I have found that it is easier to get recommendations from people on Linkedin if you email them personally and ask. Everybody knows what the canned Linkedin email looks like and they know that you can easily ask all of your Linkedin contacts at once. Linkedin Recommendations are like Yelp Reviews for your resume. Don’t take this script as it is, take it and personalize it to the person you are asking for a recommendation. You should also return the favor.
You can dress this up or down depending on the kind of relationship you have with the person.
Hey Name, I am working on getting a few of the people I have recently worked closely with on projects to write recommendations about me on my Linkedin profile. Your voice and opinion matters to me. I would love to have your thoughts on our work together on my profile for others to see.
You can view my Linkedin profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeradhill
Google Developer Tools recently released a Youtube Subscribe widget that you can place on your website to make it easy for people to subscribe to your Youtube channel. This is great for people like me who prefer to have their content viewed on their website rather than external sites like Youtube. This widget performs one function: It allows people to click to subscribe to your Youtube Channel with out having to leave your website to visit Youtube.com. Prior to this widget, it was a pain to route people to subscribing to your channel. Google Dev Tools has provided a subscription button for regular channels and paid Youtube channels.
It’s simple enough to explain but I thought I would put together a short Youtube video explaining how to install the Youtube Subscribe Button on a WordPress website.
If you liked this video, consider testing out the button on my sidebar by subscribing to my channel.
The job of Community Manager didn’t exist a few years ago. Businesses and organizations these days understand that it is important to keep their finger on the pulse of the conversations taking place online. Busy community managers such as those who run social media for an event have an even bigger task at hand. These people find themselves on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google+ checking for conversations that are happening, usually from their smart phone. On the day of an event or major announcement it is important for Community Managers to be able to see and react to conversations taking place online. Community Managers also share content through out the day to help people connect with their brand, product or event. It is a busy job which requires the right tools.
Most companies these days use a variation of Google and Apple products. I often see Macbook Airs and iPhones connecting to Google Apps for collaboration. Apple has the cool devices that have long battery life, although Google does now as well. Google has the online collaboration tools such as Google Docs and Apple is trying to get there as well. For me, it comes down to what works now and what works fast. If it takes to many steps, I won’t have time to do it. That is where the idea for this post came from.
A friend of mine is a community manager for a busy multi-location conference. She is all over the place and her Macbook Air and iPhone hold it altogether. It helps that she is amazing at her job. As a busy person who is responding to tweets, posting photos to Instagram, writing blogs on the sessions and keeping after the event photographer (this guy), she is busy. Anything that could shave off a second or two off of her workflow is helpful. When she comes across content or is sent content, it needs to be easy to share. Android has done a better job of allowing you to manage and move your content then iPhone has. This is one of the main reasons I am using an Android phone as my primary mobile device right now.
Android has robust Sharing. It’s almost silly how easy it is to share content between apps in Android. For example, if you have a bunch of images in Google Drive, it is easy to share those images to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other app that you might want to send the image to. Since there is no easy way to post one photo to multiple social networks including Instagram, this is the next best thing. If a new article was posted and needs to be shared, Android will allow you to share it right into each app easily including Pinterest and other social networks that are not integrated with something like Hootsuite.
Here is an example: You have a group of photos in Google Drive (or Dropbox) and you want to post them to Instagram. The process for doing this on an iPhone is to save each photo to your Photo Library, then open Instagram and open the photo in Instagram so you can crop and post it. This is quite a process for posting several photos, or even one if you are in a hurry. What if the photo just came through an email, or was in a blog post? How would you go about sharing it to Instagram? It would involve many steps. In Android, it only involves a few. In the image below, I outline how to take a photo from Google Drive to Instagram in only a couple of taps.
In the image above from left to right I am viewing an image in Google Drive, I choose the send option to send it to another app, select Instagram from the list of many options and then it opens in Instagram ready to crop. Very quick, and with a couple of taps of the back button I am back in Google Drive ready to post another photo.
To post an article from a website to Pinterest you would have to copy the link from your web browser, open up Pinterest, tap to create a new pin, choose to provide a link, paste in that link, choose the image from the website you want to pin, add a description to their pin and then post the pin. To do this from Android all you have to do from the website is tap share, choose Pinterest, choose the image to pin, change the description if you want (it already provides a description from the site) then tap pin. Check out the image below.
I think you are getting the idea now. It is super easy to share content around in Android. When I come across articles that I want to read but don’t have the time, I save them to Pocket or Evernote easily by using the Android Share feature. When I want to send a post or share an article in Buffer App or Hootsuite, I send it through the Android Share feature to the app I want to send it to. It is actually just as fast if not faster than doing it on a computer. In my downtime, I can find articles to share, send them to Buffer App and fill up my cue of posts.
Though Android may not have the variety of apps that iOS has, it is catching up fast and all of the important apps are already there on Android and work just as good. My hope is that Apple will add this flexibility to iOS but even if they do it will probably require apps to allow it. Android already works this way.
If you are a Community Manager and want a better way to push content through your mobile device, I suggest you give Android a try. I use it because it saves me time and the workflow is much more robust.
Let me know your thoughts. Are you a Social Media Manager or Community Manager who manages their accounts through a mobile device? I would love to hear your thoughts and tips on how you quickly and effectively manage social media communities on your phone and/or tablet.
The way we make decisions and get advice has changed drastically over the last ten years. These days we are more likely to go online and read reviews then we are to ask a friend or co-worker about a product or service. As we become more connected to the internet, more of our decision making has became internet based.
Since the rise of social media, our circle of influencers has changed. Social media allows us to connect with people who’s opinions we trust and vice-versa, even if we do not have an in-person connection with them. This has not only changed us, it has changed the way businesses need to reach people as well.
Deciding how to handle Social Media in your business is challenging because there is no single undisputed correct way to do it. I have been an early adopter of all social media platforms since I dialed into my first BBS (Bulletin Board System) to read posts about my Apple IIgs in the mid 80’s. Even though every social network has it’s distinguishing differences, the opinions of our friends and those whom we follow are typically the main focus. On Twitter, you can retweet something, on Facebook you can Like pretty much anything and on Google+ you can +1 to show you like something. All of these retweets, likes and +1’s are seen by our friends.
A couple of months ago, I clicked the Like button on a high school friend’s new startup business called KitchenBox. The other night, I get a Facebook email from another friend who asks if I had ever used KitchenBox because he is considering a kitchen remodel for his home. When I posted a photo of my new Fitbit Flex activity tracker wrist band, I received multiple comments back asking me what I thought about it from friends I rarely see in person and a few from people I have never met in person. A couple of times each week, I am asked by someone what I think about a product or service I expressed interest in one way or another on one of my social media profiles. Because I personally have done this, I am certain that there are people who simply observe and make decisions with out taking the time to ask about the product or service first.
The internet put perception on steroids. We used to look at our neighbors and think to ourselves, “they look happy, I need one of those too.” Now we watch our Facebook friends posts and likes and come to similar conclusions multiple times per day.
As a business, this means that you should be connected to these social networks in a way that will allow people to like, share and connect with your business, products and services. Businesses can be more personable online and your business should take the opportunity to do that. Create a Facebook page and post something that your type of customer might find interesting. Use social media to keep your customers or potential customers informed about issues related to your industry. Share photos that your customers post of them using your products. There are so many ways to create “likable” content for people to see on social media with out it taking much of your time.
If a Facebook Like turns into a new client, how much ROI is that over what you would have had to spend on traditional marketing? Not everything you post will turn into new business, but it can lead to new business. It’s all about scattering seeds, which could sprout anywhere. This is the Word of Like. It is not the typical conversation that we used to have but it accomplishes the same thing and it’s much more scalable.
Create content that people can share. Build trust by answering questions publicly on social networks. Showcase what your current customers and clients are doing with your products and services. Constantly look for ways you can be helpful with out being overly self-promoting.
As word-of-mouth continues to change, it is more important than ever to assure the reputation of your business online is as good, if not better than it is online. The majority of consumers are using the internet to find information on products and services. In Feb 2011, Inc. Magazine reported that, “Nearly half of consumers use a combination of search and social media to fuel their purchasing decisions…” Any negative information that a potential consumer could find about your business could lead to a loss of sales. By managing the online reputation of your business, you are avoiding the potential loss of business. To help with this process, here are five tips to help you manage the online reputation of your business.
Monitor Social Media and the Search Engines: Unsatisfied customers go straight to Social Media to voice their complaints these days and it’s usually before they contact your company to try and fix their issue first. Staying on top of conversations concerning your company will allow you to interject and attempt to solve the issue publicly. There have been many examples of companies successfully reaching out to upset customers through social media to fix their problems. Reconciling their issue as publicly as you can will show their friends that your company stands behind their products and services.
Don’t Put All Of Your Eggs In One Social Media Basket: From Search Engines to Social Networks, there are a lot of places people can find information about your business. Have a presence on all of the popular social networks and create positive content about your products and services on your website in the form of articles or a blog. Video content posted to sites like Youtube also give you an opportunity to showcase what you offer.
Do Not Get Into Arguments Online: When you argue with one of your consumers online it becomes public record. Other people can watch as you try to defend yourself rather than defend your customer. Nobody wants to do business with someone who comes across selfish. If the matter can not be dealt with in a positive manor online, end the online conversation with an opportunity to talk to the consumer directly. Make sure that you do handle their situation so that if they decide to return to the conversation online, the have nothing else negative to add.
Promote the Reviews Your Customers Leave: We all understand that self-promotion is not always the best way to go, but when your customers leave positive reviews of your business online, you should do whatever you can to get those reviews to the eyes of more customers. You can embed reviews you have received in your website, quote them on other social networks or even print them out for others to see. When your customers review your business, encourage them to share their reviews on their own social media profiles.
Monitor Related Search Results to your Business: Make sure you are on top of what your customers see when they search for your business, your competitors business and anything else related to your business. Dig down a few pages past the first search result page. Take advantage of a free service from Google called Google Alerts. You can set up specific alerts that can be sent to your email every time your business, website or other keywords are mentioned online.
Being a business owner or manager is much more involved than it used to be. Making sure your numbers are scaling in a positive direction will involve keeping track of what others are saying. The sphere of influence each of us have is much larger than it used to be. Information travels fast and once it’s moving, it is harder to stop. Your online presence should start with your website, not your social media. From your website, your web presence should extend out to social media, forums and other online communities. Being proactive rather than reactive.
The trends are changing. I noticed a huge shift with the engagement tools promoted in this years Superbowl commercials. For the last few years companies have done everything to get us to follow them on Twitter or like their Facebook page. What they have came to realize is that simply having a larger number of fans or followers does not necessarily result in engagement. Those of us who have been doing this social networking thing for a while now know that a small portion of your followers actually engage with you. Though having a large number of followers looks good, it is not a valid measurement of successful engagement in social media.
In this years Superbowl commercials we saw a switch from companies asking us to follow them to using hashtags in conversations. These companies were asking us to start conversations or if we were going to talk about them, to use a certain hashtag. This is a smart move because simply following them does nothing for conversation or engagement. Even though their commercials of the past may have talked us in to following their social media profile, if we talked about their commercial we most likely did nothing that tied it all together. Hashtags do this.
A social media hashtag is a word or phrase tied together in part of a conversation that provides a way of grouping messages together. On Twitter, hashtags are easy to search. They become clickable. When you click on them you see the group of all conversations that used the same hashtags. Hashtags are used on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and countless others. Facebook however, does not use hashtags. Some of the most popular hashtags include: #love, #cute, #happy, and #beautiful but the most useful hashtags were created for a purpose, which is to start and engage conversations. Sometimes this happens as a result of a cultural movement and other times it has to do with products or services. For example, when Charlie Sheen spun out of control, the hashtag #Winning became the most popular hashtag in the world. This was due to a comment he made during an interview where he referred to himself not as bi-polar but bi-winning. The SanFrancisco Giants Baseball Team used the hashtag #BeatLA during it’s games against the LA Dodgers to get fans to start conversations about the game. I remember Tweeting out #BeatLA multiple times throughout the season and at least a dozen times during one of the Giants vs. Dodgers games I attended in the 2012 season. This also gave the SFGiants an easy way to track who was talking about their brand. If the majority of the conversations taking place include the same hashtag, you can track performance much easier.
Reaching Critical Mass
Something becomes popular because a large amount of people have began using it or discussing it all at the same time. It’s a lot harder to reach critical mass when your product, service or topic is very segmented. This is where hashtags make it much easier for critical mass to be reached in social media conversations. People use the hashtag because they want to be part of the conversation. Because hashtags group the conversations together it makes it much more likely that the topic will reach a critical mass then if these conversations were taking place without some sort of unifying element. Sometimes people will work the hashtag into a comment and other times the hashtag will be at the end of a comment to assure it is part of the group.
Here are two examples of hashtag use:
Congrats to the @SFGiants! #Worldseries Champions #2012
Going to see the @SFGiants crush the @LADodgers. #BeatLA
These are just examples of what has worked in the past. I know that most of us SMB (Small-Medium Business) owners will never become a trending topic on Twitter and that is ok. Hashtags are not just for large trending events and conversations. Conversation grouping is just as important for small conversations as it is for large conversations because it allows us to easily measure engagement.
Why Hashtags work
You wouldn’t create new social media profiles for each topic you were trying to turn into a conversation would you? That would be like starting from scratch each time. Most of us have a wide variety of conversations we end up in on our social networks. Our businesses have multiple products and services. How do we track our reach? Hashtags make this possible. As mentioned above, a hashtag works as a unified identifier that we can use to search and measure engagement even if that engagement never goes beyond Twitter. I often use hashtags in conversations I am having just to infuse myself into other conversations. If I am talking about my Photography, I will use the hashtag #Photography or #WeddingPhotography. This will infuse me into a grouping of conversations that have to do with Photography or Wedding Photography and sometimes results in retweets or new followers.
On Instagram, the popular photo sharing smart phone app, hashtags are used to include your photo into a group of other photos. For example, if I took a picture of a nice car I saw and used the hashtag #musclecar, it would group my photo along with other Instragram photos of Muscle Cars. If somebody was browsing the search results for the #musclecar, they would see my photo. I have gained countless new followers by using hashtags.
As you can see, hashtags work in different ways and have multiple uses. They help group conversations together so you can track online engagement and they help with discovery by grouping conversations together. It’s a recent movement that is gaining momentum fast.
In the commercials for the 2013 Superbowl, more than half of the commercials had specific hashtags and encouraged you to use them on Twitter. Very few of the commercials mentioned Facebook, Google+, Instagram or even Youtube. I have also noticed hashtags at the end of movie trailers for upcoming movies yet to be released. There were over 25 hashtags used in Superbowl commercials this year. Some of the hashtags included in this years Superbowl commercials include:
#betterwithmms – M&M’s Love Ballad commercial
#braverywins – Audi’s Prom commercial
#thekiss – Godaddy’s crazy model vs. nerd kiss commercial
The television show Community was going to be cancelled at the end of season 3 due to low ratings however it had a strong following. At the end of the season finale the hashtag #sixseasonsandamovie was shown and shortly after it started trending. Actor Joel McHale posted a thank you tweet in response to the popularity of this hashtag on May 18th, 2012.
At the time I am writing this, people are still using the hashtag when they post about the show or the fact that it will be returning for a fourth season. They started a movement and the networks listened. Community fans will get at least one more season out of NBC.
Tips For Creating A Great Hashtag
Keep it simple! Notice that all of the hashtags used by big media are simple. Make it easy to understand. Have you ever noticed that some words canbegroupedtogether and read easily while others are notaseasy to read when grouped? When you group some words together, it creates other words. You want to avoid this. A hashtag has to be grouped together, once you add a space or a dash, the hashtag breaks. Only letters and numbers can be used in a hashtag and they have to be grouped together.
Hashtags vs. Usernames
On social networking sites you typically create a username or handle for your account. My handle on Twitter is @Jeradhill. When you are having a conversation with someone on Twitter or you want to include them in a post on Instagram, you use their handle. For example, if I was going to include my friend @JamesMHorton in a tweet it would go something like this: “Grabbing lunch with the infamous @JamesMHorton today.” If I am reaching out to a Twitter user for something, I would also include their handle. See this Tweet to @Rdio where I inquire about a feature I asked about almost a year prior.
I wanted to get @Rdio’s attention so I used their handle and then I used a hashtag to get my point across and include my tweet in a stream of other conversations where people used the same hashtag.
Though many do not yet understand what hashtags accomplish, and many are annoyed by their use, they are the internets way of grouping conversations. Just like Twitter became a buzzword that even our grandparents understand, the hashtag will become mainstream as well. As we move through 2013 we will see it used more and more until the other social networks find a better way of measuring the engagement of conversations. The hashtag works because we can see their use in each conversation posted. Hashtags can be a part of any conversation, which is why they are so great.
Start using hashtags in your conversations and postings on Twitter and Instagram. I can promise you that it will result in more followers and increased reach. If you represent a company, product or service, you should find a way to incorporate the hashtag into your conversations to build buzz and even create a hashtag for people to use when talking about your product or service.
The way we search for things online is changing. I have seen this coming for a while now as I notice the changes in the way I search online myself. With the uprise of social networks online, there are a lot more opinions out there then there were before. People are publishing their opinions on stuff all day long in the form of a kudos or a rant. I am not alone in believing that search will be drastically different soon. It’s already happening.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been the big thing for the last 10 years. Making sure that your website has relevant content that matches online search has been the goal. I have spent countless hours working on my website design clients websites and my own websites to assure top ranking results in the search engines. Though I do not believe that SEO will ever go away, I do know that the recommendations of your friends and those you communicate with are going to start showing up quite often.
The world is going back to how it was when our Grandparents were young. Word-of-mouth is making a come back. Once the Yellowpages came out which was essentially the pre-internet, we did our own research. This resulted in us relying less on our friends and neighbors to give us suggestions. We used to ask our friends and neighbors for suggestions because they were usually more knowledgable in a certain area than we were. Today, we barely know who our neighbors are. We don’t need their recommendations because somebody more qualified than they are can be found with in 2-3 clicks online.
You probably have already noticed that when you do a Google search you get results that occasionally have somebody’s photo next to them. People who write articles who have linked up their Google+ account will show up next to articles they have written in Google. This is a cool feature. Imagine searching for something and seeing a photo of your friend show up and their name next to an article. You will most likely click on that and read it.
When somebody we know and trust says something, it carries a different weight to it than an bilboard sign or something we heard in passing. The one thing that has not changed is the fact that we want to limit making bad decisions as often as possible. We have always done this by taking advice from people. The difference between our Grandparents era and the one we are living in now is that our Grandparents knew the people they were taking advice from personally. Today we just know who the people are. Most of them we don’t know on a personal level. That all is about to change with new technology coming out like Facebook’s Social Graph.
Facebook hopes that the people in your friends list are people you actually would listen to if you needed to know something. For years we have been liking, commenting and taking photos of places and things we like. Facebook wants to harness that database of “what we actually think about stuff” to give you better recommendations. Soon when you search for a restaurant, your friend’s thoughts on that place will start to show up to help you make a decision on that place.
My Social Graph
I have been building my social graph for a while now. Those of you who know me know that I write a lot of Yelp reviews, check-in to places on Foursquare, share my thoughts on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram most of my life. Now that these social networks are going to begin to use this stuff to their advantage I can see my name showing up a lot when my online friends need to know about something. This is great considering I am a personal brand who hopes to continue the growth of his name. My online friends already know that I am much more than a Wedding Photographer and a Website Designer. They know that I am a loving Father and Husband to my wife. They know that I have strong opinions about things and that I sometimes say more than I should about things. I am looking forward to this change because my name will start to reach further and with out as much effort as it takes now. From the beginning my friends, family and clients have continually asked me why I share so much about my life online. It’s because I see the writing on the wall. Our “neighborhood” that our Grandparents used to go to for recommendations has now became our online network. We are a connected economy now.
The Connected Economy
Gone are the days where we buy something with out looking at a review first. Sure we might look at the box and read the finely crafted copy for a product under $50 but we are not going to buy a bigger ticket item with out reading some reviews. I typically order something online because there are more opinions there. I know that the opinion of the guy or gal in the store is worthless these days. Just try and ask someone for their opinion in a big box store. They sound like a bumbling idiot because they have no idea. They don’t own what you are buying, they can not afford it. The stores are so big that they can not educate their limited staff on the wide range of products they carry. If I want an opinion I will go to a trusted website or read online reviews and try to find one that matches best to my situation. Sometimes I even do this while I am in the store looking at a product with iPhone in hand.
We are going to become more and more connected over the years. It might not seem like it is moving fast but it is. I see it on Facebook when somebody asks for the opinion of another parent. I made three suggestions about products just this morning to a Facebook friend of mine who has a newborn with a cold. I had to do this manually. In the future, social media will remember my comment about the humidifier I purchased and will suggest it to my Facebook friend the second she makes a mention about her sick baby online.
Your Social Graph
Just like the guy who wouldn’t sell his house, the subdivision will build right around him. Some people are going to fight this change and call it a breach to their privacy. The truth of the matter is that we are sharing this stuff openly to websites that offer free platforms for us to connect. We are the product and the Facebooks and Twitters will continue to take advantage of what we use their platform for. As a person who does not mind being considered a professional in certain areas or the go-to-guy for certain things, I don’t mind. If you like that feeling, keep on sharing. Keep on posting your opinion and sharing your thoughts on things. Don’t be afraid to join multiple social networks and post on all of them. Each network has different kinds of people with different interests.
Social Media ROI for Businesses
Social Media is making brands more human. Now that we are able to communicate with brands on a more personal level it is allowing them to become closer to us. Big companies who do not embrace these changes are going to get crushed just like Amazon crushed Borders and Netflix crushed Blockbuster. Businesses that get it are going to find huge ROI when these tools start to become used more. Businesses that ignore it are going to find themselves trying to play catch up and it sure is sad to watch.
Change is always taking place. In 2000 it was websites. Those who could not figure out how to get their customers to websites found themselves in trouble. Today we get it. Tomorrow it is social connectivity online. Those who fight it are going to find themselves far behind their competition that does get it.
My recommendation is to start talking about stuff. Post your thoughts and reviews on these websites. You have an opinion that others would love to hear on certain subjects. We all know more about something than the rest of the people we know, so why not share that. We all enjoy things in life different than others commonly enjoy so why not share our thoughts about them so they are there when others want to enjoy it as well. The world is becoming a smaller place to live and that is ok because it is allowing us to be exposed to so many new and interesting things.
My Grandparents used to travel all over the world trying and experiencing new things. They did this on a whim compared to the information that is available today. I admire that because there is more adventure in the unknown. Adventures that they took 30+ years ago are probably blogged about and recommended on Orbitz now, which to me is much less of an adventure. However, the options were much more limited back then. The world is much more social and it’s only going to get more connected. How will you use this to grow as a person or a company?
I have read many reports on what the best time is to tweet but what about user interaction? If you share something, when is the most likely time people will see it and click on your link? The popular URL shortener Bit.ly has some interesting data to help answer this question. The infographic below also helps us understand times of the day when we should avoid posting to Twitter and Facebook.
If you look at the times shown in the infographic it suggests that you should post important content during the hours of 1pm and 3pm. This is the few hours after lunch where people must ease back into work. It also suggests to avoid posting after 8pm on any day and after 3pm on Fridays.
I also think that the appropriate time to post depends on who your target market is and what kind of product or service you are marketing. If you are posting about B2B related content you may want to post earlier when business people are at work. If you are posting about video game related content you may want to post later in the day when people are home playing games.
Here is the infographic. What do you think? Have you had any success with posting during certain times of the day?
I haz a magazine, didn’t you know? The social magazine site Glossi – http://glos.si – allows you to add your social networks to their network which creates a cool magazine for you to share with your friends. It’s an interesting way of looking at your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and Tumblr posts.