Archives for SMM

Are you Verified on Twitter?

Are you verified on Twitter? Does it matter? Is it important?

For some people getting verified on Twitter is extremely important. Twitter verification is essentially a big blue check mark that says you are the real deal! It is Twitter’s way of establishing authenticity behind a well know and public persona. It is used for public figures, ie. politicians, celebrities, rock stars, etc.

Dexter verified on Twitter

The reason why this is important is because your name is important, especially if you are a public figure. Issues that people have in getting verified, and why it is important, are someone already claimed your name and won’t give it up, they are not doing anything with it, just cyber-squatting. Maybe they claimed your name to spam. Maybe they are just posing as you.

Your name is a brand. You have worked hard at getting name recognition and you should be able to reap the rewards, not some random person in cyber-space who doesn’t know you from Adam. What is even worse than someone squatting on your name is if they are spamming or misrepresenting you. Are they damaging the good name you have built? This is, of course, why Twitter started verifying to begin with. But many people have difficulty in getting verified, or getting Twitter to help them resolve issues of cyber-squatting or spam/misrepresentation. In fact less than 2% of Twitter users are verified, and there are way more public figures than 2%.

However, Twitter is no longer verifying accounts. Since the change to New Twitter, many verified accounts have even lost their prized check mark. Though support@twitter does say they are restoring them to their rightful owners.

The change to new twitter seems to come with the promise of a change to the verification system. Apparently the verification system was in its beta form and Twitter will be rolling out a new and improved system. Maybe this new verification system will make it easier to get verified.

You worked hard for name recognition and deserve to have that little blue check mark!

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My Twitter Real Estate Value?

The idea of Twitter real estate has never been more salient as it is right now.  Twitter real estate is the space you have to customize your Twitter profile page.  It is the space you have to be able to individualize, personalize, identify, set yourself apart, and express yourself.  It is your space to work on your branding. Until a week ago, Twitter real estate had a pretty high value.  When you wanted to see someone’s profile, you clicked their avatar and it took you to their page.  On that page you would see the custom design of their choice.  This could sway you into following them.  It might send you to their website. Or it might simply give you a better idea of who they are as a person.

The New Twitter has reduced your available real estate to about 100 pixels, or 1.389 inches wide.  Yeah, not very wide. Actually it is less than half of what it was.  Before you had about 225 px, safely, to design and add content.

Now principles of real estate, if less land is available then the more it is worth?  The New Twitter figured out how to squash that too.

Now, not only is there less space, but they reduced the likelihood that anyone will even see your 1.389 inches of custom background.  How?  Good question!

New Twitter has reduced your visibility a few ways. One way is to see a custom background you have to have your browser window completely open (up to 1080px). According to Banyan Branch, your custom profile will only be visible to about 5% of internet users.  So assuming you have cleared that initial visibility hurdle, New Twitter gave us another one.  Though this is nice for usability, it is not so nice for showing off your design work.  Now, when you click on someones Twitter handle or their avatar, instead of going to their profile page, it opens up an abbreviated profile on the right.  This abbreviated profile does not show your custom backgroud.

So unless someone goes to your actual Twitter URL (ie. http://www.twitter.com/twitterusername) then they will not see your profile, and even then they only have a 5% chance.

Should you have a custom background? Yes.  The audience has been narrowed but not eliminated.

How to Make a Background for the New Twitter

New Twitter Background

The New Twitter has changed their interface.  While this makes usability better for a variety of reasons, it is rendering the old custom background useless.  Yes the backgrounds are still there, but effectively no one can see them.

The reason custom backgrounds are so important is that they allow you to incorporate branding with your social media activity. Unfortunately the change has rendered our beautiful branded backgrounds unusable.

Can you still have a custom background?

Yes!  Though they are not as important as they once were.  The new interface width is 1040px, leaving roughly 100px on the left for your branding. This is not a lot of room for design or information content.

Who will see my new custom background?

Not many people. Mobile devices will not see custom backgrounds at all.  If you open a profile from your stream, New Twitter now opens it in the right side bar instead of going to their profile page.  To see the full Twitter page you have to open your browser window all the way, meaning 1080px.  Not everyone browses this way and not everyone’s screen is big enough, or set up, to open a window that large.  Banyan Branch says that the full Twitter screen will only be viewed by an estimated 5% of Internet users.

How to Create a New Twitter Background?

Create a document that is 1980 x 1080 px.

Only 41-312 px will be visible.  41px are visible to all browsers and 312px are visible to 4.6%.  Best to keep your content to 41-108px on the far left of the screen.

When you are done, save it as a .png

The New Twitter backgrounds are not as valuable as the old custom backgrounds. Your real estate has been significantly reduced along with the visibility.  However, it is still important to have a custom background.  It still helps branding.  It still makes you look more professional and it can still drive business.  So don’t toss the baby out with the bathwater.  Keep a custom background, just boil it down to basics and make it clean and simple.

I like you so I will like your Facebook Page

Facebook Thumbs Up

By the time you get a few hundred friends on Facebook you will start getting TONS of Facebook page suggestions.  These are the little notifications that ask you to “like” a page.  I don’t know about you, but I get more of these than I care to dwell on.  Honestly, I generally say “ignore”.  It isn’t that I don’t like the page.  I might find the topic interesting.  If I find the name of the page interesting enough, I might even check it out.

The reality is, most of the time I don’t click the link.  Most of the time I just hit “ignore” and move on.

So when do I “like” something?  Well, it is all based on who is suggesting it.

  • If a personal friend suggests it
  • If it is someone who I respect
  • If it is thoughtful, like a topic I am deeply interested in
  • If it is a business colleague

When am not going to “like” something?

  • If a personal friend suggests it who sends me 100 suggestions a day
  • Someone I am “friends” with, but don’t know
  • Someone who does not interact with me
  • If it is something to which I have no interest

The most important factor of these lists is the friend element.  If I get a suggestion from someone who interacts with me, who I consider a friend either because I know them in real life or because we have formed a relationship of Facebook, if it is someone who has made thoughtful comments and suggestions in the past.  Essentially, if I like you and respect you then I am  more likely to like your suggestion.

So if  you want people to “like” your page, then work on your relationships.  Talk to your friends. Engage with people.  Reach out to people.  If you have quality relationships, this will translate to fans.

It is all about relationships!  The more you give, the more you will get back.

Angry at New Twitter

Angry Twitter Bird

As New Twitter rolls out there is a lot of anger being expressed.  I have to admit, I am a part of the angry crowd.  The elimination of the effectiveness of custom backgrounds seems like a minor issue, however it is one that is affecting many people.

Custom backgrounds are a great personal expression.  It is a way to make your Twitter profile represent you.  If you are a business, it is a great way to show your company information, product, services or team members.

Many of us have invested a lot of money or time into creating a custom Twitter background that we felt was emblematic of who we are as people, as professionals and as a business.

Ok, so lets look at this from a monetary perspective.

How would you feel if you just spent a few hundred dollars on a custom Twitter background and found out that you threw your money away?

Angry?  Yes.

How would you feel if you are making a living making custom Twitter backgrounds and you just found out that your profession was made obsolete overnight?

Angry?  Hell yes!

If you just designed a background for someone and their Twitter converted to New Twitter; will the client now ask for their money back? You did your job,  it is not your fault that Twitter just made it obsolete.

Angry?  OMG YES!!!!

What if you have been building brand recognition for a client with their custom Twitter background being central to their brand strategy?  How do you now tell your client that you have to rethink their entire brand strategy?

Angry? F*%K YES!

Rendering custom Twitter backgrounds obsolete has a much wider scope than just the frustration of not having your preferred background.  It is affecting people professionally and personally.

Are you New Twitter worthy?

Twitter

The New Twitter is the center of a lot of discussion across the internet right now. It seems that whether you have or, don’t have the New Twitter, is being internalized as a popularity commentary.

Those who don’t have the New Twitter are crying out to twitter asking why? why? why?

Though we wonder if Twitter has some popularity algorithm to establish who is New Twitter worthy.  If you have the New Twitter, are you getting more Twitter love than if you are still operating on the “obsolete” old Twitter? Is it a comment on your Twitter presence or influence.

Alexa Tsotsi from Tech Crunch just wrote a post asking where her New Twitter was. In her post she points out that she is from Tech Crunch and therefore the Twitter popularity or influence meter is our of whack.

So though those of us who got the New Twitter early feel somehow special or chosen, the reality is we are not.  There seems to be no rhyme or rhythm to Twitters selection of who is New Twitter worth and who is not.  The main goal seems to be avoiding the Fail Whale.

New Twitter and the Death of Custom Backgrounds

Follow me on Twitter

The new Twitter is rolling out across the web.  People are tweeting the change on their profile as we each, individually, and selectively get chosen to transition.

Honestly, functionally, it is not that different.  I understand that there are a lot of technical differences on the back end when it comes to Open API, Javascript, mobile platform integration, among other developments.  But from a usability point of view, it has not changed that much.  Except for one big notable area: the backgrounds.

If you have a custom designed Twitter background then you might notice that you real estate has shrunken in Twitter has not changed the ability to have a custom background, but it has virtually eliminated the usefulness of it. For some tweeps this will be highly significant.

Many people use custom backgrounds as a way to have a mini website on their Twitter page.  It is used to convey business and contact information, show a network complete with Twitter addresses for people in that network, and it is used to convey a sense of personality and individuality.  People will display their photography, vector art, pictures of themselves, product images, business logos and pictures of themselves. It has become a method for social networking branding.

In many ways the elimination of the effectiveness of custom Twitter background is turning the focus back to relationships. Now what people will see when they visit your Twitter page will not be an extension of personal/professional/corporate branding, but it will be you and your interactions with your tweeps.

Back to basics…. it is all about your relationships!

Spam May be good for Breakfast but Not for your Business

The different social networks fill various needs for its users. Linked In is better for B2B and professional networking. Facebook is your social circle online. Twitter is everything from friends to business to news. If you are trying to build your business, or your online reputation, then you are most likely on most of these social networks. Now that you are there, how do you get people to visit your blog, your site, buy your product, vote for you, donate money, etc. In essence how do they become clients?

The biggest mistake people make is spam. We have all seen the people who get out there and talk about their product…all day…all the time…incessantly…ad nauseum. If you want to be ignored, do this. You will be hidden on Facebook and no one will read your tweets.

If you want people to become clients, then you need to become friends first. You need to become a real person online.

  • Be the person who shares information.
  • Be the person who says good morning and wishes people happy birthday.
  • Be the person who re-tweets other peoples blog posts.
  • Be the person who offers good advice, for free, for no other reason other than you can.

Now you are dynamic. You are interesting. You are a source of information and you are someone people will look to. In the midst of all this good will, tell people about your business. Ask them for their support. Pepper your own goals into your relationship development. Your friends will respond to your requests. They will read your posts, they will go to your site, they will give you their support. They will do this because you are multi-faceted and not all about yourself. They will do this because you have build real relationships with them.

You have no control over your brand, embrace it!

Every company wants to have complete control over their brand. You want to be able to control what is said about your brand, whether it is you or someone else saying it. This is precisely why some businesses are nervous about going into social media, because they do not have that control. However, social media is happening whether you are a part of it or not.

This lack of control is not actually new with social media, it is just bringing it to a new level. Word of mouth reputation always existed. News publications would write product or business articles either in support of, or against, a brand. Then there is the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Reports. Once the Internet became popular along came service and product reviews, website reviews, blog reviews. The big difference now is that social networks like Facebook and Twitter are potentially increasing the conversation about your brand. People can write about you to their friends, on your page, or just generally comment.

Recommendations from someone you know are the most influential. So just as a good report from a friend about your brand can boost sales and referrals, a bad report can potentially damage them. However, this is where it is not necessarily cut and dried. Usually:

Good recommendation =  more business, sales, referrals, increase in reputation

Bad recommendation =  less business, loss of sales, damage to reputation, no control over impact of bad publicity.

On Social Media:

Good recommendation = more business, sales, referrals, increase in reputation, plus increased sales leads, fostering of relationships, demonstrating an interest in your clients, client interaction becomes a resource

Bad recommendation=  you have the ability to communicate with the person who wrote the bad review, an opportunity to resolve the issue and increase customer service and client relations, talk about issue publicly, communicate, dismiss rumors, respond to bad press and turn it into something good.

Essentially the conversation is happening whether you are part of it or not.  So it is time to accept that you have no true control over your brand.  What you do have control over, though, is your brand’s ability to communicate and engage.

Social Media: The Fundraising Powerhouse

Raising Money

Social media has changed the face of campaigning.  We are seeing more of our political candidates making their voices heard on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Besides being a great way to get your voice heard, build relationships with your constituents, communicate with people and promote your campaign, social media is also the newest platform for campaign fundraising.

On the campaign trail you meet a lot of people, but you can’t meet or talk to everyone. This is where social media seems like an obvious benefit. Think of how many conversations you can initiate and how many people you can ask for contributions – it would take months to knock on that many doors. But with Facebook and Twitter you can reach thousands in seconds. The problem is, it is not as simple as just asking for money. When people meet and talk to you, they are more compelled to donate to your campaign. You have spoken with them, and they have made a commitment to you. When you write a post asking for money, it is easy for your friends to ignore it or pretend they never saw it. If it is cleverly worded, you might even get a few “Likes”, but that does not mean that a donation is following the public show of support. So the big question is, how can you harness social media for fundraising?

Talking to New Mexico Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, Brian Colón

Brian Colón, Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, found the answer to that question. As with all social media, it is all about the relationships. It is not enough to simply ask for money. If you were collecting donations at an event, you’d be offering food and drink, conversation and networking. In short, you are building and sustaining relationships. Online, it is simply not enough to post updates about your campaign and have a website. You have to interact with your friends and followers. You have to create buzz and excitement.

Brian Colón managed to do that with his big fundraising push in April and May. After receiving $138,000 in online donations, he raised more money than almost any other Lt. Governor candidate in the country. He was also publicly recognized for a 48 hour period as the top online fundraiser in the country on ActBlue, the online clearinghouse for Democratic action.

I recently spoke to Brian about these successes. He said he wanted his campaign to be the “gold standard” in New Mexico for political social media. With more than 3,200 friends and a highly interactive social media presence, he accomplished this. Brian said, “My campaign was built on social media. I won the primary by 5,000 votes. Facebook and my online activity got me those votes. I would have been at risk of losing the election without social media.”

Brian didn’t just use social media to bring awareness to his campaign, he was able to harness his influence into tangible fundraising results. On Facebook and Twitter he was open with his fundraising goals, and posted updates about how much was still needed to reach those goals. During big push times he would even post about who donated, giving them public thanks and appreciation. In many ways this is the social media equivalent of the ticker running on the bottom of the screen during the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. We all call in because we want to see our name at the bottom of the screen. Brian Colón managed to capture that atmosphere and enthusiasm.

Taking inspiration from the telethon, Brian said, “My father was one of Jerry’s Kids. I have been raising money my whole life, whether it was walking around with a fish bowl raising money for MDA or walking the campaign trail. I have always recognized the value of seeing my name on TV. People like recognition. The telethon was an inspiration.” Brian successfully translated that inspiration into social media with his updates about who donated and how much. He was able to convert the excitement into real contributions.

I asked Brian what advantages he found in social media fundraising vs. more traditional methods. He said, “People are motivated to do it online because it’s instant. When someone says they are going to drop a check in the mail you have a 50% chance of it happening. It’s not that people don’t want to donate, it’s that writing a check is inconvenient.”

The “instant” quality of social media fundraising combined with the telethon style promotion of fundraising efforts creates a momentum that direct mail and phone calls simply cannot generate.

Fundraising on Social Media: Plusses and Pitfalls

Many candidates learn the hard way that adding a donation button to a website causes almost nothing to happen. Donations are a by-product of the decision to support a candidate. They are not isolated actions, but an integral part of the campaigning process. They are a financial show of support that is tied to the relationship between the candidate and the contributor. Social media is becoming one of the best tools to build and maintain voter/candidate relationships.

On the verge of becoming the best way to leverage a candidates’ time, social media is a public conversation.

Some people are still reticent about donating online. They are wary of sharing credit card information. They don’t trust that their information won’t be used to spam their email box. They are embarrassed about the size of their donation. They don’t want to sign up for an account on another website. However, sites like Paypal , ActBlue and Fundrazr protect your transaction and your information. You can help quell your online community’s concerns by addressing them in your social media fundraising efforts. Post about the safety of online contributions;  address their issues publicly and give them the option of sending in a check.

Candidates who use social media are moving from simple tools that handle small pieces to a much more sophisticated system that treats every interaction with a voter as an important piece of their political relationship. Political relationship management is the next evolution of campaign management and social media is the keystone of that strategy.