Find Me On.. Where?!?!


Social Networks

Maybe we have too many social networks.

I mean, think about it. Facebook and twitter. Instagram and Vine. Quora and Google+. Yelp and Foodspotting. And on and on and on.

You need a scorecard just to keep up, and an entire afternoon just to be remotely relevant on any more than one on two.

I’ve read more than one article this week about younger people rejecting Facebook.

And Peter Shankman this week opened up a storm of controversy when he predicted Yelp! would be out of business in two years.*

I think it’s just a matter of time before more people are migrating to something else. Who knows what that is. But if I’m feeling that way, I can promise you, it’s already happening.

I must have more than 100 apps on my iPhone. Truth is, I don’t think I use half of them. And I have no plans to.

So I’m opening this up for discussion, because I am really interested in what you think: which social networks/apps are becoming less relevant? Which should I close out or delete, and which should I keep? Which do you use on a regular basis and why?

I don’t want to hear any brand-bashing. This is not meant to take jabs at anyone. I’m just really interested in what others are thinking.

Leave a comment below!

*This post has been amended to accurately reflect Shankman’s prediction on Yelp. Thanks Peter!

“So You Want To Be A Rock and Roll Star…”


SEO

I find myself engaged in a lot of SEO work recently, and it’s pretty interesting.

Watching how what you do online changes how search engines find you is fascinating to me. And I think it’s legitimate for us PR folks – along with marketers, managers and personal assistants – to want to engage in a sincere degree of positive online postings and placements to help boost someone’s reputation, including online. After all, we are paid to promote people.

Of course, there’s a dark side to this, as there can be to just about anything in life. And I’m not endorsing anything that’s disingenuous or an outright lie. But honest, positive promotion is what any of us who live in the public sphere (and who work with others who want the same) are after.

So it’s serendipitous that I ran across this from our friends at Social Media Examiner, about “Three Steps to Becoming a Thought Leader in Your Industry” and thought it would be perfect for this Friday ShareDay.

Happy Weekend!

Action Begets Action


ACT

I recently conducted a media training session with a client.

After taking her through the one hour tutorial, we branched out into other topics, and landed on her question to me about how often her group should send out news releases. They’re a grassroots organization dealing with a current political issue and looking for lots of attention to drive their agenda. We’ve already helped them be successful, and they are looking to build on it.

We had a spirited conversation, and it led me to codify a few key ideas:

1. Make your communications actionable. Everything you send should say “here’s our thing, and here’s what you can do with it.” Whether a news release, a pitch letter or an e-blast to your subscribers, always have an actionable embedded in the communication. Otherwise it’s destined for the trash.

2. Don’t do quotas. While you want to make your communications frequent enough to keep you and your group in the front of people’s minds, don’t set up an artificial threshold that compels you to send useless information. It will dilute your message and your credibility.

3. Drive the cattle back to the ranch. Whenver you communicate, include links to information and other sites that are helpful and that expand on your message. Sending people to your Facebook page will get them to your community where they can interact and share. Linking to your YouTube channel will get them clicking on your video content where they will learn more about you. Send people to places they will get fast, useful and (here’s the trick) entertaining information that they will want to consume.

4. Act, yourself! Don’t be shy about following up with people if you’ve asked them for a response and they havent given you one. And when people respond on your blog or Facebook, acknowledge them somehow, even if it’s with a “Yes! Thanks for commenting!” or favoriting their tweet. Engage with them and retain their interest and spur future activity.

5. Build your tribe. This is the whole point of communication. Collect email addresses, Facebook likes and twitter followers. Get people to carry your water (ie, your message), and contribute to what you are doing. Expanding your footprint will also make you more credible with media when you go to interact with them.

What are your thoughts for how and how often to communicate?

Xbox One Isn’t the Only One


XboxOne

The unveiling of the Xbox One has got my inner geek pretty stoked.

Tear it apart any which way you want, but this new console it represents a terrific leap forward in the way we experience and share media in our homes: music, movies, games and TV. The new functions look very cool, especially the improvements in Kinect. I will be getting my hands one as soon as possible.

It’s probably not the elusive “all in one” box that Microsoft claims it is, but I frankly don’t think we will ever get there, because we really don’t want to. As consumers, (especially us geeks, who thrive on variety and shiny new things that replace and outdo the old ones) we don’t like limiting ourselves to just one platform or one way of doing things. We like to integrate our systems together and make them do unique things that serve our purposes.

The Xbox One is also a good example of how we – as communications professionals and PR people – need to constantly keep up with evolving technology that affects our business.

I was a semi-early adopter of social media, and saw its potential for one-to-one, human connectivity right away. And while I’m better at it than most, I’m far from an uber-user or an expert by my definition of the word.

Part of the reason we fall behind is because things evolve so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. And yet, that’s also part of our business: recognizing the changes afoot and evolving our tactics with them. We need to take time out – hard as it can be – to experiment with these technologies and make them work for us.

Take time to turn off all your inputs and just experiment, at least once a week. Part of keeping up is making sure you do it with the frequency to make it effective.

It’s All About To End


Meteor NYC

I wrote the title to this post a week ago, truly meaning to reference a great article on social media that I intended to share with all of you for Friday ShareDay.

Then this morning, I woke up to this:

I can’t imagine what people in that Russian town could have been thinking, innocently going about their daily business, as they watched the sky light up, brighter than the brightest sunlight, then watch something impact the ground just over the horizon, or down the street. It must have been terrifying. I’m thinking good thoughts for all those people who were injured or otherwise affected.

(P.S. Did I just miss the warnings from NASA and others? Because, I don’t know, when a meteor that’s big enough to NOT burn up in the atmosphere is on a trajectory to hit Earth anywhere, I’d like to know about it in advance.)

Back to the blog…

What I meant when I titled this post last week was a reference to our Friday ShareDay content, a great post on “3 Ways to Survive the Coming Social Bust.” Even if the doomsday title isn’t the truth, the advice contained inside is invaluable.

Happy Friday!

First Chance, Last Chance


Same Old Thinking Same Old Results

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This pic at the left says it all. Can you feel it?

So in that spirit, here’s a fast post today to kickoff a new week, a new month, a new business quarter, and the last three months of the year. It’s your first chance to get the rest of the year going right – and your last chance to make something amazing happen before we say goodbye to 2012.

Before you know it, we’ll all be standing around singing this song.

For those of you who are interested in “making it through,” best of luck.

For those of you who are going to make this a time to remember, come on along with me. We got doin’ to do.

Leave a comment below and let everyone know what YOU will accomplish!

It’s not you, it’s me. OK, it’s a little bit you.


It's not you, it's me

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This is not going to be popular. But here it goes.

Our lives are busy. If you’re like me, you work while signed into several different social media channels. With a half dozen windows open, email pinging non-stop and posts, updates, videos and IMs flying over the transom like a Nor’easter, it gets to be overwhelming. And then you gotta do that stuff they pay you to do, too.

Your time is valuable. Really, it is very valuable. Whether you’re charging clients hundreds of dollars an hour for your services or you’re trying to carve out some extra time to spend with your family, you can’t afford to waste a minute of your day. Nor would you want to.

That means you have to be a productive as possible. Which means you have to work smarter. And that means you have to kill the clutter. Yes, I am talking about those people who are sucking valuable minutes out of your day. It’s nothing personal. They need to go.

It’s not just the incessant Farmville addicts always asking you to plant a rutabega in their field, or the “haven’t-lived-in-the-same-state-with-you-since-8th-grade-but-here’s-150-identical-pictures-of-people-you’ve-never-met” photo streams. It’s the people who are just hanging out, quite innocently, posting and updating every once in a while, and contributing nothing to the conversation that interests you. You put 50 (or more) of those needless posts together, and you’ve got yourself quite a pile of junk to filter through.

So get rid of ’em. Unfriend. Unfollow. Unsubscribe. Get them out of your feed. Make your social circles resemble your real life more – not less. I would recommend if you haven’t interacted with a person in the last six months, they should go. Yes, that means family. And former fraternity brothers. And co-workers.

Once you’re done, you should see an uptick in your productivity. Your feeds should also get more interesting, and you should be able to be more active with the people with whom you are connected online.

So give it a try. Just don’t expect to be popular.

Do you have Klout?


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Klout

We all have influence on others. Perhaps not on the scale of Ming the Merciless, but influence, nonetheless.

Nowhere is that influence more on display than in social media, where we are encouraged to share information, experiences and unsolicited opinions on everything from restaurants and music to the news of the day. And those opinions often result in real actions taken by the people who hear our words.

They go to the movies. Buy a pair of jeans. Maybe even book a vacation or enroll their child in a school. In short, they spend money. (Here’s an earlier post where I talked about making your social media messages actionable.)

And so all my marketing friends sit up and go “We should be able to track this! Put it on a graph and analyze it! Make it work better!”

Enter Klout, which claims to measure your social media influence by analyzing with whom you interact with on facebook, twitter and other social media sites and gives you a grade, your “Klout score.”

Scientific? Hardly.

And being the skeptic, I asked some of my twitter followers (and people whose opinions are far more insightful than mine) to share their perceptions of Klout:

Dave Peck: “@klout is one of the best tools put there to measure influence. Has room for improvement though. For example, I didn’t tweet while on vacation and my score dropped. So I take 48 hrs off and my influence and reach drop? I don’t think so. Oh and @klout rocks they helped me out yesterday really fast ;)” [Dave didn’t elaborate on this last point.]

Monica Guzman: “Checking @klout is like Googling yourself, but a bit more socially acceptable.” [Love it, Monica!]

Amanda Marsh: “Even at 74, the only perk I was able to pick up was the Spotify account.” [Agreed! But I am waiting for those nifty achievement badges, AM!]

Gina LaGuardia: “I do like the freebies. Seriously, though, I’ve had editors of sites to which I f/l content ask me for writers’ scores… [Gina is a terrific writer who works in the higher education” and senior living spaces]

Nathan King: “For some people, their Klout score will be dead-on accurate, for others, not so much. I check it out of curiosity, but don’t change what I do online to try to raise the score. I’d much rather have people judge me on how I conduct myself online and the content I publish, not a score determined by Klout’s algorithm.” [Terrific insight, NK!]

Louise DiCarlo: You’re influential as long as someone doesn’t die – I lost 3 pts dealing w/real life (dad died). [So sorry for your loss, Lu.]

From my perspective, Klout strikes me more like a game than a resource, especially the feature that allows you to dole out +Klout points daily to people to whom you’re connected. And the range of social media networks that can be paired (ie, where Klout draws your score from) are currently limited to facebook, twitter and linkedin. They just recently added foursquare and YouTube, but other sites like Tumblr, Instagram, Gowalla and the new kid on the block, Google+, are no where to be found (yet).

I’d love to see Klout incorporate some kind of point system that earns me things of value, whether in the social media or real world. The next step in social media is getting people to spend real dollars, after all.

What’s YOUR experience with Klout? Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

Happening to Life


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“You have to happen to life, or life will happen to you.” – unknown

“Do, or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda, Empire Strikes Back

So for all the success of the last two weeks, things seem to have abruptly hit a wall for me in the last 24 hours. It’s one of those “Wait.. What the hell happened?” moments and it’s enormously frustrating.

A friend pointed out to me that the heavenly body of Mercury is in retrograde right now, meaning cosmic energy is slowing down and things are in chaos.

Dunno if I subscribe to that theory, but the evidence seems to be all around me. Reminds me of the post I did a while back about planning, and I am suddenly caught in the crosshairs of having violated my own advice.

So back to the drawing board I go.

Meantime, let’s focus on some positive!

For this week’s Friday ShareDay post, we turn to our friends at Social Media Examiner for a great piece on reaching people online with video by Debbie Hemley. Thanks to you guys for always churning out such useful content!

Happy Weekend! Now go out and happen to life!