Archives for posts with tag: social media

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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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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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.

Facebook published new stats in an amendment to its S1 documents.  These new stats depict Facebook’s growth and revenue up until March 31st.  The new stats demonstrate once again how profitable and popular Facebook is.

In just one year, Facebook has managed to increase the number of monthly users from 680 million to 901 million.  The number of daily users has also increased from 372 million to 526 million.  About 125 billion friendships are documented on Facebook every single day.  These stats show what a staggering impact Facebook has on our lives.  Even the number of monthly mobile users is remarkable, totalling at 488 million users.

Regarding profit, Facebook’s revenue increased from $731 billion last year to $1.058 billion.  However, the net income of this quarter did decrease from last year’s quarter.  If Facebook’s purchase of Instagram does not pan out then Facebook will have to pay $200 million.  The deal is itself worth $1,010,470,000.  As Facebook users already share 300 million photos every day on Facebook, it made sense for Zuckerberg to buy Instagram.  Facebook’s purchase of Instagram will allow it to further its presence in photo sharing.  Whether or not this billion dollar purchase of Instagram will pay off, only time will tell.  Critics of the purchase claim that Instagram may prove to be a passing trend that will quickly become outdated.  Other criticism is that Instagram will not have any positive effect on Facebook’s number of users or profit.

 

For more on the S-1 Amendment

For more on Facebook’s purchase of Instagram

The development of social media has revolutionized marketing and communication.  Even email has changed in response to the social media revolution.  During the past few years, the debate as to whether or not email is obsolete has surfaced.  Atos, a French information technology company, believes that internal email is unnecessary and have taken steps to eradicate it.

Employees will be banned from sending inter-office emails because according to the CEO of Atos, only 10% of the 200 emails received at the office are actually pertinent, and 18% are simply spam messages.  To highlight how insignificant Atos finds email, Breton, the chairman and CEO of Atos, has not sent out an email in the three years of holding his title.   Instead of communicating over email, employees will communicate over Facebook and instant messaging.  Furthermore, Atos is constantly looking for other, newer forms of social media to better facilitate inter-office communication

Atos may be on to something in their decision to discontinue the use of email.  Email is, quite frankly, a hassle.  Unlike with IM tools, you must send messaging using an email address, instead of a name, and you can’t track conversations as easily via email. Mailboxes constantly fill up with spam and long-winded messages.  Email also lends itself to a more formal communication than does instant messaging or Facebook.  While there is still a place for a more formal exchange externally, it does not seem necessary use within an office.  Communication through social media is less formal, more brief, and usually received and responded to quickly–all these features make it perfect for inter-office communication.  Instead of unopened messages inundating your mailbox, it is preferable to have short, concise messages.  Email isn’t dead yet, but it is unnecessary and time consuming when used for informal communication.

For more on Atos’s “zero-email” policy. 

Pinterest is the latest Social Graph, a concept that Mark Zuckerberg founded in 2008.  The idea of the Social Graph is to analyze users’ content sharing and interactions with each other.  Pinterest has garnered immense popularity over the past months with individuals and businesses alike.  Pinterest is also popular overseas and in China.  By allowing users to focus on spreading their interests instead of enabling just another social network, Pinterest is an ideal social media tool for marketing and branding. Businesses can use Pinterest to showcase their products, develop a stronger brand, and establish rapport with their customers.

Smoyz, an Israeli digital agency, has gone beyond just having a company Pinterest account, by developing an entire campaign based on this Social Graph.  The agency studied the pins of 50 women and created personalized items for each woman.  The response to this campaign was immense:  the 50 women brought in 2,284 interactions and 694, 853 impressions.  This feedback was possible because Pinterest is all about spreading and sharing interests.

Another innovative use of Pinterest comes from China, where companies create Pinterest clones– sites that provide the same service as Pinterest but with different names.  Two of these companies, Mogujie.com and Melishuo.com, allow users to pin proucts only from the site Taobao.com, China’s largest eCommerce site.  Even though users have only one site to “pin” from, both these Pinterest clones are a success.

Currently, Pinterest is the ideal platform for sharing interests.  Companies can optimize their use of Pinterest to increase traffic to their site and to build a wider audience.

For more on how to differentiate your brand with social media.

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