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.

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?

 

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.

 

Appearance

Al Sommers, founder and CEO of Al Sommers Public Relations/Marketing firm, shared with me the brilliance that is Chris Brogan’s blog. Chris Brogan has selected a few important aspects to consider when thinking about social media etiquette. One that I found most important is: Appearance. His post reveals these important reminders:

  • Your avatar picture shouldn’t be a logo. We don’t meet logos at parties, do we? You can include a logo, but make it you.
  • Unless you’re a fictional character, more often than not, your avatar should be you. Amazing Simpson-like renditions of you are interesting for about four hours.
  • Your Facebook profile pic can be not you, but it often means that others might not accept your friend request. It feels creepy friending a four year old kid (avatar).
  • Your picture can be you from 10 or 15 years ago, but that first face to face meeting is going to be jarring.
  • It doesn’t take a lot of work to take a decent pic. Why use those “me cut out from posing with someone while I have red eyes” photos?

He is exactly right. But let’s take this a step even further.

Let’s view this from a company/organization viewpoint. Everything from the font you select, the colors and images used, and even the layout say something about your company. Think about what branding message you are trying to convey to your audience, and what that message looks like.

Also, think about while you are on twitter and a picture of an egg asks you to follows you. What do we do next? Yep, we all do it…SPAM! Be personal. Be real. Be genuine. I think a company logo totally suffices for a company Twitter/Facebook page.

When it comes to appearance, just keep it simple. Brand it. And just be real.

knowledge=power

It’s true. Knowledge is power.

Cheesy? Maybe. But also true.

How can we properly use social media if we do not first understand it? How can we know social media etiquette if we do not even understand the language, culture, or actions of each of the different social media platforms. We can’t.

Here is a cool infographic about social media sites to catch you up to speed:

The Small Business Social Media Cheat Sheet
Flowtown – Social Media Marketing Application

I am not all that knowledgable on how to use Google+, tumblr, or digg. Looking at the different audience sizes, based on the circles, I didn’t feel like such an ignorant social media user. However, even the smallest audience size is 17 million!

Also, I really like how the infographic describes each service, and even defines some of the terms associated with and used on each platform.

Twitter, Facebook, Blogs…OH MY!

In a social media revolution, having a presence on every possible social media outlet is a MUST, right?

Well first it is important to remember a few things:

1. Your budget.
Don’t waste your time or your money trying to establish publics on all forums. You need to identify your audience, and identify their participation level on the internet (read Groundswell)

2. Your target audience vs your actual audience.
In a perfect world, your targeted audience will love your product and buy it every day for the rest of their lives. In reality, sometimes your target is not your actual audience. Do research. Hold focus groups (use social websites as forums for discussion about your company’s image or products). Who is really interested in your product? Why? For those who aren’t, well why the hell aren’t they?

3. Your product, service, good.
What you are selling can either make or break you. If you have a good product, selling it will be easy. And to be quite honest, word of mouth of a good product will sell better than any advertising campaign. This resonates true with even college aged kids.

These 3 simple points of emphasis interchangeably work to help a company create a marketing plan, an advertising plan, and YES, a social media marketing plan. It all boils down to RESEARCH.

This isn’t Kansas anymore. Things aren’t the way they used to be. The web is constantly changing, and so are its users. So do your homework first before you waste your time, $, great marketing strategies, fancy interactive web pages, and blog work.