A Handy Shortcut: The Best Image Sizes for Four Social Media Profiles

I get very frustrated every time I need to update a social media profile image — either for myself or for a client. It seems like a big Holmesean project to find how big or small every image should be.

I always think, “Why aren’t these easily accessible? Why isn’t there a quick link on each social media site?” Why indeed.

So, thanks to a few helpful sites (merci Constant Contact and Fb pages: Sizes & Dimensions — very helpful, both of you) I have compiled a list of the specifications you will need to get the best looking profile images for each of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn Pages. Continue reading “A Handy Shortcut: The Best Image Sizes for Four Social Media Profiles”

What’s Exciting in Marketing? Video, Video, Video

If you’ve already embraced video, then this post will seem oh-so-passe. But for the majority of us, video is still a new, exciting, scary proposition.

Benefits of Using Video

Why should you put yourself out there? Why budget the time and — maybe — money to make the type of video you’d be proud to put on your blog, YouTube channel, emails? There are lots of reasons! Here are just a few:

  1. They See You: Prospective clients and cheerleaders get to see you move and talk and smile and be a human. It’s a quick way to establish rapport with someone. In this case, someone who’s not even in the room and — possibly — not even in the country.
  2. They Get a Good Sense of Your Business and Offerings: Prospects will get a feeling right away whether they want to work with you or not. This filtering system is great. We all want to work with our best-suited clients and why wouldn’t we want prospects to work with an entrepreneur best suited to their needs?
  3. It’s an Engaging Format for Those Living in 2013: It’s true. 99% of us suffer from television-itis. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Video is a medium almost every attention span can get behind.

Proud Mama — Some Client Examples

Some of my clients have really started using video in their marketing over the last year or so. I have had a hand in writing and producing a few. For others, I’ve just been the proud supporter, cheering from the sidelines.

ActiveCo Testimonials

ActiveCo is working to build a cadre of videos for their website and presentations. First up was an employee testimonial video to attract talent to their ranks.
 

 
 
The Blending Bar Instructional Videos

Amy Reedman at The Blending Bar has developed a series of videos for her clients covering topics such as “Awakening the Spine, Awakening the Energy Body,” “Surrender and Release Pain,” and “Simple Ways to Bring Aromatherapy into your Daily Life.”

Amy has actually compiled all her videos on one page for easy access and review.

 

Focused Networking Advertisement-Style Video

Donna actually has a “walk on” video on her home page too, but the video I’m linking to below was produced to highlight her experience and tell the story of what she does for clients. Click on the photo below to see her video.

Company Social Media Is Best if It’s Not All Business

Want to capture the spirit of social media for your company? Stop talking about your business.

I know it seems counter-intuitive to tell a business owner to stop promoting themselves and their products, but just hear me out.

Social media is — well — social. It’s about conversations and relationships. We’ve all heard this a million times and I know I’m preaching to the choir, but in practice this can be very difficult. We want to promote our products, we want to show how great our stuff is and why everyone should pull out their credit cards for it. In short? We want others to see how fantastic our stuff is and, in turn, make our business a successful one.

With this in mind, it seems unreal that we would take the precious time we have with our prospects and clients to talk about anything BUT our stuff. In reality, however, those people are attracted to our social media pages because of the personality behind the posts and the good information or amusing anecdotes provided.

Okay, so now what? Be yourself. Talk about what you and the staff are doing. Do you support a community group? Talk about it. Do you support Kiva? Talk about it. Do you go on buying trips or hole up for R&D sessions? Talk about them!

I recently posted this photo on my personal Facebook account thanks to a “like” by one of my friends (my personal account is connected to many of my client’s accounts so I use it to stay up to date with them.) I got lots of likes and even a few comments. It’s quirky, people are attracted to it, and it gives them a bit of insight into me and my personality. It had nothing to do with my business, but it served to nurture the connections that are so important to the success of my business.

I would encourage everyone to loosen up a bit with the posts. Don’t post anything inappropriate or counter-brand, of course, but let your connections in on what makes you you and what makes your business tick. Once you have their attention, pepper in some product information and you’ll have a happy, informed audience. Good luck!

Avoiding Vanity Statistics: How to Really Know if Social Media is Working

I have several clients who spent their spare time (haha — like any of us have that!) combing over their social media stats. Their business confidence lives and dies on how many people they’ve attracted to their Facebook page, how many “likes” they have, and how many new Twitter followers they’ve accumulated that week.

The problem? These numbers don’t really matter. They’re just “vanity statistics.”

Vanity statistics are the numbers that make us feel the love. If 300 Twitter followers are good, 3000 must be better, right? Not necessarily. Yes, the more followers you have, the more people you can theoretically dash messages off to — sales offers, information, branding messages, etc. However, like all marketing, if you’re sending messages out to people who don’t really care, that message isn’t going to be very effective.

There are some statistics that are crucial to measuring your social media effectiveness. If you must hang your hat on stats — and who doesn’t love stats? — these are the ones (and, yes, they can be just as loving as the vanity stats.)

Google Analytics — Referrals

Okay, take a look in your Google Analytics for me. I know they just changed the interface and that it can be a bit scary in there, but never fear. This will be quick and painless. On the left, click into “Traffic Sources” and then into “Sources.” From that list, choose “Referrals.”

This is where the big money is.

Okay, let’s look at the centre table for the Facebook referrals — these are all the people that came to your website from Facebook. Look for both facebook.com and m.facebook.com (their mobile site.) Remember, that the default in Google Analytics is to show stats for the previous month (look at the top, right-hand corner of the page to see what date range your stats are for — change this range if you’s like.)

Are you happy with these Facebook numbers? They probably feel less loving than the vanity stats, don’t they? But these are the people who are actually interested in you and your product or service. This is the statistic worth striving to increase.

Just as an aside, Twitter shows its referrals as both twitter.com and t.co in Analytics. As far as I’ve seen, LinkedIn shows as linkedin.com.

Why Are Referrals Important?

Well, unless you are selling product directly off your Facebook page or Twitter account, your website is where the sales take place. Whether your potential client is gathering information about you and your business or entering in a credit card and choosing their shipping option, your website is where the money changes hands. You should almost always be driving traffic to your website.

How Do I Drive Traffic to My Website?

Make your website exciting to visit through blog posts, contests, value added products, and other dynamic content. Then? Talk about these exciting things on social media. Encourage people to visit your content. Use snappy wordsmithing and tease about what they’ll find if they click through. Make sure that once they’re at your site, you have something for them to do — sign up for a newsletter or give up their email to download a white paper or coupon. Make it fun! Even industries that are traditionally thought of as less fun can kick it up a little. Be creative.

Just How Fast Can Google Index? Very Fast

I just happened to be on Facebook when word struck at about 5:10pm (PST) that Whitney Houston had passed away. I immediately Googled news for Whitney Houston, trying to figure out whether or not this was a hoax. After all, many still-living celebrities have had their time in the online obit column (Jon Bon Jovi being the most recent.)

Google was showing that the Associated Press had posted about it. The only other news was from Perez Hilton, who had posted a photo of her leaving a club the night before. No other mention of her passing appeared.

Two minutes later, another blog post was indexed. The ABC post was next. I was amazed to be witnessing how quickly Google was indexing such an “of the moment” event. Within 15 minutes, most of the major media outlet posts were listed.

When my friend arrived at 5:30pm to pick me up for dinner, the internet was a buzz and confirmation and a few details of her death had been received from her publicist.

The moral of the story? Google indexing just books it, trucking along at lightening speed. If people are searching for it, Google’s going to make sure it’s available.

What does this mean for business? Make sure your blog articles are topical, of the moment, and using keywords for which people are actually searching.

A Great Social Media Trick? Listening

One of the greatest uses of social media and online life is the ability to listen. Yes, no kidding — listen.

I know, I know…there’s a lot of monologues going on out there. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are lots of opportunities to:

  • Stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your industry
  • Hear about what clients and competitors are doing
  • Find out what’s being said about you and your company (the good, bad, and ugly)
  • Keep your ear to the ground for the next “it” thing
  • Get news first (online news of Steve Jobs’ passing beat traditional media by over an hour on the West Coast, by even longer for media in other time zones who had to wait for the 11 o’clock or morning broadcasts)
  • Receive first-hand information about news items (e.g. the Arab Spring, Japanese Earthquake, and much more)

There are many ways to get listening. Here are five:

  1. Follow the Key Players: Choose 20-30 people who are “in the know” and follow their Twitter stream.
  2. Twitter Lists: I like to check out other people’s well curated lists rather than painstakingly build my own. How does one find these? Well, you can look for lists on accounts of those you think may have built one or you can go to Listorius.com and search for them using keywords. What’s a Twitter List??
  3. HootSuite Filters: Hootsuite lets you build continuous searches for keywords. That means that it’s always looking in your choice of program (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, of course, but also mixi and PingFM) for those words and streaming the results in real time. Pretty clever, huh? Keywords can be a company name, an industry, or anything else you’d like.
  4. Google Alerts: These are brilliant. Google scans its index for new mentions of your keywords each day and sends you an email. That’s it. Brilliant. More on Alerts.
  5. RSS Feeds: Build a stream of blog posts so you don’t have to visit individual sites everyday. You just log into your reader (Google offers one, Outlook 2007/2010 have one built in, the Firefox browser has one), scan through to find interesting headlines and read the blog articles that entice you. More on RSS

Do you find this overwhelming?

Don’t worry. Start with Google Alerts — they’re easy to set up, they arrive in your email at whatever interval you choose, and they link to information that you can either read right away, save for later, or ignore. This article gives step-by-step instructions.

Use Social Media without Saying a Word

It’s true. You can use social media for listening and never send out a Tweet, a Facebook update, or even fill in your LinkedIn profile. That’s the beauty — you get to choose how deep you go. However, if you do engage in the talking bit too, think how much more interesting your interactions will be if you listen and engage in conversations rather than just send information into the cyber-world. This is, after all, they type of behaviour that build relationships, trust, and networks.

 

Build Your Social Media Following

One of the great — and most frustrating — characteristics of social media is that it’s entirely permission based. We only have to follow those from whom we want to receive information, messages, and offers. Like wise (and this is the frustrating part), everyone else has the same option.

How, then, can you build your list of followers if they can choose whether or not they want to be there (sheesh!)?

Ready for it? Be the Twitter account, Facebook friend, (insert social media site here) user they want to hear from.

Yep. It’s entirely possible and here’s how to do it:

  1. Give ‘Em Quality: It’s true that nobody wants to follow people who post, “Had lunch. Yum,” but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to hear about your day. Try, “Had best caesar salad ever @UrbanGate with @AmyWilliamsFoto. Planning new WordPress site for her sports portfolio. Launches June 15.” Wow! That’s better. Followers are also interested in resources such as good articles, tips to make life and business easier, and the heads up on interesting events. The best information is often re-distributed to their networks, which shows their readers that you may be worth following.
  2. Be Consistent: I feel like a broken record on this one, but it’s true. You don’t have to post ten times per day; just be regular with your posts. If you’re a once per week updater, great. Once a day? Fine. Just stay on schedule. People like to attach themselves to other active people and will self-select those whose posting rhythm best suits their schedule.
  3. Engage: Remember that social media is networking over the computer. Would you stand in front of someone you’re networking with and tell them snippets of information without asking a question or allowing them to slip in a sentence or two? I hope not. Social media is the same. Those (non-celebrities) with the most followers are those who engage with their followers. Ask a question. Share some of the best answers.

One last thing and it seems silly to even need to say this, but be sure to tell people where you are on the social media sites. Make sure your “handles” are in conspicuous places such as your email signature, on your website (home and contact pages at least), and even in handouts, ads, and business cards. I was thinking of not adding this section into this blog post when I received a re-Tweet on Twitter asking people to please add their phone numbers into their email signatures. So, here it is!

Social Media: Coping with a Literal a Stream of Information

I’ve been giving quite a few talks on social media these days and have several blog posts in mind right now, all steaming from interactions with the participants.

Many people wonder how to keep up with all the information social media offers. During the seminar I said that we need to simply be okay with never being able to read and process all the tidbits flying our way. It’s difficult to look back at their expectant faces and see the disappointment. I didn’t have a magic bullet. I point to the Twitter stream and let them know that I can get 10-15 new tweets every few minutes.

On my way home from today’s session, it came to me. There has ALWAYS been a huge amount of information to process. The only difference is that news editors filtered it all for us and offered up what they thought was relevant in a neat package of the 6 o’clock news. Remember when CNN started and we all wondered how they were going to fill 24 hours? Well, they did.

The advent of social media was the same. We all wondered what we’d talk about and who would care? Well, clearly there is no shortage of conversation or things to mention. We all talk about everything — the restaurant we’ve tried, the new supplier we love, the article we just read.

On the receiving side, this looks like a literal stream of information. It is. A stream that we are responsible for filtering ourselves. The news editors aren’t there on social media sites. We need to do it all on our own.

Here are some tips on how to keep the noise to a dull roar:

  1. Choose a specific amount of time to dedicate to social media per day. I like to spend about 15 minutes after I deal with my emails in the morning and then again in the afternoon. Others like larger blocks of time. Still others are really smooth at fitting it in their day over their mobile devices (e.g. BlackBerry).
  2. Choose who you follow carefully. If you follow quality connections who will offer you the information you are most interested in, it will cut down tremendously on the “extras”.
  3. Use a filter program. HootSuite offers an easy way to filter through all the major platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) for keywords in the posts. Yes, this is still a stream of information but it’s specific to what you’re looking for.
  4. Use the “Favorites” star on Twitter to mark what you want to read later. See a post you want to find later? Just click on the star (it’s down there by retweet and reply). That post will be put into a Favorites list so you can read it at your leisure later on. This is especially good when posts have links to articles you want to read.

What is a “Tweet Up”?

As more of my colleagues and clients dip their toes in the world of social media, I get quite a few random questions posed to me throughout my day. One that has come up a lot lately is “What is a Tweet Up?”

I’ve seen them take several forms, but an authentic Tweet Up is where someone posts on Twitter that they’re going to be at a particular location at a particular time. They are, in essence, inviting all their followers and anyone else who receives the message (remember, Twitter is very public) to meet them for a drink. In the purest sense of the term, Tweet Ups are not planned in advance — they’re pretty spontaneous. That’s the fun of them.

In the last few months, however, I’ve noticed that the term Tweet Up is evolving to mean any meeting or get together — even ones planned several days or weeks in advance. Every system needs to mold to the users needs to stay relevant, as does it seems the Tweet Up. Business people are using it to plan networking events. Mommy groups are giving a few days notice to allow for family scheduling.

So, next time you have a hankering for a coffee break or even want to try a new restaurant for lunch, try tweeting out that you’re looking for some company. You just may get more than you ever bargained for!