Archives for posts with tag: facebook

LinkedIn, Facebook and PitchEngine all have paid options that provide benefits that their free services cannot. The real question, however, is which social media accounts are worth paying for, and which are not.

Out of all the social media tools, LinkedIn provides one of the most helpful paid services. LinkedIn offers different levels among their paid accounts geared towards job-seekers, recruiters and businesses. Paid LinkedIn accounts expand your search options to allow you to search for jobs based on salary, see detailed information about who has viewed your profile, and perhaps most importantly, send “InMail” messages to people not in your network. But who should pay for LinkedIn is the more important question. LinkedIn is highly effective for recruiters to source names and consultants who use a lot of specific vendors.

Facebook has recently expanded its paid options. Targeted ads have long been part of Facebook and provide businesses a possibility to increase their customer engagement. The new paid option for businesses is sponsored stories, which appear in your news feed and are the only ads that can be displayed on Facebook mobile. Whether you should pay for any of these services largely depends on your type of business and the audience you’re trying to reach. The beauty of Facebook ads is that due to an active user base, loads of information is collected and allowing businesses to target niche group of customers.

For sending out announcements or press releases, PitchEngine is a tool that offers both free and paid options. It allows you to embed videos and pictures into your announcement, publish an unlimited number of announcements to search engines, social media sites, mobile sites and email. There are two paid options at $39 a month or $99 a month, which both make your announcements SEO friendly.

Instead of signing up for all paid accounts on social media, decide which paid social media sites would be most helpful for your brand. If you want to connect with people outside of your network, LinkedIn’s paid feature may be appealing to you, whereas if you want to optimize your press releases for SEO, one of PitchEngine’s paid plans may suit your needs.

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Ask any expert, mobile is the future of social media.  Online media is integral to the success of many businesses, and mobile social media sites are gaining traction with the  increasing number of smartphones users.  Instagram started out 2012 with approximately 15 million users and has grown to 80 million users in seven months.  Instagram surpassed Foursquare, a mobile site that had been available for a year longer and on more mobile phones.  Since Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, Instagram has 100 million users as well as 11 million daily users (up from 860,000 daily users).  

With the prevalence of smart phones comes a greater demand for websites optimized for mobile use.  More importantly, as mobile use becomes more the norm, consumers will grow frustrated with companies that have not optimized accordingly, sometimes tarnishing the brand’s public image.  Businesses that do not have an innovative and user-friendly mobile site automatically put themselves behind businesses that have invested in mobile technology.  Even though about half of Facebook’s 900 million users access the site from their mobile phone, Facebook has had difficulty in optimizing its mobile site.  Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram will hopefully help Facebook become more mobile-friendly.  

Mark Zuckerberg has explained that Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram does not mean that Facebook intends to integrate the two. He said earlier this month, “We want to help it grow to hundreds of millions of users. We have no agenda into making them going into our infrastructure. We’re going to do the things we would have done if they were an Open Graph partner, but we’ll be able to prioritize them.”

For part 1 of our instagram series, click here

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40% of the top 100 brands are all on Instagram.  Out of the top 100 brands, 37 regularly post photos, and 17 of these 37 brands have over 10,000 followers each.  The top 10 brands on Instagram have a 96% engagement.  

Instagram can easily help you optimize content by noting which photos garnered the most feedback, and what time during the day you get the most feedback from followers. However, make sure not to post photos that are overtly promotional– top brands on Instagram post photos to build their brands, not promote.

Instagram’s new business blog features MTV, Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret, EOnline, and Burberry as the most followed brands on Instagram.  MTV is the most popular Instagram profile with over 846,000 followers. These accounts all try to post photos that they think their users will enjoy and ultimately comment on or “like” instead of photos that directly promote their brand. Successful companies become tastemakers on instagram instead of touting their products endlessly.   

Not every company is suited to Instagram.  As shown by a study in April, Instagram’s users are predominantly in the 18-35 age range.  The most popular companies on Instagram are product-driven brands that appeal to younger generations, if your brand doesn’t fall into that category it will probably be difficult to market your company towards that demographic.  

Instagram allows businesses to grow their mobile audience–the next frontier in social media.  

Facebook and Google+, as with most social networks, force users to give up their privacy to get more out of the service, but are there any benefits to this loss of anonymity?

Facebook and Tumblr deal with online privacy very differently.  Facebook requires you to use a real name and is designed to connect people.  There is no anonymity on Facebook–it even started as a closed network that required a verified .edu email address to become a member. However, Tumblr doesn’t require any personal information, and allows people to anonymously share pictures, ideas, etc.

In an interview with BloggingHeads, Andrew McLaughlin, VP of Tumblr,  and Marne Levine, VP for Global Public Policy for Facebook, explained how anonymity and transparency effect Tumblr and Facebook.  McLaughlin and Levine provide completely opposing viewpoints on the importance of anonymity.  McLaughlin praises the freedom that comes along with anonymity, while Levine criticizes the lack of comfort and lack of security that stem from anonymity.  While Facebook is a networking tool used to connect people, Tumblr is creativity tool used to share ideas–anonymity has a different role with each.  In Facebook’s case, the lack of anonymity allows users to connect with other users, but since the network has opened up it is nearly impossible to verify identity.  In Tumblr’s case, anonymity allows people to share ideas, but this also makes people less accountable for their ideas and opinions.

Full Video of the interview

Anonymity may allow people to express themselves without consequences, but it also creates a false sense of security.  Anonymity allows people to express themselves without reproach.  Free, anonymous expression makes sense for Tumblr, as it allows users to explore creative interests that they wouldn’t explore without anonymity, but it does not make sense for Facebook, which is meant to be an online extension of real interactions that happen between people.

The real question may be whether this anonymity is truly possible.  If you engage in social media, your information is going to be in their database forever.  Even if you don’t have an account, however, your information may not be as private as you think–everything that you have ever searched on Google is tracked and saved.  If you choose to delete your Google search history, your search history can still internally be used by Google for 18 months.  Nothing that you do online is anonymous, the only question is if you know your anonymity is being violated or not.  Google has agreed to pay a 22.5 million dollar settlement to the FTC for violating users privacy, without their knowledge.

Managing a Facebook Career Page is another way to broaden a company’s social engagement.  It may seem a bit superfluous to have a Facebook Career Page in addition to a company website or company LinkedIn profile, but having a career page on Facebook immediately opens up a business to the 901 million Facebook users.

By curating your Facebook Career Page yourself, instead of letting Facebook automatically create one, you are taking control of your brand, much the same way as creating a page for your business gives you control over the content.  Managing your company’s page yourself is the only way that you can control how your brand is marketed.

Having a career page provides an outlet for you to create a dialogue with your consumer base.  Marketing through social media is all about creating a community of followers and interacting with your followers can strengthen your brand, SEO, and customer base.  Some tips for engaging your followers on Facebook include: sharing links instead of only text and give your followers reason to spread the word of your brand through promotions, useful original content, and thoughtful leadership.  Include phrases such as “share with your friends” and “click here” to create an interactive relationship with your followers.  Direct them to your other web presences to add value and track the user engagement.

Having a Facebook Career Page can be time consuming, but it can also be an asset to help build your brand.  LIke any medium, make sure this also fits with your overall brand strategy before you just hit “Go”.

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Facebook’s underwhelming stock performance and the recent flight of some of their top executives has prompted people to hypothesize how the company will appease its investors.  Facebook needs to create more of demand for its stock; it has been rumored that Facebook may cease to be a free service, but in light of its disappointing IPO this may be the best way to boost revenues. Of course, they will have to have some free services to keep their user base, but they could benefit from some paid features.

Facebook just unveiled a new feature where companies can pay to promote posts and status updates.  Having to pay to promote posts on Facebook is not by itself a terrible feature, but it does go against the open access that made these social networks so successful in the first place.  While many social media tools, such as LinkedIn, do have options that require fees, the potential problem with this paid promotions feature is that it could diminish their user base.

It’s too soon to tell if having paid accounts would destroy Facebook. While having to pay for an account would undoubtedly unrage users, Facebook is so popular and so often used that people may just pay the fee instead of taking the hassle to switch over to a rival site, such as Google+.

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When Google+ was released a little over a year ago, it was marketed as a competitor to Facebook.  While Google+ has failed to reach the level of popularity and profitability of Facebook, it has not failed as a site.  The potential of Google+ is in its being an extension of Google, not in its attempt to be a social networking site.

Insiders view Google+ as a tool for supporting already-established internet tools, such as Google and Youtube.  This month Google+ introduced more features designed to integrate different Google tools into its interface. The Events feature on Google+ will be compatible with Google calendar and allows you to invite people who are outside your circles.  Google+ connects the different Google tools, such as mail, google search, and now the calendar, into one organized site.

From our view, people don’t engage with companies on Google+ as much as they do on Facebook, which makes it less successful as a marketing tool.  From the recruiting standpoint, the vast majority of users aren’t active enough on the site to make Google+ as worthwhile as LinkedIn, or even Facebook, for this purpose.

Google+ does beat Facebook at video-chatting.  The Google+ video-chatting feature allows users to form “hangouts” with many users on site.  Organizations, such as news organizations, can use such hangouts to live-stream interviews and take questions from a virtual and interactive audience.  

Finally, the mobile site for Google+ is more accessible.  As mobile is becoming an increasingly important market for social media, the Google+’ user-friendly mobile app gives it a possible advantage against Facebook.

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Imagine being able to see all of the sites you frequent online collected in one organized forum.  Instead of having to visit Facebook, Twitter, and the other sites you visit separately, you could instead visit one site.  This is exactly what Flavors.me is attempting to accomplish by collecting all of your social media needs and displaying what is most important.  Flavors.me’s goal is to eliminate the oversharing created by all the superfluous information on social media sites.

In order to eliminate oversharing, Flavors showcases important information from the social media sites that you use most frequently from over 30 social media sites that you can choose from to add to your Flavors account.  The problem with Flavors is that not all of the social media sites work seamlessly on the site yet.  While Etsy and Hype Machine work well on Flavors.me because music and photos are integration right into the stream, Netflix and Facebook seem awkward.  It will be interesting to see how they are able to successfully integrate Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn in one place in the coming months.

Just as you can have followers, and can follow other people, on Facebook, Twitter, and many other social media sites, you can do the same on Flavors.  It compiles all of your needs into one site and allows people to interact with different components of your social media site that were previously completely separate.  It’s Flavors’ interface that really stands the chance of setting it apart from other social media aggregate sites, but without a more seamless integration of the most popular sites.

What exactly is the future of Flavors.me?  While conceptually a site that would combine the most important aspects of your social media tools would be extremely beneficial, Flavors is not exactly user friendly–something that is pretty much a necessity for a social media site to gain popularity  With 750,000 users it might be difficult for Flavors to compete with Facebook’s extensive, loyal network–but perhaps it will become an add-on to Facebook, only time will tell.

For more of Flavors.me:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/28/flavors-me-spins-into-a-social-network/

http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/flavors-me-evolves-from-personal-landing-page-and-shows-off-its-social-aspirations/

http://vator.tv/news/2011-11-29-flavors-offers-a-centralized-and-confusing-social-hub

Jobsandtalent is an up and coming European-based recruiting site that incorporates social networking into the hiring process.  Felipe Navio Garcia and Juan Urdiales founded this startup on the hopes of using Facebook’s social network to change how companies search for employees.  Jobsandtalent works by getting information from a user’s Facebook profile information, such as education, work experience, and friends, but not any status updates or photos. Garcia and Urdiales both were separately developing a social recruiting site after realizing how social connections often help people find jobs through their friends.  Garcia and Urdiales had been connected to each other by mutual friends who realized they were both interested in developing similar businesses–that’s how they became partners.

One surprising aspect of Jobsandtalent is the use of Facebook, not LinkedIn as the source for their social recruitment site.  LinkedIn is a social media tool for professionals; it is designed for networking and hiring, whereas Facebook is a social media tool for friendships.  Garcia and Urdiales chose to connect their networking site to Facebook, because they believe one’s personal–not professional–connections most often lead to jobs.  Garcia explains that “The best 20 or 30 people you can ask for a recommendation are on Facebook, not LinkedIn”.  Jobsandtalent is the European alternative to BranchOut, another popular Facebook hiring site.  So far, Jobsandtalent has not widely been used outside of Europe.  On Jobsandtalent you have to add friends to your Jobsandtalent profile to get job suggestions, but on Branchout you do not.  While Branchout is also more user friendly and is the more established of the two, Jobsandtalent is gaining popularity in Europe.

For more on Jobsandtalent

1.  What is visible to the public, to employers, and to potential references? When managing your online identity be aware that whatever is visible on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site, must be appropriate for any current or future employer to see.  Just one inappropriate tweet, update, or pinned photo can cause repercussions for your long-term career.  On Facebook you can click “View As” on your main profile page under the “Settings” drop down.

2.  Depending on what your position is, is it may be important to have a presence on certain sites? For seeking communications positions, it is important to show that you are knowledgeable about current social media trends.  Staying up-to-date with online sites can show your ability to manage change.  While it may not be necessary for you to be on Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and Pinterest, having your presence certainly has its benefits.  LinkedIn is especially useful to recruiters.

3.  What is your online reputation?  Do you have a positive, negative, or neutral presence online? Your online reputation can range from positive to negative and inappropriate.  Be aware of how you come across on the internet.  While having a negative online reputation will certainly work against you, having a neutral presence won’t help you either.  In creating an online identity, be cognizant of how you want to come across to coworkers, future employers, and people you haven’t even met.  Social media allows us to create our own marketable versions of ourselves, take advantage of that.  Create a Google Alert for your name to track what is being said about you online.

4.  How do people interact with you and how do you interact with people online? The people that you interact with on social media sites reflect who you are.  How often you interact with people on these sites also speaks to what kind of person you are.  Social media sites, especially Facebook, but to a lesser extent Twitter, can paint a picture of you as an extrovert, introvert, or somewhere in between.  These sites might pigeonhole you as a social butterfly, or as a shut-in.  If you allow your content to be displayed, make sure that your interactions, and how often you interact, will benefit your image.  Klout is a good way to see an overview of how you interact with others online.

5.  What do you show interest in online? Don’t “like” anything detrimental to your image, and make sure to showcase what makes you unique.  What pages you like on Facebook, whom you follow on Twitter, and what you tweet about all reflect who you are and what your interests are.  Don’t showcase an aspect of yourself that you don’t want other people to know about, but also show what makes you unique.  Facebook privacy settings allow you to block content from some and not others by the creation of lists.

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