Archive | January, 2014

Facebook Tweaks Algorithm…..AGAIN!

27 Jan

Facebook has just announced a slight tweak to the Newsfeed algorithm. The newest version of the Newsfeed will show fewer text-based status updates from Pages, but will serve more text-based status updates from users.

The good news for Pages administrators is that Facebook will probably be distributing more status updates from Pages that are media- or link-based, as opposed to text-based.

According to a blog post, Facebook learned through testing that, the more simple, text-only status updates people see, the more they share. In fact, the initial test resulted in an average of 9 million more status updates written every day.

However, a text-only status update from Pages didn’t yield the same result as text status updates from regular users. Knowing this, Facebook has decided to pull back on text updates from Pages.

So what should Page administrators do to make up for the traffic?

Aside from the obvious switch to more media- and link-based content sharing, Facebook recommends using the link share tool rather than embedding a link in the text of the update, as it provides a more rich media experience for the consumer.

Last month, Facebook made changes to the feed that showed more links, likely an attempt to battle other news discovery tools. Of course, rumors suggest that tweaking the newsfeed is just a battle in the war on news discovery apps, as the social network is planning to launch a Flipboard-like newspaper competitor in the near future.

Here’s a copy of the announcement:

The goal of every update to News Feed is to show people the most interesting stories at the top of their feed and display them in the best way possible. We regularly run tests to work out how to make the experience better. Through testing, we have found that when people see more text status updates on Facebook they write more status updates themselves. In fact, in our initial test when we showed more status updates from friends it led to on average 9 million more status updates written each day. Because of this, we showed people more text status updates in their News Feed.

Over time, we noticed that this effect wasn’t true for text status updates from Pages. As a result, the latest update to News Feed ranking treats text status updates from Pages as a different category to text status updates from friends. We are learning that posts from Pages behave differently to posts from friends and we are working to improve our ranking algorithms so that we do a better job of differentiating between the two types. This will help us show people more content they want to see. Page admins can expect a decrease in the distribution of their text status updates, but they may see some increases in engagement and distribution for other story types.

Many Page owners often ask what kind of content they should post. This is difficult to answer, as it depends on who your audience is and what they want to see.

Still, one thing we’ve observed is that when some Pages share links on Facebook, they do so by embedding the link in the status update, like the one below:

The best way to share a link after this update will be to use a link-share, so it looks like the one below. We’ve found that, as compared to sharing links by embedding in status updates, these posts get more engagement (more likes, comments, shares and clicks) and they provide a more visual and compelling experience for people seeing them in their feeds.

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20 LinkedIn Groups Marketers Must Join

20 Jan

Keeping up with industry trends and reading content from the best and brightest industry experts are two tasks many marketers struggle to find time for. This is certainly understandable, given all of the projects on their plates on a daily basis — from setting up workflows, toanalyzing blog metrics, to creating premier content.

What these marketing pros may not realize, though, is they can easily access the latest marketing news and insights from well-known names in the field — and even join in on interesting marketing conversations — through LinkedIn groups.

To get a glimpse of just what kinds of popular marketing groups — and even niche communities within marketing, like blogging and social — there are on the social media site, check out our list below.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll grow your marketing expertise just by taking a little time out of your day-to-day and checking out some thought-provoking posts and discussions.

(Note: Some of these groups are public, meaning any LinkedIn member is free to join, while others are private, meaning you can click to join them but will have to wait to be approved to join by the group’s owner or moderator.)

Marketing

1) Digital Marketing

  • Created: March 3, 2008
  • Type: Networking Group
  • Members: 427,420
  • Owner: John Horsley

Why This Group Is Awesome

As one of the largest groups on LinkedIn, this community is chock-full of inspiration, intriguing discussions, and detailed tips and best practices for improving your online marketing, including mobile, SEO, email, and a heckuva lot more.

2) Inbound Marketers – For Marketing Professionals

  • Created: September 21, 2007
  • Type: Professional Group
  • Members: 99,095
  • Owner: Dharmesh Shah

Why This Group Is Awesome

Created by HubSpot’s own Dharmesh Shah, the Inbound Marketers group provides tips, tricks, templates, and tutorials for planning and executing on successful inbound marketing strategies. Chances are, you’ll run into tons of HubSpotters and HubSpot customers in this group too!

3) eMarketing Association Network

  • Created: November 12, 2007
  • Type: Networking Group
  • Members: 552,753
  • Owner: Robert Fleming

Why This Group Is Awesome

This community, managed by the eMarketing Association, is intended for anyone who’s interested in marketing, as it focuses on topics related to social media, search, email, mobile, and general inbound marketing. You’re likely to run into fellow marketing friends and coworkers in this group.

4) Innovative Marketing, PR, Sales, Word-of-Mouth & Buzz Innovators Innovation Network by Gerald Haman

  • Created: February 2, 2008
  • Type: Professional Group
  • Members: 243,469
  • Owner: Gerald “Solutionman” Haman

Why This Group Is Awesome

Want to talk strategy? Looking for a little inspiration for your next campaign? This group is for you. You’ll hear from all sorts of marketing, PR, and sales professionals about their innovations and strategies so you can perfect your own.

5) B2B Technology Marketing Community

  • Created: November 28, 2007
  • Type: Professional Group
  • Members: 56,879
  • Owner: Holger Schulze

Why This Group Is Awesome

The B2B Technology Marketing Community is a highly engaged group of tech-focused marketers who love Q&A and actively participate in group discussions. If you’re looking for a great group to talk shop with, this one’s for you!

6) B2B Marketing

  • Created: November 4, 2008
  • Type: Professional Group
  • Members: 36,184
  • Owner: Joel Harrison

Why This Group Is Awesome

If you’re a marketer who focuses primarily on B2B, this is an excellent group to join. You’ll learn all about the trials and tribulations associated with the B2B sector and how you can go about conquering your biggest challenges with marketing to these companies.

7) Non-Profit Marketing

  • Created: August 6, 2008
  • Type: Nonprofit Group
  • Members: 30,914
  • Owner: Carrie Montagna

Why This Group Is Awesome

If you’re a nonprofit marketer, this is the largest and most active nonprofit marketing group on LinkedIn! This community is the primary place to meet and network with other nonprofit marketers on the social platform as well as learn how to use inbound marketing successfully for your NPO.

Sales

8) Sales Best Practices

  • Created: October 1, 2007
  • Type: Professional Group
  • Members: 155,636
  • Owner: Laurent J.V. Dubois

Why This Group Is Awesome

If you’re a marketer with an interest in sales, but have very little time to educate yourself further about the field, you’d be wise to join this group. It’s an optimal place to scan the most popular discussions and get a glimpse of what sales best practices really look like.

9) Sales / Marketing Executives (CSO/CMO)

  • Created: March 27, 2008
  • Type: Networking Group
  • Members: 134,206
  • Owner: Eric Blumthal

Why This Group Is Awesome

What better way to learn more about sales and marketing than from the great minds of sales and marketing executives on LinkedIn? This group is a prime one to join if you want to get inspired by super-smart thought leaders (and maybe watch a TED talk or two).

Social Media

10) Social Media Marketing

  • Created: March 6, 2008
  • Type: Professional Group
  • Members: 734,068
  • Owner: Michael Crosson

Why This Group Is Awesome

The Social Media Marketing community is a large community led and moderated by an excellent group of managers. This is ideal for you if you crave new insights on social media. You’ll receive weekly announcements in your inbox with great resources and webinars, in addition to the lively discussion from the general social media community.

11) Social Media Today

  • Created: March 6, 2008
  • Type: Networking Group
  • Members: 118,400
  • Owner: Robin Fray Carey

Why This Group Is Awesome

Want to learn more about social currency, brand advocacy, or the importance of purpose in social media? These are all topics you’ll find in the Social Media Today group. Here, you’ll learn about social media from an interesting angle, all brought to you by the folks who write content on the Social Media Today blog.

SEO

12) Search Engine Land

  • Created: January 29, 2008
  • Type: Networking Group
  • Members: 52,077
  • Owner: Danny Sullivan

Why This Group Is Awesome

Need SEO help? You’ll learn everything from penalty fixes to the latest and greatest best practices in this group. By just quickly scanning the most popular discussions in this group, you’ll get the quick fix you need to better your search strategies.

13) Moz

  • Created: April 20, 2010
  • Type: Professional Group
  • Members: 19,113
  • Owner: Jennifer Sable Lopez

Why This Group Is Awesome

Not only will you get a chance to experience the Moz culture when perusing this group, but you’ll learn exactly what types of best practices and challenges top SEOs are experiencing. A main feature of this group is the ability to post questions and get pretty quick answers from marketing pros far and wide.

14) SEO SEM Social Media (Digital Search & Internet Marketing)

  • Created: March 14, 2008
  • Type: Professional Group
  • Members: 77,801
  • Owner: Pravin Shivarkar

Why This Group Is Awesome

How is an SMO different from an SMM? Do you think Google is killing SEO? Should you include keywords in your blog titles? These are all types of discussions you’ll find in the SEO SEM group on LinkedIn. Join this group if you’re interested in participating or listening to some of the most controversial optimization topics on the web.

Content

15) Content Strategy

  • Created: April 1, 2009
  • Type: Professional Group
  • Members: 14,611
  • Owner: Hilary Marsh

Why This Group Is Awesome

Why do you create content? Are you aligning that content with certain goals or creating it just to stay current? This group will get you thinking more strategically about every blog post, ebook, or webinar you produce, which could very well come in handy when trying to bolster your lead generation.

16) The Blog Zone – A Community for Bloggers

  • Created: June 20, 2009
  • Type: Networking Group
  • Members: 16,797
  • Owner: Susan Fronk

Why This Group Is Awesome

Are you a blogger? This is the most popular blog-specific community on LinkedIn. If you want to focus more on mission, vision, focus, and general blog strategy, join this community and start chatting with like-minded marketers.

17) Creative Design Pros

  • Created: June 13, 2008
  • Type: Professional Group
  • Members: 152,059
  • Owner: Calvin Cox

Why This Group Is Awesome

Although this group is geared toward professional designers, I suggest any inbound marketer hops into this group for the sake of observation and education. This group is brimming with experienced designers sharing graphic design tips and best practices. From this community, you’ll also learn more about the day in the life of a designer and how to approach a good relationship with your agency or in-house design team.

Business

18) Harvard Business Review

  • Created: May 13, 2010
  • Type: Nonprofit Group
  • Members: 579,560
  • Owner: Ania Wieckowski

Why This Group Is Awesome

The HBR community is another one of the biggest groups on LinkedIn, featuring insightful discussions about passion, values, innovation, leadership, and management in the workplace. In short, HBR is a premier community to be a part of if you enjoy learning from thought leaders and want to go beyond insights solely focused on marketing.

19) On Startups – The Community For Entrepreneurs

  • Created: September 19, 2007
  • Type: Networking Group
  • Members: 386,806
  • Owner: Dharmesh Shah

Why This Group Is Awesome

This hefty-sized group caters to entrepreneurs who seek to learn from and establish significant thought leadership in their careers. A couple examples of posts featured in the group, another created by HubSpot’s own Dharmesh Shah, include “How To Keep Your Title From Holding You Back” and “9 Qualities Of Truly Confident People.”

20) Business Development

  • Created: September 25, 2007
  • Type: Professional Group
  • Members: 148,815
  • Owner: Hari Raghunathan

Why This Group Is Awesome

In this group, you’ll find like-minded professionals in sales, business development, marketing, demand generation, and inside sales functions who are all primarily in technology companies. All in all, a great spot to learn how to successfully turn those contacts into customers.

What’s your favorite marketing-related LinkedIn group? Tell us in the comments below!

10 Big SMM Trends We Expect in 2014!

14 Jan

he age of innocence is over. Social media is moving from adolescence to post pubescent, facial hair growing adulthood.

In 2008 when I started on Facebook and Twitter it was fun, frivolous and social. Social media was unencumbered by the past, was encouraged by the future and treated as a toy by the big end of town. Automation was frowned upon and yelled down.

Today the legacy players in technology, IBM, Oracle and Adobe amongst others have built and are evolving “Enterprise Class” social media marketing platforms and infrastructure. Facebook and Twitter have become public companies and social startups are not just seen as the playthings of geeks.

It’s become serious business.

So what’s this mean to you?

It means many things and will impact at various levels and intensity across business, marketing and publishing. It will affect your planning, how you resource and even your corporate culture.

The game is still changing and you will need to continue or even start to adapt and evolve. The old analog paradigms of print and mass media marketing and publishing are being pushed and pummelled. They are being held more accountable and measurable.

Social media maturity means implementing processes and platforms. Boring at times but efficient.

So what are the emerging social media marketing trends in 2014?

#1. Pay to play

Facebook likes were the start and the finish of Facebook marketing. Obtain 100,000 likes and you could reach a big crowd. Facebook becoming public means the shareholders want a return. That means that free reach is diminishing and paying for it is almost becoming the necessary evil.

Twitter has developed self serve ads like Facebook over the last 12 months in the USA and is now rolling it out into the UK and beyond. Yes, even Pinterest’s first promoted pins and advertising went live in October 2013.

It is becoming pay to play on social. The free lunch is much looking a touch smaller.

#2. Planning becomes a necessary evil

No longer is it enough to say that you do social media marketing because you have a Facebook and Twitter page. The increasing complexity means you need a strategic social media marketing plan. This means defining your goals, audience and allocating a budget and appropriate resources just for starters.

It’s now time to write that social media marketing strategy.

#3. Brands out-publish traditional publishers

Social media has given us the power, platforms and world reaching networks to all become publishers. Innovative and creative brands and businesses are realizing that social media and content publishing are synergistic cousins and cohorts. Create multimedia content and share it on social networks and you start global conversations.

Brands such as Red Bull, General Electric and Lorna Jane are becoming media companies and publishers with powerful results. Red Bull even has its own media company with nearly 150 employees. The humble blog is leaving its training wheels in the shed. Content is now where it’s at. Mass media is starting to struggle to compete with the amplification and viral velocity of social content driven by the crowd. Octoly discovered that 99% of brand conversations on YouTube are created by fans and followers.

Crowd sourced marketing is now becoming the norm rather than an afterthought.

#4.Visual social takes center stage

Visual social content is now a serious contender in social media marketing due to the convergence of a few factors.

  • The rapid market penetration of smart phones and tablets
  • The widespread availability of high speed wireless networks
  • The decreased cost of data that makes high definition uploads cost effective
  • The emergence of focused visual media social networks such as Pinterest, Vine and Instagram

Add the emergence of visual content marketing platforms such as Shuttlerock and it’s a trend that is helping companies drive brand awareness and sales.

#5. Social mobile is now mandatory

The rise of mobiles and their almost universal acceptance and use means that optimizing your social content for mobile is vital. This runs on a few levels.

This includes:

  • Make sure your blog is viewable on mobile devices by using responsive WordPress templates
  • Visual content such as images and video needs to be made easy to view on smart phones and tablets

12 months ago it was a nice to have but is now becoming essential.

#6. Social media automation is no longer a dirty word

Automation used to be a dirty word on social but doing “social at scale” means that you have no choice. New emerging startups such as Sprinklr are helping brands do social and digital marketing efficiently. Traditional technology companies such as Adobe, IBM, Oracle and Salesforce are acquiring and integrating Enterprise class social media infrastructure into their product offerings.

This trend is also seeing the maturing of previously free platforms such a Hootsuite to grow up and offer platforms that offer a solution and one portal for your social media marketing.

#7. Wearable social takes big baby steps

Google glass is offering the promise of doing social at the blink of an eye and with the movement of lips. 2014 will see the emergence of wearable technology that takes social out of your hand and onto your wrist and face. Samsung is also in the game with other startups trying to get a position on the starting line. The other vendor to watch here is Apple. Will they or won’t they play?

The two other important questions on this trend are, “what will be the adoption rate?” and “what will be its impact for social media marketers?” Look forward to reviewing the numbers in 2015.

#8. Google+ starts moving content

Facebook’s necessity of monetizing its social network to appease shareholders and become a sustainable business could be creating an interesting tangential sideshow. It could be pushing users into Google’s arms by using Google+. Google plus is not a source of revenue and doesn’t need to make money. It is helping feed the search beast’s golden search goose called “Google Adwords”

With over half a billion user and growing it is now becoming a vital cog in SEO, social media marketing and content moving. My blog has seen an increase of over 300% in content amplification on Google+.

Google plus needs to be on your social media event horizon.

#9. The increasing authority of online influencers

Klout and Kred were two of the first movers to allocate online influencers some credibility. This was at first seen as imagined rather than true and authentic. As online influencers in their niches have grown tribes and followers on social networks brands are starting to come out to play.

Brands have done this in the past on traditional media and that is why mass media influencers such as Tiger Woods is sponsored by Nike. This is starting to happen on social media. The question isn’t “should we?” It is more about ”how can we?

The power of the social micro niche influencer on a global scale is now becoming evident and real. Expect to see this trend become more visible in 2014.

#10. Brands start ignoring mass media in larger numbers

The first inkling of this was seen when Beyonce launched a new album in December last year. She ignored the traditional mass media release of a radio campaign, multiple TV appearances and retail and consumer brand promotions. Instead she announced it on Instagram to her 8 million followers with the word “Surprise” and proceeded to launch the 14 songs and accompanying 17 videos on iTunes.

A success?

The unofficial numbers are said to be 365,000 album downloads on the first day and 1.2 million tweets in 12 hours. Beyonce has her own distribution network and its called “social media”. The power of her fans and crowd sourced marketing is now apparent to all. An interesting question here is “does she need traditional mass media?”

Expect to see to see more of this in 2014.

What about you?

What trends surprise you? Are there anyof these that you are planning to embrace and use in 2014? What other social media trends do you think are going to be big this year?

Look forward to your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.

2014 Trends for Social Media Marketing and Public Relations

6 Jan

As 2014 arrives, what trends in communications do business owners need to be aware to reach their customers more effectively?

Here are a few of the trends that are clearly developing. I suggest incorporating them into your marketing strategies.

Attention economy: People see more than 34 billion bits of information every day, according to a report by the University of California, San Diego. The figure equals reading two books a day. We are moving to the attention economy where people’s attention is treated as a scarce commodity.

Because there’s a lot of information to process, more and more people are starting to tune out. I believe there’s too much content on too many platforms and images/video will continue to gain as a preferred content source for users.

Businesses will have to work smarter, truly understanding their products and audiences within the attention economy. Organizations need to make their messages visual and shareable in our highly “Pinterest-ized” social-media world.

Mobile: Mobile is making the list for a second year and for a good reason. It continues to dominate as a business must. People are moving away from desktops to smart phones and tablets in greater numbers. Mobile is important to your marketing.

According to research published by The Pew Internet & American Life Project, more than 90 percent of Americans own cellphones and 57 percent of all Americans go online using their mobile phone. With smart phones now outnumbering their less intelligent ancestors and cell providers offering a multitude of data plans, the mobile revolution has arrived.

Organizations need to move from just mobile optimization of their digital properties to responsive and adaptive designs, which are designs that fluidly change and respond to fit any screen or device size. Thanks to diverse mobile media properties, business can now deploy customized campaigns to attract customers on the go.

Customers expect real time information based on location and relevance. This will require organizations to think more in terms of one-to-one personalization. Mobile can provide this to them.

Predictive tools: We are moving away from simple analytic tools that only give the basic information. Tools are become more predictive, which means various techniques from statistics, modeling, machine learning and data mining can analyze historical and current information to make predictions.

The era of simple tools no longer excites people and the world is looking to discover what to do with all of their data, so predictive technologies will gain traction in 2014. All of the current tools we are using cannot only play better together, but also produce more meaningful results.

The trends of the attention economy, mobile, and predictive tools feed into a positive customer experience. Customer service should always be a cornerstone for public-facing organizations. Social media is becoming a more subtle extension of things where some brands understand it is a slog of real business. Organizations need to continue to improve customer service and communications on social channels.

The new year will be about effectively understanding, then reaching, your customers. And, reaching them where they are, not where you want them to be, with information in a format they want. And, providing them with the best customer service on all communication channels.

Here’s to a great 2014!