Optimizing your Social Media Presence Workshop

My colleagues (Jane Marie Agnew, Danny De Los Santos, and Rachel Stubblefield) and I have created an educational workshop which is geared towards teaching everyday people, nonprofits, and companies how to use social media.

We want to teach people how to target their audience, creating attainable marketing plans, explain which measurement tools to use and how, and explain the best practices of social media (specifically involving Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs).

For information on where and when the workshop is scheduled, please see the workshopflyer. We would love to have everyone come and share in this learning experience with us. If you find yourself not available to be physically present, look for us to create a Google+ hangout (it is still in the works so don’t quote me just yet).

See you there!

Google+: NOT just another social networking site

Last week, in my #comm3309 Social Media for PR course at @stedwardsu, Google+ guru Thomas Heatherly gave my colleagues and I a crash course in how to use Google+.

“How many of you have a Google+ account?”

[12 hands raised]

“How many of you actively use it?”

[12 hand down]

He stated how that seemed to be the norm every time he asked that question. He made it very clear that Google+ is not trying to compete with Facebook or Twitter because its audience is geared toward a different audience.

And its true. I go on Facebook when I am bored or want to see what other people are doing throughout the day. Basically I go to barely engage in conversation, which Thomas referred to as a shallow conversation. Twitter is a different beast entirely, but isn’t necessarily utilized as a tool for dialogue creation. Google+ is designed for interaction. It was crafted to create a “unifying experience” for users.

How is this accomplished? By the creation of what Google calls a Hangout. Hangouts are basically life video chats that can used by up to 10 web cams at a time. The number of people cannot be exact, however, because of multiple screen users. So, you and your business colleagues can have business meetings, share documents on google docs, collaborate together to finish them, and even update your google calendars together. Pretty amazing right? AND, no computers needed. All you need is a smart phone and some damn good wifi and you are set to join a hangout.

It doesn’t stop there. The hangouts on air option allows for you to index and archive your videos on your company’s personal youtube channel. So, the conversation can be ongoing, and even revisited in the future.

Plus, you can create circles, similar to the close friends or acquaintance feature on Facebook. Circles are categorized and created BY YOU, allowing you and your company to be the master of who you connect with. Also, you can create and disseminate information specifically to certain circles of your network. Why would you want to do that? Well, let’s say you are working on a flyer for your company’s upcoming event. You upload it to google docs and share it with your circle titled: marketing. That way it goes directly to your marketing team before any others.

With Google+, company websites won’t necessarily be needed. However, it adds to a wider scope and can increase your search engine optimization. It is also important to personalize your company’s google+ page to give yourself an identity. You can even track your popularity with the +1 feature.

I understood google+ as a place to gather resources. By this I mean it is a social networking site geared towards connecting professionals with other professionals. I would definitely say it values higher education and strives to fuel deeper and better educated conversations.

My #comm3309 group plans to use the google+ hangout feature instead of meeting in person for creating our workshop. It would be even cooler if we could conduct our workshop as a hangout and invite other PR professional from around the world to engage in the discussion.

Pinterest as new visual bookmarking tool

In my #COMM3309 Social Media for PR course I learned about Delicious and Diigo. These sites are called social bookmarking sites. My classmates and I were required to utilize one of these sites to create a Personal Learning Network. Instead, however, we found we really liked using Pinterest!

Why? Because of the visual nature that Pinterest functions on. It also makes categorizing information simpler, as you can pin to any given name of a board you create. Plus, all you have to do is click follow to be instantly connect with other social media enthusiasts.

So now why is this an important concept for marketers to understand? Well, in an article written by socialmediatoday, it is important for companies to see how their consumers are categorizing their products. For instance, I may post a picture of a Coca Cola bottle on my board titled: yum. The Coca Cola company should be weary of how the public views their product and how they are sharing their thoughts/opinions.

Also, socialmediatoday discusses the overwhelming production of infographics on Pinterest. This is primarily due to the visual structuring of Pinterest, but also because of the growing popularity of producing inforgraphics to present data in a visually entertaining fashion. The article compares the inforgraphic sharing to that of sharing and trading baseball cards.

In fact, I especially like using Pinterest for my PLN because of the infographics. I LOVE how infogrpahics can take a plethora of information and present it in a shortened fashion, making it easier for me to process and even share with others. Pinterest has also connected me with other social media enthusiasts, and even provided me access to other social media bloggers.

Will Pinterest replace Diigo and Delicious as the next big social bookmarking site? It’s too early to tell. But one thing is certain, these platforms will have to adopt a more visually driven design to keep up with the competition.

Give your blog SWAG.

Visit my Storify page–> http://storify.com/brittany22ward/give-your-blog-some-swag

The story was composed as part of my @stedwardsu #COMM3309 Social Media for PR course. It was meant as a learning experience for how to successful curate.

But what is curation exactly?

Curation is simply an aggregation of information from multiple sources that is arranged in a specific manner to convey an identifiable theme or perspective. The example that helped me understand the process the most was produced by my professor, Corinne Weisgerber. She explained social media curation as comparable to the work a museum curator performs. It is the curator’s job to gather all materials and art for a specific exhibit. Then, specific aesthetic choices are made in order to give the exhibit a specific feel/theme. These include fonts chosen to identify art pieces, colors chosen, placement of artifacts and other art pieces, and even the language used to describe the exhibit.

I found the assignment to be challenging at first. However, the more and more I researched how to create a successful blog, the more and more information I found. I utilized blogs, tweets, and images to convey the meaning of the word SWAG, and how it is accomplished. If you are interested in how to curate, check out Social Media Curator. Then choose which platform you feel meets your projects needs. These include Storify (which I used), Storyful, and Scoop It. Each of these sites provides a free service, but choose carefully which design works best for you.

But don’t let me spoil my curation story for you…check it out for yourself and leave a comment!

http://storify.com/brittany22ward/give-your-blog-some-swag

 

presence=power

It’s true not all social platforms work for every audience. Yet still, I find it hard to believe one shouldn’t at least have a presence on each one. You never know who is listening in…

Thus, your presence results in your power over your competition. It can enhance SEO, provide new and different experiences to your audiences, and keep your company in the “know” of technology.

Plus you can use your other platforms to promote your websites or other profiles. Take the PR Daily News Feed article regarding Lowe’s. The company was able to boost its Pinterest followers by 30% through promotions on Facebook.

As I have argued in the past, it is not a good idea to link/synch up websites to have the same information. It is important they possess the same look and feel. But, again, each social media platform is and should be used differently. However, use your other platforms to get your audience aware of what’s going on in your business. Let them know you have branched out and created a Pinterest, or Instagram account. This can expand company or brand loyalty, as well as drive larger audiences.

Not sure which social platforms to use? Or is your company on a budget? No worries. Check out some of these (mostly) free social media tools for brands. I am obviously a fan of WordPress already. But, I have recently tried to compile all of my social media into HootSuite.com. Check out TweetDeck.com and SproutSocial.com too, in order to decide which dashboard you prefer. These websites allow you to manage your presence on all of your social platforms in one place. (Definitely comes in handy if you are crunched for time, or are looking to share a similar message across all platforms).

So what’s the main lesson of today? Your social media presence=POWER! Get out and get exploring. Who knows what platform can help build your company.

DO YOU.

Be yourself because being someone you aren’t is overrated.

Branding is not just important for companies and businesses. It is important to BRAND yourself. Whether that is through WordPress, Facebook, business cards, or a one of kind resume, stand out from the crowd and DO YOU. You are unique, and believe it or not, you can tell your story aesthetically to a potential client or supervisor. For example, different colors, graphics, and images convey different messages. Take this example:

text perception

The first font definitely exemplifies classy more than the second font.

 

Thus the existential question arises again: Who am I?

 

Before going out into the social media world, think about this question. Think about who you want to be portrayed as. Think about the person you want people to perceive you as. After, get some ideas down on paper about what makes you unique. There is definitely something special about you, even if it is owning 10 cats. Just think about it. Then, check out some different logo options and fonts that you think portray you as an individual. Finally, start promoting yourself via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress. Use it all.
For more information on how to brand yourself visit Brandkit or contact @Brandkitco.

 
I started today by creating my own banner graphic for this website! Later I hope to create an online portfolio to add to my resume. Does anyone have any suggestions on what program or site to use? I prefer to use wordpress (it is free), but what else is out there?

 

SEO Do’s and Don’t

First off, what is SEO and why is everyone concerned with it? Well SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. It simply refers to your order of listing on search engine websites, i.e. google or yahoo. Obviously, we all want to be #1. But that is not always attainable. Here are some quick and easy ways to increase your SEO.

1. Tags and Keywords

When using wordpress, it is easy to tag your blog posts. Simply scroll down on your Add New Post page to the tag box and go to work. Be as specific as possible. As Soci@l Jumpstart states so eloquently, a search for dogs will yield you over 1 million hits. Be more specific. Are you working with puppies? If so, what kind? (get the point?)

Also, use the same words throughout blog post to create keywords. Hell, it’d be GREAT if your url had one of these keywords in it as well…but if not, repetitive use of key concepts and words will suffice.

Soci@l Jumpstart lists these examples:

PuppyTrainingMyTown(dot)com as your URL, 5 Great Puppy Training Tips as a headline / title, Enjoying your new puppy in My Town as a header and several references / repeats of the keywords in the copy. Add a photo to your post and be sure to give it <alt> text data and rename the photo file (the standard “DSC001234.jpeg” is worthless – try “puppy park in My Town”)

specific information=greater SEO

2. ALT your photos

I never thought this was beneficial. I always wondered why it would even matter if I used alternate text for my pictures. Soci@l Jumpstart says it does. It may not seem important to us, but to Google it is.

3. Blog. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

Blog and blog some more. It is probably one of the most simple ways to get your name out there. Create clear, informative, and interesting content and people will come.

 

Facebook Timeline

“I hate, hate, hate, hate, HATE Facebook Timeline”. Yea, I can remember saying that. Just like everyone else, it pisses me off when Facebook decides to launch new versions in short periods of time. Just as I get used to one, they switch the game up on me and create a new and “improved” Facebook.

Timeline made me eat my words. It is truly a remarkable social platform. It actually allows its users to document their entire lives by posting pictures, comments, and tagging all those involved.

It’s greatness is not limited to social communication. Businesses can find great use with it, too. A company can now tell its story in an interactive environment. Customers and fans can see what has happened via photo or video, like the event, or offer suggestions by commenting on the event.

PR Daily News Feed added an interesting article discussing how Timeline will eventually revolutionize brand pages. (In my personal opinion, brand pages will never be the same. They will be better.)

Like anything else posted to the internet, aesthetics are important. The timeline should use color and pictures appropriately tailored to your business. Also, never forget the importance of communication. Facebook is not like advertising: one-way message. It is interactive. If you create a brand page to boost your image, don’t tarnish it by ignoring your audience. Involve them! I can promise you one thing, a positive experience (documented on Timeline of course) will lead to a thousand more positive remarks…all because of word of mouth. Don’t under-estimate its power. Do your social networking right and gain loyal fans for a lifetime.

 

“are you getting paid to tweet about this concert” –@kevinbrolan

Sadly, no. I was not getting paid to tweet about the #clubparadise concert @erwincenter with @drake. My Social Media class was assigned a live-tweeting assignment and it was required for me to encourage others to get involved with the commentary, and be a part of the #yoloatx experience.

I knew I was tweeting some. Ok I knew I was tweeting a lot. FINE, I knew I was tweeting too dang much! But there was so much information out there (regarding who was opening) that I felt it necessary to fill in the public. How could I have disused each opening act without tweeting each individual one?

Simple: Use twitter handles of performers and put them in chronological order of performances. Perhaps if I had planned better, I would not have blown up the twitter world with my Drake commentary…and saved my friends the hassle of scrolling through my 20th post.

In other words, I learned tonight that you need to establish what you are primarily going to be tweeting about. Maybe a popular catch phrase? Maybe certain songs? Maybe something cool and unusual? Who knows. But tonight I learned you must draw the line somewhere.

ALSO, @drake gave me a shout out! Again, I’ve posted it about 19327483 times all over my social media platforms. It was the greatest moment of the night.

And for all that, I’m sorry twitter followers. Thanks for your patience.