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Snoox, Google+ and How Social We Really Are

What is Snoox?

Today I read about Snoox; a new social network which allows you to view recommendations from your friends on things like films, books or places. It is very similar to a network like Letterboxd which does the same, but specifically for films. Snoox goes further than Letterboxd with what you can recommend,  but isn’t quite as focused on being a timeline or personal history.

Snoox allows you to follow others, whether you know them personally or not (nothing new there). Twitter took the Facebook status and amplified it into its own model. Similarly, Snoox adopts the ego-maniacal activity of  “liking” a film or TV show on Facebook to show that you’ve watched it and/or are cultured and/or hip. If it can remove the necessity for all those Netflix updates on Facebook courtesy of friends, providing a specific place to go to find out what people are listening to/watching etc., then all the better.

Would You Trust Your Friends?

Snoox and its facility to recommend provides the opportunity to users to write a mini-review in the same vein that Google+ Local invites users to rate local businesses. This got me thinking about how much I would trust my friends’ opinions. As someone who has a very diverse set of online friends in terms of socio-economic status, location and tastes, this would probably not help me find something I like. Taste isn’t based on these factors exclusively of course;  a good film is a good film, and transcends barriers. However, I definitely have those friends who I would consider as having “bad taste”. I like most of my friends for the people they are, and not what they watch. There are a handful of exceptions; those friends of friends who I can put up with because we have a TV show in common to save the conversation. Generally, though, I wouldn’t take the advice of a majority of my Facebook or Twitter friends about where to go to eat or which books to read, because there is a big gulf between what we respectively enjoy.

Google+ and The Question: ‘How Social Are We?’

Google and their outlook of ‘Search n’ Social’ seems to have this belief that we’re all a trendy bunch, with money to burn at the whim of seeing a friend post a five star rating for a bar; that we’ll jump straight online at a moment’s notice to find a restaurant at which to spend all this free time that we have falling out of our ears. This was parodied brilliantly when Google Glass was previewed earlier this year. That’s just not the reality for many of us, who are struggling to save money, like to stay indoors or just don’t live very interesting lives.

The social aspect of search seems more applicable to a wider segment of users (provided they are logged into a Google account) when it comes to essential services, like looking for a respectable plumber, than leisure. Indeed, this is one of the ways that we can help with managing social media for your business. ‘Social’ feels the wrong word for these services.  Those who do leave constructive business reviews, are very much appreciated and this can make a difference; but in terms of empowering users to shape Search, its utility is somewhat limited.

 

 

Instagram For Business: Power of the Visual

We’ve recently jumped on the Instagram-wagon (terrible, we know). As well as making us all point our smartphones at our meals or look like tourists in the street, we’ve unlocked some great possibilities when it comes to producing content for clients.

We all know the famous line ‘content is king’; or ‘content is kingmaker’ as Yousaf Sekander recently stated at Brighton SEO. For people to actually follow you, you need to have your content reach them, and to do that you need to encourage those who do follow you in the beginning to spread it around. If you can produce something completely unique that can transcend the field or niche you’re in, you’re onto a winner.

Instagram has a bit of a reputation as being the tool for wannabe photographers who think adding a filter to any old photo makes them trendy. Yes, those people do exist but Instagram also an easy and free way to jazz up an image. It can separate you from the hundreds of images that an individual sees each day. It also feels a bit more personal and the filters can stir feelings of nostalgia which people instantly gravitate towards. Unlike something like a YouTube video which requires you to put in time to consume, a picture is a bite-sized chunk.

I also came across Pinstagram, where you can actually view your photos on a desktop which you can’t do at the moment through Instagram alone. You can also easily upload these to Pinterest. On these kinds of sites, with the right bit of filter-magic, mundane products like door locks, which we take for granted, can be transformed into gothic masterpieces.

So who could Instagram benefit? Well, like Pinterest, those who work in a field whereby their product or service relies on the visual, would benefit largely from a presence here. Those services where the finished product captures an audience and floods them with possibilities in their own life. Interior design or home improvement sites give themselves up to material which can instantly stir a reaction in someone and prompt them to click ‘Like’ and want to share it with others. And as we were taught at Brighton SEO, if you can get in with the right “influencers” to relay your content, you’re onto a winner.

That’s what is so great about social media, especially for business. Many incorrectly view it from the outside as something which teenagers sit on updating each other about what sandwich they’ve just made. YouTube is a social media site or at least is a video-streaming site which has integrated social media aspects into it’s interface so you can follow or subscribe, comment back and forth, create your own profile and more. The active element sometimes gets overshadowed by the passive nature. For businesses, there is a wealth of tools available (and more being made every year) to be utilised and get your message across.

So think about the possibilities for your business to make an impact through a visual form. Words are important in the form of web-copy and article-writing, but there are many other avenues to go down.

Four Things That Turn Off Twitter Followers

 

If you’re trying to get ahead on social media, specifically Twitter, you need followers. To encourage those followers to jump on your bandwagon, there’s a few things you can do to attract them, and have your tweets spread a bit further. However, there are just as many things you shouldn’t do. Without going into too many boring details and giving away our services completely, here are a few to start you off:

1) Re-tweeting Everything

People want to follow you; not YOUR followers, otherwise they would just cut out the middle-man. While it’s always acceptable to re-tweet the occasional good read, consider whether a strong majority of your followers would enjoy it too. What do they want to get from you? If you want to RT something that you personally like, then fine; but accept that not everyone will want their feed constantly cluttered up.

2) Tweeting Too Much

Originally I thought Twitter was just the Facebook status, and that was about it. Well it is to some extent, but I now appreciate it more as a quick chunk of bite-size information or entertainment. Just like on Facebook, tweeting every little detail in your day is incredibly boring. Move on!

3) Bad Hashtags

Hashtags are great for specific events so conversations and comments can be collected and viewed together in one go. However, if you’re in the habit of coming up with really convoluted or overly long hashtags, these can be a bit silly and unnecessary. Hashtags should be phrases that deserve to catch on, a bit like a mantra or ideology. It could be a joke, though only if your followers will ‘get it’ (and even RT it). Be careful to confine hashtags to Twitter, as using them on other platforms reeks of blind posting.

4) Speaking Generally

Saying ‘Hey followers’ is quite formal and general. It puts a barrier between you and your followers. If you have an idea who follows you, like a certain demographic, speak to them in their language. It’s not a bad thing to tweet specifically to them every now and then. It expands your reach and appeal, and shows to those you’re not addressing that you’re a popular Tweeter.

We are currently offering a free Twitter drop-in session for anyone to come along and learn the basics, with professionals who use this daily for work and place. Come along, network, eat biscuits and learn how Twitter can help you; whether as a business owner wanting to improve their publicity in 2012, or simply as an individual wanting to learn something new and show off.

10 Steps to Social Media Success for Business

Over the years of working with small and business owners, there are some traits that I have noticed in businesses who successfully use social media and I wanted to share them here.

  1. It doesn’t matter what size you are – you must commit resources to creating content and engaging in social media on a weekly basis.  if you are the business owner and you don’t have time then make sure to collaborate with someone else who does.
  2. Plan for and generate regular content using blogs, Twitter, Facebook or other social platforms.  If you are not sure what to write, do some research online or talk to a professional.
  3. Not every platform will be right for you.  Depending on how much marketing time you have and whether you are a B2B or B2C business, you may not need Facebook, a blog AND Twitter (or whatever else). Try and work out where your customers are and what will drive business.
  4. Measure your activity – make sure you have some way of understanding how social media activity had an impact on business results.  Try things like tracking keywords on different platforms to see what people are naturally talking about.  You can also find out who the main influencers are on Twitter.  This could be done for free via Google analytics, NutshellMail.com, MarketMeSuite.com, Hootsuite.com, Klout.com, Peerindex.com or for a small fee via Sproutsocial.com, Viralheat.com, Trackur.com
  5. Set clear expectations for customers regarding frequency and types of social media interactions that the company is willing to provide.  E.g. if you say you are going to past a series of articles on something, make sure you follow through, or make a posting schedule that is on the same day of the week, every week.
  6. Leverage social media to position the company as a thought leader within its industry.  By writing blog posts or articles on your area of expertise, it shows people how you approach business and inspires confidence in your product or service.
  7. Provide clear calls-to-action and opportunities to generate leads and new customers using social media.  E.g. if you are running a competition or giving away an e-book, make it really clear what people have to do to participate.
  8. Don’t forget that you can use social media to drive participation in offline events.  Holding an event is a great way to meet people & get new customers.  Social media can help build anticipation and provide opportunities for follow up.
  9. Use information and data from social media to drive business strategy.  Make sure you listen to your customers’ comments – for example, if people are really liking a new product then maybe you can push it harder, or if people are not happy with your customer service, you can fix it quickly.
  10. Balance paid and organic search engine traffic. My own feeling is that you will get a much better long term gain by creating amazing content that gets shared online and builds a community around your brand.  ‘Paid for’ search leads like Google ads are good to get things started, but could be expensive over time if you are in a very competitive category.

So, there we have it – a quick round up of strategies for your business.  Each one of those topics is a blog post in itself – however it’s good to have an overview. See you next time!

Thank you to Tim Rabjohns for this Guest Post.

The Social Insider – freelance support for online marketing.

mob: +44 7958 958 162
e: tim@rabjohns.org
twitter: @timrabjohns
Link with me on Linked In 

 

How Has Barack Obama Used Social Media During His Presidential Campaign?

Obama Takes To Reddit

Last Thursday, President Obama took a break from his schedule to take part in an AMA on Reddit. It caught many of us Redditors by surprise and we all flocked to the social networking site in droves to see what he would say when confronted by the site’s loyal and unflinchingly witty users. For many who simply heard about it because it was Obama-related, this would be their first exposure to these strange terms.

What is Reddit?

Reddit is a social media democracy which is broken down into smaller sections for different interests. I’m not going to lie: things can get a little rude. Reddit works by users up-voting or down-voting topics and threads which are submitted by members so only the most relevant and worthwhile make it to the top where most eyes will see them. Comments can be left, which can also be voted on accordingly allowing for the most sarcastic, dry or plain wild humour to thrive.

What is a Reddit AMA?

IAmA stands simply for ‘I am a’ while AMA for ‘Ask Me Anything’. Reddit users can post an AMA whereby users can ask them… anything, firstly introducing themselves ‘I am a so-and-so, ask me anything’. It can be anyone from a cameraman who worked on Sooty in the 70s, to someone who is going through a terminal illness at the moment, to even the President of the United States as evidenced. The most popular AMAs can be scheduled and promoted in advance so more questions can be submitted, and usually these are for actors or writers who are popular on the site.

Is it Popular?

As Reddit has grown in the last few years, with membership now in the millions worldwide, it has become more popular and mainstream, and has drawn the eyes of many notable personalities to use it as a means of good karma with their most dedicated fans. Reddit’s humour or tropes synonymous with the site have slowly crept into various cultures because the site accommodates  so many different interests. Using Reddit can effectively humanise a world-famous figure who would normally be seen as untouchable. It is generally a good public relations option, without the tacky plugging which chat shows can descend into. The likes of Louis CK, Dan Harmon and Zach Braff have all taken part in an AMA successfully fending off the onslaught of questions from users, though not all make it out as well.

Rules of a Reddit AMA

If someone is overly promotional during an AMA, or starts ducking certain questions which are voted as being ones that users want to be answered, their image online can suffer. The same if it is clear that it not actually that person but someone from their PR team. While Obama was photographed supposedly during the AMA, it is likely that everything he wrote was supervised closely by his PR team. Woody Harrelson most recently is a prime example of a Reddit AMA going wrong, as he promoted his new film Rampart at every opportunity and avoided answering questions about his family history, which annoyed users. As a result he has become a joke not only on Reddit, but on other social sites too. The influence of Redditors can be felt when things go wrong as much as it can when things go well.

The Influence of an AMA and Reddit

Obama in AMA-mode Courtesy of http://www.blogcdn.com/www.engadget.com/media/2012/08/obama-ama.j

Of course, the appeal of all things considered underground is the fact that they are unknown, niche or a secret. When AMAs become more popular amongst bigger names, and more frequently used as a tool by publicists to recommend to their clients, they may lose their appeal. With the way things develop so quickly in social media, it is likely that something new will have come around by then too. The AMA formula might even be adopted by other sites or sources like television chat shows, though a legal battle could result – Reddit actually holds a patent on the use of ‘IamA’.

Reddit’s users are a sarcastic bunch, but overall are fun, and it’s their sense of humour, reactions, and most importantly, questions, which make the experience so entertaining to witness either in progress or retrospectively.

If you’d like to know more about harnessing the power of Reddit for business, contact us!

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