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What is no longer working in social media: 2014 edition

(Social Media) With a constantly evolving list of features, shifting culture, and new practices, what worked last year on social media may not work this year. Here’s what you need to know.

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What’s new in social media, and what is broken

At least quarterly, it’s a good idea to find out what’s no longer working in different parts of digital marketing, particularly in fast-moving areas like social. This week, we’ll talk about what’s no longer working in social media, then we’ll move on to what’s new. And in our next series, we’ll also talk about search.

Before we proceed though, it is worth mentioning that participating in social media without a plan is asking for trouble. Really think about why you’re using social and what you hope to achieve. More visibility? An increase in website visitors? What are they supposed to do when they get to your website? Is your blog connected to your lead capture system?

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Also think about the role of social in your overall online strategy, whether it’s part of branding, marketing or customer service.

1. Blogging

It’s often forgotten that blogs were among the first social media tools – the best we’d had available since the online bulletin board or forum.
The ramp-up to slow-down theory of blogging is no longer working. You can’t blog daily for six weeks, then slow down and blog when you “have time” and expect the same results.

Studies are now showing that ramping up to posting even every other day increases sales. So wake up that dead blog.You can start by asking people who have subscribed via email what they’d like to learn about.

Try doing more shorter, pithier posts, then one in-depth post a week.

2. Twitter

There was a time you could get away with broadcasting links into the general noise of Twitter, and be noticed due to the curiosity factor of Twitter’s firehose, and the fact that Google would pick up your tweets in real time, and even show them in real time on trending searches.

Now, not only has the Twitter firehose been hidden for years now, but Google’s relationship with Twitter has changed – no more real time tweets on hot searches.

Besides, Twitter was never meant to be a broadcast medium and most people ignore much of what is on their incoming streams, or whittle them down to a manageable level, full of only the people they most want to interact with frequently. Instead of trying to manage my full incoming Twitter stream,

I look at my Twitter lists, hashtags, and people who I’ve set to mobile notifications first.

Most people on Twitter now have a system similar to this or a custom timeline – being followed is no longer enough to get noticed.

You must provide value, and shouting “LOOK AT ME AND MY STUFF” isn’t doing it anymore.

Pick some non-competing colleagues (or even the competition if you’re confident) and share their most helpful content 6 to 8 times for every time you talk about yourself. I personally find that I get a lot more attention when I’m ready to talk about myself if I share my community with others.

Screen some Twitter chats related to your topic if you have trouble finding out who these people are.

3. Facebook

Oh #facepalm. Where do I begin with what doesn’t work on Facebook?

I’m tempted to say “everything”. For Pages, reach is down, because apparently Facebook differs from Twitter in that it either doesn’t see the value, or doesn’t have the capability, to show you everything you or your connections are subscribed to in the the public stream.

You’ve got to pay to play and even that can give you dismal results.

Ever since Facebook began to take away some of pages killer features, I haven’t been the fan I once was. It used to be easy to get prospects to opt-in to be contacted outside Facebook, to create posts natively using the Notes app, and many other things personal profiles have been able to do, or still can.

If you’re using your personal profile for personal interaction, it’s best to keep it that way. But if you’ve been using your profile’s ability to make certain information visible or hidden to certain groups via the refreshed Lists feature, that may be your best bet for visibility of informational posts that aren’t commercially heavy.

4. LinkedIn

LinkedIn used to have a kick-ass section called LinkedIn Answers. You could get a crazy amount of visibility by logging in once a quarter and answering questions until you were one of the top three in a sub-niche. I used to get very high quality client leads this way.

Now LinkedIn is letting more people into its Influencers program. Many don’t see the appeal to writing to an audience they already have. However, if you promote your LinkedIn posts as you would any other content marketing item or guest post, you will find that your audience expands outside the contacts you already have.

Test this out by applying to their program – if you’re accepted, test with a reworked blog post if you don’t have any new content on hand.

5. YouTube

Trying to grow your YouTube audience without interaction is much harder than it used to be. In years past, you could get away with just optimizing for search and exposing your videos to your own subscribers or your blog audience.

Now, the action on your page is part of the criteria for getting ranked, according to my favorite source on video SEO, ReelSEO (get it? Why can’t I think of things like that?)

A dead channel is an ignored channel. Get out there and find the active users in your space. Delight them and lure them to your channel.

6. Google+

So here’s a weird one for you – the main thing not working for Google+ is ignoring it.

If you’ve hated Google+ for years, you had good reason. With lots of abandoned profiles and few of the features that now exist, 2011 was way too early to speculate about its potential.

However adoption among more regular people, business owners, bloggers, and even Android users is making Google+ the place to be, not to mention the ability to leverage additional spots in Google’s universal search rankings, or the personalized rankings of people you’re connected to via the site.

If for no other reason than to get your OWN blog more personalized rankings by being connected to more people than your nearest competition, Google+ is a must if Google search is part of your marketing strategy.

You may hate it, but even though we may hate accounting, we still make sure it gets done. Build out your profile and invest just 5 minutes a day making new connections on Google+ – if you do it right, it’ll be worth your while.

The takeaway

Sometimes it feels like our social media efforts are failing. And sometimes, this is actually true. The key question to ask isn’t IF there is failing but WHAT is failing. Before you give up, make sure the point of failure isn’t your strategy or technique.

Tinu Abayomi-Paul is the CEO of Leveraged Promotion and a member of Network Solutions Social web Advisory Board. Her website promotion company specializes in reputation management, and engineering demand generation system for businesses, integrating search, expertise marketing and social media.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Eric "The Coach" Bryant

    April 21, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Outstanding Article Young Lady! =)

    This is a subject that had to be talked about. So many “Newbies” are just now making their way into Social Media, and Internet Marketing, and they are landing on the very places that you have now show (And rightfully so) to be “Obsolete” and “Out of Touch” .. it’s scary! They will be stuck learning these outlets, and still be at the “Starting Line” … It’s so sad =(

    There are so many “Guru’s” out there, taking advantage of the ignorance, and teaching these things as if they are important! It’s “Snake Oil” sales now, and they are just taking money out of Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs pockets, with little or no value.

    Here is my take on your 5 subjects …

    1)
    Blogging: “Try doing more shorter, pithier
    posts, then one in-depth post a week.” – Brilliant!

    2)
    Twitter: “You must provide value, and shouting
    “LOOK AT ME AND MY STUFF” isn’t doing it anymore” – Bingo!

    3)
    Facebook – IMHO … Dead! With one “Notable”
    exception … Private Community based Pages. They are “Knocking it Out of the Park!”
    Administrating a great Hyper-Local Neighborhood Page is garnering outstanding
    and quality relationships with potential clients!

    4)
    YouTube: Totally Disagree! This is the Future of
    Sharing your message, and connecting with potential customers here is at an
    All-Time High!

    5)
    Google+: Agreed … It is still a “Necessary Evil”
    to be a part of, and gaining (Ever so slowly) traction, and because it is
    Google, it has a high probability of long term success so you gotta stick with it!

    Really Enjoyed, Best of Luck to All Who Attack Online Marketing =)

    Coach

    • Tinu

      April 21, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      Thank you! Very in-depth commentary, you should write it up as an article. 🙂

      I’m not the guru type. Some people (still! gr) call me that, but I believe in sharing tested knowledge. I hold some advanced techniques back, but I’d rather prove my worth 100 times before someone hires me and have an enthusiastic client. In this day, doing otherwise is leaving money on the table.

      I think we’re saying the same thing about YouTube though. I think it’s at an all time high too – I just think if you ignore your channel, it’s at 1% of its potential.

  2. Trish Jones

    April 21, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    This is an excellent article, Tinu. With the exception of LinkedIn which I can’t comment on because I rarely use it, your points about the other social networks and blogging are spot on. And to add my two cents to Google+, guys, come and join the community, it’s good, good, good!

    • Tinu

      April 21, 2014 at 3:43 pm

      Hi Trish! How have you been? I’m not the biggest fan of LinkedIn, but even my sporadic use has paid off. I’ve been putting off adding an article in because I would rather that it’s unique content. But I’m softening after seeing peers re-publish popular content there.

      Hope to see you around here more, and soon!

      • Trish Jones

        April 21, 2014 at 4:03 pm

        I am very well thanks Tinu. I’ve been hearing from people who have had some good results via LinkedIn and so now you’ve mentioned it, it might be worth getting more active. Thanks for that heads-up. And yes, looking forward to reading more from you!

  3. Erika Awakening

    April 21, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Love this article… Things are definitely shifting. I am no longer finding Facebook to be a very useful tool like it once was. And this is not only the changes in FB policies. It’s also because way too many people are now using FB as the equivalent of cable television. Mind-numbing, without taking the action they need to take to improve their lives. I will definitely be exploring other avenues, as I have now deactivated my main FB account.

    • Tinu

      April 22, 2014 at 6:46 am

      Hi Erika, Always interested in hearing about deactivation stories, because I always wonder if you maintain online connections elsewhere or just forego things like pictures of nieces and nephew that are far away.

      Since many immediate family members are overseas, its much cheaper from their side to follow my postings or pictures, or to share pictures online than by text or email. I doubt I’ll deactivate until family starts to migrate to whatever the next Facebook is.

      • Erika Awakening

        April 22, 2014 at 2:39 pm

        Hi Tinu, it helps that I don’t really believe in having a personal life lol (that’s too long a conversation for here). I don’t use Facebook to connect that way. I use it to reach people with my message and it was no longer feeling like an effective way to do that. My method has far outpaced the development of my “community” there and conversations were getting too frustrating. Not sure if that helps understand it …

        • Tinu

          April 23, 2014 at 6:26 am

          Oh I definitely understand the impulse. These are my own personal reasons for not jumping ship.

  4. Pingback: How to use tweet chats to expand your brand's reach - AGBeat

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Social Media

Why Trump’s lawsuit against social media still matters

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Former President Trump snagged headlines for suing every large social media platform, and it has gone quiet, but it still deeply matters.

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It was splashed across headlines everywhere in July: Former President Trump filed a lawsuit against social media platforms that he claims unrightfully banned him during and after the fallout of the January 6th capitol riots. The headlines ran for about a week or so and then fell off the radar as other, fresher, just-as-juicy news headlines captured the media’s eye.

Many of us were left wondering what that was all about and if anything ever became of it. For even more of us, it probably passed out of our minds completely. Lack of public awareness for these things is common after the initial media blitz fades.

Lawsuits like these in the US can take months, if not years between newsworthy milestones. The most recent news I could find as of this publishing is from August 24, 2021, on Yahoo! News from the Washington Examiner discussing the Trump camp’s request for a preliminary injunction in the lawsuit.

This particular suit shouldn’t be left to fade from memory in the shadows though, and here’s why:

In the past few years, world powers have been reigning in regulations on social media and internet commerce. The US is actually a little behind the curve. Trump may have unwittingly given us a source of momentum to get with the times.

In the European Union, they have the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), widely acknowledged to be one of the toughest and most thorough privacy laws in the world, a bold title. China just passed its own pair of laws in the past four months: The Data Security Law, which took effect on Sept. 1, and The Personal Information Law, set to take effect November 1st. The pair is poised to give the GDPR a run for its money for that title.

Meanwhile, in the US, Congress has been occupied with other things and, while there are five bills that took aim at tech monopoly currently on the table and a few CEOs had to answer some questions, little actual movement or progress has been made on making similar privacy protections a thing in the United States.

Trump’s lawsuit, while labeled by many as a toothless public relations move, may actually create momentum needed to push regulation of tech and social media forward in the US. The merits of the case are weak and ultimately the legislation that would give it teeth doesn’t exist yet.

You can’t hold tech companies accountable to a standard that doesn’t properly exist in law.

However, high profile attention and someone willing to continue to make noise and bring attention back to the subject, one of Trump’s strongest talents, could be “just what the doctor ordered” to inspire Congress to make internet user rights and data privacy a priority in the US, finally.

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Social Media

Even solopreneurs are doing live commerce online – it’s not just QVC’s game anymore

(SOCIAL MEDIA) When you think of watching a show and buying things in real time, it invokes thoughts of QVC, but social media video has changed all that.

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After the year everyone has had, one wouldn’t be remiss in thinking that humanity wants a break from live streaming. They would, however, be wrong: Live online commerce – a method of conversion first normalized in China – is the next evolution of the ubiquitous e-commerce experience, which means it’s something you’ll want on your radar.

Chinese company, Alibaba first live streamed on an e-commerce site in 2016, allowing buyers to watch, interact with, and buy from sellers from the comfort of their homes. In 2020, that same strategy netted Alibaba $7.5 billion in presale revenue – and it only took 30 minutes, according to McKinsey Digital.

But, though western audiences have proven a desire to be just as involved with sellers during the buying process, live commerce hasn’t taken off here the way it has elsewhere. If e-commerce merchants want to maximize their returns in the next few years, that needs to change.

McKinsey Digital points out a couple of different benefits for organizations using live commerce, the main one being an influx in traffic. Live streaming events break the buying experience mold, and consumers love being surprised. You can expect that prospective buyers who wouldn’t necessarily visit your store under normal circumstances would find value in attending a live event.

Live events also keep people on your site for longer, resulting in richer conversion opportunities.

The sense of urgency inherent in in-person shopping doesn’t always translate to online markets, but having a stream showing decreasing inventory or limited-availability items being sold inspires people to act expeditiously rather than sitting on a loaded cart–something that can kill an e-commerce conversion as quickly as it starts one.

There are a ton of different ways to incorporate live events into your e-commerce campaigns. Virtual auctions are popular, as are markets in which individual sellers take buyers through inventory. However, the live event could be tangentially related–or even just something impressive running in parallel with the sale–and still bring in a swell of revenue.

Screen fatigue is real, and there isn’t a true substitute for a brick-and-mortar experience when done correctly. But if you have an e-commerce shop that isn’t utilizing some form of live entertainment–even just to bring in new buyers–you’re going to want to try this strategy soon.

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LinkedIn is nixing Stories this month (LinkedIn had Stories!?)

(SOCIAL MEDIA) LinkedIn tried to be like the cool kids and launched “Stories,” but the video feature is being shelved and “reimagined.” Ok.

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Creating the next big thing is essential for social networks to stay relevant, continue growing, and avoid shutting down. Sometimes, this leads to businesses trying to ride along with the success of another app’s latest feature and creating their cloned version. While the logic of recreating something already working makes sense, the results aren’t universal.

This time around, LinkedIn is saying goodbye to its short-lived Snapchat-like video product, Stories. In a company post, LinkedIn says it’s removing its Stories experience by the end of September.

Why is LinkedIn retiring Stories?

According to a post by Senior Director of Product at LinkedIn Liz Li, “[LinkedIn] introduced Stories last year as a fun and casual way to share quick video updates.”

After some testing and feedback, they learned this is not what users wanted. Seems like they could have beta tested with users and heard the same thing, but I digress.

“In developing Stories, we assumed people wouldn’t want informal videos attached to their profile, and that ephemerality would reduce barriers that people feel about posting. Turns out, you want to create lasting videos that tell your professional story in a more personal way and that showcase both your personality and expertise,” said Li.

What does this mean for users?

Starting on September 30, 2021, users will no longer be able to create Stories for Pages. If you’ve already planned to have an image or video ads run in-between Stories, they will now appear on the LinkedIn feed instead. For those who used Campaign Manager to promote or sponsor a Story directly from your Page, the company says “these paid Stories will not appear in the LinkedIn feed”, and the user will need to recreate the ad in Campaign Manager.

What’s next for LinkedIn?

According to Li, LinkedIn is taking what it learned from its finding to “evolve the Stories format into a reimagined video experience across LinkedIn that’s even richer and more conversational.” It plans on doing so by using mixed media and the creative tools of Stories.

“As we reimagine what is next, we’re focusing on how we can provide you with a short-form, rich interactive video format that is unique to our platform and that better helps you reach and engage your audiences on LinkedIn. We’re always excited to try out new things and learn as we go, and will continue to share updates along the way,” the company said.

Although Stories didn’t work well for LinkedIn as they hoped, one thing is for sure. LinkedIn isn’t giving up on some form of interactive video, and we can only hope they “reimagine” something unique that keeps users coming back for more.

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