Let’s get visual: YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and sometimes Vine

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10-video-tips-for-businesses-on-pinterest-80c0f8594c_zps8dc6ed3aFeel like listening to Olivia Newton John’s 1981 hit “Physical?” Want to see a kitten fall asleep? Just pop over to YouTube, type the query in the search bar and presto!

When people are thinking about how and why to get their business involved in the visual side of social media, they need to keep in mind how they themselves use YouTube: as a search engine.

Julie Perry tells Fast Company that businesses can take advantage of the fact that YouTube is web’s No. 2 search engine. One way to do this is by tagging videos properly so they will come up as related videos in searches. Once users have clicked on that first video, Perry says the way to keep them hooked is by having a robust channel full of content.

YouTube users aren’t always coming to the site to find silly videos: They search for video reviews of products they are looking to buy. Technorati’s 2013 Digital Influence Report found that YouTube beat Facebook 80 percent to 74 percent as the online site consumers use most.

“YouTube, and video in general, allows its users to see the action, to see someone using a product they might be thinking about buying,” said Technorati Media CEO Shani Higgins. “Consumers trust what they can see, and they trust people who have used the products they’re looking into.”

Since consumers are able to access YouTube in more ways than ever – smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, gaming consoles, streaming players like Roku and of course the good old computer – it would be a good idea for businesses to get in on the “watch anywhere” action.

Here comes Pinterest
Speaking of Facebook not being the only game in town, here comes Pinterest. Kathleen Davis reports for Entrepreneur that more users interact with their favorite brands on Pinterest than Facebook, 43 percent to 24 percent.

Pinterest continues to one-up Facebook when it comes to consumer buying: According to Wishpond data cited by Davis, 69 percent of users found an item they wanted to buy on Pinterest compared with just 40 percent on Facebook.

Disclaimer: The demographic using Pinterest tends to be women ages 25-54 and the industries that tend to be represented most are crafts, home décor and food/drink. But Pinterest’s power can’t and shouldn’t be totally ignored by businesses.

Swinging from the Vine
Twitter’s microvideo service Vine is trying to go head to head with photo video instagram-vs-vinepowerhouse Instagram. Sometimes one wins out over the other. On June 7 of this year, more Vines were shared than Instagrams. Yet since Instagram launched its video capabilities, Instagram shares on Twitter have gone up 37 percent.

Like Pinterest, Vine should not be totally ignored, but businesses shouldn’t put Vine and its six-second videos at the top of their priority lists.

Should businesses try to be on all of these different visual social channels?

With the power of all of these social channels, should a business invest more resources into them and less into its actual website?

The couple that gets LinkedIn together looks awesome on social media

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Me and my wonderful husband Jacob

I feel like an awful wife: For years, my husband Jacob has had a neglected LinkedIn profile and knowing what I know about social media, I never nagged him in wife fashion to fix it up.

Looking back now, especially at the times he was out of work, the neglected profile seems like a mistake. Yet I don’t think I realized how big LinkedIn had become. At the end of 2012, LinkedIn had an estimated 202 million members. Lewis Howes writes on Copyblogger that people are finding seven-figure investors, dream jobs and sponsorships on the network.

Even though Jacob and I are both happily employed now, it’s still important to keep our social media house in order and LinkedIn is part of that. So let’s look at a few quick things we can both do to improve our LinkedIn presence and usage.

First off, Jacob needs to have a professional profile picture as opposed to no picture. “Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong,” LinkedIn Career Expert Nicole Williams said in a Forbes article.

Next thing we both need to do: craft engaging headlines on our profiles. I’ve been writing headlines for years as a journalist, so I should be able to do this for myself and help Jacob if he needs it.

Then, we’ll need to update our profiles to fully reflect our past work and educational history.  Jacob only has one job on his profile from six years ago, and I removed some of my work history from my profile to match my resume. This is a “LinkedIn mistake,” Williams says.

After we get our profiles fully updated, we’ll need to start building a bigger presence on the network and actually become part of the community by posting status updates and joining groups (I have already joined some).

LinkedIn has been low on my social priority list, but that will need to change, especially since it can be a valuable tool in a journalist’s toolbox. It didn’t even dawn on me to use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search to find current and former employees of companies I may be covering.

Though LinkedIn is another great tool for “putting yourself out there” professionally, it’s still important to protect yourself, as the passwords of some LinkedIn customers were apparently hacked last year. I went in and adjusted what can be seen on my public profile so my entire work history is not visible. I’m the only Amanda Winkle out there with my work history and I don’t want people taking that away from me.

ImageBefore you had to join LinkedIn for class, did you have a profile already? Were you active on it?

With the recent password hack, and people now suing the company for allegedly hacking into their email address books, do you have privacy concerns about the network?

Google+ & Facebook: You need to be in these 2 places at once

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Photo courtesy Mashable.com

Google vs. Facebook: It’s not an evenly matched fight. Not because one entity is better than the other, but because they both do such different things. You wouldn’t have a baseball team face off against a football team, would you?

Just because they’re both internet giants does not mean they are the same. In a comment on my colleague Erin Tracy’s blog, I likened Facebook to a party and Google+ to a business meeting.

Here’s why: Facebook’s new-ish feature, Social Graph, where users can find which of their friends have the same interests, which ones live in a certain city and even which restaurants they like – is akin to mingling at a party.

Businesses are still invited to Facebook’s party. Facebook’s got Bing on their team and Shel Israel wrote in Forbes that while Graph Search is limited to within Facebook for now, “over time Graph Search will show itself as a competitive threat to Google, LinkedIn, Match.com, Expedia, Amazon.com … .”

While Facebook is still on the bench looking at the search engine playbook, Google has been the star quarterback in this arena for years. Google+ gets right down to business, rewarding users who post content on the channel with a higher search ranking on Google. Brian Clark basically says it’s time to get in the game with Google+, unless you find you “don’t really need search engine traffic.”

But why wouldn’t you want your content to live longer on Google and be found higher up on its searches? Steve Rayson reports that some Google+ posts stick around near the top of search result pages for more than a year! A year!

To give your content extra “points” with Google, Tom Anthony recommends using Google’s “rel author” feature. This links content authored on the web back to a Google+ profile, giving your posts more legitimacy in Google’s “eyes.”

However, businesses should still learn how to play nice on Facebook, as it still holds the No.1 social network spot. Also, 96 percent of users don’t go back to a brand page after giving it that initial “Like,” so you’ve got to get your posts to pop up in your fans’ news feeds.

This is why posting at least daily needs to happen. Facebook’s fancy-schmancy news feed algorithm gives priority to the last 50 friends or pages a user has given a like, comment or share to. So how do you get those likes, comments and shares? Like Amy Porterfield says, you need to know your audience and that takes time. A good rule of thumb to start with: Put an engaging photo in your post. Those get 80 percent more engagement than photo-less posts, according to Porterfield.

Bottom line: When you’re adjusting to changes on a social media channel (and they’re going to keep coming), people don’t want to hear your business complaining about it. Just keep swimming.

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Questions:
What have you seen that DOESN’T work in Facebook and Google+ engagement?

If Facebook becomes more open, do you have concerns about profiles, status updates and photos becoming less private?

Growing up on Twitter: From Twits to Tweeters

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If we jump in the way back machine and go to 2006, when Twitter was invented, it wasn’t part of the national conversation the way it is today. I was finishing up my bachelor’s degree at the time and the only social networks I knew of were Facebook and MySpace. Now, students are being taught to create a personal brand.  It’s crazy to think how far we’ve come in a few short years.

Twitter can take you to the party even if you can’t actually be at the party. Want to get behind-the-scenes at the Oscars? See the view from the front row at a presidential debate? Just hop on a hashtag and hang on.

This, my friends, is what we in the news business call “live tweeting,” a.k.a. Twitter Chat. Even if you’re not actually at the event, you can “live tweet” about an event as you watch it and share your reactions – “that dress! What was Sandra Bullock thinking #Oscars” – with the whole world.

However, if you’re protecting your tweets, the world won’t see what you post. If your account is personal, you may want this. For a business or news organization, this could be considered a Twitter “fail.”
It can be hard for businesses to keep a consistent Twitter voice, especially when several people run one account. I loved the example presented by Jill Duffy: General Motors Twitter account description names the four handles of the people who do the Tweeting for its account.

It can also be difficult to reach several different communities with one account. Branden Hampton’s company, Influential Media Group, is behind @Notebook, which was named the No. 1 most engaging brand on Twitter. Hampton told Forbes that his company runs separate accounts on fitness and skin care as well. This is a good idea, as different genres can interest totally different communities. For example, USA TODAY has its main account and accounts that correspond with each section of its newspaper/website — @USATODAYSports, @USATODAYLife, etc.

For me, joining Twitter back in 2008 felt like the thing to do because all my co-workers, were doing it. I was a newbie web producer and wanted to – and still want – to know how to use the social channels people use to connect with each other.

Like Michael Brito said, “Having a Twitter account doesn’t mean you’re a social media master … ” and I really feel that way. I always feel there is something I can learn, something I can do better. If I had it to do all over again, I would take my time and focus even making even more real connections rather than worrying so much about the follower count.

I do worry about what being so socially connected is doing to us as a society, which is what New York Times writer Bill Keller touches on in his 2011 article: “Twitter is not just an ambient presence. It demands attention and response. It is the enemy of contemplation.”

Do you know of any organizations that successfully maintain multiple Twitter accounts?

Are there any circumstances you can think of in which a business account should be private?

Love ’em or hate ’em, the Kardashians are keeping up with social media

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Photo of the Kardashian Kollection at Dorothy Perkins in Thailand (Photo courtesy @Kardashianpedia)

Y’all are about to judge me so hard but I will admit my dirty little secret: I watch “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and its spinoff shows.

Put together, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe have 36 million followers on Twitter, with about half of those followers belonging to Kim. Hate all you want, but the reason these girls are so entrenched in our society’s conversation is because the E! TV show that documents their lives is the “fire.” But being a part of their fans’ world on social media adds the “gasoline” to that fire.

For the sisters, their overall objective on social media is to drive the awareness of their brand, which includes books, makeup and clothing. The Kardashians have stayed engaged with their fans by keeping up with what the conversation prism has to offer. Of course, they’ve got basics like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+, covered, but they have also jumped into super-new channels like short-form vlog site Keek. (I didn’t even know what Keek was until I saw them posting Keeks!)

But they also act as big sisters to their followers. By posting “Motivational Monday” inspirational quotes on Instagram and Twitter for their fans, the K-girls are working to, as Pam Moore says “simply be their sunshine on a rainy day.”

When it comes to “Tumblr Tuesday,” the girls take a page out of Guy Kawasaki’s playbook: curate and link. Each Tuesday, they shine the spotlight on one devoted fan that devotes their Tumblr account exclusively to the K-sisters, linking back to that fan’s Tumblr account and featuring pictures from that fan’s blog.

The girls also know their audience, so they know what type of content to share with them. Take, for example, a 2011 post on Khloe’s blog showing a first look at some promotional images for the sisters’ Sears Kardashian Kollection. Posts like this draw the fans in, making them feel as if they are behind the scenes as one of the family. It also entices fans to learn more about the Kardashian Kollection and in turn, buy the collection. Engaging content, Craig Silverman wrote in a guest blog for Mari Smith, “creates tremendous value for your community and can help grow your business, too!” (re: Hollywood Reporter’s 2011 article “How the Kardashians made $65 million last year.”)

But to further their brand, the girls have put a lot of their personal business out there (harsh family fights, childbirth, divorce, infertility issues, etc.) .

So here are my questions to you:

Do you think individuals, when branding themselves, have to portray themselves as both personal and professional to keep the interesting content flowing?

Do you think everyone needs to at least be on the (what seem to be) The Big 5 social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram)? Or will other networks in The Conversation Prism do?