Battle of the Animated Content: Rise of the GIFs

 


According to Twitter’s blog – “last year, people on Twitter shared over 100 million GIFs…”- no big deal right? Perhaps that’s why Twitter has also allowed brands and consumers to discover, consume, and share GIFs even more easily through GIF search on Twitter. And if that’s not enough you can search more on tumblr. And even dating apps like Bumble allow you to respond via GIF. It’s a whole new world…

Have the GIFs taken over? Are emojis in trouble? Game of the “Animated Content” to show us who will take the Throne?

So what does that mean for brands?

Brands should consider how GIFs can play into their content strategy, especially within social media and blogs. GIFs are shareable content and allow consumers to relate and get a feeling or emotion a lot faster than reading through a bunch of text. Especially when consumers are going to pass through your content in seconds, through their newsfeed, a GIF can catch their attention. It may have actual stopping power if it’s engaging and creative enough (fun, funny, and relatable). And stopping power is a hard thing to do, especially when social media is so cluttered, through both paid content and organic. Both curated and original. Both visual and not. GIFs are a way to grab attention, and then your brand has to remember to take it from there, because a GIF can only do so much.

And if your brand is unsure, there are other visual animations that you can consider. For example, emojis are still at play. Some brands use them in subjects line in email marketing in order to get a consumer’s attention in their inbox. We all know the inbox is a mind field of clutter, and getting a consumer to get past the subject line and preview, to actually open the email is no small feat. Others use emojis in their social media text to represent a certain emotion or feeling, that can be relatable to consumers.

Remember, your brand has to evaluate and consider whether it’s worth curating existing GIFs (or emojis, etc) or creating your own. The key here again is relevance to the consumer. GIFs alone don’t mean anything, but within context and surrounded by key messaging related to the brand, they can provide an opportunity to engage with the user on a different level. For example, consumers enjoy content that allows them to share it with their own friends and audience. If your content can get to that level, then you’ve reached true engagement with your consumer. Because nowadays it’s not about the eyeballs you get on your GIF (and content), it’s about the action the consumer takes when they see it. Will they like it (ok, cool), will they share it (better), will they comment positively (also, cool), and/or will they start following your brand to get more content (even better).

Still unsure? Just look at the new Apple iOS for the iPhone. It allows consumers to share GIFs built into their keyboard. In addition, consumers have had the ability to add and use different emoji keyboards, as well as create their own Bitmoji to communicate with. There are some consumers who only communicate through imagery now (hello, Snapchat). This is a white space for brands to enter. Imagine your brand (example Top Shop) having created your own imagery (emojis, gifs) for consumers to have access to and use as part of their communication. It becomes organic use of branded content or related content. Your consumers are now sharing a piece of your brand, a story through their eyes. A whole new form of UGC.

Always do your research and only enter this universe, if GIFs/Emojis are relevant to your brand. It has to be authentic to work well. For example is the brand voice/tone humorous, entertaining and/or human. We hope so (at least with the third). If so, your brand can find GIFs that are able to be shared within the brand tone, without going against the grain of the brand. For example, an athletic brand could find humor in training, and/or provide a quick tip on how to do something. A financial brand, could find irony in finances, that allow consumers to relate. While a fashion brand could find something fun and entertaining to share. Something that consumers are like, wow that’s cool – I must share this now.

In the end, GIFs are here people. Embrace them at your own risk (i.e. at your own fun). And when you’ve had enough, they’ll be something new and shiny around the corner, of course.

BECAUSE LIVE STREAMING CONTENT STILL NEEDS PLANNING

Today, live streaming has taken a new identity. Multiple identities in fact. From Meerkat (sorry buddy), to Periscope (from Twitter) to Facebook Live to YouTube Live (and many other players we just can’t remember the names of), live stream has become a necessity for digital marketers today. It’s not a tool we are considering, it’s a tool we have to consider as marketers. Especially, if your audience includes the millennial audience, you are already behind if you are not live streaming your content.

So how do you start if you haven’t already? How do you optimize if you are already checking it out?

You need a plan.

As with any digital marketing channel, you have to approach it with a strategy and content plan. You need your content to align with your overall marketing content, but you need to align the content for live stream to that particular channel. You can’t have it recycled to this channel. Sorry kids, that won’t work. It’s a whole new beast. Plus, you can’t edit as you go. It’s live.

Instead strategize the following:

  1. What’s your purpose for being on live stream? Does it work for your brand?
  2. What’s the story you want to tell? Is it about a product? An experience?
  3. What is the end result? What do you want your audience to takeaway?
  4. What is success? How will you measure that?

If the above calculates and makes sense to move forward, plan your content and time how you will execute (and who):

  1. Who’s the cameraman?
  2. Will someone speak or will it be based on the environment?
  3. What’s the script? You need a rough idea if there is someone speaking.
  4. Storyboard the shots.
  5. How long will the videos be? How many do you need to tell the story?
  6. How often will you shoot?

Distribution:

  1. How will you audience know you’re there and how to discover your brand?
  2. Help them find you – promote it. And promote some more. The worst thing you can do is spend time creating cool videos and then no one seeing it.
  3. Ask your fans to share. Why not?

Lastly, see if it works. Pick a measurement plan and test plan to see if your brand is going to be successful at live streaming or not. Sometimes it’s the content you choose that you need to test and not the live streaming part. So test different types, different cadences, and different tune in times. And of course, allow your fans to take part.

This post was originally written for Social Media Club. 

FIVE THINGS 2015 TAUGHT US ABOUT DIGITAL MARKETING

Digital marketing changes quickly. We’ve known that forever. But lately, it’s changing even more quickly. Our current social media channels are evolving everyday. New competitors are rising through the wood works even faster, but what does that mean? What should our brands care about? What should we takeaway from 2015?

There are five areas, which will impact brands the most. They are based upon the content we create, the ways we disseminate the content, how we amplify it, and the money we are able to put towards it.

CONTENT IS THE WAY

Without great content, not much else matters. The content our brands create must be agnostic of channel and device. It needs to be able to travel the web when being shared, promoted, and shared again. People need to be able to interact with the piece of content on whatever channel they choose and prefer.

SOCIAL IS A BEHAVIOR

Many consider social media a channel, but social has become a behavior. It’s a way of living. We, as consumers, consume content in an instant. We purchase through mobile while we are commuting. We swipe left before we have a chance to engage because we make our decisions in an instant. In turn brands need to be able to grab our attention faster, and keep it before we swipe away. We share when it’s entertaining or informative. We care about what’s shared, because it’s a perception of our personal brand. We wouldn’t share something that’s uncool or boring. As brands, we need to be in tune to these behaviors.

AMPLIFYING ACROSS WEB IS A MUST

Brand have to realize that it’s valuable and important to promote across the web today. Gone are the days of focusing on channel by channel, because as discussed content needs to live everywhere. When a consumer shares a video from YouTube, it can go from Facebook to Twitter to email to Apple TV. Brands must optimize and promote across the web and across devices.

VIDEO IS CLUTCH

With streaming video, video that disappears in seconds or hours, and Facebook profile pictures being able to be videos instead of just pictures, video is not just a choice. First it was visual, now it’s more than that. Consumers want to capture stories and experience things. It’s not about a product, it’s about the experience around it. It’s the brand story and what it stands for. And video is one way a brand can help do that.

HAVE A BUDGET

And the most important. Ensure your marketing team has a budget they can actually work with. Unfortunately, some brands give their marketing teams a little budget as an afterthought. This is no longer enough in order to grow awareness and engagement from a brand marketing standpoint. Without this, your content, your plans, won’t be able to reach their true potential. As you put together your 2016 plans, and you think where you want your brand to be, determine the amount of budget you’ll need to get there, and put an extra amount in (trust me, you’ll end up using it).

And now, let’s make it even bigger in 2016.

This post was originally written for Social Media Club. 

Nostalgia Marketing: A phase?

 

Since the beginning of #throwbackthursday and the more recent #flashbackfriday – consumers and brands have been taking a look back at what the past was and means. It could be a memory that was cherished, an accomplishment achieved, an uphill battle overcome, or just something really funny.

Apps like Timehop have allowed people to look back more frequently and see where they were a year or more ago on this very day. Facebook allows you to see friendships from years ago. It’s typically fun and enjoyable (unless it’s a memory you wish you didn’t have to relive – oops!) and something people are excited to share back out to let others remember too.

And there’s more…

Old bands have been reuniting and creating new albums and having concerts together. Casts of TV shows are being resurrected for new seasons (i.e. Heroes).

Older fashion styles are coming back for another season too. Additionally so are old past times like listening to records, reading actual books, playing with toys from generations ago.

What’s old is new again.

Brands realize that too.

It’s an opportunity for brands to create new content (from old content or events). It allows the brand to show another side to the brand through history and well-received content/events. For example, if there is an iconic package or product, a brand may look back at the beginning and show the evolution over time. And brands are already doing this.

But what else can brands do to take advantage of nostalgia and how consumers are excited about it?

Brands can:

  • Create experiences to relive the “new old” in a way that’s unique from before
  • Create a series that brings it life (i.e. a comic book, video series, or offline event that reoccurs).
  • Allow fans to share their old experiences through the new lens
  • Keep it authentic by leaving some to the imagination rather than forcing the nostalgia
  • Bring back best sellers to surprise and delight – i.e. Calvin Klein and their 90s campaigns; pumpkin flavored everything; troll dolls; classic old school converse and adidas sneakers; and more.

Nostalgia…not just a thing of the past.

This post was originally written for Social Media Club. 

How Brands can take Advantage of Instagram’s Search Feature

Instagram has been working on making their search functionality better for quite some time. The latest updates allow consumers to discover more and to follow and engage with fresh new content. Instagram is similar to twitter or tumblr in some ways where you can see what’s trending and decide to check out the conversation and/or follow the user.

Why does this matter? Three reasons.

REAL TIME

When a brand sees what is trending, it can use this as an opportunity to see how it relates to the brand. Is the topic an opportunity to create content that is relevant to the conversation? Is it on brand to do so? Is it an opportunity to stand out within the conversation or with content that the brand already has, but can tweak for that day?

DISCOVERY

A brand can see which influencers are prominent within search categories, allowing digital marketers to see which ones could be opportunistic to work with for sponsored or co-created content within the space. For example, if your brand is a travel brand and you want to work with a food blogger who travels around the world, you can see which ones are prominent on Instagram through the search and discovery functions vs. randomly using Google or sifting through pages on Instagram.

TOPICAL POSTING

When your brand sees what types of topics are bubbling to the top, it allows an opportunity to plan out what will trend around certain times and cultural events. In addition, there is a local overlap element allowing your brand to see what locations are stirring more conversation. Plan how your brand can be apart of that conversation when consumers search and discover too.

In short, it’s for real time and planning. Because in reality, we all know that real time marketing takes some planning and preparation. For those who can write, design, and gram a photo in 90 seconds or less , I salute you.

For the rest…plan, but plan efficiently. Be nimble and be ready or someone else will be.

5 Simple Yet Effective Ways to Promote Your Brand’s Blog

 

Having a blog is awesome. Promoting it’s content is even more awesome, if done well. The below list addresses simple but effective ways for your content distribution strategy.

1. Share, share, share – It seems self-explanatory to say share your blog across your social channels. However, it’s not just about sharing, but it’s about the way you share. Ensure your blog is baked into your social content strategy for weekly and monthly cadence opportunities. Leverage pop culture opportunities to boost the presence of your blog’s content into relevant conversations. And of course, ensure that the blog link is easily available within your bios or social posts.
Example: Equinox blog and their Instagram Account.
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2. Sign ups on your website – The best way to increase referral traffic to your website and blog are by having the two within the same domain. Even if you have a blog hosted on tumblr, you can still have it within your domain too. So when you ask your consumers to sign up for your blog, not only are you getting your blog out to more people, but you’re collecting leads for your brand as a whole.
3. Email and newsletters – Just like you want to ensure you are promoting the awareness of your social channels within emails or newsletters, you want to do the same for you blog. Perhaps the content from your blog is the primary content within your weekly/daily emails. This allows for people to see your brand as not just another brand, but a content source for information, tips, news, and more.
4. Cross promote – Your brand most likely has some partnerships – whether it’s for the brand as a whole or content partnerships. Use those to help cross promote content for them, and in turn for you. It allows your content to get in front of extra eyeballs and hopefully traffic back to you on a regular basis.
5. Guest bloggers – You never have to create all the content on your own. And when you decide to allow guest “expert” bloggers to take a stab at your content – it not only allows extra voices, but a another way to engage new audiences. Not only will these bloggers be writing for you, but they’ll [hopefully] be promoting their pieces on social media and on their own blog. This allows for extra “free” promotion, and in turn traffic to your blog content.
What other ways does your brand like to share?

This post was origially written for social media club – see more here:  http://socialmediaclub.org/blogs/from-the-clubhouse/5-simple-yet-effective-ways-promote-brands-blog#sthash.55kCuOpZ.dpuf

 

Plan your Brand Voice & Tone with These Five Tips

Do you want to be a brand that is boring and bland on their website, blog, and social media?

I hope not. Instead, ensure that your brand invests some time, resources, and money – so your brand voice and tone across your content efforts is consistent and enjoyable.

Here are five things to consider as you plan your voice and tone and how it will work across your marketing channels:

  1. The Style Guide: When it comes to revising your brand voice and tone or starting from scratch, it’s important to consider a style guide that your company can follow. This allows your team to ensure they are speaking the same language and not telling a different story across channels.
  2. Be Consistent: Having one tone on your website and another on your blog, may be confusing to some. Although there may be a different audience reading your blog, it is important that both audiences can tie the two to your brand and not feel that the two experiences are disconnected.
  3. Relax on Social Media: Channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are much more relaxed. Brands should be human, casual, and talk like you would to your friend when conversing over dinner. It’s not meant to be strict, restrained, and forced. Instead brands should consider using each of these channels as the audience does. As a human, which some brands like Tory Burch do very well.
  4. Tweak as needed: Although it’s important to be less “stodgy” on social media, each channel is different and it’s ok to make tweaks as needed. For example your brand may be more formal on LinkedIn, but more conversational on Facebook. That’s cool. Just keep a consistent voice across each about the type of content you are putting out, and who the brand stands for.
Check out my advice brand tone and voice through community management and read my full post on Social Media Club!

Know your Brand’s Audience With These Tips

Profile. Whether you’re a small business or a global business, knowing your audience is the backbone of selling your products and services. Without this knowledge, you’re basically throwing stuff at a wall and seeing if it sticks through your content marketing, social media engagement, and product marketing strategies. Does that sound effective? I didn’t think so. Here are tips your brand should consider to properly assess your audience:
1. Demographic Data – Take time to research genders, ages, geographical data, marital status, and household incomes. Even better is psychographic data including interests, attitudinal behaviors, lifestyle, including how connected they are (e.g. tablet users or desktop users). All of this data will help your brand carve your customer profiles with a larger picture to whom you are marketing.
2. Channels – Is your audience more apt to be on Flipboard vs. Pulse, or Twitter over Facebook, or perhaps they’re more into Tumblr and Instagram? Whatever the case, it’s important to understand consumption and sharing habits in order to know what content to put (so it’s right for the channel) and what channels to experiment with and dedicate time and money to in the long run.
3. Outreach Methods  Begin with your website analytics and discern the keywords used by visitors, which pages time was spent on the most, and where the bounce rates occurred. It is also helpful to gauge referral traffic and which pages led visitors to your website. For example, perhaps it was your Facebook ad or your fan page; or a Pictela unit that caused engagement to content on your site. It’s helpful to understand your audience patterns in order to get rid of the things that aren’t working, and/or fix things that you may not be doing great yet. Tweaking, in my opinion, is a part of brand management. Without constantly learning and tweaking, you’re not reaching the full potential of your audience.
4. Content Topics – This is where the lofty “editorial” calendar” is helpful in order to stay on top of the key holidays, industry events, and consumer mindsets, e.g. When your customer is more likely to be thinking of energy savings due to the cold temperatures where they live. With this calendar you can ensure that you’re focusing on the topics that are relevant to planned events you’ve thought ahead for, and also allowing your brand to be nimble to respond to things that pop up and are trending (and I don’t mean Beiber being arrested). As you look back on the past quarter you’ll assess which ones worked vs. could have done better – allowing your brand to “tweak” and focus on the topics that resonate best with your audience.
To read more on Content Formats and how to be nimble as a brand, check out my full post on Social Media Club !

 

Recent Snapchat Updates & What it Means for Marketers

Snapchat, the mobile visual application that allows for instant consumption of videos and photos has come out with some recent updates.

Although there are fun little things like filters there are two things that stood out to me: (1) applying temperature through Weather Channel data and (2) allowing users to view one snapchat per day more than once (rather than letting it self-destruct).

What this means for consumers:

  • Like Instagram, consumers can now create more visually appealing content
  • Consumers can add more context to their snapchats
  • Consumers can re-watch snapchats that were too quick or too memorable not to watch again

What this means for marketers:

  • Snapchats that are about contests, hidden previews, product launches, or special events can be viewed more than once by consumers – allowing more interactivity and potential word of mouth
  • Brands can view snapchats submitted by consumers more than once, which allows for easier screenshots to view and assess for winners of contests
  • Weather.com has already gotten inside Snapchat as a potential partner – which has potentially opened doors for others with context that is fitting for snapchat users
  • There are more “tools” at consumer and brand disposal for making snapchat content more fun and relevant (filters, speed, temperature, location, etc)

What’s next in the photo and video app field?

Let’s see what Vine or Instagram come out with next…

 This post was originally written for Social Media Club and my post can be found here

Five Visual Tips for your Brand’s Blog Presence

Branding |RedBalloon Advertisers |www.redballoon.in

Starting and maintaing a blog for your brand is a a crucial step when it comes to publishing content for your audience to discover, consume and share.

However, before pumping out all that awesome content, your team needs to determine how that blog will “look and feel” — how it will ladder up to the brand’s image on other owned sites, how the tone and voice will take shape, and how the blog will look visually to the consumer.

This shouldn’t’ be daunting, but it does take time to consider, plan, and strategize appropriately so your blog is a part of your marketing strategy and brand’s arsenal of content publishing.

1. To Theme or Not to Theme

Many blogs, whether it’s WordPress or tumblr offer a variety of custom themes that allow you to work within a set template.

The template allows for color changes, a preferred way to display content whether it’s the new Pinterest pinboard layout, or the gallery look, or keeping it simple with having it article style.

Whatever you choose, you can then add on widgets to allow for further customization such as social feeds, pulling in content from other sites, and even promoting products and services for people to purchase or subscribe to. In the end the theme helps those brands that don’t want to start from scratch, but would rather work from an easier starting place for a “look and feel” that fits the brand.

2. To Brand 

 Even before choosing the theme and the domain, it’s important to determine whether or not the blog will have branding specific to the brand/product/service. For example, some brands have a blog to offer fun entertaining content that has little to no branding; while others completely brand the blog with their name, logo, and more in order to show they are the authority of the blog and/or thought leader on the subject matter they are offering.

There is no right way to go about this, it depends upon the purpose of the blog and the goals of the brand. Both can serve great purposes.

3. To Be Social

If your brand has a large social presence or is trying to build on, it helps to cross promote social content. For example a fashion brand may want to pull in an instagram feed, while another brand may want to pull in a hashtag stream on a campaign they’re running.

I recommend ensuring there are social share buttons for content – more eyeballs, more consumption, more awareness of one’s content and brand.

4. To Provide Tone & Voice

One’s tone and voice is a part of the visual feel of the blog as well.

The tone can be fun and vibrant which goes along with a casual blog visually. Voice may be more instructional which may go along with a more conservative looking blog. Just remember to keep in consideration all the elements of your blog before putting it together.

5. To Provide Imagery

Imagery is essential to getting people to consume the content and share it. For example if it has fun visuals like a short video, comic strip, infographic – people are more likely to move towards it and in turn share with people they think would find it fun or informative.

Note: This post was originally written for social media club and my original post can be found here

 

How to: Use Hashtags Across Social Media Channels

Hashtags.

Hashtags, which began on our phones, ok but really on Twitter for aggregating conversations in one stream related to topics, events, brands, and more. They’ve since become utilized across other channels like Instagram, tumblr, Facebook and more.

Of course they aren’t used the same across all channel and there are distinct differences for each channel and best practices for each. Below is a quick hit list on how to approach hashtags on some of the most popular social channels:

Twitter:

  1. Try not to use more than 2 to 3 hashtags (preferably 1 or 2) in a tweet
  2. Keep characters to less than 120 when placing a hashtag at the end of a tweet so when someone ReTweets, it’s not cut off
  3. Listen to the conversation on a hashtag before jumping in to ensure it’s appropriate for the brand and the tweet
  4. Monitor your branded hashtag conversations daily
  5. Having too many brand hashtags can cause confusion on when to use which – keep it simple

Instagram:

  1. Listen to see which hashtags are being used for your topics so you can hop into relevant conversations with your photos
  2. Try not to have a billion hashtags on each photo – people get lost in the clutter
  3. Do use some of the same hashtags often to create consistent viewership and loyal followers on certain categories

Tumblr:

  1. Hashtags are like metatags on tumblr so you can use more than you would on other channels to hop into more search streams – allowing more people to discover your content
  2. Monitor to see which tags are searched for on tumblr and tag your content appropriately
  3. Don’t mis-tag your content

Facebook:

  1. Less hashtags do better
  2. Try cultural terms rather than branded terms to reach audiences
  3. Monitor and have fun with it

Questions? Comments?

Note: this post was originally written for Social Media Club and my post can be found here.

Image by Maria Elena.

Futher Reading:

Ten Things for your Brand to Consider when Starting a tumblr Blog

Why Aren't You Blogging?

When you decide to jump into the sea of blogging, planning is important.

Many brands choose tumblr and there are many great reasons to do so – including the built in community, which already lives on tumblr (not found anywhere else), the ability to discover content easily, and the paid options only available within tumblr.

When choosing tumblr to be your platform of choice there are a few things to check off as you set it up.

The tumblr checklist

  1. Choose a domain: Find one for your brand name of the theme for your tumblr. If you see your brand name is available and no one is actively blogging on it, I would grab that too.
  2. Choose a theme: Depending upon your marketing goals, it’s usually helpful to choose a specific theme to focus your blog around so your consumers understand the focus and know what to come back for.
  3. Set up multiple tumblrs: However, if your brand has a few different themes to pursue, perhaps it’s easier to set up a few different tumblr blogs on different themes. Companies like IBM have done that and it has worked well for them and their origination and curation of content.

  4. Customize your tumblr: There are a multitude of themes on tumblr to choose from for easy set up (free and paid versions). Then you’ll need your dedicated development team to make it your own. The great part about tumblr is you can make the look and feel anything your brand wants.

  5. Include disqus: Disqus (or another commenting tool) will have to be added to your tumblr to allow comments and moderation of those comments.

  6. Listen: Listen through the search bar to discover the conversation already occurring around the topic(s) you are exploring to tumble about. Additionally see who is writing about it or curating content to find the influencers in your category. With time your brand can organically build relationships with them, so with time they will hopefully reblog your content and share with their audiences (more eyeballs for your awesome content!)

  7. Schedule posts: When launching a blog it’s good to be armed with 10 – 20 posts ready to go. Schedule when your team would like to launch them in the first few weeks (perhaps 3 to 4 in the first week).

  8. Be a part of the community: As you launch your posts, don’t just push them out and wait for others to come. Find other content it – like it, comment on it, and consider re-blogging some for curating content.

  9. Activate paid (including analytics): When your brand has the initial budget to do so, consider using some paid media within tumblr to increase eyeballs on your new tumblr. There are a few different options depending upon your needs – for example mobile vs. web in stream ads.

  10. Test and learn posting times, days, tags: Experiment with the best days and times to post your content (as there are no specific best practices and depends upon your content, your brand, and your audience). See which tags work best for getting people to discover your content, consume, and share it.

Do you need inspiration?

Here are 6 tumblr blogs to visit:

Note: This post was originally written for Social Media Club and my full post can also be found here.

Video Content – Is it part of your content strategy?

Note: this post was originally written in June for SMC so some items may have changed since then in regards to Vine and Instagram Video. 

The best video camera – the one you have with you. Whether it’s the video function on your phone, Vine, or the latest, Instagram video – video is a form of content that both consumers and brands alike are having not just fun with, but utilizing to express themselves.  Is video right for your brand, and if so – which one?

Once your brand has decided to add visual content to its toolbox, specifically video content, it’s time to figure out how it will amplify the content you already have and fit into your overall content strategy. First step is to determine if it will involve short form video content or long form?  Once you have that figured out, you can delve deeper into the benefits of the popular choices to choose from.

Short Form Video Content

The 6 second Vine

Benefits:

  • Shoot and Share in minutes
  • Embed capability for your website
  • New ability to have drafts rather than publish automatically
  • Save to camera roll to publish later (or store)
  • A for effort when it comes to telling a story in such bite size form

Disadvantages:

  • Need to be quick with the functionality and patient when shooting
  • Shaky hands make the video lesser quality

The 15 second Instagram Video

Benefits:

  • Filters for making the videos have that “instagram” feel
  • Ability to decrease the shake of the camera
  • Can do 15 seconds or less (more time to tell your story)
  • Easily integrates with multiple social networks including tumblr

Disadvantages:

Longer Form Video Content

YouTube

Benefits:

  • The length of content can be longer than 15 seconds
  • You can annotate the content to have CTAs
  • You can create SEO opportunities to lead to the content
  • You can create playlists for series of content
  • Largest location to search for video content

Disadvantages:

  • Not as simple as shoot and share

Questions on how to start your first video account for your brand? Reach out below and well do our best to answer.

Additional Reading:

 

 

5 Ways to Enhance Your Brand’s Search Marketing

Search marketing is fairly complex. It goes beyond the organization of a simple keyword list that would be effective to optimize one’s content. However, each marketer needs to know the basics and how to enhance their search marketing. Let’s dig a little deeper into some of the basics:

1.     Fresh Content: Each site and/or blog needs fresh content to survive – whether it is paid search marketing or organic content. Content allows for keywords to be utilized throughout the site. Meta data can be implemented. Images and videos with alt tags and descriptions add to the value of the content as well. It is also imperative to remember that fresh content should be consistently updated, and posted on a regular, frequent basis. Once a month won’t cut it. Once a week may not even do the trick when starting out. Think, daily when creating fresh content.

Pro Example: Amex Open Forum. This brand with a team of content writers and outside influencers is able to update their content not just daily, but even hourly.

2.     Links, Links, and More Links: Linking back to your own content is always helpful. For example, if you are writing a post on search engine marketing, perhaps link back to a post on content strategy that extends the conversation.

Tip: Ensure that your anchor text is keywords that help build further SEO. For example, use keywords that help readers know where the link will lead (ensuring they do actually work). Additionally the text will help the search engines possibly rank the sites higher due to search and relevancy.

3.     Social Media is a Search booster: There are many ways to distribute your content based upon the type of content and your audience. For example, if your audience is highly digital and found on most social channels, then you can consider the following:

  • Distribute your content across your social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter (assuming your brand has a presence there and your audience engages on these channels).
  • Ask influencers to share with their audience. Note – it will take time and research to find influencers who are a good representation of the brand, have a decent social following, and are willing and excited to talk on the brand’s behalf.
  • Ask your guest bloggers to post and share with their audiences. They are normally happy to do so.
  • If your policy allows guest bloggers to repost- have them link back to your site.

In the end, the more places people can find your SEO friendly URL and content, the better.

4.     Mobile: It starts with making sure your site and content is mobile friendly. Although you can have a mobile site, a responsive design is usually better as it adapts to your device rather than sending you to another version of your sight. Check to see how much of your audience views your content via mobile. (Are they using tablets? smart phones? or just desktop? or all of the above). Then see what you can do to boost that SEO whether it’s by amplifying with mobile ads or increasing content spread on both desktop and mobile. Mobile ads can get expensive, but if your brand has the budget and is willing to experiment, it may be worth the effort to try distribution across mobile via search and ads. Cross screen is the new ‘black’!

5.     Test & Learn: Tried and true, you cannot forget to test keywords to see which ones work for you. Test content; see what your audience likes most. Test your social network distribution and see which content works best where. And most of all just don’t be afraid to test.

Note to remember: There’s not one thing you can do to amplify SEO for search. It’s about testing and learning of course – but all of the pieces above (and more) are apart of the algorithm to help search rankings and referral traffic to one’s site. Remember to utilize to each piece.

Sources:

Note: this post was originally written for Social Media Club and can also be found here.

How to: Start Fresh with 2013 Social Media Goals

This post on starting fresh for the new year in social media was originally written for Social Media Club and my original post can also be found here

Now that you have your social media resolutions on your checklist, why not consider some other social media goals to accomplish this year as you “start fresh.”

As we stated in resolution #5 it is important to set reachable goals, such as a greater focus on content. Many consider brands as publishers nowadays, is your brand one of those? Content has been deemed “king” by many, but how does your audience perceive your brand’s content? Do they find it valuable? Useful to their everyday life? Helpful for their needs specific to your brand? Or is it just fun and helps build awareness and create engagement?

Whatever the purpose for your content, it is helpful to create goals around your content strategy for your social media networks.

Here are a few to consider…

1. B.L.O.G.

If your brand doesn’t already have a blog or a part on the website to drive audience to for content, then it may be something to consider in order to demonstrate your brand is the expert voice in a specific arena. For example, if your brand sells fitness apparel, perhaps a blog on fitness, health, and matching apparel to fitness/health could be beneficial to your target audience. Link the content to the needs and wants of your audience through what they search for and consume on a regular basis.

2. Get VisualUnless your marketing team has been living under a rock, it must be pretty obvious that visual content has become more and more prevalent among consumers and brands.

Adding videos and photos to blogs, being on Pinterest (if your brand has fun visual photos), and/or sharing on Facebook can make your brand stand out.

Just look at Oreo - they rock this with fun, shareable nuggets of visual content.

3. Cross Promote

If you have a blog, and visual content – cross promote that amazing goodness. Depending upon where your audience consumes your content, you may want to share your blog posts on Facebook or on Twitter. If your brand is more suited on LinkedIn – share it there. If your brand utilizes the SEO perks of Google Plus – share it there. Just make sure you choose the social networks that work for your audience and your brand type.

Tip: Don’t forget you can cross promote in emails and newsletters too.

4. Personalize and Target It

Some of your audience may want to hear about tips and tricks, while others may want to learn deeper knowledge, and others may want on the surface fun with visual photos and videos that entertain. When you realize which types of content work best on a social network (through testing and learning), target your content to specific social networks more specifically. And to take it a step deeper – target your posts to different regions based on location and weather and events occurring. Another level deeper? In newsletters and emails, you can target your audience down to what they prefer. Personalize it! Make them feel like you are giving them exactly what they want and when they want it – and where they want it!.

5. Unite Offline and Online

Offline experiences have been washed away due to online engagement so we recommend you marry the two when possible for larger impact. For example, a brand likeLululemon uses localized Facebook pages for particular retail locations to promote clothing they have as well as in store events they will be hosting (like Yoga). You get the customer in the store to buy a top, you get them to fan you on Facebook to keep up with the latest news and updates, and then they come back to check out Yoga with their girlfriends and engage with the brand in a more personalized way…then perhaps they buy more clothes? And so do their friends? Awesome.

These are just a few of the goals your brand can consider to amplify your marketing and business goals. Determine the goals that fit your 2013 vision and will help build your brand’s presence and create deeper and more high level involvement with your fans.

Three Second Screen Vendors for Brands to Consider

Tweet Tweet.

Nowadays more and more people are multitasking while watching TV in their living rooms and bedrooms. The laptop is open, the iPad is flipped up, and the smartphone is more of an experience than a phone. People are tweeting, get glueing, checking in, posting, and more. Why only watch a tv show, a sports game, or an event when you can experience more through the accompanying apps?

Shows like Glee and Fringe have multiple hashtags through each episode so people can follow the conversation and join along on Twitter. Other shows, like HBO’s True Blood, have accompanying apps which go deeper into each episode. Then there are apps like Shazam, Get Glue, and Zeebox which bring even more to your fingertips through the app experience for multiple shows and movies.

Shazam: This app is known for “naming that tune,” but now it does even more. Brands and shows can integrate the app into programs and ads to create a call to action for the audience. And now it can also display information about the cast, buzz, gossip, links for trivia, and facts. Look out for the CTA on the corner of your screen – and see what’s in store from your favorite brands, shows, and more.

Get Glue: Like foursquare, fans have an opportunity to “check in” but this time it’s in TV shows. Fans can then reap rewards, chat with fellow fans, and receive “recognition” for their status. It’s basically a fun interactive way to be a part of your favorite shows and movies while watching. With over 2M users, this app demonstrates that brands shouldn’t pass this one by…it has potential to reach viewers where they are interacting during the show and/or viewing experience.

Zeebox: Funny name, great app – it’s like all the viewing apps in one experience. In short it’s an app that pertains to what you want to watch and what your friends are watching. It allows audience members to dig a little deeper into their shows through “zeetags” which appear during certain scenes and allow you to click for more info and insights into what’s happening. And of course it is also integrated with your social channels through both Facebook and Twitter and can even allow viewing parties with friends.

Why it matters? Brands have an opportunity to reach their target audience when they are most engaged with viewing and apps. Brands have the ability to optimize their ads with call to actions, partner with shows, sports games, and live events. For example, the Super Bowl had hashtags in every commercial — although this is a quick and simple CTA and click for engagement, it is a step closer. Brands who know how to move faster and take advantage are shows like I mentioned above. Will your brand be a leader in the second screen experience? Don’t be left behind – give your consumers rewards for engaging with your branded content when they want it and where they already are engaged.

NOTE: This Post was originally written for Social Media Club and my original post can be found here.

Further Reading:

 

Five Productivity Apps To Stay Organized This Fall

As many of us have realized with September, comes not just the school year, but autumn days full of productivity and kicking butt with new projects, goals, and more.

So in the back to school spirit – for those of who aren’t going back and haven’t been back in year – here are some productivity apps to keep you on track (in between those pumpkin lattes of course)…

1) Evernote

I know Evernote is one everyone’s list for smart tools to use to keep track of your notes and more…but it can’t be overlooked. I use this app every day at work to keep track of different meetings, different projects, and even random To-Do’s, as well as my own personal projects including blog post ideas and more. Why? One simple reason: once you type it on one computer, it is seamlessly saved on all your devices through the cloud. Can’t remember that note you took in the 9am meeting? No problem – check your smart phone and it’ll be their via the app. Simple, easy, and amazing.

2) Pulse

Do you read 20 million different magazines, newspapers, blog posts, and other online articles? So do most of us these days and it’s impossible to keep track of it all even with google alerts, RSS feeds, and emails. Pulse makes it simple to have them all in one place in an easy to read visual format – looks just like a glossy magazine but accessible on your computer and/or mobile device. In a time when pictures and visuals “win” Pulse takes advantage… and no harm in checking it out – it’s free.

 3) iDoneThis

Whether its your work team or significant other – this tool helps keep track of assignments people have done or not. Integrates with Gmail and lets you get a quick snapshot of what people did that day or week. Unfortunately it’s not free but it’s only $3/month per person. Not bad for a quick tool to keep track of your tasks.

4) Smartr for Gmail

Makes your inbox smarter so you don’t have to deal with the hassle. Takes less time for you to fish through your inbox looking for a contact and stay on top of the main contacts you email with on a regular basis. You can even view more fully complete profiles of contacts including their Facebook and Twitter (which can also be minimized when not needed).

5) Remember the Milk

Are you the type that goes to the store and then forgets half the items on the so-called “list”? With all that we have going on in a regular day from exercising, work, home projects, making plans, seeing friends and family, walking the dog…remembering the olive oil for dinner may be easily forgotten. That’s a handy dandy to do list app comes in handy, which also integrates with gmail (who doesn’t love gmail?) and can easily be accessed via mobile devices including Siri! Although there are tons of other to do list apps out there, this one couldn’t help but catch my attention with the name and the integrations and quick and simple to use interface.

What other apps do you live on each day to be more productive?

Note: I originally wrote this post for Social Media Club and my post can also be found here

How Top Boston Colleges Are Integrating Social Media

My eighteen year old sister types papers on an iPad, has a Tumblr blog, Tweets everyday, and knows the latest music and fashion via Pinterest and blogs before most. A newbie freshman about to enter a college in Boston – she expects her college to keep up and be ahead of the curve when it comes to social media. She’s only one of many who expects such.

Luckily for her – and many other students, colleges have realized the stretch of road ahead of them and have hopped on by effectively using social and integrating it into their campus and curriculum at a fast pace. Boston being a central hub of college students has led the way with 4 of its colleges in the Top 25 of the Top 100 social media colleges in the United States.

Of those colleges include: Harvard University, Emerson College, Berklee College of Music, and MIT. A few things to note on why they shine when it comes to social media:

Harvard: The Harvard Social Media Dashboard gives a taste of all the University’s efforts in social including up to date videos, tweets, and more from each of its accounts. Each of its different channels and different accounts – whether it’s for alumni, research, a grad program, or the undergrad — have different strategies involved regarding the social output and the content generated for sharing with their audience. Harvard demonstrates that even if there are multiple channels and accounts, social media can be optimized effectively if the effort is put forth correctly.

Emerson College: Their social media classes are one to note of, as there are local guest speakers from the industry, social media strategy projects for local places, and other hands-on applications for students to learn, apply, and utilize as assets.

Berklee College of Music: The Berklee Music Network allows students the opportunity to collaborate, share, and find music, jobs, influencers, and friends all in real time. Music isn’t just about performances on a stage when social media can help lead the way through posting music online and sharing through different channels.

MIT: The Sociable Media Group demonstrates the mix of social and technology at the fringe of discovering what’s next. MIT known for being techy and savvy, demonstrates this even in the socialsphere.

Although Suffolk University was not in the Top 25, it must still be given recognition for its curriculum and conferences. Suffolk put on its first annual social media conference which was about bridging the gap between education and the workforce. It brought the likes of many influencers from around the nation demonstrating that the University was pushing ahead in social media and adapting to what’s new, at a fast pace. Along with its social media classes for undergrad and MBA program, Suffolk is also well on its way.

In short – it’s about ensuring that the students are continuously challenged through the school environment and through a curriculum that is ever-changing — since social media never stands still.

NOTE: This post was originally written for Social Media Club. My original post can be found here. 

Further Reading:

http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/05/02/local-colleges-ranked-in-top-25-for-social-media/

http://www.studentadvisor.com/top-100-social-media-colleges

http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/downtown/2012/07/emerson_bu_harvard_among_top_

5 ways to use social media apps to capture your summer vacation

Summer brings many enjoyable times each season including beach trips, family time, bbq’s, and much more. The tough part is remembering to capture all these great times so you can recall and reminisce later on. Luckily there are many creative ways to do so effectively, quickly, and easily with the touch of a smartphone app.

Make it Fun

1. Instagram 
Capturing photos and making it easy for your loved ones to access, comment, and share has been made simpler through social networks like Facebook. However, there are other networks and applications, which allow one to be more creative with images such as Instagram. Instagram offers cool filters to allow pictures to be more vivid and unique. Best part it integrates smoothly with Facebook and Twitter for easy sharing to your normal channels.

2. Tumblr
Want another place to share your adventures throughout the summer? Consider a simple to use Tumblr Blog. It’s easy to set up, maintain, and integrate with your other channels. My favorite part is that you can take a quick picture from Instagram, share it to your Tumblr blog, and then share directly to Facebook or Twitter. What could be easier for sharing all those images from your road trip to the beach?

Share it with your inner circle

3. Path
Sometimes Facebook and Twitter means sharing with too many people, even those we may have “friended” or allowed to ‘follow” us can seem a bit much at times. Why not keep it simpler and more private with Path? Path allows a maximum of 150 friends, cool photo filters, location sharing, and more. And when you want to share to your larger circles, you can with integrating with your Facebook and Twitter too.

4. GroupMe
Taking a trip with your friends or want to share instantaneously your thoughts on what’s going on? Images from your hike, the great sunset, or the food and drinks you’re indulging on? Share with your inner circle via groupme and have a conversation right then and there. Not sure what dress to wear to the summer wedding? Ask your friends all at once via this easy messaging app.

Stay Organized

5. Evernote
Being organized isnt’ just for the office. Evernote allows easy integration with saving notes, images, and more so you can stay organized with packing lists, things to do on your trip, itineraries, hotel and direction information, and more. Why worry about that address you need when you can access from Evernote from your laptop, tablet, and/or smartphone. Could it get simpler? I think not.

Although these five apps are well known and many people use them already, they are sometimes overlooked when it comes to trips, great times, and sharing adventures with friends and family. Next time you set off on your next summer trip, don’t forget to capture it so you can look back on it later. All from your smartphone…

Ready, Set, Click.

Note: This post was originally written for Social Media Club, and my original post can also be found here. 


Image Credits:
http://www.cc-chapman.com/2012/why-i-love-path/
http://evernote.com/evernote/
http://demopit.com/2011/01/21/groupme-lets-you-effortlessly-group-text-with-friends/
http://ralphvelasco.tumblr.com/post/24299130196/ill-be-in-this-city-tomorrow-can-you-guess-where
http://pamsahota.tumblr.com/page/2

How to: Establish a Guest Blogging Policy

Content is significant to every brand and their marketing strategy — but content creation takes time, effort, planning, and well-equipped writers. Some brands have the staff to write and whip out content continuously, while others seek outside sources. And some prefer both. When hiring guest bloggers to write for your brand, there are a few things to keep in mind when pulling together a guest blogging policy… 

1. Have a go-to person internally: When you have a blogging staff, there should be a marketing manager (of one form or another) who can manage them, assign content topics, review and edit the posts, and publish accordingly. Most of all they should be there to answer questions and make sure the content is staying on strategy.

2. Set the bar / expectations: The marketing manager should set the expectations from the start regarding content quality expected for the blog on a consistent basis. Perhaps have the guest blogger do the first post as a test post to see if it fits the requirements and meets the bar.

3. Topics: Some content managers may prefer to have a content bank of ideas for writers to choose from or even specific titles per week/month that must be written. While others may prefer to have broader outlines of topics and have the writers choose as long as they are within a certain spectrum. This level of content strictness depends upon the content strategy implemented within the brand and how the relationship between the writers and manager work.

4. Deadlines: As with any marketing and content calendar, an editorial calendar is key in order to set deadlines for each writer. A deadline should be set with plenty of time for review in order to make edits if and when necessary prior to publishing.  

5. Sources: Ensure that each writer sources their content in order to avoid issues of plagiarism and/or questioning of validity. Protecting the brand name is important and any writer would protect their own writing as well through sources. 

6. Photos: All photos should be credited as well in order to ensure credit is given where credit is due — especially if it is not purchased. 

7. Formats: Each blog has their own type of formatting – whether it is subheadings, a thumbnail image, a certain font, or whatever it may be. Ensure you give proper style guide instructions prior to the writer starting so they are aware of all requirements beforehand. 

8. Republication: Determine if you want to allow your bloggers to be allowed to republish their posts. If so – determine if it’s an excerpt, whether they have to link back, and/or if they have to wait a certain amount of time prior to doing so (ex. 14 days or 30 days).

9. Payment: Determine prior to the test post whether and how much you will pay each guest blogger. Payments are normally done per hour or per post (ex. 50/hour vs. 150/post).

10. Disclaimer: What if a blogger goes rogue? What is he/she writes something that becomes questionable? Protect your brand’s “behind” and ensure that each post has a disclaimer that it was authored by a guest blogger. It may still be backed by the brand, but it was not written by the brand.  

Additional Tips: Give your bloggers some incentive and credit:
Allow each blogger to have a chance to be seen.

  • Link to their blog, website, twitter handle, etc.
  • Give them credit upfront through an introduction with their bio.
  • Consider including a photo.
  • Give them credit or recognition via Twitter when promotion the post (or whichever social channel your brand chooses to leverage).

Most of all don’t forget to update as needed – requirements, policies and guidelines change just as content and social media changes. Keep your writers posted of updates and consider asking them for their opinions on how things can be improved.

Note: This post was originally written and posted on Social Media Club. Find my original post here.  

Additional Reading:

http://www.ibm.com/blogs/zz/en/guidelines.htmlhttp://sportsprblog.com/blog/2009/07/19/tips-developing-a-blogger-policy/
http://menwithpens.ca/how-to-create-guest-post-guidelines/
http://pointblankseo.com/guest-blogging-guidelines
http://www.mediaemerging.com/2011/06/02/what-to-include-in-your-guest-blogger-guidelines/
http://blog.straightnorth.com/how-to-craft-editorial-guidelines-for-a-guest-blogger/

Image Credit: Bigstock Photo

What is the Future of Mobile Payments

First people feared giving your credit card number over internet versus giving it to an operator on the phone…now we are using the phone to swipe your credit card via an online app. Funny how things become so easily integrated. According to Pew Research, “Within the next decade, smart-device swiping will have gained mainstream acceptance as a method of payment and could largely replace cash and credit cards for most online and in-store purchases by smartphone and tablet owners, according to a new survey of technology experts and stakeholders.”

Are you one of the early adapters who has already explored mobile payment options such as Starbucks or Level Up?

The Benefits:
Starbucks: According to Venture Beat: “The coffee chain has processed more than 42 million m-payment transactions since its Mobile Pay platform was launched in January 2011, Van Grove tells us. Back in December, Starbucks reported that “there have been 26 million mobile transactions to date,” so evidently the growth rate is accelerating.” What can we learn from Starbucks? Consumers like what’s simple, easy, and not a big diversion from their regular habits. What makes life simpler? Using a cell phone app which is easy to access, program, and keep track of. Starbucks demonstrated this with finesse, which can be seen from the growth discussed.

The Issue:
Just at Starbucks? Multiple locations and uses would be nice – rather than having multiple apps. LevelUp tries to resolve this issue with their mobile payment app. Not only can you sync up any credit card, but it can be used at multiple places of business. My favorite part is that you earn money to spend at locations when you use the app. Why pay directly with a credit card when you earn rewards from a simple to use app? 

Perks / Rewards
Speaking of perks and rewards…most credit cards also have these when you spend a certain amount. Do mobile app rewards match up to loyalty rewards of say, an Amex card? I guess it depends how you view rewards and what rewards you prefer. I look forward to the day that Amex has a mobile payment app of their own which sync the rewards available — and can be used anywhere, anytime, with the touch of an app button or a request to Siri.

Apple – The New Warden?
And then we have Apple who may be coming out with the iWallet. According to Mashable, “If implemented, the system would allow parents to control how much their child is able to spend, where those purchases can take place and what types of transactions will be allowed.” In short there would images that could be shared and notify the parent on what the child is purchasing – from dvds to alcohol.

Heading to the start line…
Others aren’t far behind either: eBay has jumped in the ball game with PayPal, andMastercard is not far off with experiments in the lab with nifty QR Codes. Who will be first? Who will be best? Will 2020 be the year that Mobile Payments take over? Will it be sooner? There are lots of questions, and more answers come each day. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

NOTE: This Post was originally written for Social Media Club and my post can also be found here

Image Credit: Bigstockphoto.com
Additional Reading:
http://mashable.com/follow/topics/mobile-payments/
http://mashable.com/2012/04/17/mobile-payments-2020/
http://mashable.com/2012/03/09/iwallet-apple-patent-iphone/
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/mastercard_shows_the_future_of_mobile_payments_is.php
http://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2012/03/23/with-paypal-here-ebay-jumps-into-the-mobile-card-payments-fray/
https://squareup.com/

 

Three Creative Ways of Using Google+ Hangouts

There are so many shiny new toys in the social media sphere…sometimes we can’t keep up. Google has a tendency to test out new ideas (remember Google Buzz?) and this time around they have spun out Google Plus Hangouts. It’s an opportunity for individuals or businesses to utilize this virtual “hangout” to communicate with others in their community or business via video. The only disadvantage that appears right away is the restriction of 10 people per hangout. However, when it comes to meetings and having the chance to build a deeper relationship among community members sometimes fewer can be beneficial.

How individuals are taking advantage of Google+ Hangouts

Individual users are being creative and using hangouts for a face-to-face experience for hobbies like photography and cooking. It is a simple way to make your personal life more interesting with people who share your interests. It’s also an opportunity to join communities that you may not have realized existed…whether it’s with people locally or not. Google Plus Hangouts allow individuals to stay in closer touch with their circles and/or to expand them in a more personal way.

Possibilities for Businesses with Google+ Hangouts

1. Dell 

It’s been reported that Michael Dell of Dell Computers has been very interested in Google+ Hangouts, especially for the ability to group video chat in order to assist customers with tech and customer support needs. Unfortunately the capabilities do not work with Dell currently and the restriction of 10 users appears to be a hindrance as well. For now it appears it’s a no-go but Dell hopes that will turn around one day so they can utilize the technology Google has offered with Hangouts. The company believes video chat for tech support could lend a great hand in real-time and personal support for their customers.

2. NBC Philadelphia: 

Television has definitely jumped on board and realized that social media doesn’t have to be a threat to news-telling, but a great cross-promotional tool. NBC Philadelphia has recently used Google+ Hangouts for both weather and even more recently a chat with President Obama. The weather team hangout was to allow viewers to chat with the team up close and personally and ask any weather related questions they had. This demonstrates the team giving a closer look behind the camera and showing an even more human side to the team.

Even more recently, NBC Philadelphia hosted a hangout with President Obama. Unique? Yes. Cool? Definitely. The President spoke live and answered submitted as well as live questions during the hangout. It was an opportunity for some to ask questions that had perturbed them such as employment issues. Social media can be a tough venue, especially with all the different opinions and questions that can easily rise. I commend the president for taking the chance, opportunity and demonstrating his willingness to be there on a more personal level.

3. Tearfund 

Tearfund, which is a nonprofit known for disaster response and advocacy, used Google+ Hangouts as an internal communications tool. It helped their team talk to staff who worked from home, or were off-site. Hangouts assisted Tearfund in doing briefings, staying on top of their objectives, and communicating more regularly with their teammates.

In short, there are many possibilities to interact, grow within communities, enjoy hobbies, have meetings, interviews, and/or build relationships on a more intimate and personal level. There are definitely other tools out there, which have similar functions, but being that Hangouts is a part of the Google ecosystem of Gmail, Apps, and more…it just makes it that much easier.

What would you use a hangout for? How would you use it for your business? 

 

Note this post was originally written for Social Media Club, and the original post can be found here

Sources:

http://www.tearfund.org/en/about_us/how_we_work/

http://9to5google.com/2011/09/29/black-eyed-peas-hosting-backstage-hangout-via-google-hangouts-tomorrow-night/

http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/

https://plus.google.com/115181052736294416606/posts/TrJuQDBwjZS

https://plus.google.com/115181052736294416606/posts/YNGiC9V4XLn

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/obama-google-plus_n_1242816.html

http://www.reelseo.com/dell-google-hangouts-video-chat-customer-service/

Keep your New Year’s Resolution: 5 Ways to Find a New Job with Social Media

So many New Year’s resolutions, so little time. The New Year is already flying by, and it’s no time for slacking off. Many individuals have
the desire and resolution to find a new job that will make them happy and put them in the right path for their desired career aspirations. Need some help?

Here are five great ways that social media applications can help you search better and also stay organized in your job search…

LinkedIn: In short, if you aren’t on LinkedIn, you’re already way behind on your job search. Job recruiters post on this networking social site, look through your profile for keywords related to their requirements, and filter through profiles in order to see who may be a good match. So here are some ways you can take advantage of this perfect social site for finding that perfect job you want this New Year.

Profile Picture. Make sure you use a single head shot for your profile picture so people can clearly see who you are. Preferably this wouldn’t be the same picture you have on Facebook where you may be friends at a party or bar. Think more professional.

Fill it out. Your profile should be filled out at least 90% to show your education, previous employment, and details of what skill sets you possess and could bring to the table.

Links. Take advantage of the social real estate. Use those link spaces and promote yourself. Have a blog? Show it off! Active on Twitter? Share your handle.

Recommendations. I could not speak more highly about having some recommendations…even if only a handful. Other people’s praise is not only golden, but a hot commodity when it comes to scoring a new job.

Job Search Tool. The best part of the LinkedIn search tool is that when you find a job match via your keyword search (which can be customized by location, etc) is you can see who in your network has a connection to that job prospect. The personal connection could just be your ticket to a new job. Use it!

Twitter: the micro-blogging site is an essential search tool that many overlook. Although it may seem intimidating to some and useless to others, it can be a rich resource to many, especially those searching for a new job. Key tips:

Follow the right people. Find the people in your territory who are prominent companies you want to follow, people from those companies, and those who post about jobs often.

Set up search feed for key words. Set up different search feeds for keywords you want to monitor for jobs you’d like.

Monitor. Don’t just set it and forget it. Monitor well and monitor often. You could also use Topsy in order to monitor keywords and have them sent to your Google Reader for convenience sake.

Blog: Having a blog and searching industry blogs can be essential to the job searching process. Here’s why…

Have it. Having a blog is like an investment. It can only help you in the long run. The key is to build one which is on a good domain (preferably one related to your topic or name), has a key focus, and shows you are an expert in that area – in turn showing your future boss you know your stuff.  

Search away. Many blog posts also offer job postings on the topics they focus upon and in the areas they are in. For example, Mashable is frequently posting open jobs. Subscribe via your Google Reader, Email, or check out their Twitter feed on a regular basis. Can’t hurt!

Google Plus: Just because it’s a new social network doesn’t mean it isn’t important and useful for a job-searching tool. Google is well known for its great SEO capabilities and is key when it comes to search. Build your profile, start following key people, and place them in the appropriate “circles.” It can only help to be more visible as long as you are following the right people, providing valuable content, and networking your butt off.

Google Alerts: As mentioned above, having searches set up is key. Google Alerts are essential in saving time and not going back and forth all the time. You can easily set up key search terms and then have them sent to you via email or via a RSS feed to your Google Reader (or Feedly) in order to check it at your convenience.  

Bonus: You are searching through job search sites, social networks, and Google-ing away, but so are recruiters. At the very same time they are also searching for “you.” So why not make it easier for them to find and reach out to you? Make your social sites job viewer friendly. 3 tips:

Headlines: Describe what you’ve done, what you want to do, and what you are good at.

Photo: Have a clear photo that is just you and preferably more of a headshot.

Share your expertise: Demonstrate what experience you’ve gained in each position you’ve held, accomplishments you’ve achieved, how you’ve assisted your companies to ascertain revenue goals, and more.

Still unsure about social networks and how much they can help? See below for a clear-cut example that companies use social networks just as much for recruiting too.

To check out more, visit: http://mashable.com/2011/08/28/social-media-recruiting-infographic/

Please note: this post was originally written for Social Media Club and you can find the original post I wrote here.

[Above Image Credit: http://mbahighway.com/2011/10/top-10-mba-job-search-websites/]

Sources:

http://laurenkgray.com/2011/03/02/job-hunting-via-social-media-using-linkedin/

http://pamsahota.com/social-media-at-work/how-to-find-a-job-using-social-media/

http://mashable.com/2009/01/05/job-search-secrets/

http://www.margieclayman.com/30-tips-on-how-to-find-a-job-using-social-media

http://mashable.com/2011/07/24/google-plus-jobs/

http://mashable.com/2011/08/28/social-media-recruiting-infographic/