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The obsession over social media shares – is quality or quantity better?

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Quality over quantity?

We’ve all heard some iteration of the phrase, “it’s the quality, not the quantity, that truly matters.” But do you really believe it?

As far as measurement is concerned, you absolutely should. Let’s consider two examples that I’ve been stewing over lately: frequency and number of social shares and the surge in traffic from StumbleUpon.

Campaigns and brands tend to have very distinct goals when jumping into social media, but one objective is often universal. Driving engagement among consumers is likely tantamount to anything else. Whether that means garnering comments on a Facebook page or retweets of an official Twitter account, engagement is the often a holy grail.

An obsession with numbers

When measuring content sharing like retweets or Facebook shares, it’s easy to fixate on big numbers. Getting a ton of shares or retweets is always better than fewer, right? Not necessarily.

All things being equal, you absolutely want more shares to help spread your content and messages further. Would you rather publish one piece of content per week that receives 500 shares or publish four pieces of content that receive 200 shares each?

I would choose the latter for a couple reasons. Most obviously, while each individual piece of content is garnering fewer shares, overall I’m seeing more shares per week (800). More importantly, though, I’m driving consistent engagement.

One hit wonders

If you publish content controversial or entertaining enough, you can likely drive a large number of shares once. But if you’re using social media, your goal is likely to build engagement and form a community. One-hit wonders won’t help you do that, but delivering content on a regular basis that your community wants to share time and again? That’s more like it.

It’s really not much different than television commercials in the sense that I may be more likely to recall a hilarious commercial I saw during the Super Bowl last year, but I’m more likely to buy a product from a company I see consistently.

Example: StumbleUpon

Now let’s look at StumbleUpon. A few months ago, everyone seemed to be talking about how StumbleUpon was driving a great deal of traffic to their website. Suddenly it seemed like StumbleUpon was the largest referrer of traffic for just about everybody. And the next thing you know, everyone was blogging about how to optimize for StumbleUpon and make it work even better for your site.

It turns out that while StumbleUpon really is driving a great deal of traffic to many, many websites and blogs, the quality of that traffic is extremely questionable. Bloggers began to report that visitors from StumbleUpon bounced more and spent less time on site than others.

The ultimate temptation

It’s tempting to assume that getting 1,000 visitors each day is far better than getting only 100. I don’t know about you, but I would rather have those 100 folks come to my blog, poke around, read a few posts and maybe leave a comment. Seeing 1,000 visitors come and immediately leave is really no better than seeing those same 100 come and immediately leave. It’s just more people who apparently don’t find value from your site.

Trust me, we all get wowed by big numbers. It’s too easy to do these days. The next time you’re shaking your head because something seems too good to be true, add some context. Try to consider additional details to understand if that giant number is really telling you something great.

Rebecca is a passionate UNC graduate, and a biochemist-turned-communications professional, she spends her days as a senior social media analyst at Digitas in Chicago, specialized social media monitoring and measurement best practices. She is continually excited to explore additional facets of digital measurement like traditional Web analytics, search metrics and integrated data models.

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41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Aaron Friedman

    October 27, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Awesome post Rebecca! Everything you have said is spot on. And to add once small thing to complement what you are saying, more often than not, having that consistent engagement will drive more traffic and likely more shares to the other pieces. This is especially true if they are properly linked together, reference the other posts or are part of a series.

    So in the short term you come out on top because, well, the shares are of a higher caliber. But as time goes on, you end up having more shares reaching a more niche audience. But even more than that, you will hopefully see continued shares resulting weeks later.

    Aaron Friedman
    @aaronfriedman

  2. Musangu Mbato

    May 26, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Let us get rich now with Millions of Dollars, contact me form more details: mbatomusangu@yahoo.co.za

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Social Media

Don’t let your Instagram vanish without a trace – have a backup plan

(SOCIAL MEDIA) In a weird glitch, multiple Instagram accounts vanished out of thin air. Don’t be stuck up the InstaVanish creek without a paddle… or at least a backup in place.

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Poof, gone

Can you imagine being locked out of your own Instagram account for no rhyme or reason? Well, dozens of people just found out, and they are PISSED.

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Thankfully, we’ve got a solution to make sure you don’t lose out if it happens to you.

First, some context

According to coverage from Consumerist, “Several Instagram users began complaining about the disabled or deleted accounts on Twitter today [July 6], noting that they received no warning or explanation for why their accounts were no longer active. The affected accounts appear to cover a wide range of users, from business owners, to fan and personal accounts.”

Via Twitter, Instagram did acknowledge a known bug causing the issue and said, “we’re working to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

However, the response came hours after complaints began, possibly because the issue allegedly affected a very small number of user accounts.

Furthermore, while Instagram gave instructions to users on how to reconfirm their identities and recover their account, they aren’t guaranteed to work.

So, bearing all that in mind, we here at American Genius recommend backing up your entire account in order to preserve your content.

Use what they give you

If you still have access to your account, you can utilize Instagram’s recently-launched Archive function. This lets you take photos off public view without removing them from your account; only you will be able to see them.

However, this does you no good if you’re already locked out, nor does it save posts that are publically available.

For that reason, we recommend a third-party backup option for your profile content.

A’int no party like a third party

You have a few different options. Our favorite one utilizes IFTT (If This, Then That). Using this automation tool, you can write a conditional function that says if you post a new photo to Instagram, it will automatically be sent to a cloud drive, such as Google Drive, OneDrive or Dropbox.

Along with the benefit of multiple storage options, we love this solution because you can set it and forget it.

That being said, it is not a complete solution; IFTT will ONLY backup up new photos, instead of old ones. To backup your entire collection of old memories, Instaport seems to be a crowd favorite.

Instaport is a free service that lets you download a backup of your entire account.

Once you download this backup, you could upload it to your preferred cloud storage provider, then set IFTTT to send future backups into that same folder.

Better safe than sorry

Using these tips, you can avoid being a total victim of an Instagram screw-up. Hopefully, this recent one will resolve shortly.

#InstaVanish

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How to quickly make your LinkedIn profile stand out from the masses

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Most of us have a love/hate relationship with LinkedIn, but no matter your feelings, you should be the one who stands out in a crowd – here’s how.

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Your LinkedIn is your brand. That’s it. Whether you are job hunting (or people are hunting you), or are showing off your business, insight, acumen, or simply networking; your profile on LinkedIn needs to stay appealing and not drive potential headhunters, bosses, clients, or networking groups bananas.

Let’s start with a three part list of what you MUST do, what you SHOULD do, and what you COULD do.

Here’s what you MUST DO (as in, do it now).

  1. Get a #GREAT LinkedIn photo. Nothing sells you like the right profile picture. No selfies. No mountain biking. Get a professional headshot. Don’t lie about your age. Wear what you wear when you’re on the job. Smile. People are visual.
  2. Simplify your profile. Cut the buzzwords. Cut out excess skills that don’t add to your vision or that don’t represent the kind of job you want. (i.e. most of us can use Outlook but few of us need to mention that skill because we don’t support Outlook). Focus on the skills that are important.
  3. Keep it current. Your LinkedIn should reflect your career and current responsibilities. Update the description. Add new projects. Change your groups as you change in your career and move towards new levels. Indicate when you receive a promotion.
  4. Extra, Extra! Headlines. Don’t use something lame for your headline. How would you want to catch a headhunter to look at you if you could only say 10 words? Make it standout. There are thousands of managers – but only one you.
  5. Custom URL. Just do it. Pick your own URL. It’s FREEEEEEE.
  6. Get the app. Make LinkedIn a part of your mobile life and check it more often than you do Snapchat.

Here’s what you SHOULD DO (Set aside some time at Starbucks and go do this in the next month).

  1. Tell your story. Your summary should bring to live the content of your career. Don’t leave that section blank. Spend some time crafting a cool story. Run it by your professional mentor. Send it to your English major friends.
  2. Connect. Add colleagues. Add partners from other organizations. Use connections to broaden your network. Synch your profile with your address book. Add people after a conference.
  3. Endorse your connections. Identify people you’ve worked with and give them the endorsements – which can get them to come endorse you!
  4. Ask for recommendations. Ask a colleague, partner, or manager to write you a recommendation to help advertise your skills.
  5. Add a nice cover photo. Again, visual people. Some more on that here.

Here’s what you COULD DO (If you’re feeling dedicated, what you can do to give yourself an extra edge.)

  1. Share your media. Upload presentations, videos, speeches, or projects that you can share. (Don’t violate company policy though!).
  2. Publish original content. LinkedIn has a vibrant publishing feature and sharing your original work (or content you’ve published elsewhere) is a great way to share your voice.
  3. Post status updates. Share your reactions. Share articles. Repost from influencers. Be active and keep your feed vibrant.

That’s a quick list to get started. So go start your LinkedIn makeover (and I’ll go do the same). Let’s get connected!

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Innovative widget places Instagram Stories right on your website

(SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS) Increase your social media reach with this neat new free to use Instagram Stories widget for your company website or personal portfolio site.

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Instagram Stories are a great way to integrate video into your marketing strategy. If you’re already investing time and money in this successful strategy, might as well feature Stories on your website too, right?

Well lucky you, Fastory recently released a free widget to add Instagram Stories directly to your site to feature your nifty marketing efforts on desktop. Even though mobile is still dominant with younger generations, desktop users need some love and access to Stories, too.

Fastory CEO Sylvain Weber noted the “widget is the only one fully based on the brand new Instagram Graph API (no private API, validated by Facebook himself).” This pretty much means Fastory is ahead of the game with the newly opened up API, and are basically development pioneers.

Drive awareness and build loyalty by spreading the wonder of your Instagram Stories far and wide with the Stories Widget. Simply log in to Facebook to get the widget, then sync your Instagram Stories stream.

Next, all you have to do is copy the provided HTML code and paste it on your website. Hooray, now you have a widget that automatically updates your website with your latest Stories.

Keep in mind you’ll need an Instagram Business Account for this to work.

If you have more than one business Instagram linked to Facebook Pages, just select the one you want to use from the drop-down menu when getting the widget code.

You can continue that process to select multiple Instagram accounts and generate widget codes for each of them.

Free for a limited time, you can also utilize the Memories feature, keeping a collection of your Instagram Stories on your site instead of having them disappear after twenty-four hours like usual.

All the Stories featured on your site also include a “follow us” button to encourage user engagement and gain you more followers.

Looking for help jazzing up your Instagram Stories? Fastory was originally created as an easy to use design platform to create and customize Stories.

Their mobile-first marketing suite offers drag & drop design featuring animated headlines crafted in Adobe After Effects, fonts from Google Web Fonts, and motion design.

Story creation and editing is collaborative with varying roles and levels of privileges. Plus, you can track visitors in real time to identify drop off points and areas for improvement. Contact Fastory for Story creation pricing information.

And on the free end of things, check out the Instagram Story Widget.

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