LinkedIn presentation

Thank you to the Information and Volunteer Centre for having me out to take part in their Executive Director Bootcamp. I had great time talking with the participants, and wanted to share my presentation with them. It is below, along with a few great resources. And of course, I’m always happy to chat about social media by email, or on Twitter or of course LinkedIn.

Presentation slides (right mouse click on PC and choose “Save Target As.” or control+click and save the file on Mac)

LinkedIn specific

General social media

  • – Maybe the best source of detailed, practical information about all aspects of social media available on the internet today.
  • – Another great source of often quite detailed information, especially around social media strategy and planning.

Blogging your way to improved sales: The top 10 tips for starting a small business blog

Instead of saying you care, Facebook now allows you to actually make a difference

facebook-donate-button-hed-2015Remember #Kony2012? What about #Haiti after the earthquake? Still shivering after the #ALSIceBucketChallenge? If you’re closer to home here in Alberta, did you put a blue ribbon on your Facebook page to show your support for #EPSStrong?

It’s been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. Social media has tremendous potential to raise awareness for important causes, but being aware of something isn’t the same as doing something about it. Well now instead of adding that ribbon to your profile picture Facebook allows you to do a whole lot more.

Yesterday the social giant launched a “Donate Now” button charities and other organizations can plug directly into their Pages.

As Adweek reports:

Users will find a “Donate Now” button atop their news feeds, similar to the social networking giant’s option to help contribute to ebola containment and treatment efforts in November 2014. However, unlike that effort, which sparked some complaints of Facebook putting the onus of donations on users, the social network is now specifying that it will match $2 million in contributions.

Clicking the button (or donating via Facebook’s Nepal recovery landing page) will pop up options of contributing $10, $25, $50, $100 or a custom amount to the International Medical Corps, which is operating mobile medical units to treat the critically wounded and dispense medicine.

“Together we can help urgent care reach the people who need it,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his personal wall. “Thinking of all of you who are there and all of you who have relatives and friends in the affected areas.”

Facebook has allowed some charities to use the button in the past, but it is now rolling it out for wider use by charities.

Why does this matter? It means trendy campaigns where people show their support for a cause should finally fade away, replaced with campaigns that actually involve people helping out and making donations. After all, people on social media are never hypocrites.

Facebook changes news feed again; may have huge impact for marketers

Just when Facebook was starting to make things easier for marketers to get their content seen on people’s news feeds they’re changing the algorithm again.

A blog post from earlier today announced changes to the news feed that are on the way, and it’s pretty clear they could have huge implications for marketers. The changes are:

  1. Multiple posts from the same publisher will now be allowed one after another if the user doesn’t have much other content.
  2. Content posted directly by “friends you care about, such as photos, videos, status updates or links” will be higher up in News Feed. They also say, “If you like to read news or interact with posts from pages you care about, you will still see that content in News Feed.”
  3. Stories about people’s friends liking or commenting on a post will appear lower down in news feed or not at all.

The first change shouldn’t impact too many marketers significantly since most Facebook users have enough content to fill their timelines, although it may give a slight boost to those who post frequently.The second two, however, sound like they will make it much harder for marketers to get into your news feed.

Facebook has always had a struggle to make the news feed interesting enough that users still want to go to the site, while at the same time incorporating enough paid and marketing content that they turn a profit. Only time will tell for sure what these changes will mean, but it does sound like getting content into people’s news feeds will be much harder before too long. Which might make news feeds more interesting for users, but will almost certainly result in more revenue for Facebook as companies realize it is easier to just pay for sponsored posts that force their way into the news feed.

Time to get off Facebook?

Not entirely sure I agree, but definitely some thought provoking discoveries and some good info to know about how Facebook uses your personal info:

Facebook has always been slightly worse than all the other tech companies with dodgy privacy records, but now, it’s in it’s own league. Getting off isn’t just necessary to protect yourself, it’s necessary to protect your friends and family too. This could be the point of no return — but it’s not too late to take back control.


Facebook revenue continues to grow

Second quarter results show the company still has piles of money, and users.

Facebook released their 2014 second quarter results today and they show that the company’s user base and finances are still shockingly strong. Some of the highlights:

  • 829 million daily active users for June 2014, up 19% from 2013
  • Mobile use increased 39% over the past year
  • Facebook claims 1.32 billion monthly active users as of June30, up 14% from last year

With the steady stream of very strong numbers out of Facebook it’s easy to forget that just two short years ago the Facebook IPO was described as a confusing “debacle” – and worse – in a number of media outlets. Clearly Facebook’s strategy of focusing on mobile is paying off in spades.

In fact, earlier this week Facebook developers revealed more details of how they plan to drill down to device-level targeting to improve mobile app ad performance even further.

What’s even more surprising is that some analysts are suggesting that next quarter’s results could push the company over the $3 billion mark.

Not bad for a site that started as an easy way for a few college kids to stay in touch when they left campus.

Feedly: A free news service for news junkies

Online news addicts blew a collective gasket last year when they learned the Google RSS Reader service was to be shut down. Google said declining numbers of users was one of the main reasons for the shutdown, and it is safe to say most people didn’t even know Google Reader existed, don’t know what an RSS reader is, and certainly had no idea why you would use one.

I was one of the news junkies, though, who was left scrambling for a new way to get my daily fire hose of news. So after a lot of research, and even more trial and error, I’ve foundFeedly to be a more than capable replacement.And while you might not be interested in going through hundreds of stories a day as I do in my professional life, Feedly is flexible enough that it can also be a fabulous tool for pretty much anyone who has any interests they want to read about.

Feedly mobile device view

Feedly’s category display and news feed on mobile devices

Feedly is a free service that uses a technology called RSS (Really Simple Syndication) to collect news from sources you choose, and combines them into one attractive layout. That layout looks great on the Chrome and Firefox browsers, and there are also iOS and Android apps so you can view your news on the road as well. In fact, really the only failing of the service is that it is not compatible with Internet Explorer and Blackberry.

The setup is very easy. Visit the website using the Chrome or Firefox browsers and go through the simple process that installs their plugin (the installer walks you through everything). Create an account, and then you’re taken to a page where you set the categories of information you want to read about. You then choose what news sources you want to monitor, and the system collects information as it is published on those sites and updates your Feedly page with those articles.

If you aren’t sure where you want to get your news from, a huge number of news sources can be found right from the Feedly interface. Clicking the ‘Add Content’ link under your username at the top left brings up a screen where you can browse sources on a range of topics, or you can search for specific news sources. When you find something you want to add, another box pops up for you to choose which of your categories you’d like to file that news under.

Feedly search boxIf there is a website you really like that doesn’t come up in the Feedly search, it is easy to add a link. The browser plugin you installed earlier will overlay a faint ‘f’ on the bottom right of every page you visit with an RSS feed. Clicking on that pops up a link where you can directly add that page’s feed to your Feedly account.

Once you’ve set up your page you’ll likely find yourself going to that page more than any other website, since everything you want to read about has been collected here already. And who knows, maybe it’ll turn into your fire hose as well.


Is social media right for marketing your small business?

Social Media for small business
Tips for social media marketing, and the many different ways social media can be used to promote small / midsized businesses (SMBs), can be found in almost endless numbers on an incredibly wide variety of websites. But there’s one crucial tip most small businesses won’t see – and that they should consider before any of the others; namely, is social media right for you at all?

Marketing budgets for SMBs have always been tight, and human resources to manage these dollars are becoming even more scarce. So while there are clearly great opportunities for small and medium businesses to use social media to market themselves, it’s equally clear that social media isn’t for everyone.

Should you be using social media to promote your small / medium business?

1. Does your business have something to say?

This is not a minor or flippant point. Some people enjoy their work, sell great products and love promoting their company, but just don’t have a lot to say about their business. For any number of reasons you might not feel you have anything interesting to say – and you need to know that up front, before you set up social media channels that will sit dormant. The only thing worse than not using social media is setting up social media accounts and signing up followers, but then not using these accounts regularly.

2. Can you take part in a conversation about your industry?

So maybe you don’t think you have anything to say up front. Maybe instead there are people already talking about your industry where you could jump in and add your insights. Just be sure you actually have some insights to add, and that you won’t just be jumping in to the conversation to explicitly sell your product or service.

3. Do you have someone in your business who has the time?

Many SMBs have one person doing all their marketing, and generally that person will have other responsibilities as well. So while social media generally doesn’t have any explicit costs, if this person is working on social media they won’t be able to spend as much time on their other responsibilities – which might take them away from advertising, keeping the website up-to-date, developing printed materials and so on.

4. Do you have someone in your business who can do the talking?

To successfully use social media, you have to have someone who is comfortable using the technology, or at least be willing to learn, and who can be counted upon to always convey the image you want for your business.

5. Are you willing to commit?

For all its tremendous value, social media is still not a quick fix. There are some absolutely excellent opportunities for SMBs in social media, but it takes time to develop relationships and build social media channels. You may not see results right off the bat, but if you’ve addressed all the questions above and are willing to commit to social media for the long term, you’ll see the significant benefits these tools can bring your company.

Just like everywhere else in PR, content is king on Twitter.

In just a few days on July 15, Twitter will turn five. It seems hard to imagine a world without the micro-blogging behemoth, and it is now safe to say that Twitter is mainstream, established – and here to stay. Surprisingly, even after five years and now with 200 million tweets a day, it seems as though Twitter ‘best practices’ still aren’t set in stone.

But it does seem like some things are getting clearer. It is still true that you can’t ignore your audience, and you need to engage them when appropriate. But some new statistics released by Dan Zarella suggest that – as we should have known – content is kind on Twitter as it is everywhere else in publication, public relations and marketing.

The statistics show a correlation between Twitter accounts that tweet a large number of links and accounts that have a lot of followers. The inference is clear; people are looking for more than just ‘engagement’ on Twitter.

In fact, they are looking for quality content that is informative, interesting and useful to them. Twitter users are not just looking to see their own name in their Twitter stream, and instead – just like everyone else – they are more concerned with finding information that is of value to them.

The title of Dan’s post includes a significant error, though, when it suggests that tweeting more links will get you more followers. This may be true, but the data he presents shows a correlation between the two but doesn’t actually prove that tweeting more links will get you more followers.

So what’s the takeaway from all this?

  • Tweets with links won’t necessarily lead to more followers.
  • Engaging your community is still very valuable.
  • Engaging your community is not enough on it’s own.
  • Tweets with solid content that your users find valuable will lead to more followers – whether they contain links or not.