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How to use the power of social media to your advantage

28 Feb

By now, most of the general pubic has jumped onto the social media train. You have a Facebook account. You follow people on Twitter. You make connections on LinkedIn. You watch videos on YouTube. So on and so forth. How many times while using these social networks have you ever thought you would get something out of it? Probably it that much, am I right?

What most people don’t realize is that socially connected brands want you to talk to them. They want you to tell the work about your likes and dislikes. Research shows that 85% of marketers believe that consumer insight is a top reason to be socially active. Businesses both large and small are monitoring their industries and brand to find their brand advocates (both positive and negative). By using the feedback they receive in social media, they are able to make improvements to their business and learn how to crisis manage in a faster timeframe. They can also use the information to solicit their fans to help create buzz around product launches and other events.

How do I get noticed by these companies? Start talking about them! For me, it’s easiest to do @mention shout outs and use hash tags on Twitter. See my two examples below:

Facebook is a little more difficult to get the attention of a company when you just post a status message. To really get the attention, comment on the fan page or checkin through Facebook Places. One local place that does this well is Junebug’s Cupcakes. I recently posted a brief review of some cupcake bakeries in Dayton and my sister shared my blog post on their wall. My blog post probably sent a good amount of traffic over to their website and by sharing, we let them know that we like their food. In return, I get some referrals back from fans on their page and an increased chance that next time I visit their bakery, they might recognize me which may result in some fantastic cupcake deals.

The important thing to remember is not every company will respond to your shout outs – and that’s okay. I would never encourage anyone to start talking about certain brands just because they give freebies. I would encourage others to talk about or endorse certain brands because of their responses on social media. I think that shows that a company understands its audience and really listens to them. It allows customer service to be at a whole new personal level. And in the end – isn’t that what we all really want – to be known as a face with a name and not just a number?

Social Media Tools Wrap-Up

11 Nov

This morning, I presented at New Media Dayton’s monthly meetup with Keri Jaehnig on Social Media Tools for your business.  We had a great turnout of people, and even gave away a shiny new Verizon phone.  As stated in my last post, we shared many tools that were mostly free and easy to use and then challenged people to put to use what they learned in our presentation in order to be entered in a drawing to win the Verizon phone.

I want to share with you our presentation from today and see if you’ve got any other helpful tools to add to our list, or to hear about your experiences with these tools.  And as always, I’m happy to help if you’ve got any questions!

Follow the chatter

2 Nov

In preparation for an upcoming New Media Dayton meeting next week, where Keri Jaehnig (Idea Girl Media) and I will be speaking to small business owners and individuals alike about social media tools, I wanted to give the readers here at Dayton Most Metro a little preview of what can be expected and get some feedback about what you would like to hear about.

 I don’t care about social, so why should I learn about the tools?  For starters, social media is about more than just logging into Facebook or Twitter and checking out what your friends have to say.  For the individual, social is about helping you find new interests through your peers and reconnecting with old friends.  For the business owner, it’s about discovering new insights about your customers and ways in which you can provide the best service to them.

One tool that I would like to share ahead of the meeting is called TweetChat.  This site allows Twitter users to track and follow hashtags.  By following a hashtag, you can see all the activity produced by a particular event.  Tweetchat lets you respond and contribute to the conversation in an easier way than using Twitter.com.

I would encourage all of you to follow along next Friday (11/11) at 9:30am to the #NMDayton meeting and see what other tools we are going to share, and if you can stop by the meeting, we’d love to meet you!

First look: the new Facebook timeline

23 Sep

Following these directions from Mashablehttp://mashable.com/2011/09/22/how-to-facebook-timeline/  I enabled my developer preview for Timeline.  Here’s a quick look at what you get when you first get the timeline:

Click to enlarge.

First up, the cover.  This image should be something that you’ve already uploaded into Facebook.  This image can be changed as little or as often as you like.  It should represent you.

Next, the update info & view activity toolbar, is another feature that is for your eyes only.  Use this to change the privacy settings on your posts and more.

Finally, each post has some hidden options that pop up when you mouse over the right corner.  You’ll see a star and a pencil.  Use the star to mark something as a top or favorite post.  Use the pencil to hide or delete the post.

If you opt to try this feature out early, really take your time and explore before making anything public.  There are so many features to check out, and plenty more that are will be rolled up with the public launch next week (like integration with Spotify, Hulu, and Netflix).

Surprise! Another Facebook Redesign.

21 Sep

This morning, I noticed some pretty significant changes to the Facebook home page.  Considering there have been many rumors swirling around what would be announced at tomorrows F8 conference, I’m surprised that they’ve already started to roll out changes to users.

3 key things to look for:

  1. The division of your friends’ updates into some new categories: top stories and recent stories (grouped by time frame of your last login to the site).
  2. Top stories are marked with a blue triangle in the left corner.  These can be defined as “most commented or liked” updates.
  3. A new sidebar that shows real time updates of what your friends are doing on Facebook.
One thing I have not seen yet, are any changes to the privacy settings – meaning you can’t completely control what actions of yours show up on your friend’s activity sidebar.

Facebook privacy options finally get it right… well sort of?

30 Aug

This past week, Facebook launched its new set of privacy options [only the 13987 its made in the last year, or so it feels].  This new set of options really gets down in great detail with how you control what you share – just in time as we all think “thank goodness, my prayers have been answered!”

First, the news feed.

  1. Previously you could tag people in a post by putting an @ sign before their name, and a drop down menu would pop up.  Now you can click this button to tag someone in a status update.  I think it’s much easier just to do it the old way with the @sign but for those of you who can’t always remember to do so, this button does make life a bit easier.
  2. You can now also disclose your location to your friends.  I’m convinced that this is an easy way for people to stalk you – so be careful of what you disclose.  This new feature is what I like to call “facebook places for everyone.”  Places used to be only for smartphone users, and this allows people to know check-in from a computer AND say who you’re with.
  3. This last option allows you to control WHO sees your status update.  Options are simple: Public (formerly “Everyone”), Friends (only your Facebook friends), and Custom (hide from certain people, networks, or only share with specific people or networks).
That’s a horrid photo you tagged of me – REJECT!
You can choose to turn on this new option called “Profile Review.”  This puts anything you’re tagged in by your friends into a “pending” page for approval before it shows up on your wall.
OK, now I have all these new options, but what do people really see?
You now can view what others are seeing by clicking a button in the top right corner “View As”
It allows you to view how the public would view (read: non Facebook friends) or as a friend (either with full rights to your profile, or limited view).
In summary, you can now tell people where you are, who you’re with, who you tell, and if anyone gives that same information for you, decide whether or not you want others to see it on your profile.

Who needs social? Everybody!

25 Jul

We are social beings.  There is no avoiding that.  We get by in our everyday lives by talking to people, or communicating through email, or making sign language gestures at people.  Unless you’re a hermit leaving in a cave somewhere far from civilization because you have leprosy, you’re bound to be social in some form or another.

Why should I use social media?

I often hear that phrase in my industry and with the people I encounter on a day-to-day basis.  Social media is about more than just creating an account on Facebook or Twitter.  It’s more than just having friends on those networks.  It’s really about a new way of communicating with others that is more accessible and happens instantly.  For me personally (as a young 20-something professional), it’s about fostering new and rekindling old relationships in a way that those in the pre-internet era could never do.  I participate in social not because it’s my job or because everyone else is on it – but rather because of what I can and have learned from social media.

My social experiment confirms social works

KloutKlout is a web site that measures social influence.  I started using it about 2 months ago, and I can surely see the difference in what checking 1 web site, 1 time a week can do to my social media participation.  With Klout, you connect your Twitter, Facebook, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts.  Using some algorithm, Klout uses the network that you are most active on to set a base for how influencial you are on that network.  It uses the other networks you’ve connected as a support that can help to boost that base score.  Scores range from 1-100, with 100 being the highest.

When I began using Klout, my score was in the low 20s – and that was thanks to having a Twitter and a Facebook account.   With that being said I’ve found that increased participation = increased Klout score = engagement in social media channels.  My score today is at a 49, which is lower than I would like, but jumping over 20 points in a 2 month span is pretty good.

So, what does this mean for you, the reader?  Nothing if you don’t want it to.  Or – you can start participating in social and see what benefits it can give you.  Be forewarned, that you do have to continually work at social in order to be successful at social (but what doesn’t take work in life?).  You’ll lose nothing by not trying, but can gain everything if you do.

To get you started, why don’t you go over there to the right, and click on my social media links and start by following me! :)

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

19 Jul

I own approximately 54 pairs of shoes.  Not counting discount flip-flops or winter or athletic shoes.  Think that’s a lot?  I was thinking not quite enough! :)  But the real question is, how do I know that, and why did I count them all?  Because it’s time for my seasonal closet cleaning and this time, I thought I’d put myself one step ahead of the game and really organize it – using none other than an application on my handy dandy iPad called My Style Fashion Assistant.

This app cost $1.99 on iTunes and is compatible with any of your Apple products.  It’s been highly recommended by InStyle Magazine and US Weekly.  After using it now for roughly 3 weeks, I can see why.  It is very straightforward and user friendly.  Simply take a photo, upload, categorize, and repeat.

Instructions for Use

Now I haven’t quite finished adding my wardrobe to this app yet (still have a long way to go) – I’m finding it fairly time consuming to cycle through this organization process, but I know it will be well worth it in the end.  I think it may even help me to keep in check when I’m out shopping next time (read: stop buying black clothing).  There is even a calendar feature that lets you plan outfits in advance, or keep track of what you’ve worn – so you can give all of your clothing items a little bit of love.  The only downfall is that there is no true iPad native app yet – but I’m sure they are in development, and you can bet I will be upgrading when that arrives.

Are there other wardrobe organizing apps or software that can match My Style’s ease of use and affordability? I’d like to know.  Until then, I’m going to continue on my mission to organize my closet into My Style like Cher in “Clueless” does hers (as my colleague would say!)

 

Group buying does have downfalls

16 Jun

Groupon and Living Social are 2 sites that have just exploded in popularity the past few months.  They feature a a social feature called “group buying.”  This is where huge deals (often starting at at least 50% off) are offered by merchants once a predetermined number of sales have been reached.  If the required number of sales don’t get made, the deal doesn’t happen.

I’ve bought several of these deals through both sites and have had a relatively good experience with group buying.  There have been two instances when my experience was not so great (with Groupon), and I’d like to share them with you in the hopes that you don’t make the same mistake either.

First, research the merchant.  I cannot stress this one enough.  If I would have more thoroughly researched my bad experience merchants, I wouldn’t have had bad experiences.

The more recent situation actually happened yesterday (6/15/11).  We had purchased a car detail offer through South Dixie Auto Wash for an interior or exterior wash and detail.  At a first glance, the offer looked pretty legit and the website and reviews of the merchant checked out pretty okay also.  Upon arrival, the rudeness and negligence started.  The car attendant gave a pick up time of “afternoon,” when the website had clearly stated it was a two-hour wash — and we had made an appointment to come in.  They did not confirm the services we were going to receive on the car.

At car pick up, we were asked to pay tax because supposedly Groupon doesn’t collect tax. That sounds a little weird, okay – when asked how much the tax was, the response was $20.  Yep – $20!  When asked why so high, the cashier’s response was because it included gratuity (really?  for a car wash?).  Because we thought it sounded a bit off, we asked a gentleman waiting in line behind us and he said tax sounded right but $20 seemed a little high.  We agreed and instead handed over a $5.  Rather than giving us the change, they took the $5 and considered our payment done.  Upon returning home, it was realized that not only did they NOT detail very well, but they stole all the money we had in the car.  Luckily, it was a few dollars worth of loose change – but still.  How are people so dishonest and ruthless?

Secondly, is do not expect to use your Groupon right away.  This incident actually happened last fall so the merchant name has slipped my memory.  We had purchased some gift certificates from what looked like a very reputable massage place.  About a week later, I called to try and make an appointment.  After several tries and no answers or returned voicemails, we found out that this reputable spa actually only had one masseuse – who sold over 800 deals.  Needless to say, I was not going to be getting a massage anytime soon.

With both of these experiences, we filed a complaint with Groupon who promptly credited our account with a refund.  I have to give mad props to them for their outstanding customer service.  I know that they will take care of me if something like this happens again.

Social sites going public – starting with LinkedIn

19 May

LinkedInMany of you may have heard that LinkedIn has gone public starting TODAY. I caught wind of the announcement earlier this week in a post from Mashable. According to Mashable, LinkedIn is rumored to be valued at almost $300 million dollars. Shares for the company are going from $32 to $35.

So the real question is, are you going to invest? And if so, how much? LinkedIn is the first of several social media sites that plan to go public (and one of the very first major ones to do so). My take – if I was in a position to invest right now, I’d be dumb not to. I don’t know that I would invest a whole bunch in it right away though. With so many other companies getting ready to follow suit – like Facebook and Groupon – I’d be interested to see how LinkedIn (LNKD) does in the financial markets first. Second, I want to see how LinkedIn’s public status affects the other social media sites worth.

In no shape or form would I call myself a financial advisor or even well-educated in the art of stock trading.  But there is one thing I am sure of and that is that LinkedIn – and social media sites – are hot.  And if you’re in a position to buy, you better move quickly before they’re all gone!

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