Archive for social network
How much do you know about the microblogging site Tumblr?
Launched in 2007, Tumblr has experienced tremendous growth over the past several years.
Forbes reported that 120,000 new Tumblr blogs are created every day, totaling 86 million that drive 18 billion page views per month.
In this post, I’ll take a look at 26 businesses that have created presences on Tumblr and discuss the techniques they use for their blogs, while also introducing many of Tumblr’s specific features and lexicon.
How Can Tumblr Be Used?
Jason Keath wrote, “Not every brand works on Tumblr” and suggested that three categories of blogs may fare better than others: fashion, large websites and publishing/broadcast media. As we’ll see with the examples below, Tumblr’s features offer the ability to be more visual and less verbose.
When you first started out on social media, Tumblr may not have fit the description of what you were looking for. Today, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover a blogging solution where you can create engaging and diverse posts in much less time than other platforms, while also piggybacking on the social networking capabilities it offers.
Before We Begin… A Few Words About This Article
Given the A-Z theme of this article, blogs were chosen if they could represent one of the 26 letters.
Due to the recent growth in Tumblr, its ease of use and wide-ranging possibilities, the blogs represented below are offered as inspiration. Recommended introductory and how-to resources for Tumblr are listed at the bottom of the article.
Spoiler Alert: While Tumblr may speak to the issue of brevity on blogs, this post is a far cry from a brief post. In fact, it’s exceedingly long—hopefully, all the better to learn from!
Let’s dive in!
#1: Ace Hotel
The Ace Hotel celebrated their Tumblr blog’s third birthday on January 20, 2013. With three years on Tumblr, Ace Hotel utilizes many features that make their blog successful, including:
- Links to Facebook, Twitter and their “A-List,” which is essentially a signup form to stay up to date on what’s happening at their hotels.
- Link to their online shop, which is described as an “open-air flea market where we offer the fruits of our partnerships with friends whose work inspires our own, stuff we love, stuff we made, curated art, books….”
- Link from the homepage to reserve a room and check availability.
#2: Boston Globe
The Boston Globe describes their presence on Tumblr this way: “This isn’t about breaking news in Boston (check us on @bostonupdate on Twitter). It’s not about the important capital-J journalism of those daily printed pieces of paper (and soon to be website) called The Boston Globe. But it is about the world we live in, often (but not exclusively) filtered by the reporters, photojournalists, reviewers, web producers at the Globe and boston.”
The photos on Boston Globe Tumblr are eye-catching and unique. Many are tagged “photojournalism.” Followers like their posts and reblog them. They also use social media share buttons on their posts so visitors can easily tweet, like or +1.
One of the first icons you see on CNET‘s Tumblr blog is the “random post” button that makes the blog “shuffle” and display a random post each time a reader clicks it. They also utilize an archive feature that displays a visual archive of past posts by month.
CNET also provides social media sharing links for Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Many times, their posts are photos with captions, and on occasion, an animated GIF.
#4: Dark Rye
Dark Rye, an online magazine from Whole Foods Market, is a great example of a blog that has created alternative messaging for their business. Dark Rye “brings together pioneers of unconventional ideas to explore the edges of the creative life.”
While many posts may include food-related content such as a granola recipe and Jamie Oliver’s Food Tube channel on YouTube, you’ll also find instructions for something you may have been wondering about, such as how to start a campfire.
Elle Magazine uses Tumblr to showcase fashion highlights by using photos with captions. The captions refer to design companies with the “@” sign (e.g., @JasonWu). Elle tags photos with hashtags (e.g., #prefall) within the caption.
On the upper-right corner of their Tumblr home page, Elle provides icons for their presences on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as links that take you to the online magazine.
There’s also a link to sign up for their newsletter and a button to subscribe to the magazine.
#6: Fresh Air
It’s a nice touch to reference on your home page who’s responsible for the curated content, since many times visitors don’t know who the behind-the-scenes voices are on social media sites.
Many of their posts are photos that you can also see as high-res images with a short amount of text (100-200 words) and posted videos and sound clips.
Some other nice touches to Fresh Air on Tumblr are the Ask link where visitors can email the blog a private question, see answers to frequently asked questions, posts from other Tumblr blogs that Fresh Air liked and a list of who they’re following, all beautifully displayed in a long graphic of avatars that link to the blog.
Glamour‘s Tumblr is a collection of their “fashion editors’ current obsessions.” As stated on their welcome page, “instead of just filing away our favorite things—be they photos, names, places, trends, styles or any other random treasure—for a rainy day, we’ll be sharing them here.”
In some posts, the Glamour blog uses the tag “glamour magazine” that shows photos from the magazine, links to the full article and in some cases, provides prices and a link to online shopping sites such as Maiden Nation and NCLA.
Glamour, like Elle, integrates photos with their presence on Instagram. They also include the names of four contributing photographers and provide attribution to the photos they’ve taken. And regardless of the subject of the photos—bracelets, shoes, an archived picture of Princess Diana—the photos are beautifully done and you can easily see why their editors want to share them on Tumblr.
#8: Huffington Post
The Huffington Post‘s Tumblr blog has many cool features. For one thing, the tagline tells us upfront that the blog is about “news, culture and op-eds from the Huffpost Newsroom.”
Huffington Post uses a free theme called the Minimalist and users can see what the theme looks like and if they choose, they can also quickly update their blog to use the same theme.
Tumblr themes have different features and characteristics. Sometimes even if a feature that you want isn’t available—for example, the Submit link where users can submit a post to your blog—you can customize the theme’s HTML code and make it functional.
Many of the posts are newsworthy with photos, brief text and links. Huffington Post also uses the random post function and a link to their Twitter profile.
IBM has three blogs on Tumblr. Their primary blog, A Smarter Planet, posts content related to “a planet that is instrumented, interconnected and intelligent.” Their secondary blogs, The Social Business and The Smarter Cities Scan, make it possible to have blogs with complementary content.
Primary and secondary blogs permit different features. For example, primary blogs offer full use of “Tumblr’s social features, including Follow, Like, Reply, Ask, and Submit.” Secondary blogs differ in that they can be password-protected; allow multiple users; and receive social requests (Follow, Like, Ask, Submit) from other blogs, but not initiate social features to other blogs.
The posts on A Smarter Planet have social-sharing buttons enabled, making it possible to tweet, like on Facebook, +1 on Google+ and pin on Pinterest.
#10: J. Crew
The J. Crew Tumblr blog from all appearances has many of the features that we’ve come to love and appreciate from a WordPress blog, such as a blogroll in the side column that they’ve titled Cool Clicks.
The posts mostly consist of photos of their apparel with tips on how to wear and accessorize, and in some cases, they may include a link to their website where you can purchase a product you see in the photograph. But they use this very sparingly so you don’t feel like you’re on an online shopping website. Instead they are engaging readers with the styles and colors of their products.
They’re also using a full spectrum of social-sharing buttons—Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and RSS feed.
#11: Kmart Coupons, Deals and Coupon Codes
Kmart‘s Tumblr blog is one of the most different ones we’ve taken a look at so far, with a bare-bones look and feel.
The focus here is on sharing coupons, deals and coupon codes—and selling. There are no photos, all posts are text only and contain the same four tags: kmart, coupons, deals and couponcodes. The links take users to shop on Contaya.
They offer some of the features we’ve discussed previously about other sites (random, for example), but one of the distinguishing features of their blog is a mobile-friendly version.
#12: Lucky Magazine
One of the first things you’ll notice on Lucky Magazine‘s Tumblr blog is photos—BIG photos—ones that can be as high as 1000 pixels and as wide as 800 pixels.
The photos are linked to Instagram with brief captions. Many contain the hashtag #luckymagcloset and some take you to Lucky, another site that describes itself as “more from the magazine about shopping and style.”
The blog welcomes users with the following tagline: “Here you’ll find bits of inspiration from our editors, bloggers and friends. Join us on your lunch hour, a rainy day or whenever you find a few spare moments to yourself. We’re always here.”
You’ll find social-sharing buttons located after the tagline; many of the usual players we’ve seen before on other blogs. Although Lucky Magazine has also included a link to their presence on Foursquare.
ModCloth describes their Tumblr blog as “Democratizing fashion one indie, vintage, & retro-inspired style at a time!” The company uses the Juuvy theme, “A fashionable chic modular grid with adjustable post sizes.” You can also customize the colors, fonts and background.
The page is visually appealing with posts that contain photos and captions, and the ability to see the photos in high resolution, too.
Their Ask feature offers a unique capability, too: the possibility to have your question featured on their feed.
ModCloth uses some of the social-sharing buttons we’ve seen used by other companies. One we haven’t seen before on this list is a link to their Flickr photostream. By clicking on the Share button at the bottom of every post, you’re given the shortened URL, which is also a nice feature.
#14: New York Times Style Magazine
The New York Times Style Magazine‘s Tumblr blog is another example of one that uses large photos. Some may be as wide as 1020 pixels and as high as 680. The posts are generally photos with captions that consist of two to four tags. The links take users to the Style Magazine’s web pages.
They utilize an RSS feed, archive, a link to their Twitter profile and who they’re following. There are share buttons from posts to Facebook and Twitter. The blog is simple and clean.
#15: Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta‘s Tumblr blog, PR Girl for Oscar de la Renta, is described as “…reporting from inside one of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses.”
This is a blog that relies heavily on photos and captions. A post may be showcasing fashion for Spring 2013, or bring back a photo from 1995. In either case, the photos generally speak for themselves. Some literally do, while others may have one word (e.g., “games”) or consist of 15-20 words at the most.
Users can ask questions and follow on social sites. One network they make a point of emphasizing is following them on Pinterest, where they have a large following of nearly 50,000.
Pinterest and Tumblr work exceedingly well for Oscar de la Renta.
#16: Pew Internet
Tumblr isn’t all style and fashion. Sites like Pew Internet will appeal to business users with the type of infographics and research findings that Pew Internet is known and respected for. At times they will ask a question within the post and provide an answer box where users can comment.
Some posts include a link where users can read the full story on Pew Internet‘s website.
One very cool feature is Browse All Tags, which is a word cloud of tags that stretches far down the page. There are links to their presences on some of the usual social sites. One that clearly is an important venue for Pew Internet, however, is SlideShare.
GQ‘s Tumblr blog uses a mixture of photos and text that are generally tagged with four to five words, and always “GQ.” Readers may see the first three paragraphs of a story and if they click Read the Rest Here, they’re taken to GQ’s website.
GQ also uses a secondary blog, GQ Fashion, that like their primary blog uses photos. But in this case the posts don’t include text from longer articles. Their purpose is to demonstrate fashion with brief, simple captions.
The primary blog includes a link to subscribe to the magazine and another to get the apps on iTunes (but according to the error message, does not work in the U.S. at this time).
Rocketboom, the daily international news and entertainment network of online programming based in New York City, has a Tumblr blog where photos can be anything from dogs in costumes to a photo of poet Sylvia Plath commemorating her birthday.
Posts may also include longer blocks of text, links to other websites and videos on Rocketboom’s YouTube channel.
Rocketboom is also among a small number on this list that are using a mobile-friendly version of their site.
#19: Shapeways 3D Printspiration
Shapeways 3D Printspiration is described as a “3D printing marketplace and community.” They mostly use their Tumblr blog to show photos of their 3D products, often accompanied by a brief caption.
The photos link to their Instagram account. Some posts may also contain full-length text that links back to their other blog, The Shapeways Blog: 3D Printing News & Innovation.
Shapeways has presences on multiple social networking sites (Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube) and one of the notable features on their Tumblr home page is the ability to see a list of recent tweets in the side column.
#20: Tips for Architecture School
Tips for Architecture School is a Tumblr blog started by Mark Perrett, a designer, who uses his blog as a resource for people studying architecture or planning.
Mark doesn’t have just one blog on Tumblr, he manages four different blogs with specific focuses. On his website he writes, “What can I say, I’m a blogger. I love the concept of a blog. It is like a digital avatar for your brain. The opportunity to share ideas to everyone around the world still amazes me.”
Even if we didn’t know that Mark loves blogs, I think it would be easy to surmise, judging by his answers via blog posts to people who ask him questions about an education in architecture. If he needs to do research to answer a question, he’ll post the link to the article and provide his own commentary on the subject.
Mark exemplifies good use of the Ask feature on Tumblr, not only responding to the individual but also recognizing that other people would benefit by the Q&A which may appear on his page.
Tumblr recognized the popularity of the Tips for Architecture School blog and has included a link on their Architecture spotlight page.
#21: Universal Music
Universal Music on Tumblr is the blog for music company Universal Music, “home to such artists as Lady Gaga, Eminem, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Andrea Bocelli, Taylor Swift, Lil Wayne, Maroon 5 and many, many more.”
Their posts are generally short and to the point, with photos, captions and links. In some cases, they’ll link to a musician’s Facebook page. Other times, they’ll let users know that they can listen to an album for free on Rdio. Their images appear to be directly entered via Tumblr and not housed on other sites such as Flickr or Instagram.
Universal Music provides links to their Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages and also has a mobile-friendly version of their site.
Vimeo is described as “the home for high-quality videos and the people who love them.” Their blog shares interesting film-related news about the company and Vimeo features that you may not be aware of. For instance, Vimeo has creative commons videos that users may be able to “share, rework and reuse legally.”
There are links to their presences on Facebook and Twitter. Videos are stored on Vimeo (no surprise!).
One notable feature on their blog is the use of the Tumblr bookmarklet, which we haven’t seen used yet on any of the blogs discussed here so far. The bookmarklet is a button that users can drag to their Bookmarks bar and quickly share on their blog when they come across something interesting they’ve found on the site.
Vimeo also maintains a second blog not hosted by Tumblr, which is described as “Staff Blog: Dispatches from Vimeo HQ written by the real humans who work here.”
#23: WGSN’s Tumblr Blog
WGSN describes their work as “…world’s leading fashion trend forecaster. A must-have resource for design professionals around the world, we’re also now on Tumblr providing a live stream of the thought, insight and inspiration behind our work.
Curated by a select team of expert global contributors, our coverage spans from the front row at fashion weeks to the hottest street style trends at all the must-attend festivals.”
What’s particularly refreshing about this statement is that it’s available via a link on the blog, About WGSN, which you may not think is a big deal. But surprisingly, many brands don’t have a good description on their page about who they are and what they do. Maybe it’s more an issue of the themes not providing a built-in way for brands to provide that information.
The posts primarily contain fashion photos with one or two sentences of text, and some will link to a retailer’s website. In other cases, they may reference their annual report and link to their website.
It’s interesting to note too that from WGSN’s website, we can see that they have presences on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but have chosen not to include those links on their blog.
#24: (E)xcel Visual
Excel Visual is the blog of a freelance photographer and videographer whose name is not present on the site. This blog was chosen for the article in part because it was the closest we could find to a name that began with an “X” (to be perfectly honest), but also because it demonstrates the work of a freelance businessperson!
While the URLs for presences on YouTube, Flickr and Instagram are presented in the header of the homepage, they are not active links.
The gallery of photos is presented with one- to two-word descriptions, such as Shopping Assistance or Brisk. This Tumblr blog may well serve the purposes for the freelancer, who is using the Minimalist theme. The theme might not offer the other types of functionality we’ve discussed in this article right out of the box, but it is also customizable.
#25: YA Highway
YA Highway‘s Tumblr blog is the work of the YA Highway, “writers from different corners of the globe, united by our affinity for travel, costume parties and writing young adult fiction.”
The blog contains posts about the writers, links to tips for writers (hosted elsewhere), a directory of writers in the organization and other perks such as links to music for writers.
Zap2It‘s Tumblr blog focuses on “TV, celebrity and movies for fanatics by fanatics.” Posts include photos such as Beyonce at President Obama’s first inauguration party, remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr., a picture from the TV show, The Office.
Zap2It’s content style on Tumblr is very similar to a Facebook post update, with many posts ending with a question, minus the ability for users to respond to an individual update. Nevertheless, their questions are thought-provoking.
The Tumblr blog has links to their Facebook and Twitter pages.
- The Marketer’s Guide to Tumblr
- Tumblr Starter Kit
- 4 Ways to Use Tumblr to Connect With Customers
- Should You Be on Tumblr? Seven Business Case Examples
What do you think about Tumblr? Share your experiences and let us know if you’ve been using Tumblr and how it’s worked for you. Or, whether you’ll consider giving Tumblr a tumble. Leave your comments in the box below.
Do you want to reexamine how you’ve been using social networks?
In this post, I’ll cover 26 tips, an A-Z guide, to help you understand the backbone of successful social media strategies.
#1: Assess and Reassess
One way to assess whether to use one of the “big four” social networking sites as Samson Lov refers to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, is by looking at the statistics—number of users on each network.
Statistical data is an interesting factor to look at while you decide where to build presences. However, keep in mind it’s one of many perspectives. Some social networking sites may make more sense for your business than others. We’ll discuss this further in Tip #19, Start Somewhere and Start Small.
#2: Build a Group of Followers
Austin Considine reveals the “worst-kept secret in the Twittersphere.” He writes:
“That friend who brags about having 1,000, even 100,000, Twitter followers may not have earned them through hard work and social networking; he may have simply bought them on the black market.”
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are social media followers. Companies should think of followers as something they’ve earned—the virtual pat on the back.
#3: Curate Content
The question about original content vs. curated content can be a little confusing at times for businesses starting out on social media. Bottom line, you need to do both. A good rule of thumb is the 80-20 rule—use 80% others’ content and 20% your own.
Eric Savitz explains,
“As content marketing becomes increasingly central to the overall strategy, marketers look to content curation as a way to help cut through the clutter and provide their prospects with the valuable information for which they are looking.”
#4: Dedication for the Long Haul
The problem that many businesses run into is that they start using social media with lots of good intentions, like someone who has made a New Year’s resolution to exercise every day. They have great attendance at the gym in January, and by February are missing in action.
Develop a reasonable, doable plan and stick to it year-round.
#5: Elicit Responses
No one likes to be talked at without being given an opportunity to respond. If you have a blog, let your users communicate and respond to your posts via comments. Ask thought-provoking questions on your other social networking sites that people will genuinely want to respond to.
#6: Follow Twitter Lists
There are many benefits when you create and follow Twitter lists. Crystal Vogt suggests:
“Twitter lists also allow you to find like-minded followers by perusing others’ lists. The Twitter list function can be an important tool for businesses.”
#7: Goals Shouldn’t be Hidden
“When content effectively drives action, the next step of the sales process—an e-commerce company’s Products button, the B2B corporation’s White Paper Download form or a nonprofit’s Donate link—are easy to find.”
Make your products and services easy to find so users know how to take the next step.
#8: Hometown Perspective
Sometimes it can be confusing to understand the difference between social networking sites. I love Jeffrey Hayzlett’s hometown analogy:
“Think of LinkedIn as a sign that you post on Main Street; Twitter, the view from your front porch as you wave when people go by; and Facebook as the den you use to invite special people to get to know you.”
#9: Industry Contacts + Clients = Users to Follow
Georgina Laidlaw offers a list of mistakes that might be strangling your success with social media and includes one major oversight that I’ve seen made repeatedly by businesses: Not following or friending industry contacts (and clients, too).
When you follow your contacts and clients, you’ll have an opportunity to read their news; see first-hand what content is important to their business; and comment, respond and further your dialogue.
#10: Join the Conversation
By now, the phrase “join the conversation” has been added to the ranks of social media clichés. If your company is able to assign a few people who can regularly represent and speak on behalf of the company via social media, you will find many rewards.
Speaking of conversation, businesses who claim a presence on social networking sites need to have a unique and recognizable voice. We’ll talk more about voice in Tip #24, Voice Lessons.
#11: Keyword Research
Caroline and Steve Melberg point out that keyword research is one of the most important parts of the SEO process, “yet few small business owners actually conduct a full and complete keyword research exercise before engaging on their first SEO campaign.”
Caroline and Steve consider keyword research to be essential to help businesses:
- Identify the best and most profitable keywords for their campaigns
- Find missed opportunities that may be profitable for their niche, and conversely, ones that should be scratched from their list
- Identify the focus and direction of their SEO campaign, and ultimately, the core of their online marketing strategy
#12: Location, Location, Location
In one of our earlier 26 Tips articles on the topic of location-based marketing, we referenced Neil Patel’s 8 strategies for local search that provide excellent guidelines to launch local campaigns and are worth repeating here (followed by Tip #13, Market Your Business Locally, with additional thoughts about local listings).
- Keyword research to focus on industry-specific terms and geo-specific terms.
- Optimize your website for local search by adding locally optimized title tags and meta descriptions.
- Create a geo sitemap.
- Have the best Google Places listing possible.
- Build profiles on other sites to build citations for local SEO.
- Get local reviews when you add buttons to your website and encourage reviews.
- Build links from related local businesses and local bloggers.
- Optimize your social pages (Facebook Page, Twitter profile, LinkedIn page, Google+, etc.) for local.
#13: Market Your Business Locally
With the rise of smartphones, tablets and mobile devices, local marketing has become increasingly important for businesses. Sian Simon suggests factors that help to get good local listings:
- Create a profile within the search engines themselves.
- Get listed in local directories (e.g., Superpages, Citysearch), which give you a chance to be displayed more than once in the search engine’s results.
- Claim your business listing and create your profile—you can get started with Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
#14: Netiquette and Response Time
Tom Cull offers advice regarding business response time on social media:
“It could be a blog comment, a message through a form on your website or an email straight into your inbox; all potentially as good leads as each other. What the customer wants in each case is a prompt response, which addresses their inquiry and provides a next course of action. If it’s a personal blog, email or even social media, then people generally expect a response in 1-2 days.”
Are you responding within 1-2 days to inquiries that you receive via your social networking sites, blog or email? If not, how can you ramp up your response time?
#15: Objectives for Social Media Success
Forrester Research has analyzed hundreds of companies that have successful social media strategies. From their research, they’ve identified five primary objectives for success:
- Listening—Use social media tools to research and better understand your customers.
- Talking—Use social media to spread your brand and company goals.
- Energizing—Find your “unofficial” leaders and brand enthusiasts and use social media to supercharge the power of their ideas and word of mouth.
- Supporting—Set up social media tools to help your customers support each other.
- Embracing—Integrate your customers into the way you do business and give them an avenue to share product ideas and cost-saving tips. This is the most complex strategy; and one, when implemented well, can demonstrate the greatest ROI.
#16: Patience Is a Virtue for Social Media Marketers
Ilias Chelidonis reminds us,
“Anything that is worthwhile takes time to build, and growing tribes and followers on social networks and creating community takes time. One way to think of it is like building a house ‘one brick at a time.’ In the case of social media, it is one piece of content at a time.”
#17: Quick on Your Feet
In Tip #14, we discussed the importance of responding to users’ inquiries within 1-2 days. But social media can also be unpredictable. A negative comment can set off a chain reaction, so you need to be quick on your feet to diffuse things before they get any worse.
Nicholas D’Angelo offers the following advice:
“As a brand, or especially as the social media manager of a brand, having negative comments or a ‘brand assassin,’ can have a drastic effect on the way your firm is perceived by others. As a brand you have to:
- Be the bigger person
- Seek resolution
- Try to help
- Do everything in your power to turn this ‘brand assassin’ to a ‘brand ambassador’ and take the higher road.”
#18: Round Robin Your Team’s Thoughts
Sometimes, even with all the best intentions, a company doesn’t instinctively understand the value that a social network can provide to their business.
Heather Clifford suggests looking to your internal teams for ideas.
“Why not host a social get-together with your team and discuss all the valuable aspects of your company? Do a round robin and allow each person on your team to give their thoughts… Harness the value that is right beneath your own roof. Possibility thinking along with group input is extremely valuable today.”
Confer with members of your team about company messages on social media and see what insights you gain.
#19: Start Somewhere and Start Small
In Tip #1, Assess and Reassess, we discussed social platform decision-making in terms of the size of networks.
Mark Parker offers this piece of sound advice:
“The best place to start is to look at who you want to communicate with, define your typical customer and look at their familiarity with technology and where you are likely to find them.”
He also cautions to not “over-think the interaction… start somewhere, and start small.”
#20: Time Allocation
In the fall of 2012, VerticalResponse surveyed 462 businesses with fewer than 100 employees and found that 43% of small businesses are spending at least 6 hours per week on social media.
Finding social media content was reported as taking the most time, followed by learning and education, analyzing efforts, scoping out the competition and responding to questions.
How much time is your business spending on social media? What are the most time-consuming steps?
#21: Update Overload Can Be a Problem
eMarketer reported on a study conducted by SocialVibe that found “one-third of US Internet users who had ended a social connection with a brand did so because the company simply posted too many updates.” Communicate and educate. Don’t inundate.
#22: Voice Lessons
What does your business sound like on social media? Are you professional? Friendly? Friendly professional? Serious? Too serious?
Brad Smith recommends that businesses should have a unique voice and personality.
Does your business sound like someone people will want to talk to? Another way of looking at it—would you want to talk to you?
#23: Ways to Capture Different Kinds of Visitors
Darren Rowse suggests catering to two different kinds of blog readers: 1) the hard-won, single visitor and 2) the generic, viral visitor.
For hard-won, single visitors, Darren recommends capturing their attention with things such as:
- Link to further readings on the same topic
- Include signup forms/newsletter subscriptions
- Provide a contact form for questions they might want to ask
- Provide free download targeting their need
- Have active community of commenters or forum members
- Link to social media/RSS subscriptions
For generic, viral visitors, Darren recommends:
- Make comments on posts prominent
- Offer a free download or subscription related to the same content on the same page
- Follow up with the linking site to see if they’ll accept a guest post, so you can further build your profile with the site’s readers
- Offer the linking site an exclusive piece of quality content (e.g., a white paper or report that links back to your blog)
#24: (E)xplore the Social Media Ecosystem
Danielle Brigida compares the exploration of social media to finding your niche in the natural world—hiking a new trail, observing a stream or other surroundings.
Danielle suggests you use the same tactics for social media exploration:
- Ask/document questions
- Assess and analyze
#25: Yield Deeper Customer Relationships Via Social Networks
Chris Brogan writes:
“If you think of social networks as places where things other than your business happen, then you’re starting to get how this all works. People aren’t there to find you. They’re there for their own purposes. Your job is to have an outpost there and to listen, so that when someone expresses a need you can address, you’ll have the ability to start a relationship.”
Are you deepening your customer relationships with social media? What do you need to do differently to make it happen?
#26: Zero Cost of Entry, but Is Social Media Really Free?
Tom Johansmeyer points out that many of the costs associated with social media marketing are not immediately evident. Many of the platforms are free to join and set up a profile, but there are other things to consider:
- The primary issue is content: you need to be able to publish blog posts, tweets and status updates.
- You need to think about content promotion— i.e., getting people know about and read your content.
- There can be public-relations efforts, search engine optimization and community development and management required. This involves more people, more time and more expense.
- As with any marketing activity, measurement is necessary… Google Analytics, Facebook Insights and time with the likes of bit.ly and Topsy, though free, require someone to look at them, crunch the numbers and draw conclusions. Tom asks, “So, is social media marketing really free?” As he says, “Anyone who’s made a serious effort to do it knows that there are expenses all over the place. Don’t take this as a reason not to hit the social media world to market your company…”
What resonates for you? If your business is getting started or refreshing your social media marketing efforts, what aspects do you need to focus on more intently? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.
Images from iStockPhoto.
If so, look no further.
In Nielsen and McKinsey’s Social Media Report, consumers were surveyed to discover how they use social networks.
Here are seven key findings from that report.
#1: More Time Invested in Mobile
The survey found that consumers are increasingly looking to their smartphones and tablets to access social media.
While the PC is still the most widely used device when it comes to social media consumption, the study found that time spent on mobile apps and mobile websites accounted for a 63% increase (compared to 2011) in total time spent.
Additionally, 43% of users said they use smartphones to access social media, while 16% connect using a tablet.
Key Takeaway: When it comes to consuming social content, it’s all about mobile. For marketers, that means that mobile has to be your top content priority this year.
If you haven’t done so already, here are some ideas to get you started:
- Set up a mobile website (there’s a free WordPress plugin for this)
- Register your business on location-based services such as Foursquare, WHERE or SCVNGR
- Use SMS and MMS to attract customers
- Build your own app (even if you’re not a developer) using GENWI, Mippin, MobiCart or ShoutEm
- Get more mobile marketing tips in Jamie Turner’s excellent book, Go Mobile!
#2: Pinterest Usage Continues to Rise
Pinterest continues to experience exponential growth since its launch in 2011. The platform had the highest increase in audience and time spent of any social network across all devices such as PC, mobile web and apps.
In addition, a May 2012 Harvard Business Review article titled, “Moving customers from pinning to purchase,” states that:
“Pinterest users reported a surprisingly high correlation between pinning and subsequent purchasing: more than 1 in 5 Pinterest users has pinned an item that they later purchased. In the social world, this is a high conversion rate.”
Key Takeaway: As a marketer, remember that product photography is more important than ever when trying to persuade Pinterest shoppers to pin and buy your hottest-looking items. Capitalize on their shopping experience and make your profile as creative and visually engaging as possible.
Also, don’t forget to engage with people who have pinned your items to see if you could nudge them into buying something!
#3: Social Networking Generates Positive Sentiments
One of the most interesting findings in this survey was that 76% of participants said they experienced positive feelings after engaging in social networking.
Some of the words used to describe how they felt were: informed, energized, excited, connected and amused. However, 21% reported negative sentiments after social networking; examples are overwhelmed, anxious and wasted time. 24% remained neutral.
Key Takeaway: Social media is saturated with sentiment-rich data. Every update, tweet, blog comment or online review is a critical source of data that can inform your CRM program. As a marketer, you should be very interested in gathering and analyzing sentiment data to see if your social messages are producing the desirable outcomes you’re looking for.
#4: Twitter Drives Social TV
Twitter has emerged as the most powerful driver of ‘social TV’ interaction. That means when people are watching the Super Bowl, American Idol or the elections, they are simultaneously using Twitter to share their thoughts and experiences with friends.
In June 2012, a third of active Twitter users tweeted about TV-related content, which was up from 26% at the beginning of the year.
Key Takeaway: Social TV is still a new concept for marketers. However, considering that an average of 43 minutes are spent each day watching TV (HubSpot), and that many of those viewers are then sharing their experiences online, marketers should find ways to align any TV advertising with their online strategies (e.g., incorporating hashtags or tweetable sound bites in their TV commercials). This prolongs the conversation about brands beyond the TV, while allowing for extended word-of-mouth marketing.
#5: Social Care is the New Customer Care
Social care is a way for companies to provide regular customer service through social media platforms. The study revealed that one in three social media users prefers social care to contacting a company by phone.
Consumers use a variety of channels for social care. For example, they are most likely to comment or ask a question about a company’s products or services on the company’s Facebook page (29%), on their own personal Facebook profile (28%), on official company blogs (15%), on Twitter (personal handle – no mention of company, 14%) and on Twitter (company’s handle, 13%).
Key Takeaway: Social media has conditioned consumers to get immediate feedback. As a marketer, the risk of failing to meet such high expectations is not just losing customers, but having negative comments about your brand blasted around the user’s network and their friends’ networks. If you can get social care right, you will create a wide gap between your brand and your competition.
#6: Mixed Feelings about Social Ads
Another interesting finding was how people react to social ads. While 33% of people surveyed find ads on social networks to be annoying, 26% are more likely to pay attention to an ad posted by a friend.
Generally a Like is the most common action taken after seeing a social ad (26%), followed by a share (15%) and a product purchase (14%). As far as demographics go, the study found that Asian-American consumers were the most likely to respond positively to social ads, while white consumers were the most likely to be turned off by social media advertising.
Key Takeaway: Because advertising on social media is more annoying than other digital areas, marketers should proceed with caution and make sure their ads are highly relevant and targeted. On the bright side, many people don’t mind social ads if they’re tailored to suit personal tastes and interests. This presents a great opportunity for marketers to raise brand visibility.
#7: Social Listening a Key Consumer Activity
Social media is transforming the way consumers around the globe make purchasing decisions. Consumers are using social media to listen and learn about other consumers’ experiences (70%); find more information about brands, products and services (65%); and compliment brands (53%).
Key takeaway: We tend to think of social listening as something only marketers and research analysts do. However, it’s interesting to see that consumers are also active listeners. This is an opportunity for marketers to educate consumers through compelling content, improve customer experiences (using social care) and maintain strong customer relationships to uphold a positive brand image.
What do you think? Which of these trends did you find most enlightening? Please share your thoughts and comments in the box below.
Image from iStockPhoto.
The new year brings a new tool for stock market stalkers. With just a few days left in the fourth quarter of 2012, Stockr has opened in public beta, the company announced today.
The social network for investors, traders, and public companies had been in private beta since July 2012. Anyone can now log into Stockr using their Facebook credentials.
Once inside, users can follow publicly traded companies, as well as influential people and publishers, to stay on top of stock market news and trends.
A Watchlist shows stock quotes from the companies that users are following, with a 5-minute delay. There are also data visualizations to show how the stocks have performed over time.
Users can customize the experience by watching the News Feed tab for developing stories or by checking the Company Pulse tab to read what other community members are saying about the stocks.
All members can “like” or comment on posts and receive alerts when other people have followed them or commented on one of their posts.
“Our purpose: To be the best place in the world to discuss and learn about stocks, without fear of being spammed,” wrote co-founder and CEO Vinny Jindal in an email to beta testers.
Jindal co-founded Stockr with CTO Brendon Crawford and co-founder Tim Symington in 2010. Based in Santa Monica, CA, the company has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from Personal Capital, The Doyle Investment Group, and Adam Townsend.
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Not all networks are created equal; each comes with its own specific benefits, features and uses.
This 3-step guide will help you choose the best social networks based on your business, experience and community.
#1: Find Your Community
If you’re just getting started in social media and are weighing which platform to join first, search for your business on various networks to see if you’ve already got a community there.
Does your product have user videos on YouTube? Did someone create a Yelp profile for your restaurant? Are you mentioned on Twitter? Wherever you find your community is where you should start investing your time and resources.
#2: Choose Which Networks Work Best for You
Now that you’ve discovered whether you have a pre-existing community, it’s time to jump in. Remember, choosing networks to integrate isn’t a matter of right or wrong, it’s about how to find the best fit for your company.
Here are suggestions for networks to integrate based on what your business offers.
Do you have a product?
Products need attention and traffic. People need to be able to see the product, check out the specs, read reviews and know that there’s a support community available. That makes Facebook a great place for products—potential customers can see pictures, praise (and complaints) from users and responses from Page admins.
This sampling of product and company information will help customers make an informed purchase. If they like the product, they can share and recommend the product to their friends—in turn giving your product more traffic. Because Facebook is popular worldwide, it exposes your product to eyes from across the globe.
It’s also a good idea to build up a bank of videos on YouTube or Vimeo. Show off your product in use, have the CEO give in-depth product introductions, offer official troubleshooting guides and allow users to post response videos.
Videos are a low-maintenance way to make information about your product available. As long as the product stays the same, the video stays relevant.
Twitter can be a great place for products as well. Reward those who follow your product by holding contests and giveaways. You pick and announce the hashtag, and then randomly select a winning tweet. All of the mentions from your followers are certain to get you some extra attention.
Do you have a place?
Yelp and Foursquare are essential if you’re operating a local business like a restaurant. You don’t need an international following. Instead, you’re after local customers; people who could actually come through the door.
Create a Yelp profile for your business, complete with the address, hours, business bio and other relevant info like the menu. Yelp gives people the opportunity to review your business, and it also gives the business owner the ability to respond to feedback. You can thank people for positive reviews and run some damage control for negative reviews.
Foursquare lets business owners reward frequent customers, encouraging them to visit or “check in,” bring their friends with them and keep coming back. Check-ins have a snowball effect, turning your place into a hangout for groups.
You’ll also want a Facebook page for your business. You can add maps, contact info, descriptions and photos—all things to make sure your fans and potential fans can find you easily. It may sound like you’re simply duplicating your Yelp account, but remember that the goal is to get foot traffic, so maintain pages for your business on both sites, making sure the information on both is always up to date.
It’s also important to purchase Facebook ads, which allow you to target specific demographics to make sure the right people see your ads.
Own and operate a sports bar in a small town? Show your ads to men 20-40 who live in town.
Do you have a service?
If you’re offering a service, you need to position yourself as an expert by producing lots of free, informative content.
For instance, if you’re an attorney, publish a weekly blog with legal advice and Q&A articles and link to that blog from your Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. When people are in the market for an attorney, they’ll be able to see your expertise and accessibility through the articles you’ve written.
As is the case with places, services need to set up pages on Facebook and purchase Facebook ads. A page on Facebook makes the service personable, while Facebook ads give the service a captive, targeted audience.
Angie’s List is an ideal place for every type of service. Its strength is that it aggregates reviews from verified customers. A presence on Angie’s List shows transparency and honesty on your part, which in turn can boost your reputation.
Not every network will be a fit.
You may be a small business owner wearing the hats of accountant, receptionist and janitor, on top of all of the normal responsibilities owning a business carries. This means you probably don’t have time for Twitter.
Twitter is a great tool if you can devote the required time—you’ll see some real benefits. But it’s also very high-maintenance. Twitter moves fast, so tweets need to be frequent and interaction with followers needs to be quick.
This doesn’t mean that a one-person operation absolutely cannot be on Twitter. If you use Twitter personally and are familiar with the platform, then maybe that means you should start with Twitter! But if you don’t already use Twitter, you may want to start on the other end of the spectrum, with YouTube or a business blog.
As long as the content in your videos or blog posts is relevant, the entries will have staying power, unlike tweets that are deprecated in a matter of minutes. Instead of having to update Twitter every couple of hours, you could make one video or blog post per week, and then just worry about responding to comments.
#3: Focus Your Efforts
Remember that more is not always better, especially if you’re just starting out. Small business owners come up to me all the time and say, “Hey, you seem to know a lot about social media and the Internet, want to take a look at my new website?”
And the site is cluttered with a dozen social network icons no-one has heard of. There’s no way to maintain a presence on all of these networks.
The best approach is to pick something, give it all of your attention and focus, do it well and turn it into a habit.
If your starting point is Facebook, then check your Timeline several times a day. Respond to every question or comment from fans. Post new and interesting content. Be habitually social. Once maintaining your presence on that one platform is second nature, then branch out and add another.
But if you’re on six or seven platforms and you only keep up on one or two, that looks bad and can hurt your online presence in the long run. So if you can’t give a platform its required attention, kill it off.
What do you think? How have you approached social network integration? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.
Article by Alex White
Although many doctors are eager to dive into social media marketing since it is so big right now, it’s essential for them to take precautions. Social media marketing can be very effective if you go into it with a plan. Without a plan, however, you could spend hours on end perusing profiles and posting updates without achieving any results whatsoever. To ensure that the time you spend on social media marketing websites benefits your medical practice, keep the following do’s and don’ts of social media marketing for medical professionals in mind.Do’s:Remember that social media websites offer a space for you to engage in authentic dialogue. If you treat social media solely as a method for pushing your promotional messages, you will end up wasting your time. Create a social media marketing plan that includes goals, objectives, and success measures. Social media marketing is a credible medical marketing strategy and should be treated as such.Social media marketing may be cheaper than some traditional marketing methods, but it’s not free. You have to invest time, money, and most importantly, human capital, if you want your strategy to succeed. You will only get as much out of your campaign as you put into it.Monitor what’s being said about your organization or clinic, and respond whenever necessary. It’s important to monitor what is being said about you so you can patch up any problems that arise before they become major. Include important keywords in your social media profiles so people who are searching for information in your niche will find your social media profiles via major search engines. Take the time to listen to what people are talking about on various social networks prior to contributing to ensure that you’re familiar with unwritten rules and the way things work. Make sure you are fully familiar with the benefits, as well as the limitations, of social media marketing prior to launching your social media-based medical marketing campaign, so you can plan your strategy with them in mind. Do research to ensure that your target audience uses the social networks you are targeting. It will be a waste of time for you to engage in social media marketing if you don’t use the right social networks. For example, you probably won’t have much luck marketing a medical practice on Myspace. However, you may have more luck marketing a medical practice on Facebook because it attracts a wider range of users, including older users. Update frequently. People don’t like social media users who don’t update their profiles regularly. The most successful social media users are the ones who frequently update their profiles. If you don’t have time to use social media all day, automate your social media marketing system somehow. Tell your patients about your social media presence. For example, you can add your Twitter page’s URL to your email signatures and business cards to encourage your patients to connect with you online. Furthermore, when you conduct presentations at conferences, you can advertise your practice’s social media profiles, which will help you network with other medical professionals online.Don’ts:Don’t build a social media marketing campaign for your medical practice without having a solid website first. It’s important to provide a link back to your main website on all of your social media profiles in order to build credibility and visibility. Social media regulars tend to distrust users who do not have their own websites. Don’t try to accumulate thousands upon thousands of friends and followers on social media networks. Quality reigns over quantity in social media. What’s the point of having thousands of followers if only two of them listen to a word you have to say? 30 followers who hang on to your every word are worth more than 30,000 who don’t even pay attention to your updates.Don’t expect to achieve results overnight. It could take weeks or even months for your medical practice to achieve results from a social media marketing campaign. Don’t get too personal in your updates. Unless you are Paris Hilton, most people probably won’t care about what you watched on TV or how much you love your new red shoes. Keep things professional, but don’t be afraid to mix in the occasional personal update either, so your social media friends can get to know you better. Don’t use different avatars on each social network. Your avatar is a large part of your branding, so make sure it is consistent across various social networks. Don’t talk about a random slew of subjects. Make a short list of the topics you want to talk about in social media and stick to it. It’s important to establish a consistent branding image if you want to succeed in social media. Don’t follow someone else’s social media marketing advice to a T. Learn the fundamentals, but then determine what works best for your medical practice through trial and error.
About the Author
AlexWhite is a medical marketing expert who works full time with health care providers to increase their visibility on the web space to get people connected with the Medical Professionals.
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Facebook Deepens WordPress Integration With New Plugin (AllFacebook)
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