The 9 Must-Read Social Media Articles of 2014

We’ve all been there. Your co-workers are standing around the water cooler, engaged in an animated conversation. You approach, hoping to chat about the latest episode of the Serial podcast. Then somebody asks, “Hey Matt, what do you think about Facebook Zero?”

“Umm, it’s delicious?”

Blank stares.

“I can’t believe it doesn’t have any calories? What are we talking about, again?”

Next time, don’t leave yourself out of the loop. Use this handy cheat sheet to catch up on nine of the absolute best social media articles, reports, and essays from 2014. When you get back to the water cooler in 2015, you’ll have something to talk about other than your mother-in-law’s fruitcake.

Here are the 9 best articles about social media from 2014

Facebook Zero: Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach

Social@Ogilvy

The most important development for social media marketers in 2014 was undoubtedly the decline of organic reach on Facebook. In February, Social@Ogilvy reported that organic reach for Facebook pages with over 500,000 Likes had dropped to just 2%. The agency argued that businesses were rapidly approaching a watershed moment they called Facebook Zero, the point when organic reach becomes nonexistent.

Marketers have had to reconsider how Facebook fits into the mix of paid, owned, and earned media. When organic reach was high, brands could treat their Facebook pages as “owned” media, but those days are over. Look for 2015 to be the year of paid social media, as brands and publishers increasingly use promoted posts and social ads to reach audiences on Facebook and Twitter.

Why It Might Be Time to Completely Change Your Social Media Strategy

Jay Baer at Convince & Convert

Jay Baer offers a controversial solution to what he calls the “Reachpocalypse” on Facebook and social media in general. He argues that the decline of organic reach on social media requires marketers to adopt a “shotgun” strategy, which involves sending more messages in more places. His suggested approach emphasizes quantity over quality, which sounds like blasphemy to most social media professionals and content marketers.

But the key to Baer’s strategy is to connect with each fan in as many social channels as possible, rather than building up a massive audience in one place. According to Baer, the most important metric for social media marketers is now the average number of connections per fan. Whether you’re inclined to agree, Baer addresses issues that will be critical to social media strategy in 2015. Facebook might be the first social network to reduce organic reach, but it definitely won’t be the last.

Why Twitter and Facebook Suddenly Want to Handle Your Money

Ryan Holmes at The Wall Street Journal

In this piece for the Wall Street Journal, Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes explains why the introduction of “buy” buttons in Twitter and Facebook is just the tip of the iceberg for payment technology in social media. For now, the social networks are still experimenting with ecommerce and finding out how to bring one-click payments into your streams. But what happens if Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks get tired of being the middlemen for the credit card companies and other payment processors? Credit card interchange fees represent a $40 billion industry in the U.S. alone, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the biggest social networking sites start looking for a slice of that pie.

The social payments ecosystem continues to evolve rapidly. Less than two months after Holmes’ article was published, Snapchat announced Snapcash, a partnership with Square that allows its users to send money directly to friends.

Fanboys: Have you ever loved something so much it hurt?

Lessley Anderson at The Verge

Why are fanboys so maniacally loyal to their favorite brands? And what compels them to write hateful, insulting Tweets about their rivals? To find out, Lessley Anderson interviews several fanboys who are on the front lines of the most vicious flamewar of them all: the three-way struggle for smartphone supremacy between Google, Apple, and Microsoft devotees. She discovers that every fanboy is unique, like a precious, angry snowflake. The path from casual fan to obsessive zealot turns out to be a highly personal experience.

However, the article also suggests that most of us have more in common with fanboys than we might readily admit. Whether it’s religion, politics, or a sports team, we use social media to rally around a common interest with like-minded people. It’s easy to get trapped inside an echo chamber, where all conflicting views are filtered out. Anderson’s revealing look at fanboys is a cautionary reminder that social media should broaden your perspective, not close it.

I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me

Matt Honan at Wired

Wired’s Mat Honan puts Facebook’s algorithm—and his sanity—to the test by liking literally everything he sees on Facebook for 48 hours. Every status update, every shared article, and every brand (including Hootsuite, which was nice of him). The results are hilarious, horrifying, and illuminating. “By liking everything,” he writes, “I turned Facebook into a place where there was nothing I liked.”

BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti Goes Long

Felix Salmon at Medium

When it comes to viral media, nobody does it better than Buzzfeed. The site has not only mastered the art of the “listicle”, the overwhelmingly popular article format you’re reading right now, but the powerful psychology of identity and relatedness that inspires people to click (and share) content. In an epic interview with Felix Salmon at Medium, Buzzfeed founder Jonah Peretti shares his thoughts on a broad range of topics, including network theory, experimentation in the media industry, and his experience at the Huffington Post before he moved on to Buzzfeed. It’s a dense, thoughtful, and very long read, which is ironic considering Peretti’s predilection for bite-sized content. However, it’s well worth your time if you’re in the business of sharing.

What Is Public?

Anil Dash at Medium

In this thought-provoking essay, Anil Dash takes issue with publishers and technologists who believe any social media message that is not explicitly private is fair game to share without consent. Dash regrets that “there is no apparent debate over whether it’s any different to embed a tweet from the President of the United States or from a vulnerable young activist who might not have anticipated her words being attached to her real identity, where she can be targeted by anonymous harassers.”

According to Dash, most human behaviour is “neither clearly public nor strictly private”, but something in between. He challenges us to create a more nuanced definition of “public” that better reflects the world we live in. In his view, journalists and bloggers have an ethical obligation to consider the consequences of broadcasting someone’s semi-public words to a massive audience. His essay is a must-read for anyone who has embedded a Tweet in a blog post or article.

Why Facebook is for ice buckets, Twitter is for Ferguson

John McDermott at Digiday

In early August, social media in the United States was taken over by two simultaneous sensations: the Ice Bucket Challenge, and the events in Ferguson, Missouri. Yet as John McDermott shows, each story played out very differently on Facebook and Twitter. You may recall that your Facebook feed was practically drowning in ice water at the height of the trend, while nearly everyone in your Twitter feed was embroiled in the Ferguson controversy.

In 2014, Facebook and Twitter became increasingly similar in form (just look at your feeds side by side), but this episode demonstrates that they remain far apart in function. For the time being, Facebook is primarily a place where people like to connect with friends and family, share photos and videos, and relax. Its algorithmically curated News Feed does a great job of surfacing highly engaging content, but can’t match Twitter for real time discussion around breaking news stories. In the year ahead, we may see the two networks converge further, as Facebook tweaks its service to become more of a news provider and Twitter considers using algorithms to curate your timeline. Stay tuned.

There’s a Social Network That Costs $9,000 to Join

Jules Suzdaltsev at VICE

Netropolitan, a social network for the 1%, is betting that wealthy individuals can’t wait to socialize online about a common interest: money. It operates like a country club, with an upfront lifetime membership cost of $9,000 plus a recurring annual fee of $3,000. Jules Suzdaltsev of VICE interviewed Netropolitan’s founder, James Touchi-Peters, to find out how the site works, why it exists, and if socialites really need to be any more social. The interview touches on several key issues that every new social network must deal with, including security, privacy, content guidelines, and yes, monetization.

Many specialized networks based on common interests have cropped up over the years, with varying degrees of success. Some are still going strong, such as SERMO, the social network for physicians. Many others haven’t fared so well. A recent example is ReaganBook, a social network for American political conservatives that was shut down shortly after launch. And who can forget HAMSTERster, the now-defunct social network for pet hamsters? It remains to be seen whether Netropolitan’s business model will help it succeed where others have been left spinning their wheels.

Do you have a favorite social media article from 2014? Let us know in the comments!

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Social Update: Top Social Media News of 2014

Ah, the fast approach of the new year—time for resolutions, champagne, and numerous year-end lists. Since Social Update have resolved to bring you the roundup of the top social media news week after week in 2014, we figured it was time to make our own list—a list of stories with the biggest impact on the world of social. Plus, stay tuned as Social Update host Sunny Lenarduzzi dives into some social media trends expected to break new ground in 2015.

Here are the 10 top social media news stories of 2014

10. Instagram surpasses Twitter in monthly active users

Instagram’s rapid growth has been making the news all year: it has been named the most popular network among teenagers, it has released a standalone timelapse app Hyperlapse, and has been rolling out Sponsored posts—just to name a few headlines. To top off the year, it has announced that its monthly active user base has grown to 300 million users—approximately 20 000 users more than Twitter’s latest reported number.

9. Twitter unveils new profile designs

The microblogging network has rolled out new designs of both web and mobile profiles. The biggest changes are the introduction of a large, full-width header image, as well as the ability to “pin” select Tweets to show up at the top of your profile. The new mobile layout allows for easier access to the user’s Photos and favorited Tweets.

8. LinkedIn launches its publishing tool

LinkedIn has expanded its functions to demonstrate expertise by opening up the publishing platform to all users. This has given influencers another avenue to share their thought leadership pieces, and incorporate LinkedIn into their content marketing strategy. Now, in addition to seeing the endorsed Skills the user included in their profile, you can also see their level of expertise on the subject from their published works.

7. Hello to Ello

Ello has stirred up a sign-up frenzy after its launch of a “simple, beautiful & ad-free” network, which prides itself on the anti-commodification aspect—not collecting user data. The beta version of Ello is invite-only; and although it did go through a sign-up spree where thousands of people joined the network in September, it’s yet to break into the active user numbers of major networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

6. The selfie craze

So yes, “selfie” did get legitimized by an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013; however, this year marked the first billion-dollar selfie—you know, the one where Ellen DeGeneres poses with a dozen actors that got the talk show host over 3 million retweets? The Ellen selfie was the first in a succession of celebrity selfies, including snapshots with the Pope, Obama, and Queen Bey.

5. Snapchat grows, launches Snapcash

Ephemeral video-messaging app is not far behind Instagram on teenagers’ top mobile app picks for this year. The app also decided to venture into the social payments territory by partnering up with Square to launch a peer-to-peer instant payment service, Snapcash. And while we are fans of Snaps that only live for a few seconds, we hope Snapchat doesn’t make our money disappear.

4. Facebook adjusts algorithms for better News Feeds

Algorithms introduced in 2014 crack down on click-bait headlines, reduce the amount of promotional content, and show more timely and trending posts in the users’ News Feeds. All these changes aim to improve the overall user experience on the network, and encourage brands to think more about engagement and storytelling. Read about how you can adjust your Facebook strategy to accommodate the new algorithms:

3. Facebook acquires WhatsApp

Messaging apps such as LINE, WhatsApp and Snapchat have been on the rise throughout the year, growing their user base as much as 15% every quarter. Always on top of the latest social trends, Facebook has been negotiating the deal to buy WhatsApp, the long-standing leader in instant messaging apps. Interestingly enough, Facebook has also launched its own standalone Messenger app in the summer, which is now the second most-popular messenger.

2. #BlackLivesMatter

The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter started appearing on social media after the untimely death of Trayvon Martin, followed by similarly discussed trials related to the deaths of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, MI, and Eric Garner, in New York. Now symbolizing a civil rights movement around the world, the powerful hashtag can trace the discussions of issues of racial equality, justice, and police brutality.

1. #ALSIceBucketChallenge

CEOs did it, singers did it, actors did it, and you probably joined in, too—2014 was the year everyone dunked buckets of ice water on their heads in order to raise awareness and funds for research of ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The social media challenge spread by users posting videos and photos of themselves getting drenched, then nominating others to do the same, or donate money. While global numbers are still being calculated, the ice bucket challenge has raised over $100 million for the ALS Association—proving naysayers wrong, and showing that posting videos on social media really can make a tangible, real-life difference.

Did all the news stories you found noteworthy make our list? Share your thoughts on the top social media news story of 2014 in the comments below, or on YouTube!

Don’t miss out on fresh Social Update episodes in the new year—subscribe to Hootsuite’s official YouTube channel!

Bing Integrates AMBER Alerts and Updates Local Search on Mobile

This week, Bing released a slew of new features, including the integration of AMBER Alerts into the SERP and a few updates for mobile search.

AMBER stands for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response and the alerts are a way to notify the public about child abductions. They are disseminated in a variety of ways, including radio, TV, highway signs, mobile notifications, websites, and now, search.

Active AMBER Alerts will appear on the Bing search page for queries that seek them. Users can automatically see these alerts if they directly search for “amber alert” and they are in a relevant geographical location, or if they type in a specific location where an AMBER Alert is active, such as “amber alert Madison County MS,” as shown below.

amber-alert-shot

Along with AMBER Alerts, Bing has improved its local search for mobile to make it easier for users to find their favorite bars, lounges, and restaurants.

For example, when a user enters a broad query like “Bars in Capitol Hill Seattle,” the user will get a more “localized” list, which shows the key information about the bar itself.

bing-local-1

Based on the information, the user can decide which bar they want to go to. Once the user clicks on the bar’s name, Bing search will display more details about the bar, including a picture, Yelp reviews, and social media information. The user can also take quick action with the handy buttons that will allow them to call, get directions, or visit the bar’s website.

bing-local-3

If you use Bing search on your mobile, perhaps you can test the new features when you hang out with family and friends this holiday season!

Homepage image via Shutterstock.

3 Ways We Failed at B2B PPC in 2014

Business-to-business PPC isn’t always as straightforward as the retail sector. Oftentimes, PPC managers are presented with interesting scenarios and unique products and services that require a lot of creativity (to say the least) on the advertising side to try to make it work. Many times, we’re presented with situations that have the odds stacked against them, but we say yes anyway.

In the spirit of reflection as the year comes to a close, I want to share with you three scenarios that just didn’t pan out this year with the PPC campaigns we created, and give tips on what we’ve learned so that you may learn from our mistakes.

1. Promoting B2B Products That Weren’t Fully Developed

toy-pile

It might seem a little crazy to take on a project where the product line isn’t fully developed yet, but a client approached us with the idea to start generating buzz early with a couple prototypes ready for sale.

From our experience with this industry, a niche B2B educational product, we knew that PPC was a challenge in general. But this client had a strong brand backing the new product, and we were up for the challenge.

We did everything we could – made sure the account structure was set up with best practices in mind, obtained a healthy budget, explored the industry-specific keywords driving demand, and ensured the ad messaging reflected the benefits and the brand.

The ads drove interested parties to a website, which only featured a couple of the products out of many planned. The website itself was still working out bugs; although functional at a basic level, it was “bare bones.”

In the end, the results fell flat. Looking back, it’s hard to say whether the program failed because the industry niche was not a good fit for PPC, or if it was simply too soon in the process to launch a campaign.

What you can learn from our mistakes:

  • Ensure it’s the right time in the launch process to go live with a PPC campaign. Although PPC can be a great way to generate buzz in some cases, the campaign needs to be very deliberate about that purpose and the timeline associated with it.
  • Manage expectations, even if it’s not a popular perspective. Sometimes a “let’s try it and see” approach is just fine, but it’s important to bring your wisdom and expectations to the table so everyone knows that based on the factors, it could fail.

2. Promoting a B2B Business and Offering on Its Death Bed

toy-soldier-ppc

PPC has the ability to generate targeted leads for B2B sales, but it’s not a miracle worker. So if you know an offering is about to fizzle out in terms of customer demand, or if the company is going under, you can’t expect any form of advertising or marketing to help significantly.

We knew that going into a couple of PPC campaigns this year, but we still took them on. One campaign intended to revive a dying B2B offering that never sold well. The other tried to bring a business back to life after its website had been hit by a Google penalty.

In the case of the fizzled B2B offering, no one – not even the client – was expecting much to happen from PPC. However, the other example I shared had a bit more riding on it.

This client came to us after experiencing a Google penalty from bad SEO practices implemented by a service provider. The client’s website disappeared from the results altogether, and the revenue loss was devastating to the business.

Before coming to us for help, this client let go of its PPC agency to try to save some money by crowdsourcing PPC, which essentially eradicated any chance of a meaningful impact that PPC could have on the business.

We worked hard to help this client keep their business open, but we also made it very clear when they came on board that PPC was not the magic bullet, and we can’t undo what’s been done.

In the end, we were able to lift the PPC account by 25 percent from where it was, but this business never really recovered from those SEO and PPC missteps, and had to close their doors a few months later.

What you can learn from our mistakes:

  • Make sure you’re really prepared to take on the inevitable. PPC can be fun and rewarding when things are going great for a business – and even better when PPC is the thing that gives a business that extra lift. But when the success or failure of a business or its offerings is riding solely on PPC, it’s almost inevitable that it will fail, and that it will be an emotional ride on both sides.

3. Promoting B2Bs With Non-Competitive Budgets

piggy-bank-ppc

It’s a fact that for every one mega-brand, there are a handful of smaller brands with similar solutions that want to be able to compete in the paid search results right alongside the big boys. As a PPC manager, you have to not only be creative with advertising the differentiators, but also acquire a competitive budget.

When we took on a B2B software tech company that had competitors like Hewlett-Packard, we knew we had a challenge ahead of us. But we also knew, based on our experience, that paid search was an important way to reach the client’s target market (keeping in mind that according to the 2013 Capterra “Software Buying Trends Industry Report,” buyers go online first when researching software options).

This client came to us with very high expectations. We managed to bring in leads at a cost per acquisition (CPA) of $200 on average. We were very pleased considering one qualified lead meant a six-figure sale.

But the client had a very specific target market; they only wanted certain industries in need of certain tech solutions. Even after many ads and landing page iterations, we still weren’t able to bring in the ideal lead.

Over time, we found that we just couldn’t compete for the keywords and volume needed against behemoth paid search budgets like those coming from HP. We managed to bring in one to two leads per week, but it still was not enough.

We kept thinking we were getting closer, but the client gave up, citing they just couldn’t afford the budget.

What you can learn from our mistakes:

  • Be realistic about what you can do with the budget you have. When taking on accounts with massive competitors, make sure you’re assessing the campaign needs against what’s possible on your end. You may decide not to take the account on, or if you’re an in-house PPC manager, really dig into the ways in which you can differentiate your campaigns. As much as we hope it’s an equal playing field out there, a more open budget almost always makes a difference. To that end, educate stakeholders that a more open budget doesn’t always mean you’ll spend every dime, but it will help you remain competitive when you need it.

Lessons Learned Going Into 2015

It’s OK to say no to PPC projects that you know have a slim chance of working, and it’s even better to set expectations based on your wisdom. I would argue it’s a great thing to say yes to a challenge and then fail. Truth is, if we don’t fail from time to time, we have less experience with which to draw upon when making those strategic recommendations.

Here’s to a successful 2015, filled with both wins and fails!

4 SEO Answers Your Development Team Needs in 2015

As we move into 2015 we have a responsibility as SEOs to positively shape the outcome of any Web development project we’re a part of. That means providing answers to questions posed by stakeholders and the developers about the current state of search. It’s critical that we do everything we can to ensure sites in 2015 are built according to proper technical SEO standards, that the site is set up to drive traffic, and that site performance can be measured.

Here are four questions you need to be prepared to answer for your Web development team in 2015.

What Are the Basics of Mobile-Friendly SEO?

Designers have been preaching the importance of mobile-friendly websites for a long time, so you shouldn’t have to convince anyone that mobile-friendly from a search perspective is a good idea. But it’s not just about creating an aesthetically pleasing mobile site, however – you need to build a site that has a quick load time, proper technical setup (such as mobile sitemaps), and fits a number of other criteria in order to stay in compliance with Google’s mobile-friendly standards.

mobile-friendly-seo

Your development team has enough they need to learn on their own; it’s your job to help them stay ahead of mobile trends in 2015. Google has tipped its hand regarding the importance of mobile UX, and it is only going to become smarter about how it rewards mobile-friendly sites for providing a better user experience. Your business’ goals are going to change as users become even more mobile. Stay one step ahead by understanding what your team needs to do to ensure it’s prepared.

That might mean educating yourself on new technology or updates as soon as they come out or learning more about app indexing if you don’t have experience in that area.

What Should We Do About Local Search?

With the Pigeon algorithm rolling out in July of this year, you know there is more to come for local search in 2015.

Local business websites can always be tricky, but your developers need to ensure that your businesses name, address, and phone number (NAP) appear in in HTML on your site so they can be crawled by Google. If you rely on local business and have a storefront, include NAP information in your business’ header and footer. You should also encourage developers to become familiar with setting up local business schema data, which can help your site provide better information, such as hours of operation and reviews, to search engines and users in search results.

Local search is tricky, but after years of making it tough on the little guy, Google is making moves that will benefit smaller, local businesses in SERPs, so take advantage of that and properly set up your site from an SEO perspective so you reap the benefits of the additional changes that are sure to come in 2015.

Local SEO will continue to be a major challenge, so it’s vital that your development team builds a solid SEO foundation for any new website.

Should This Site Use HTTPS?

2014 was the year of the data breach, so you can bet that many websites will continue the switch to HTTPS in 2015. Providing users with a secure connection may not seem important for every page on your site, but adding HTTPS as a ranking signal is merely Google’s latest step in security for its users.

Sure, studies so far seem to show that HTTPS has not impacted rankings for sites, but this isn’t something that Google is going to backpedal on. You should keep yourself educated about Google’s perspective on HTTPS to be sure you’re helping your development team make an informed decision about whether or not a particular site should use HTTPS.

Though HTTPS should only minimally impact page load times, your development team will have to balance security needs against image compression to ensure Google doesn’t penalize your site for slow load times.

How Will We Track Results?

Hopefully you’ve answered this question in 2014, but the nuances of your response should continue to evolve in the coming year. It’s becoming critically important that sites are set up properly to track user behavior and conversions – if they aren’t, how do we know what we’ve built is working?

Your developers should absolutely know how to insert Google Analytics tracking code, but you should also emphasize the value of having a working knowledge of testing tools like Visual Website Optimizer so they can identify CTAs, forms, or other elements of a site that should be tested.

With Google Tag Manager knowledge, developers can set up tracking for things like page scroll depth and login errors – interesting indicators of a site’s performance from a design and development perspective. In general, a proactive approach to measurement and tracking is best in 2015. For example, if you know that the business you are building a site for will be utilize Google AdWords, be sure that call-tracking code is set up properly.

Marketers may be responsible for a website’s performance after it’s built, but it takes proper setup from the beginning to ensure we’ll get the data we need to make educated decisions about future iterations to a site.

SEO and website user experience have become increasingly linked, so 2015 should be a year where the marriage between SEO and Web development grows even stronger. By nature, people who work in technology are hungry for information and results; you can strengthen the relationship between SEO and development by having solid answers to the questions developers may ask you in 2015 (or, better yet, by answering for them before they have a chance to ask).

Homepage image via Shutterstock.

New Google Metric Reveals Which Products Drive Store Visits

As the holiday season fast approaches, Google is looking to provide AdWords advertisers with better insight into what products drive consumers to their stores.

The tech giant has added a new metric called “store visit measurement” to its Estimated Total Conversions (ETC) tool to give AdWords users a holistic view of how consumers are engaging with their businesses.

The “store visit” metric for a brand is based on the company’s collective search ads on Google across different devices, including product listing ads (PLA), local inventory ads, and other types of search ads. Advertisers can use insights from store visit data to decide which products are driving consumers to visit their stores.

In an example provided by Google that focuses on Office Depot, the office supply company can leverage the store visit data to see if the HP printer drives consumers to one of its stores, and further decide if it should include the HP printer in local inventory ads. In doing so, Office Depot can understand the impact of its search ads, and better allocate its advertising budget.

image-2-office-depot-bundle

Data is the essence of this new feature. According to Google, the new metric has been designed to keep data private and secure. “We never provide anyone’s actual location to advertisers. Instead, store visits are estimates based on aggregated, anonymized data from a sample set of users that have turned on Location History,” Google said in a statement.

A Google representative tells Search Engine Watch that the “store visit measurement” is still in its early days, as the new feature will just be rolling out in the U.S. in the coming weeks. But Google will work with more marketers in the new year to figure out how to better apply this metric.

Google declined to disclose whether the “store visit” metric will become available for advertisers outside the U.S. in the future.

Homepage image via Shutterstock.

Now Share This: Sharing and Creating Content on the Go Made Easy With These Tools

By Hootsuite | 1 hour ago | No Comments

From taking pictures of our holiday crafts, to checking the latest news, to browsing Twitter—we now spend more time on our mobile devices than ever before. In fact, a study released just last month found that the average American adult spends nearly three hours a day on their smartphone—that’s more than watching TV!

Constant access to engaging content in the palm of your hand means you risk getting distracted from finishing the latest news article or writing down that delicious recipe. Here, we recommend some amazing apps to keep great content at your fingertips.

Flipboard

Flipboard app

If you share articles and photos regularly, the Flipboard app can help you save time by organizing online content from your mobile browser or your social networks into beautiful magazines. Flipboard magazines are optimized for mobile, making articles easy to collect and share. This is especially helpful for marketers— the Flipboard app allows you to collect interesting articles by topics of your choosing, highlight the best content by making it the “cover” of your Flipboard magazine, and share your magazines on social networks of your choosing (more on this below!).

Make your first Flipboard magazine!

Pocket

Pocket

The Pocket app allows you to save content you find on the web for later—whether it’s a Twitter post from your client, or an article from your favorite news site. Anything can go into your “pocket”.

Start saving things in your Pocket!

You can organize content saved in your Pocket by adding different tags, as well as organize them by different categories, like Articles, Videos or Images. Pocket allows you to select favorites from your list, which you can then share to your social networks or email to a friend.

Photos

Sometimes, the best content happens right under our noses. Whether you’re snapping a picture of a developing news story or using your iPhone on a studio shoot, your mobile photo gallery is a trove of compelling images and videos that can drive engagement across your social media profiles. Creating galleries for events or specific themes will help keep your personal media organized, and ensure you have the right shot to include in an article or share with your audience.

Promoting content is easier with Hootsuite’s Share Extension

Using the apps mentioned above are great ways to collect and organize interesting content. Hootsuite can help you bring that content to life by sharing it with all your social media followers.

Hootsuite’s Share Extension for iPhone and iPad connects your everyday apps — including Safari, Photos, Flipboard, Pocket, and many more — with your social media profiles. Copy and pasting links are a thing of the past. The Hootsuite Share Extension makes distributing the best content you discover and create as simple as a few taps.

How to activate and share using the Hootsuite Share Extension

Hootsuite Share Extension - Activate App

In any app that supports sharing (including Photos, Flipboard, and Pocket):

  1. Tap the Share button at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Scroll right to select More.
  3. In the Activities screen, switch on the Hootsuite extension. (ProTip: Drag Hootsuite to the top of Activities for easier access).
  4. Compose your message and select the social networks where you’d like to share the content.
  5. Schedule your message for a future time, or select Send Now, and click Post.

You can share directly from dozens of popular apps by following the same steps as above and simply selecting the Hootsuite Share Extension in the Activities screen. The Hootsuite Share Extension saves you time switching between multiple apps and makes it easy to:

  • Share content to multiple Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ profiles
  • Schedule posts or let Hootsuite decide the best times with AutoSchedule
  • Shorten links automatically with trackable Ow.ly URLs

Download the Hootsuite app

Pro Tip: Share Extension works across iPhone and iPad and from Safari and Chrome browsers

8 Movies Every Social Media Manager Should Watch Over The Holidays

As a social media manager, you have had a busy year. Your brain is probably fried and needs a time-out. In order to both entertain but also educate, here is our fun roundup of movies every social media manager should watch in their downtime over the holidays. Most of the suggestions can be found on Netflix, with the exception of a couple that are still showing in theatres this holiday season.

Here are 7 movies and 1 TV series every social media manager should watch

1.The Social Network

Starring Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, the 2010 film loosely outlines the events surrounding the creation of Facebook and subsequent rise of the social network. While arguably not a 100 percent accurate, the film does does grant the audience insight on the beginning of a company that changes the way we connect with each other.

If not for the historical lesson of where Facebook came from, watch this film to see our favorite N’sync lead singer, Justin Timberlake play Napster founder Sean Parker.

2.Jerry Maguire

A Tom Cruise classic from 1996, Jerry Maguire had us at ‘hello.’ If you haven’t gone down this rabbit hole before, here is why as a social media manager it’s worth a watch. Jerry Maguire is a successful agent with a major sports management firm. In a moment of truth, he has a crisis of conscience, and it dawns on Jerry that his firm needs to start thinking more about the long-term welfare of their clients and less about immediate profits.

Jerry Maguire - movies for social media managers

Taking the leap to the world of social media, the moral of this movie translates into providing value to your audience before asking for the sell—meaning caring for and providing valuable content is what matters most. Instead of just selling your product, think about building long-term and valuable relationships with your audience.

3.The Square

On a more sombre and realistic note, The Square is a deeply urgent and emotional human chronicle of the Egyptian protest movement from the 2011 overthrow of military leader Hosni Mubarak through the ousting of Mohammed Morsi in 2013. It is a story of young people struggling to topple two regimes in order to build a democratic society.

Why we hold this film closely is that for us at Hootsuite, we believe social media can be a truly revolutionary form of communication that can change society. Hootsuite became a critical organizational tool in the movement.

As Ryan Holmes writes in his article, Why Social Media is (Really) Revolutionary: Looking Back At Egypt:

“The mass demonstrations that precipitated Hosni Mubarak’s fall from power were organized on Facebook groups. Demonstrators got the word out on Twitter, encouraging followers to hit the streets at predetermined times and locations. Eventually the government caught on, blocking access to Facebook and Twitter on Jan. 24, 2011, just as the crucial Day of Anger protest was building. But the censors forgot about HootSuite.

Our tech team began noticing a huge spike in sign-ups from Egypt that same day, as Egyptian users tapped HootSuite to circumvent the government ban on accessing Facebook and Twitter directly. We saw people using our dashboard to organize protests, share curfew info, reach outside media and monitor the status of family and friends. “

4.The Internship

In effort to lighten the mood, our next pick is The Internship, starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. They play salesmen whose careers have been made obsolete as a result of the encroaching digital world and the emerging field of social media marketing. Trying to prove that they can adapt to the online world, they somehow find themselves taking an internship at Google. From their first experience with Google Hangouts to similarly hilarious scenes, this film is a perfect example of the learning gap between social media savants and those who are just picking it up.

The Internship - movies for social media managers

If you were to take anything from this film, it would be to answer this question: if you were shrunken down to the size of nickel and dropped into the bottom of a blender, what do you do?

5. Chef

Continuing down the comedic trail, our next pick is Chef. Starring Jon Favreau, Dustin Hoffman and Scar Jo (among others), this film follows a chef who loses his job as a result of refusing to compromise his creative integrity. He then starts a food truck and rides off into the sunset.

While this story is visually inspiring, we chose it because of what it teaches us about social media. There are both lessons on why you should avoid getting into a Twitter war with your critics as well as ways to successfully market your small business through posting rich content like videos and pictures that tell some sort of story.

6. Birdman

Birdman is a drama starring Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton and Zach Galifianakis.The film follows Riggan, a washed-up actor who once played an iconic superhero (Birdman), as he sets out to reclaim his past fame in a new broadway play. His daughter, in a frustrated outburst, lays into Riggan expressing that the reason he is not relevant anymore is because he has outwardly and resentfully been opposed to the world of social media. The moral of the story here? If you want your business, project, or whatever it is you are working on to gain momentum, you have to be active on social. Not having an online presence is not an option anymore.

You are doing this because you want to feel relevant again. Well guess what? There is an entire world out there where people fight to be relevant every single day and you act like it doesn’t exist. This are happening in a place that you ignore, a place that, by the way, has already forgotten about you. I mean, who the f*** are you? You hate bloggers. You mock Twitter. You don’t even have a Facebook page. You’re the one who doesn’t exist. “

This film is still playing in select theatres, and is not available on Netflix.

7. Silicon Valley

Though not a feature film, this HBO series is a satire of the start-up world. For a social media manager, watching this sitcom will ensure that you are somewhat self-reflective in your social media practices. Meaning that hopefully you will refrain from using the same jargon that every other social media marketer uses.

Silicon Valley follows a hilarious and awkward group of engineers living together at a start-up incubator in the Bay Area. When the main character, Richard, develops a powerful search algorithm, he finds himself caught in the middle of a bidding war between a deep-pocketed venture capitalist and a maniacal tech boss.

Silicon Valley - movies for social media managers

Though not a feature film, this HBO series is a satire of the start-up world. For a social media manager, watching this sitcom will ensure that you are somewhat self-reflective in your social media practices. Hopefully after watching you’ll think of more creative ways to describe things like “growth hacking,” “disrupting,” or “being a ninja.”

This show is not available on Netflix

8. Her

A cinematographic masterpiece by Spike Jonze, Her is set in the not-too-distant but distinctly stylized future of Los Angeles. Extending just a bit further then where we stand now, we follow a heartbroken Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), as he becomes fascinated with a new operating system which reportedly develops into an intuitive and unique entity in its own right. He subsequently falls in love with the artificial intelligence-based operating system named Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).

Her - movies for social media managers

Other than the film’s intention of being an commentary on what happens when technology intersects with human connection, the most relevant takeaway from this film has to do with Theodore’s career. In the world Jonze has crafted, people pay professionals (like Theodore) to craft handwritten personal letters for other people. Paying someone to simulate affection is the equivalent of not caring about the content/product that your company produces. For social media managers and anyone for that matter, Her teaches us that genuine feelings can’t be faked and that in order for content to resonate, it has to come from a place where you actually care about what you are pushing.

This film is not available on Netflix

7 Tips On How To Use Google Hangouts On Air To Promote Your Business

Marketers are always looking for different ways they can promote their business or brand. Something we have recently started using to increase awareness for our brand, as well as to provide our audience with valuable content, are live online panels via Google Hangout. These on air Google Hangouts have provided us with an avenue to promote our brand, share engaging content with our social media audience, as well as connect with influential speakers in various fields.

We’ve hosted a couple of Google Hangouts under our #Social60 theme. We have learned a few things about using this live panel tool to achieve business goals, and decided to share them. Here are some tips for hosting Google Hangouts on Air.

Here are 7 tips on how to use Google Hangouts on Air

Tip #1: Know how to host a Google Hangout on air

Did you know that an on air Google hangout is a simultaneous broadcast on your Google+ page and YouTube channel? If you didn’t, Social Media Examiner has written a great post that outlines how to create a Google Hangout on air. Knowing how to properly set up and use Google Hangouts on air will allow you to avoid any mishaps during the panel.

Tip #2: Choose a topic relevant to your audience

When hosting an online panel on Google Hangout, make sure that the topic you are discussing is relevant to your audience. This is key to driving attendance and views. For example, Hootsuite hosted an online panel about social media teams, since we have found this topic to be interesting to our target audience and relevant to our brand.

Tip #3: Create a promotional strategy

Even with the most intriguing topics for discussion, your attendance numbers will stay low unless your Google Hangout receives proper promotion. You can create awareness for the upcoming Hangout by writing a promotional blog post, creating a hashtag (for example, ours is #Social60), and sharing it on social media. Even though it’s hosted on Google+, promoting the panel on other social networks—such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook—will increase the number of people the announcement reaches.

Tip #4: Choose relevant speakers and get to know them

Making sure that your speakers are relevant to the topic, they’re knowledgeable about the topic, and that they won’t sabotage your brand while on air, will help you ensure that you’re providing your audience with quality content. Take time to do some research on your potential guests before reaching out. Review their LinkedIn profile; if they don’t have one, it may be a sign that they are not the right fit for you. Review what they tweet about—it’s important to know their level of engagement with their own social media audience, since that is a good way to predict how much value they can add to your panel. It also helps if the speakers have advanced public speaking and presentation skills. You can search them up on YouTube to see if you can find a recording of them speaking somewhere else.

You can use the follow criteria to find out if the speaker is right for your Google Hangout:

  • Do they use your product?
  • What level do they occupy at their company? (Manager, Sr. Manager, Director, VP)
  • Do they have a good social media presence? (After all, you’re using social media to host the panel)
  • Are they influential in their market space?
  • Is their brand relevant to your brand?
  • Is their area of expertise relevant to the topic of your Hangout?

Tip #5: Set your speakers up for success

Provide your speakers with a list of questions some time in advance (we recommend doing this at least a week before the date of your Google Hangout). By doing this, you’ll allow your speakers to prepare their talking points, as well as show your guests that you care about their presence and want them to succeed with you. If you can, let them know what kind of audience to expect. This will let them cater their speaking points to the attendees, so that the Hangout is more relevant to the viewers.

Tip #6: Promote the Google Hangout internally

The Google Hangout is not just beneficial for your audience, they are also great learning material for your employees. For example, our product marketing department uses Google Hangouts to learn about what our audience is asking, and to get to know the jargon they use to talk about our product or market space. I use it to gain insight into the kinds of content that interests our audience. So make sure your employees are aware of the Google Hangout—to drive attendees and awareness, but also help your colleagues learn something that makes them excel at their job.

Tip #7: Follow up after the Google Hangout

So now that the live event is over, what’s next? The Google Hangout may be finished, but your job is not done. Create a follow-up blog post, like this one, to sum up all the important points in the discussion for those who could not attend. Thank your speakers via email or a card—you never know when their expertise may be needed next, and it is important to establish a good working relationship with influencers. Finally, report on your success. The last point is important because reporting will allow you to evaluate what went well and what didn’t. This will set you up for success the next time you host a Google Hangout on air.

Are we missing any tips? We’d love to hear any tips you have on how to use Google hangouts in the comments below.

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Disruptive Search Forces in 2015 and Beyond

This time of the year we see all sorts of prognostications and forecasts for search in 2015, as we look back on the news and events that influenced the search industry in 2014. There is one particular forward-looking presentation that I look forward to each year. Specifically, the Internet Trends document as published by KPCB and presented by Mary Meeker at the Internet Trends Code Conference.

The research Meeker presents is substantive and there are many different perspectives that can be layered over her insights on inflection points and re-imagining of things. I like to consider how Meeker’s insights can potentially impact what digital marketers think of search for years to come. Today, I’d like to share my thoughts with you about how search will change tomorrow and beyond, based on two premises from Internet Trends 2014.

Educated Change

According to Meeker, there are two inflection points that will be key economic drivers that will force societal shifts in the years to come. The first industry undergoing significant change is education. Make no mistake about it – people care about education. Eight in 10 Americans say education issues are extremely and/or very important to them.

With digital delivery advances, personalized education is ramping up in a way that can forever change our education systems. We know now that people learn in very different ways at dissimilar rates, and the Internet offers many cost-effective, personalized options at all educations levels. Additionally, distributive start-up costs for education are declining and direct-to-consumer courses allow education products to receive rapid mass adoption.

This is a tipping point; how do we determine what educational methods and courses are right for each individual and scale these educational systems out to meet these needs of the masses?

Search will play a big role here. I believe our educational transitions will be facilitated by job searches for higher and continuing education curriculums, since we will need ongoing education to continually reeducate the workforce as efficiently as we upgrade an app on a mobile device if we are to keep our economy fluid.

Search will also help drive lowering costs for higher education, as well as level the playing field for pre-kindergarten opportunities. User-generated content (UGC) in the form of reviews and author-based algorithms will be essential search functions will help nudge the educational evolution forward. These are exciting times for search engines to advance from serving up answers and historically personalized results, to deliver individualized results in cadence with anticipated educational needs.

Healthy Growth Chart

Health care is the second industry that is realizing an inflection point soon. To get there, digital technology must enable changes in health care processes that have relied on antiquated documentation structures. To a certain extent, the Affordable Care Act leverages financial penalties to help encourage change and help advance electronic health care documentation by 2017. Voice data must be digitized and searchable in order to help make these changes scalable across health care facilities.

Granted, digital security rigors and privacy concerns can affect the pace of change in the health care industry. Yet we are on the cusp of the consumerization of our health care systems. More than 52 percent of consumers want access to tools and websites to review patients’ rankings of with doctors and hospitals. Four-star ratings will not fit the health care system when it comes to making good health care decisions. Advances in search capabilities will help make these types of consumer-empowered health care practices more tenable.

Speaking of UGC, wearable technologies are rendering health-oriented algorithms awash with data. The medical field has been using implants for decades. Searching for blood markers and vital cues from nanobots that trigger doses of individualized medications is becoming a working reality. Aggregating content created from the growth of wearable tech requires new search algorithms to help take us beyond treating existing illnesses into more predictive capabilities.

Wristables, hearables, bendables, energizables, sensibles, and wrappables are all the rage right now. Ultimately, search engines will leverage localized data emitted from wearable technologies for all types of health alerts that go far beyond setting algorithmic thresholds for flu outbreaks. Search is no longer temporal on a regionalized and personalized basis; it’s localized and individualized.

These are very exciting times, especially when we consider how search can be a disruptive force in health care, which is precisely how billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong intends to take on cancer by creating unconventional treatments, if not eventual cures.

Technology is the main weapon Dr. Soon-Shiong is deploying against cancer. Algorithmic search capabilities help root out commonality of tumor genome sequences in hopes of revealing the molecular secrets to cancer. In order to work, search must help isolate on the specific genetic mutation that prevents cancer cells from dying a natural death. Soon-Shiong’s aspires to provide patients with such details regardless of where tumors are found in the body, in order to provide individualized genetic treatment of even inoperable tumors.

In Summary

Right now digital marketers are concerning themselves with ways to move away from success metrics rooted in keyword rankings of search results. We seek to build and implement systems that support content agnostic and adaptive engagement metrics that help predict future consumer behaviors. When we consider the disruptive force that search is playing in the health care and education systems, it’s not such a gigantic step for us to leverage it to disrupt how we measure search campaign successes 2015.