Archives for SMM

Talking in Tags: The Language of Status Updates

Tags are a current language in Twitter and Facebook status updates. People are no longer just writing in sentences or brief thoughts, they are now writing in tags and hashtags.

We are all getting used to reading and ignoring the # sign, and making sense of  words strung together, like #plansforfridaynight: we are learning to read it as “plans for Friday night”.

As we get used to seeing these tags, they are getting more integrated into the writing of the post itself, instead of appearing at the end of a post to simply identify a topic.

Why is this happening? Why are people tagging each other in posts and hashtagging words and phrases in Twitter and Facebook?

At its most simple level it’s interconnection. When you tag a friend in a Facebook update or a Twitter post, they will find out that you tagged them.  Think of it like talking about someone in the third person, when they are standing right next to you. You might not be talking directly to them, but you are including them in your conversation. It also allows other friends to potentially make a new connection because you have given them the social media equivalent of an informal introduction.

From a networking point of view, if you tag someone and say they helped you with a business project, that might alert another one of your friends that this person could be a resource. It is a wonderful way to share information and give informal recommendations. This builds and strengthens business relationships.  If you are someone who is generous with tagging, then people will be more likely to be generous with you in return. And from here, your network grows from 1 person to 10, to 100, to 1000.

Hashtags are a little different than tags because they are associating your post with a keyword. However, the idea behind dispersing the information is the same. Instead of tagging a person, you are tagging a trend, a keyword or an idea. Now anyone who is interested in that tag can connect with you, and the shared interest is facilitating that connection. If it is a business concept, then the more people see you using that tag, the more likely they are to associate you with that industry or interest.

The use of tags and hashtags as integrated elements of posts and updates reiterates the social component of social networking. People are not simply thinking in terms of sharing their experiences or thoughts, they are also sharing their friends, their connections and their resources. They are interacting with the potential inter-connectivity supported by social networking. The integration of tags and hashtags in writing shows that we are thinking beyond ourselves and our immediate social circles. We are thinking in terms of more holistic community interaction.

Hiring Consultants is Good for Your Sanity

Most of us will feel overwhelmed with our business at some point. Balancing work, home, personal life, relationships, and finances can be too much to deal with.  Then add in to that being a business owner. Not only are you working, but you are strategic planning, financial planning, creating and implementing marketing strategies, managing admin, networking, sales, and on and on and on.  You are wearing so many hats that you don’t have a hat rack big enough to hold them all.

When we are growing our business ROI (return on investment) is extremely important.  This is not to say that ROI is not always important and relevant, but when you are starting up often funds are limited. Your money needs to be able to pay your business expenses, your personal bills, hopefully a salary, and then your business development expenses.  Though this should be the most important in that list, it is usually the one item that gets pushed to the last. But sometimes investing in your business development will give you ROI that goes well beyond a dollar per dollar scale.

Consultants are an excellent way to solve many of your business problems.  As a Social Media consultant, not only do I facilitate the creation of an online marketing strategy, but I implement that strategy.  I also monitor and manage your social networking accounts. I can write your blogs, post your tweets and send your DM’s and Facebook emails.  I create online events, and then manage and promote those events.  I provide you with tutorials on how to use the technologies that will facilitate your business development, or ease of use of for your management needs. When you have a tech question, or a social media question, or a business question, or a relationship development question, or just need to vent about your business and being overwhelmed, I am there to help, advise or just listen.  As a consultant, I do more than just A+B=C, I deliver A+B=Zcubed.  I solve many of your business and work life problems, from the mundane day to day admin tasks to outlining your business development and helping you get back to whatever it is that you love to do, and that you do best. What I do best is help you to be your best.

Sometimes taking off some of your hats and giving them to other people will give you more help than the direct ROI.  Some of the unmeasured ROI is your sanity and peace of mind.

How to use Tweetdeck: Video Tutorial

How do I use Tweetdeck?  What do I use it for? Why should I use it?

Tweetdeck is an excellent tool for organizing your Twitter feeds.  It allows you to have your Twitter lists divided into columns, which can be all monitored simultaneously.  You can see your direct messages, your mentions and even your entire friends feed all in one window.  You can follow specific keywords or hashtags or even someone else’s list.  Tweetdeck allows you to keep up with your twitter feeds while working in other applications. The push-notifications alert you to new postings, and give you a summary of what is being tweeted.  Tweetdeck is an excellent way to organize and optimize your use of Twitter. Another perk….you can also monitor Facebook, Linkedin, Myspace and Foursquare.

This is a video tutorial on how to use Tweetdeck. It is a step-by-step guide, taking you through all the buttons, accounts and settings of Tweetdeck so you will be able to make Tweetdeck work for you.

Speaking of Nerves

Nervous speaking, looking at you

I recently spoke at Emerge NM.  It was to a class of women who are learning to become the next democratic leaders in New Mexico.  Overall I think the talk went well, but it was not great. I was nervous. Not over the top, hands shaking, voice quivering, paralyzed legs nervous.  But still nervous.  It is easy to get comfortable behind our computer screen. I can feel compelling and dynamic when I have the ability to edit my thoughts.  In person, there is no delete button.

Public speaking is not a gift that people have. Some people are better than others, but the reality is, if you want to be a good pubic speaker you have to get out there and speak.  In many ways it would be easier if we had a head set to amplify our voice, an audio/video tech who will operate your power point presentation and log in to the websites you want to showcase, and an audience who attention and interest is infallible.  However, you don’t get that swanky treatment until you already are a good speaker.  So you have to adjust your voice to the room.  You will have to learn how to speak and scroll through your presentation.  You will have to decide to hold notes or memorize your presentation.  You will have to learn not to speak at 90 miles a minute.

This is my problem. I get excited and I speak quickly.  Key to making sure your audience understands what you are saying is to at least speak slowly enough for them to understand the words.

Blog Radio

Lauren on Blog Radio: Build Your Career with Passion

I will be on Dennis Charles blog radio show on Monday August 9th at 11 am EST.  Dennis hosts a great show called Build Your Career with Passion.  He has lots of interesting and informative guests who provide a lot of great information about building your career and your business.  Linda Lopeke from SmartStart was recently interviewed on his show.  You can listen to her interview here.

I will be talking about social media and TEQ, technological emotional quotient.  TEQ is the practice of emotional intelligence in your virtual relationships.  Because virtual relationships do not have the benefit of human interactions, we miss a lot of the normal conversational cues that let us know what someone means or how they are feeling.  TEQ is the practice of integrating a new set of emotional intelligence that ensures deeper, more substantive, and productive virtual relationships.

So now I get to be a part of the interesting and informative!  How exciting. So come and listen to me on the radio…and lets how that my general sense of elocution does not go totally out the window. =)

Listen to me on blog radio Monday August 9th at 11 am EST.  Click here!

NFO is the new SEO


NFO is the new SEO

If you want your business to be successful, if you want your profile to grow, if you want your blogs to be read, they have to be seen.  It is fairly simple. If no one see’s your post, then you might as well have not made it.

We all like to think that our friends will pay attention to anything we post.  Well, not to burst your “sense-of-importance” bubble, but that is probably not true.  Lets face it, we pay attention to every post of only a handful of our friends, the rest we glance at. If someone has posted something interesting or eye catching then we might take a second look.  If Sally talking about her never-ending summer cold, or Joseph is posting pics from his latest BBQ, they probably don’t really care if you see it or not. They are just sharing bits and pieces of their lives.  However, if you are a business or a public figure, you want your posts to be seen, and to be read, and even commented on.  You want to make sure you are appearing in your friends newsfeed. Otherwise, what are you doing?

NFO is the new SEO. News Feed Optimization is the new “art” of newsfeed ranking.  Just like the search engines, Facebook has an algorithm that decides what goes on your newsfeed.  For the tech-geek in us all, the algorithm is called EdgeRank.  If you like Latin and algebra, then here is what it looks like:

ue – affinity score between viewing user and edge creator
we – weight for this edge type (create, comment, like, tag, etc.)
de – time decay factro based on how long ago the edge was created

(formula for EdgeRank from <a href=“”>TechCrunch</a>)

In case you don’t speak formulaic math, this means that your post is weighted by your “affinity score” multiplied your the type of content multiplied by the amount of time that has passed since you posted.  Your “affinity score” is essentially your level of engagement.  If you comment, tag, post, and generally interact with people you will have a higher affinity score.  Yet another reason why automatic posting is not always a good idea.

The type of content, or weight, has a big impact.  Multimedia content has a higher Edge factor than just an update.  However, if you only post links, videos and pics, you will not dominate the news feed.  The formula takes balance into account.  The formula wants a well rounded social media interaction.

In addition to multimedia content weight takes general interactions into account.  If you tag someone in your post, add an @ before their name, you will rank higher.  The more people like your post or comment on your post, the better your rank. Though a comment is better than a like.

If you want to be seen then you must engage and engage dynamically.  You must update your status, tag your friends, post pics and videos and interact with your friends comments.  The formula wants to make sure that well rounded and equally interactive people get the most Facebook “face” time.

Though Facebook is not replacing search engines, it is becoming a source of information from breaking news to public opinion and shopping.  It is the best word of mouth. Not only can you hear about how your friends liked something, but you can hear from their friends and so on.  In the constantly changing content of the newsfeed, gaining visibility is vital to your social media success. News Feed Optimization may become more mportant to your social media strategy than search engine optimization (SEO) is to you web strategy.

…oh yeah, and if you use the word ice cream or sex in your post, you will get a better rank.

Follow me on Twitter @laurencubed and on Facebook

Build it and they still may not come: how to get interactions on Facebook

You are up on all the latest social media tech. You have every account you own hooked up to Hootsuite and your posts are scheduled 3 times a day for the next 2 months. You post the pretty pictures of the nice sunset and a funny video of a cat riding a vacuum. You have 2,000 friends who wish you happy birthday and say how nice it is to meet you. So why do you only have superficial comments or the non-committal “Like”?

Some questions you need to ask:

1. Are you being yourself?

Of course you are you, but are you being genuine in your posts? Are you actually writing from your personality? Are you really making comments about you, your life and your world view or are you playing it safe?

People get bored reading about how nice the flowers are or what the weather is like. If you do not feel comfortable posting about the real things going on in your life then you need to make your “safe” posts interesting. Put some stank on it!

Here is an example taken from Joel Davis’s profile. Joel ran for the NM House of Representatives, Dist. 44. 
Joel Davis: “Apparently we are really cool because Netflix added the genre “Dark Dysfunctional-Family TV Shows” to our suggested titles because…”Your taste preferences created this row.” Thanks Netflix, for the kind words.”

This is an excellent post about a safe topic. It is funny and satirical. It shows his personality but is not personally revealing.

2. Is it all about you?

Do you only post about you? Do you ever interact with anyone else or re-post someone else’s content? If you realize that the only interactions you have on Facebook are the occasional Like and posting your own updates, you need to realize that there is more out there than you. Many of your friends are posting funny and dynamic content. Take the time to read what they have to say or even write a comment on their update. You cannot expect people to interact with you if you are not interacting with them. Remember, social media is about being social. It is a conversation, not a soap box.

3. Do you actually log in to Facebook?

I know this seems like a silly question, but with great tools such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck you can feel like you are taking care of your Facebook without ever actually going ON Facebook. If you realize that you have not actually logged on to your profile in weeks, maybe it is time to turn off the auto-posts and start being social with your media. Relationships take work, and social networks are no exception.

What it comes down to is that your social networks cannot be on autopilot. Social media is about building relationships and if you want to host the conversation you have to be part of the conversation. So get out there and start relating!

Follow me on Twitter @laurencubed and on Facebook

Build it and the still may not come: It’s been a week, why am I not making money?

It’s been a week, why am I not making money?

Ah, immediate gratification.  Who doesn’t want it?  Who doesn’t want success and money and love and a fit body and that dream vacation NOW?  I want it now.  I don’t want to wait. I am tired of ……waiting.

I recently had someone say to me, well my page has been up for a while and it just isn’t paying for itself.  I said, well, it has only been up for one week. It might take a little longer than that.

In the age of immediate gratification a week can seem like a while.

The perception was that the page was not successful because it was not making money and didn’t have 10,000 fans after what seemed to be a long time.  The reality was that after 1 week the page had 200 fans that were interested and ready to engage. From a social media standpoint, the page was doing well. But from an instant gratification point-of-view, the page was failing miserably.

The problem with instant gratification is just that, instant.  The joy is short lived.  You just started a twitter account?  Sure you can have 5,000 followers by the end of the week.  How elated do you feel?  How exciting to have so many people interested in you.  But wait, are they interested in you or are they just numbers?  Artificially inflating your numbers might be exciting at first, but when you realize that they mean nothing the excitement quickly becomes disappointment.

The disappointment will continue to grow because after the first instant gratification, you want another one, then another. Hoping that the next will the one to really give you what you are wanting, a relevant content driven page/site that has high interaction and is nicely monetized. It is the date that promises a kiss at the end of the night and delivers a wave from the car.

When we build a website, blog, twitter or Facebook page, we all want to see thousands of people flocking to it.  We all think that our content is incredible, our graphics inspiring and our message revolutionary.  Ok, even if you do not have delusions of grander, you obviously believe that you are offering something of value that people ought to be rushing to see.

The truth is, overnight success if never overnight.  What seems like an instant to an outside observer is often months, or years, of hard work.  Thankfully, through social media, years can be shortened to months and months can be shortened to weeks.  But the truth remains that overnight success is never actually overnight.  You have spent the time to develop your idea and your content, now you need to invest the same energy in developing your relationships.  To use more catch phrases, if you want to host the conversation you have to join the conversation.

Follow me on Twitter @laurencubed and on Facebook

Infuence: The New ROI of Social Media

ROI (Return on Investment) has always been a challenging analytic to gather.  In traditional marketing, the questions are: How effective is the ad?  Are people paying attention to it?  Are we driving business from it?  Are we successfully building a brand?  Companies have striven to answer these questions by using tracking mechanisms, ie. coupons, or “mention where you saw this ad and get a discount.”  These numbers do not give a true reflection of the success of a marketing campaign.  Marketing companies have been studying the effectiveness, and measurable ways to gauge marketing campaigns.  Gauging the ROI of social media has proved to be an even bigger hurtle.  Because the industry is still in its early adoption phase, the people who invest in it really want to see tangible ROI. As social media professionals, we are having to redefine the meaning of this term and how it applies to business.

The classic line is that social media is about relationships.  This is still true, but how do we measure those relationships?

The primary set of metrics start with  scope of your network. This is a misconception. It is not the size that matters, it is the relevance.  Your audience needs to be relevant to your goals.  You want an audience that will buy, support, and promote your interests. Otherwise you simply have a large audience who isn’t paying attention. It is the Law of Attraction, like attracts like.

Influence is probably the most significant metric.  Influence means that you have a target audience that not only cares about what you have to say, but reaches out to you, and to others on your behalf.  This starts with interactions. This starts with the “like” button and grows into your friends/fans/followers go out of their way to comment on something you posted, write on your wall or re-tweet your post.  Next comes communication, where you forge an inter-personal relationship with your audience.  You are dialoguing with them, which means you have become more than a talking head. You are now a real person.  Lastly comes the viral marketing. Your audience is spreading the word about you, or your message, on your behalf.  They tell their friends about you, they encourage others to support or friend you, they respond independently to a call to action.  Once all these things come together, you have become a profile/page of influence.

Aliza Sherman just wrote a blog giving some new terms for measuring social media marketing efforts.  She does a great job at breaking down the steps below.

  1. Attraction
  2. Participation
  3. Interactions
  4. Action
  5. Transformation
  6. Transaction

Her definitions for 2-6 are subheadings under Influence, they are the steps to the goal. It could be rewritten like this.

  1. Attraction
  2. Influence
    1. Participation
    2. Interactions
    3. Action
    4. Transformation
    5. Transaction

Ultimately understanding the steps to influence are what will deliver influence.  But the ultimate ROI is in achieving influence.  Do you have it?