for the future of the company as a whole. People are talking.

Why would I say that(the unwell-boding, not the sucking part)? Because social media is the transitional step our connected world is taking to advance society as we know it and – well, many a man on a journey became hopelessly lost when they missed a key signpost along the way. Google Plus has repeatedly been doing so and it seems the only thing saving it from a fall into the crevasse, a hopeless miring in the mire of quicksand of tech life, a tussle amongst

jungle vines crawling with venomous snakes, is money. Money to say “Oh, that’s not what we meant; try this instead.”

The time has passed in which you can continue to pretend you’re still launching the Plus. Everyone knows about it, many of us have taken a token stab at supporting the platform, and we remain disappointed.

What to do? Admit you are lost, pull over and ask for for directions, for crying out loud! If Google was a woman, no doubt this would have occurred some time ago, but despite the curvacious look of your service mark “g” it seems fairly evident that Google has at least that one archetypical male quality of resisting the admittance of not knowing how to get back on track.

You “can’t do that?” Is that the phrase I am imagining being whispered, as you read along? Why? Because you’re Google? Because Google believes itself to be the reigning king? Stop for a moment and think about that…. In all of history, how many kings do we know of who have remained forever at the zenith of power; and how many have been toppled? G, there’s an epidemic brewing – for land’s sake, do something before the virus spreads.

Have I got your attention? Now that you’ve slowed the steed to a canter, take a look around and see if there might be some peasant or two working the fields who can point the way….

Peasants? That would be us. People like me; people like the clients I advise. Everyday folks who spend our time creating or clicking Adwords, attempting to stay abreast of your governing rules of SEO, religiously supplicating ourselves to your search because you assured us you had our welfare at the forefront. We’ve done our part, and in the doing, we may have come to know you better than you do yourself.

Just ask! We can tell you what is confusing, annoying, missing, misleading about your precious heir to the crown, Google Plus. The babe is still young enough to be molded, but as time goes on, the obstinate, self-assured attitude which are it’s hallmarks could be the undoing of everything.

I know you haven’t(asked), and so I won’t go through the effort to post the things I think might make Google Plus thrive, but if you’re interested I can provide you with some suggestions. So can many others. Feel free to get in touch!

Readers: Do you have suggestions for Google to hep them get the Plus off the ground and flying? Comment and Share; I can’t guarantee Google will read the comments, but I’d love to have your opinions!

Can’t Buy Me (SEO)Love

With improved search functions in development from Facebook and Twitter, and Google desperately trying to bring their own Plus up to par, it’s only a manner of time when relationships between a website and it’s social branches becomes firmly bonded.

When that happens, the quality of one’s network is going to have an effect on website ranking. Not only keywords analyzed, but engagement level from followers, ratio of engagement levels against the whole, and even just who those Fans and Followers are will be signals included within algorithm rankings.

Those who bought into the numbers game, and invested small, or not so small, amounts into the buying of lists to shine up their aura of authority, will likely be outed and diminished in rank very quickly. But what of those who took a more Gray Hat version?

They didn’t purchase a list of empty profiles and bots, but they did indiscriminately harvest fans. Perhaps they added their name to a discussion forum Page-sharing thread “You show me yours, and I’ll Like it(and you’ll be shown, and Like, Mine)? Or, they didn’t take the time to properly vet Follows on Twitter; return Following out of some archaic sense of courtesy which simply isn’t appropriate in a digital atmosphere.

Without question, this type of networking results in low-quality relationships. The types of people who are seeking to quickly built network numbers often don’t use social media as the interactive medium it is designed to be. They post status updates, share images and otherwise contribute content of their own, but rarely take the time to peruse the messages from those in their network. This sort of person is like the boor at a party who only talks about themselves, often in a grandiose way. Soon enough, most people avoid them. Those who remain are either desperate, lonely, souls(looking to built their own network regardless of quality) or self-promoters themselves(who don’t even notice their audience isn’t listening).

Analysis tools are offered to us, for marketing purposes, by social platforms and third party suppliers already. Of course search engines can utilize the same tactics – especially with networks on their own platforms. Automation of posts, absentee landlords, and non-responsiveness when someone does provide input can certainly be gauged. What they will find, is that the noise to signal ratio is intolerably high on social networks who aren’t actively engaged in the process.

Presently, the buzz in ranking is suggesting marketers work hard to make a presence on social platforms. Certainly, the concept of being actively engaged is proposed, but I think a lot of people are missing or, more accurately, ignoring the subtle points of what that means. The race is on to have a cool Facebook Cover that people might Like, to gain Twitter Followers with a shotgun approach(the more beads in the buckshot, the better chance you’ll hit something). But many are forgetting that existentialist quote born in the dawn of the digital age – “In space, no one can hear you scream.”

Will search engines begin to judge your website by the company it keeps? Undoubtedly, and I believe that day does not fall far into the future, even by social media standards, where this morning’s media story is old news before the day is done.

Linking to Your Facebook Page

Did you know that you can include active links to the header section of your Facebook Page? You can! As everyone knows, the site offers active links once a viewer clicks through to the About Section, but many are unaware that a URL can be made active on the front page. No need to hope your reader clicks through(think about how often YOU do so on the page of another).

Here’s example, where I include the link to the Build Your Own Small Business website (http://www.byosb.com).

How to create the link? It’s very easy. Simply:
- Go the Edit Page/Update Info
- In the About Section, include the link(shown below)

(Note that other HTML cannot be included. In doing so, your link will be invisible to viewers.)

You can also include links within the Description section, but of course your reader won’t see that from the initial page view; they would need to click through, and Facebook already provides an area for your website, which people are accustomed to seeing. (Note: You CAN include multiple websites in that section, simply by inserting a comma after each url).

Think of ways you can make that small section of your page intriguing, so readers will want to click your links. Perhaps you’ll use this section to drive viewers to your photo album, one of your most popular blog posts, your new video on YouTube or such. Whatever you do – DON’T include the phrase “Check out my” – that’s the KOD(Kiss of Death)!

Your Long-Term Social Media Strategy

Would it be silly, these days, to develop a five-year plan for your company’s social media strategy? Most would say yes, considering that what we see, at present, is likely just the tip of the iceberg in marketing and public relations between businesses and consumers. In 2008, Facebook Pages for business had yet to be conceived, “going viral” was a phrase we connected to life-threatening airborne disease, and product designers were still cutting images from glossy magazines and pasting them to two by three foot foamcore boards to share inspiration with their sales team. Pinterest was still years in the future.

It’s fairly safe to say that marketing in 2019 will likely show itself to be an evolved version of what we are experiencing today, with the rapid acceptance of social media as the center of it’s universe. Nonetheless, to expect Facebook Timeline and Twitter Hashtags to be topics of discussion in corporate meetings seems naive. The best answer to “What will our social media plan look like in five years is “We can only guess.”

That does not mean we should be flying by the seat of our pants today. If one hasn’t yet adopted the minimum levels in social expected to operate in today’s business world, it’s time to catch up, and quickly. Even in doing so, it’s important to look further ahead on the calender simultaneously. To neglect this vision is to always be running in second, third or fourth place, if not trailing the pack.

Today, it seems that strategy for social media must be similar to the zoom lenses of a camera; able to quickly focus on distance and return to the foreground without the extra steps required when switching out fixed focal length lenses.

Perhaps one year is a good “zoomed out” distance. This accounts for annual trade shows, upcoming milestones(25th Year in Business!), and seasonal/calender-related events, which are easier to plan for. To capture the most flattering image of our product and brand, our lens will be more often focused in the three to six month range, with frequent macro flashes to the present and immediate future.

Anticipating our business presence for the next several months is crucial in order to plan content we’ll be building our social media platforms with. Ideas for blog posts can be brainstormed, researched and written, then penciled into our posting schedule via automation. We can always rearrange the schedule, bump up or back a posting should other events take precedence, but they will be ready and waiting. Viewing our events calender within a three to six months window allows us to plan and implement a build-up to the event. This plan of action will be much more effective than, say, wondering to ourselves on July First what we will be presenting for Independence Day celebrations.

Focusing our social media lens ahead has the crucial benefit of creating more freedom to react spontaneously in the present. By July First, if we’ve already begun considering how we will navigate the winter holiday trifecta of Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah and New Years Eve, we stay ahead of the game. We’ll draft our program calender, and begin developing supporting graphics, stories and promotions. Our postings will be in place for automated delivery and as the build-up to the holiday rush increases, we can tweak as needed and focus on the engagement process with our market. Instead of rushing to keep up with our self-imposed madness, we can reach out to other businesses we have symbiotic relationships with, supporting their social strategy for the season. We will have the time available to respond to the postings of our clients more personally and participate in the holiday season along with everyone else, rather than having our noses locked to the monitor and ferociously typing away at our keyboards in the hopes of catching last-minute attentions.

All planning aside, it’s still very necessary to have the flexibility to react to events as they unroll. Sharing and making commentary on breaking news is a very popular engagement activity on social media platforms. Retweeting articles on Twitter and Sharing links on Facebook often provides us with adjunct content we can utilize between scheduled posts. But with these articles, timing is everything. For instance, posting a witty quip about a news event that everyone else talked about 24 hours ago is not only embarrassing, but can lose us credibility, if the information is pertinent to our own area of expertise.

If we know our blog post will be going live on Wednesday morning; that our Twitter and Facebook posts have also been automated to announce the post, that we are ready to post the Headline Image we created for the post to Pinterst to, we can use that time to be on alert for today’s emerging intrigues and either do research for future use or act at once.

Once we have developed a consistent ability to stay ahead of the game, so to speak, our long-term strategy has a much better chance to evolve and be effective.

Suffering From a Social Media Disorder?

When it comes to marketing our brands and products, being unique and even unusual is often good, especially in a media-saturated digital world such as the internet. However, as humans we are social animals, and fitting in amongst others is paramount to effectively navigating the social channels we will encounter in the daily course of doing business online.

Why is it, then, that behaviors which are clearly recognized as anti-social in an office or at the local Main Street shop seem to fly unfettered when it comes to online interactions? Not only that, why do we not recognize these patterns in behavior, these Social Media Disorders, in ourselves when we engage in them?

Social Media Disorder

Perhaps the dynamic has similarities to the internet troll, and because the computer offers a buffer zone between our selves and those behind monitors and mobile devices on the other end, we tend to miss the connection – literally and figuratively.

At any rate – I’ve decided to go ahead and name/define some of the more glaring Social Media Disorders, and will dedicate future posts to disorders as they arise. We’ll name just a few in today’s session.

Remember the first three steps in recovery are 1) Awareness, 2) Acceptance, and 3) Action. If one of these behaviors sounds a little familiar to something you do… take a deep breath and realize that you are about to take the first step toward a more healthy interaction with your online network.

1) Compulsive Location Announcement Disorder(or CLAD) – An inability to resist using one’s mobile app to Check In whenever visiting stores, restaurants and bars, no matter that you might be doing so on company time, or when you’ve told your client you are buckled down on their project which has already passed it’s deadline.

We don’t need to know that someone who occasionally appears randomly in our Twitterfeed is visiting Uncle Sam’s Super Savings and Loan. If you’re using social media for business, either don’t touch that app, or at least don’t connect it to your business profiles.

2) Posting Bulimia – In this illness, a person will emit a nearly incessant stream of what they feel are seductively delicious sound bites or, more accurately, text bits. The condition is recognized by a series of the poster’s avatar appearing in rapid succession on a social media feed.

The posts can be about anything, but often are focused on recent listings to a specific Etsy.com shop. A variation of the disorder can be seen as a series of RT’s on Twitter.

Unfortunately, the beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. To the rest of the world, the postings within a bulimic binge are – well, gross.

3) Twitter Insomnia – A condition where a person employs automated systems to give the appearance of being on Twitter 24/7/365. As with the sleep disorder, a twitter Insomniac may appear grumpy or in a state of incongruity with others around him.

If you’ve lined up your “breaking news” alerts a week ahead of time, you might want to choose items with some longevity. Posting about Facebook’s Billion Dollar Baby the day AFTER if was slapped on the ass makes you look like – well, like you’ve been sleeping.

4) Inappropriate Picture Posting (IPP) – With social media, businesses are being told to become more personal with their audience. “Engage them” is a phrase floating around frequently. With IPP, a disorder generally associated with smaller businesses, the proprietor of a business uploads images to their social media albums which do not accurately reflect their brand, in an effort to show others they are “just a regular guy, girl, or group of guys and girls.”

An example might include posting candid shots of your employees at the holiday party which no one wants to be reminded of the next day, much less in perpetuity.

Occasionally IPP does appear in the corporate setting, and may manifest in ways similar to the ad campaign recently created by Stussy, where the company exchanged articles of clothing on a model’s body for Facebook Likes. Sure, some of your customers might get a kick out of it, but is this really the way you want to sell your image? It may work for some very large companies but – is YOUR company that big that you can afford to alienate a good portion of your audience?

5) Post Rage – In this social disorder, a person forgets that they are representing a brand or portraying an image, and engages in outbursts of aggressiveness in response to news articles and other points of information found within their feed. They may go so far as to forget that many of those who are following their feed may have differing views on the subject.

Often, religion and political issues act as triggers which set off Post Rage, and before one is aware, they have RT’d an offensively partisan news article or editorial, neglecting to consider that the information may be biased.

As you can imagine, the list of Social Media Disorders is much more extensive than the few listed above. Alas, there is only so much time in a day which can be allotted to reading and writing a single blog post. Blathering On Syndrome(for which this author is seeking help) can be covered in another installation.