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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.

Social Media

Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!

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Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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Social Media

Should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are there times when it makes sense to connect with your boss and team on Facebook? Or is LinkedIn enough?

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Just as we learn, grow, and change in life, so does our use of social media platforms and technology in general. It makes sense though – when hot new programs come out and “everybody’s doing it” (thinking of you MySpace and Plaxo), it’s easy to create a user profile to see what you think of the platform.

You may be a heavy user at first (looking at you Facebook) and then back off, only to use it for certain functions (Groups and Events for example). In the interim, you may have joined Instagram because for some reason it seemed simpler and light-hearted. And don’t let the new, shiny things coming out pass you by without at least seeing if you like them, or if they help entertain you and connect you to loved ones (looking at you Snapchat and TikTok).

Amongst some doubt of new or potential users in the mid-2000s after Facebook opened up to those outside of universities, we have to admit that Facebook has had a longevity that some of the other platforms have not. It allows you to keep your personal network in one place as well as your photos, significant dates, your career changes, events, and even see what your cousins are up to. It almost feels like once you’re invested, it’s hard to get out.

The thing is, there is definitely a grey area on who you accept as a “friend”. It really is up to each person’s comfort level on who they want to be connected to, and how much sharing they do on the platform. This article isn’t going to address Facebook privacy concerns and data sharing, but we do encourage you to look in to those if that is something that is important to you. It’s a similar idea with LinkedIn – some people are happy to connect with anyone and everyone, while others prefer to keep their connections to those they personally know and/or have worked with.

This story is addressing a question as it relates to an article in Inc. about whether or not is it’s ok for managers and employees to be “Facebook friends”, and some other tricky professional situations. We have to look at few things first, including the evolution of our use.

Since Facebook was made available to everyone, we have gone from a simple profile picture, relationship status (oof), and random updates about our breakfast/dentist appointments, to joining interest groups, sharing news articles, promoting brands and memes at a mind-boggling rate. Many people have considered deleting their Facebook profiles due to a high level of negativity, privacy concerns over their data and pictures, and how ultimately, scrolling your newsfeed can be a total time suck.

Many stay on because they are in groups (like super amazing, supportive, and popular ones such as Austin Digital Jobs) that they enjoy, and it’s a way to stay connected with others. This has felt true especially during COVID-19 where many people have lost their social outlets, networking opportunities, and have not been able to get together in person. Social media has also been a useful platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs to run a business page at minimal costs (free unless they run advertising), and reach out to customers. Facebook (owner of Instagram) also seems to have been making strides this year to better support small business owners.

So, should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

That is up to you (we are not here to tell you how to run your life) and while many have said, “Nope” in a super unofficial survey of 30 respondents, there were a couple of interesting perspectives:

“Since I’m my boss, twist on my answer… I don’t yes any professional that asks to be FB friends. That’s what my page is for. I even have a canned response that says this because I get so many asks. My personal FB is for actual friends of mine. I didn’t want to yes my MIL either. I have her on the restricted list.”

“I guess it depends. I’m friends with my boss and most of my coworkers. Creative shop within a corporation … about 45 strong. We are tight.”

“If you love your job and you love your boss then I think it is ok. I work 2 part-time jobs and both of my bosses are amazing! I am friends and Facebook friends with both of them.”

“I’m fine. I don’t post much on Facebook anymore. My bosses are all fairly chill. ”

“I have been Facebook friends with previous bosses while they were my boss. I am not with my current boss, but I’d be fine with it if we were. I don’t post anything too crazy, and I tend to over share in the office already. I like to be an open book. Tiktok would be different though… ”

For some who are part of a start-up or smaller team where collaboration and getting to know one another  are supported (thinking teams of 10 or less, hey AG Staff Writers), this may be more of the ‘norm’ and acceptable. However, the majority of people do not want to be “Facebook friends” with their boss to draw a line between work and personal sharing. Many people also mentioned that it varied if they chose to be Facebook friends with their colleagues, although they seem to be more open to colleagues vs. direct supervisors.

This seems to reflect back on how you use Facebook and if sharing your weekend or family photos is not something you want everyone to see. On the flip side, if you’re not sharing much, maybe you’d be OK with being connected there. A more professional way of connecting with your supervisor and others at work is through LinkedIn, and is in fact, highly encouraged.

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Could TikTok soon be banned in the U.S for privacy breaching?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) TikTok, a video content social media giant, has been deemed a potential national security risk by the U.S Federal government.

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TikTok is banned

U.S lawmakers are calling for a full investigation into TikTok, the fifteen second video app with almost 180 million downloads, after expressing concerns of a privacy breach by the Chinese government.

TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, purchased the platform originally known as musical.ly in November 2017. Since then the social media app worth an estimated $150 billion has almost 180 million downloads in the U.S, and 800 million downloads worldwide.

According to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the U.S has reason to believe the Beijing-based company, ByteDance, may have been coerced into handing over data to China’s communist leaders. The app’s Founder, Zhang Yiming, and TikTok’s spokesperson responded to the accusations with the following statement: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

We don’t know if we believe you TikTok.

TikTok received over 500 legal demands, including emergency requests, in the first six months of 2020. TikTok has also previously confirmed that the app stores user data on “U.S-based servers” withdrawn from phone downloads. Information includes IP addresses, messages, location information, and according to Pompeo, “sensitive information”, exposed by data breaching that disregards American rights to privacy and potentially violates national security guidelines.

Company employees may live in the U.S, but with its head of operations stationed in Beijing, pressure from the Chinese Government to provide user information is a very serious concern for Americans using the app. 41 percent of its users are part of Generation Z, a highly influential, social media-friendly age group, ranging between 16 and 24.

A sense of invincibility within this age range encourages users to use the app without caution of personal information that may be provided or derived off your phone after installation. In the past two years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have also been criticized for not abiding to lawful privacy standards.

ByteDance has halted the use of its corporate office in Beijing and is looking to establish headquarters within the U.S or under new management.

The U.S. government is seriously considering banning the use of TikTok.

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