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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.

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Social Media

Twitter branches out into voice chat – what could go wrong?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) We’re learning more about Twitter’s forthcoming audio chat rooms, but what is Twitter learning about moderation?

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Twitter open on a smartphone on table next to a cup of warm brown tea.

Twitter wants you to talk more with more people. Like, actually form words. With your mouth.

In November 2020, the micro-blogging giant announced it’s testing its new Audio Spaces feature, which allows users to create audio-only chat rooms – making it what Wired calls a copycat of the new and buzzy Clubhouse app.

Twitter itself hasn’t released many details, but tech blogger/app-feature detective Jane Manchun Wong has been tweeting some of the deets.

How it works

Here’s what we know about the private beta version, according to Wong: Users create a chat room and can control who is admitted to the group, whether it’s the public, followers, or followees. Group size is currently limited to 10. Members can react with a set set of emojis: “100,” raised hand, fist, peace sign, and waving hand. Spaces conversations are not recorded, but they are transcribed for accessibility. It uses Periscope on the back end.

One thing that’s not clear: The actual name. Twitter’s announcements have been calling it Audio Spaces, but the product’s handle is @TwitterSpaces.

It’s Twitter! What could go wrong?

The big gorilla in the chat room is moderation – as in, how do you keep humans from being terrible on Twitter?

We can all be forgiven for skepticism when it comes to Twitter’s aim to keep Audio Spaces safe(ish). Twitter can be a toxic stew of personal insults and even threats. Interestingly, Twitter is starting its test by inviting users who are often targets: Women and people from marginalized groups. Great idea! Who better to help craft community guidelines?

Requiring platforms to shut down hate speech and violent threats is having a moment, and Clubhouse is already in the controversy mix. Even as invite-only, the app has had some high-profile failures to moderate with threats toward a New York Times reporter and a problem anti-semitic conversation. It seems likely Twitter is paying attention.

Also on the safe(ish) side: The space creator is all powerful and can mute or kick out bad actors. Spaces can also be reported. Then there’s the transcription, which sets Audio Spaces apart from similar apps. Chat transcription was aimed at accessibility but, TechCrunch suggests that might help keep things civil and appropriate if people know their words are being written down. Hmm. Maybe?

Also… Why?

It doesn’t appear that there was a groundswell of demand from users, but Audio Spaces at least is something different from the feature pile-on making the social media big dogs start to look the same, as in Twitter’s also-new Fleets, Instagram’s and Facebook’s Stories, Snapchat’s… Snapchat. (See also Instagram’s Reels, Snapchat’s Spotlight, TikTok’s… TikTok.)

Clubhouse does appear to be hugely popular in Silicon Valley – and it has the investment capital to show it – so maybe there’s something to this audio-only chat thing. But we’ve already seen pandemic-fueled Zoom-happy-hour-fatigue, as users have gotten frustrated with too many people talking at the same time. Video chat can give users at least a few more clues about who is talking and who might be about to talk. Audio-only chat seems like it could quickly devolve into a chaotic cacophony.

But, Twitter says, conversation will flow naturally, and it advises users to “be present.”

“Just like in real life, the magic is in the moment,” it says.

It’s beta testers will surely have a lot to say about “magic” and “moderation.”

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Social Media

New Pinterest code of conduct pushes for mindful posting

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Social media sites have struggled with harmful content, but Pinterest is using their new code of conduct to encourage better, not just reprimands.

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Pinterest icon on phone with 2 notifications, indicating new code of conduct.

It appears that at least one social media site has made a decision on how to move forward with the basis of their platform. Pinterest has created a brand-new code of conduct for their users. Giving them a set of rules to follow which to some may be a little restricting, but I’m not mad about it. In a public statement, they told the world their message:

“We’re on a journey to build a globally inclusive platform where Pinners around the world can discover ideas that feel personalized, relevant, and reflective of who they are.”

The revamp of their system includes 3 separate changes revolving around the rules of the platform. All of them are complete with examples and full sets of rules. The list is summed up as:

  • Pinterest Creator Code
  • Pinterest Comment Moderation Tools
  • Pinterest Creator Fund

For the Creator Code, Pinterest had this to say: “The Creator Code is a mandatory set of guidelines that lives within our product intended to educate and build community around making inclusive and compassionate content”. The rules are as follows:

  • Be Kind
  • Check my Facts
  • Be aware of triggers
  • Practice Inclusion
  • Do no harm

The list of rules provides some details on the pop-up as well, with notes like “make sure content doesn’t insult,” “make sure information is accurate,” etc. The main goal of this ‘agreement’, according to Pinterest, is not to reprimand offending people but to practice a proactive and empowering social environment. Other social websites have been shoe-horned into reprimanding instead of being proactive against abuse, and it has been met with mixed results. Facebook itself is getting a great deal of flack about their new algorithm that picks out individual words and bans people for progressively longer periods without any form of context.

Comment Moderation is a new set of tools that Pinterest is hoping will encourage a more positive experience between users and content creators. It’s just like putting the carrot before the donkey to get him to move the cart.

  • Positivity Reminders
  • Moderation Tools
  • Featured Comments
  • New Spam Prevention Signals

Sticking to the positivity considerations here seems to be the goal. They seem to be focusing on reminding people to be good and encouraging them to stay that way. Again, proactive, not reactive.

The social platform’s last change is to create a Pinterest Creator Fund. Their aim is to provide training, create strategy consulting, and financial support. Pinterest has also stated that they are going to be aiming these funds specifically at underrepresented communities. They even claim to be committing themselves to a quota of 50% of their Creators. While I find this commendable, it also comes off a little heavy handed. I would personally wait to see how they go about this. If they are ignoring good and decent Creators based purely on them being in a represented group, then I would find this a bad use of their time. However, if they are actively going out and looking for underrepresented Creators while still bringing in good Creators that are in represented groups, then I’m all for this.

Being the change you want to see in the world is something I personally feel we should all strive towards. Whether or not you produced positive change depends on your own goals… so on and so forth. In my own opinion, Pinterest and their new code of conduct is creating a better positive experience here and striving to remind people to be better than they were with each post. It’s a bold move and ultimately could be a spectacular outcome. Only time will tell how their creators and users will respond. Best of luck to them.

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Social Media

Facebook releases Hotline as yet another Clubhouse competitor

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As yet another app emerges to try and take some of Clubhouse’s success, Facebook Hotline adds a slightly more formal video chat component to the game.

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Woman forming hands into heart shape at laptop hosting live video chat, similar to Facebook's new app Hotline

Facebook is at it again and launching its own version of another app. This time, the company has launched Hotline, which looks like a cross between Instagram Live and Clubhouse.

Facebook’s Hotline is the company’s attempt at competing with Clubhouse, the audio-based social media app, which was released on iOS in March 2020. Earlier this year, The New York Times reported Facebook had already begun working on building its own version of the app. Erik Hazzard, who joined Facebook in 2017 after the company acquired his tbh app, is leading the project.

The app was created by the New Product Experimentation (NPE) Team, Facebook’s experimental development division, and it’s already in beta testing online. To access it, you can use the web-based application through the platform’s website to join the waitlist and “Host a Show”. However, you will need to sign in using your Twitter account to do so.

Unlike Clubhouse, Hotline lets users also chat through video and not just audio alone. The product is more like a formal Q&A and recording platform. Its features allow people to live stream and hold Q&A sessions with their audiences similar to Instagram Live. And, audience members can ask questions by using text or audio.

Also, what makes Hotline a little more formal than Clubhouse is that it automatically records conversations. According to TechCrunch, hosts receive both a video and audio recording of the event. With a guaranteed recording feature, the Q&A sessions will stray away from the casual vibes of Clubhouse.

The first person to host a Q&A live stream on Hotline is real-estate investor Nick Huber, who is the type of “expert” Facebook is hoping to attract to its platform.

“With Hotline, we’re hoping to understand how interactive, live multimedia Q&As can help people learn from experts in areas like professional skills, just as it helps those experts build their businesses,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch. “New Product Experimentation has been testing multimedia products like CatchUp, Venue, Collab, and BARS, and we’re encouraged to see the formats continue to help people connect and build community,” the spokesperson added.

According to a Reuters article, the app doesn’t have any audience size limits, hosts can remove questions they don’t want to answer, and Facebook is moderating inappropriate content during its early days.

An app for mobile devices isn’t available yet, but if you want to check it out, you can visit Hotline’s website.

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