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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

Deepfakes can destroy any reputation, company, or country

(MEDIA) Deepfakes have been around for a few years now, but they’re being crafted for nefarious purposes beyond the original porn and humor uses.

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Deepfakes — a technology originally used by Reddit perverts who wanted to superimpose their favorite actresses’ faces onto the bodies of porn stars – have come a long way since the original Reddit group was banned.

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence (AI) to create bogus videos by analyzing facial expressions to replace one person’s face and/or voice with another’s.

Using computer technology to synthesize videos isn’t exactly new.

Remember in Forrest Gump, how Tom Hanks kept popping up in the background of footage of important historical events, and got a laugh from President Kennedy? It wasn’t created using AI, but the end result is the same. In other cases, such technology has been used to complete a film when an actor dies during production.

The difference between these examples and that latest deepfake technology is a question of ease and access.

Historically, these altered videos have required a lot of money, patience, and skill. But as computer intelligence has advanced, so too has deepfake technology.

Now the computer does the work instead of the human, making it relatively fast and easy to create a deepfake video. In fact, Stanford created a technology using a standard PC and web cam, as I reported in 2016.

Nowadays, your average Joe can access open source deepfake apps for free. All you need is some images or video of your victim.

While the technology has mostly been used for fun – such as superimposing Nicolas Cage into classic films – deepfakes could and have been used for nefarious purposes.

There is growing concern that deepfakes could be used for political disruption, for example, to smear a politician’s reputation or influence elections.

Legislators in the House and Senate have requested that intelligence agencies report on the issue. The Department of Defense has already commissioned researchers to teach computers to detect deepfakes.

One promising technology developed at the University of Albany analyzes blinking to detect deep fakes, as subjects in the faked videos usually do not blink as often as real humans do. Ironically, in order to teach computers how to detect them, researchers must first create many deepfake videos. It seems that deepfake creators and detectors are locked in a sort of technological arms race.

The falsified videos have the potential to exacerbate the information wars, either by producing false videos, or by calling into question real ones. People are already all too eager to believe conspiracy theories and fake news as it is, and the insurgence of these faked videos could be created to back up these bogus theories.

Others worry that the existence of deepfake videos could cast doubt on actual, factual videos. Thomas Rid, a professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University says that deepfakes could lead to “deep denials” – in other words, “the ability to dispute previously uncontested evidence.”

While there have not yet been any publicly documented cases of attempts to influence politics with deepfake videos, people have already been harmed by the faked videos.

Women have been specifically targeted. Celebrities and civilians alike have reported that their likeness has been used to create fake sex videos.

Deepfakes prove that just because you can achieve an impressive technological feat doesn’t always mean you should.

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Can you legally monitor your employees’ online activities? Kinda

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are they ways you are monitoring your employees online even legal? Did you know there are illegal methods? Yep.

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Edward Snowden’s infamous info leak in 2013 brought to light the scope of surveillance measures, raising questions about legality of monitoring tactics. However, the breach also opened up broader discussion on best practices for protecting sensitive data.

No company wants to end up with a data breach situation on their hands, but businesses need to be careful when implementing monitoring systems to prevent data loss.

Monitoring your employee’s activity online can be a crucial part of safeguarding proprietary data. However, many legal risks are present when implementing data loss prevention (DLP) methods.

DLP tools like keystroke logging, natural language processing, and network traffic monitoring are all subject to federal and state privacy laws. Before putting any DLP solutions in place, companies need to assess privacy impact and legal risks.

First, identify your monitoring needs. Different laws apply to tracking data in transit versus data at rest. Data in transit is any data moving through a network, like sending an email. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) requires consent for tracking any data in transit.

Data at rest is anything relatively immobile, like information stored in a database or archives. Collecting data at rest can fall under the Stored Communications Act (SCA), which typically prohibits unauthorized access or disclosure of electronic communications.

While the SCA does not usually prevent employers from accessing their own systems, monitoring things like Gmail accounts could get messy without proper authorization.

Who you’re tracking matters as well regarding consent and prior notification. If you’re just monitoring your own employees, you may run into disclosure issues. Some states, like Delaware and Connecticut, prohibit employee monitoring without prior notice.

The ECPA also generally prohibits tracking electronic communication, but exceptions are granted for legitimate business purposes so long as consent is obtained.

Monitoring third party communications can get tricky with wiretapping laws. In California and Illinois, all parties must be notified of any tracking. This can involve disclosures on email signatures from outbound employee emails, or a broad notification on the company’s site.

Implied consent comes from third parties continuing communication even with disclaimers present.

If you’re wanting to install DLP software on personal devices used for work, like a company cellphone, you could face a series of fines for not gaining authorization. Incorrect implementation may fall under spyware and computer crime laws.

With any DLP tools and data monitoring, notification and consent are crucial. When planning monitoring, first assess what your privacy needs are, then identify potential risks of implementing any tracking programs.

Define who, where, and why DLP software will apply, and make sure every employee understands the need for tracking. Include consent in employee onboarding, and keep employees updated with changes to your monitoring tactics.

Protecting your company’s data is important, but make sure you’re not unintentionally bending privacy laws with your data loss prevention methods. Regularly check up on your approaches to make sure everything is in compliance with monitoring laws.

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How to spot if your SEO, PPC, social media marketing service provider is a con-artist

(BUSINESS) When hiring a professional, did you know there are actual questions you can ask to spot a con-artist? Too often, we trust our guts and go with the gregarious person, but too much is on the line to keep doing that with your business.

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In this day and age the cult of positive thinking and “the law of attraction” are still very much alive and well in the business services industry. Here are a few simple questions that you can ask prospective business service providers to help you gauge if they are the real deal or just caught up in the fad of “say yes to everything,” or “outsource everything” being populated online by countless “thought leaders” and cult gurus.

Lots of people will ask, “What’s the harm of people trying to make something of themselves?”

Well, I’m here to tell you there is a huge harm in taking risks with a client’s money and manipulating people into trusting their “expertise” when they have none.

Business owners: Due diligence is more important than ever these days.

There are whole communities of people helping to prop each-other up as experts in fields they know nothing about while outsourcing their tasks with little or no oversight into the actual work being done on your behalf.

It is nearly impossible for you to tell if this is even going on. Don’t worry. I am here to help you avoid a con-artist.

How? By showing you how to weed out the bad actors by asking really simple questions.

This set of questions is perfect for people who need to distinguish if the expert they are talking is really just an expert in bullshit with a likeable personality.

Why do these questions work? Because people who are into this kind of stuff are rarely hesitant to talk about it when you ask them direct questions. They believe that what they are doing is a good thing and so they are more open to sharing this information with you because they think by you by asking that you are also into similar things.

It is a fun little trick I picked up while learning to do consumer polling and political surveying.

The Questions:

  • Who influences you professionally?
  • Do you follow any “thought leaders” “gurus” or coaches? If so, who?
  • What “school” of thought do you ascribe to in your profession, and where do you learn what you know?
  • Are there any industry standards you do not agree with?
  • How do you apply the services you offer to your own company?
  • Can you please tell me the background of your support staff and can I see their CV’s?
  • Do you outsource or white label any of the work your company does?
  • May we audit your process before buying your services?
  • May we discuss your proposed strategies with others in your industry to ensure quality?
  • Would you be open to speaking with an independent consultant that is knowledgeable about your industry about your proposals?
  • Can you show me examples of your past successful jobs?
  • Do you have any industry accepted certifications and how many hours of study do you do in a year to keep your knowledge up-to-date and current?
  • How many clients have you had in the past?
  • How many clients do you have currently?
  • How many clients are you able to handle at one time?
  • How many other clients do you have that are in the same industry as my company?
  • How long is your onboarding process before we start getting down to actually making changes to help solve the issues my company is facing?
  • Can you explain to me the steps you will take to identify my company’s needs?
  • Have you ever taken a course in NLP or any other similar course of study?
  • Have you ever been a part of a Multi-Level Marketing company?
  • Fun. Right? Well, we aren’t done.

    It is not just enough to ask these questions… you have to pay attention to the answers, as well as the WAY they are answering questions.

    And you also have to RESEARCH the company after you get your answers to make sure they ring true.

    You cannot keep accepting people at face value, not when the risk is to your business, employees, and clients. There is little to no risk for a person who is being dishonest about their capabilities and skill sets. They will walk away with your money, ready to go find another target for a chance meeting that seems amazingly perfect.

    Do not leave your business decisions to chance encounters at networking events. Research before saying yes.

    No matter how likeable or appealing the person you are speaking with is.

    How do you research? Easy. THE INTERNET. Look at the website of the company you are considering working with.

    • Does it look professional? (do not use your website as a standard for professional unless you have had it done by a professional)
    • Can you see a list of their past clients?
    • Do they effectively tell their story as a company or are they just selling?
    • What do their social media profiles look like? Do they have many followers? Are they updated regularly?
    • Do they have any positive reviews on social sites? (Yelp, Facebook, Linkedin, etc)

    You can also do some simple things like running SEO Website Checkers on their websites. There are tons of these online for free and they will give you a pretty good indicator of if they are using best practices on their websites – you can even do this research on their clients’ websites.

    Also, if you know anything about SpyFu, you can run their website through that to see how they are doing their own online marketing (the same can be said for their clients if they are selling this service).

    Facebook also has a cool section that shows you ads that a Page is running. You can find this info connected to their business Page as well as the Pages they manage for their clients as well. None of these things automatically disqualify a potential service provider, but their answers the question of “why” things are the way there are might be very illuminating to you as a business owner.

    This may seem like a lot of work, and it can be if you do not do these things regularly and have them down to a system, but the cost of not doing these things is way too high. A con-artist is born every day, thanks to the internet.

    You have a right as a business owner considering services from a vendor to ask these questions.

    They also have the responsibility as a service provider to answer these questions in a professional manner. Sometimes the way in which they answer the questions is far more important than the actual answer.

    If all of this seems too overwhelming for you to handle, that is okay.

    • You can ask one of your staff in your company to take on this role and responsibility.
    • You can hire someone to come in and help you with these decisions (and you can ask them all the same questions as above before taking their services).
    • You can reach out to other business owners in your network to see if they have recommendations for someone who could help you with things.
    • Heck, you can even call up companies that look like they are doing as well as you want to be doing online and ask them who they are using for their services. Try successful companies in other industries as your competitor won’t likely be interested in sharing their secrets with you…

    What is important is that you are asking questions, researching, and ultimately making sure that you are doing as much as possible to ensure making the best decision for your company.

    Final thoughts:

    “But, Jay, what’s wrong with taking a risk on an up-and-comer?”

    The answer to that is NOTHING. There is nothing wrong with taking a chance on someone. Someone being green doesn’t make them a con-artist.

    The issue I am raising is in the honest portrayal of businesses and their capabilities. It is about honesty.

    I am a huge fan of working with people who are new and passionate about an industry. But I only work with people who are honest with me about who they are, what they can do, and how their processes work.

    I have worked with tons of people who are still learning on the job. It can be quite educational for a business owner as well.

    Just make sure they are being honest about everything up front. You are no obligated to give anyone a chance when it comes to your businesses success, and it’s not right that someone might manipulate you into doing so.

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