Last Week's Top Social and Content Posts

20 Apr
April 20, 2015

Last week I started publishing a summary of what was most popular amongst the content I shared. This week, data and visual social media were the most popular themes from the content I curated.

So what were people looking at last week?

5 Social Media Image Size Hacks for Quick Visual Content

Top of the pile was a great post from Donna Moritz (@sociallysorted), on some hacks to build quick visual assets for your social media. Donna’s content is always great, and recommend following her.

Twitter Cuts off Data For Third Party Sellers

One of the bigger stories of the last week was Twitter, as they move into their own big data business through their Gnip acquisition.

10 Reasons Why Data Must Drive Your Content Strategy

I shared a similar post last week, and it’s obvious from the interactions I see with it that data and content strategy and hot topics. This post has 10 points that need consideration.

The Evolution of Advertising on Twitter, and What’s Next

I found this more retrospective, very light on the “what’s next” but it is an interesting read nonetheless.

Turn UGC Into Glorious Content

UGC was one of those things that marketers thought would be awesome in the early days of social media, then got a bad name because of the unreliable quality. But there is a way to do it right and turn it into something awesome.

Social Media Automation – Stop Outsourcing Gratitude

16 Apr
April 16, 2015

Despite the bad name it got in its early days, I think social media automation has come a long way and I don’t think there is anything wrong with some of the functions that fall under the umbrella of “automated”.

I use both Buffer and CoSchedule as tools for managing the content I send out on social channels, and to craft the message I am going to use to share the content I create. This kind of automation is OK.

Where it goes wrong, however, is when it’s used as an engagement tool. Automated replies on Twitter are nothing new, and have long been a pain point because they take away from the legitimacy of the connection you’ve just created.

You can’t automate gratitude. I consider giving thanks where you can to be one of the core tenets of Twitter citizenship. Pinging me a direct message within 10 minutes of following you to thank me for with a link to your white paper doesn’t say “thanks for following”.

Suggesting that we connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, <insert other network here> as part of that message? You’re losing me even further.

Take the time to write a tweet to say thanks. I try to make the time for it as much as I can – new connections, favourites, retweets. Every one of these interactions people have with me or my content helps me build my profile as a trustworthy source of information. Even if it’s collectively thanking people, take the time.

SumAll's on boarding puts automation of gratitude front and centreMany analytics platforms now offer the automation of this process with the addition of a link back to the platform – essentially making them a marketing message.

SumAll and Crowdfire are two of the bigger offenders. I use Crowdfire for some functions, specifically their inactive accounts analysis, but the lesson here is that you should use the functionality to understand your audience, not interact with it.

One of the first functions you are presented with on signing up with SumAll is the option to tweet your stats each week (incidentally, no one cares), and thanking your top followers weekly – both of which are selected by default.

CrowdFire’s is also an onboarding function and then keeps automation as a menu option, allowing you to add multiple DM styles, but randomly selecting one that gets sent and appending it with branding.

CrowdFire's automation process

 

Just as our privacy can be the price we pay to use platforms like Facebook and Twitter for free, so too free tools to manage them have a price, often in the form of promoting on their behalf. You can automate social media to make it easy in many ways, but engaging with people who engage with you shouldn’t be one of them.

PHOTO – Ian Britton via Flickr

Last Week's Top Social Media and Content Marketing Posts

13 Apr
April 13, 2015

I generally share over 50 different pieces of content a week, and each week I dip into my analytics on Buffer and see which ones struck a chord, and which ones missed the mark. I’m going to start curating a summary of these each week, as I believe that they are good pieces of content that should be read.

So, in no particular order…

Social Media Tools to Optimise Your Time

There are so many tool available to create efficiencies in the social space – some good, some bad, and some just make more work for you. Social Media examiner has pulled together a list of some tools that will definitely make things easier, including a few of my favourites.

Why Everybody Writes is the Book Everybody Needs

I reviewed the fantastic Everybody Writes back in January and got the chance to ask Ann Handley a few questions about it. It’s required reading for every content marketer

What the (Unofficial) Death of G+ Means for Marketing6101903676_c61d62f591_z

I’ll be honest, i gave up on G+ ages ago. I started out using it as you should with a social platform, and the longer it went, the less relevant I saw it become. Now even Google thinks it’s had its day. Here’s what the impending “stripping for parts” of G+ means for marketers.

6 Ideas for Images That Really Work

Visual social media is exponentially more engaging than just text, which has given rise to platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. But there is a science and an art to an effective use of images in social media posts. In addition to this advice from Content Marketing Institute, I would also recommend reading this post on 19 Visual Social Media Secrets from Socially Sorted.

10 Steps To A Successful Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing and strategy continue to be hot topics, which means there are a lot of these kind of posts floating around. This one from Demand Media is one of the best I’ve found, with a nice succinct infographic to summarise it all – it shouldn’t be rocket science if the fundamentals are sound.

10 Step Content Marketing Strategy from Demand Media

10 Step Content Marketing Strategy from Demand Media

 

Google Plus Photo – Leon Nicholls via Flickr

Can Your Old Content Work Against You?

23 Mar
March 23, 2015

Last week I was looking at an old presentation I gave at a conference 3 years ago. The deck itself wasn’t my finest work, and from my memory of the event, it was far from the greatest presentation I had ever given. Partly it was the theme of the conference and my desire to pick up an early speaking gig even if it wasn’t an ideal fit, but largely it was the views I expressed at the time. I guess the same can be said of a lot of the old content on my blog and other writings.

I looked at it in the the context of my current thinking on the subject I was speaking about, and it no longer felt like me.

As thinkers, we evolve, and while three years may not feel like a long time, the pure speed of information that shapes our opinions has changed. Three years ago we hadn’t heard of half the platforms that are now the biggest on the planet. Consumption habits change, attention spans get shorter. Customers demand more. But in the face of all that, we exist on platforms designed to house, archive and organise content for people to find easily.

So given this permanence, what is the impact of old content on a brand, be it a corporate or personal one?

The Only Constant Is Change

I read an excellent piece recently about Content Ownership and Agile Content Development, and what stood out for me was this – “When our organization changes, the education of our target audience changes, or even the way they consume data changes, we need to repeat the process.”

There will always be a bedrock of information that aligns to the industry you work in, especially if governed by legislation and regulation.

But when it comes to thought leadership, opinion and educational pieces, how do you manage when your organsiation changes a position, or your customers needs change?

Recency as a search criteria is important, and people are looking for information that is current.

Should You Delete Old Content?

I don’t think there is anything wrong with retiring old content, be it a white paper, a slide deck or a blog post. There will come a time where the relevance will decline. I don’t think this should be the first port of call, however.

The greater value is in review and updating, and where possible, calling out what has changed (which I am currently doing with the old presentation on my SlideShare). Why? Because it demonstrates that you have evolved as your market or customer has. It shows you as in tune with the audience. It also demonstrates how the reader should be thinking about things as well.

Make Content Maintenance Part of Your Process

Just like a car, your content should have a regular tune up. Not every week, but at the least every quarter.

This ensures that the small things are still relevant, given the speed at which information moves. It also facilitates efficiency in the process of creation, because your base line is already there.

There will be a time when the content itself no longer makes sense, and your promotion of it will naturally decline. If you can’t find the new value, or it no longer makes sense, then pull it down and maybe revisit it again at some stage when it may make sense.

But above all, you need to make sure what you’re talking about reflects both the current market, and your current opinion.

 

Social Media Scams – How to Spot One

05 Mar
March 5, 2015

Today I noticed one of the old mainstays of social media scams appear in my Facebook feed again. I’m talking about the free voucher from a major brand (in this case Bunnings) that one of your friends has tagged you in when they have apparently “shared” it. For those unfamiliar, it looks something like the image on the right.

Social media scam dressed up as a Bunnings offerAside from me already knowing these are fake, there are a handful of tell tale signs here:

  • The poorly sized image – a brand like Bunnings would have their logo correctly sized on Facebook
  • The unnecessary capitalisation of the word “Now”
  • The source of the post – coming via Spotify
  • In all cases of seeing it today, the things that were consistent – the “Thanks”, and the follow up comment from the poster of “Quickly”.

If you want to get into the technicalities of how these scams work, I recommend reading this post from security expert Troy Hunt from a couple of years ago. The upshot of it is that it’s designed to suck you down further into the rabbit hole of free offers from other sites, capture personal data, and potentially worse.

It’s not the only type of scam that we see on Facebook though.

The offer of a free car from Mercedes for liking a page and sharing a photo with the colour you want? The over ordered iPads at a major department store that you can get for nothing by liking and sharing? Flights and accommodation to celebrate the millionth passenger that you have a chance if you share pictures of the boarding pass?

All scams.

If you’re looking for telltale signs, look at the number of fans the page has, an extraneous period at the end of the brand name, and grammatical errors. Then search for the brand itself, most will be verified with the blue tick.

Two examples of the latest Qantas scam

Two examples of the latest Qantas scam

Why do social media scams work?

People will share the and connect with them because they appear to be from reputable brands. Then they are in your feed, and have the opportunity to share other content that may be more malicious once you click on it.

So why is it that people continue to fall for it?

Simply, they rely on one of the top reasons people connect with brands on social channels at all – free stuff.

Promotions have long been one of the top reasons someone will engage with a brand, particularly on Facebook. 15% of people in a recent survey done by HubSpot claim they follow brands who offer something for free.

It only takes one “user zero” to make the mistake of clicking on it for it to spread into many of their friend’s feeds, in the case of the Bunnings example above, 78 people. Then it takes only one of those 78 to click on it, and you get the picture of how these spread so fast. Often times, people don’t know what they’ve done. The last comment below the one above was “I dont know what i clicked on. it’s just an advertisement….”.

Personally, I think it’s an unsolvable problem, short of some major action from Facebook that will limit how they work technically.

People will always want something for nothing, it’s human nature and to a large degree, social platforms have fuelled that further. The best we can hope for is that people are more vigilant about the things they click on and share, and continue to stick to the old maxim, that if something looks too good to be true, it likely is.

PHOTO – John Perivolaris via Flickr