Throw Everything I’ve Said Out the Window!

How Great Would This Feel?

You know everything you need to know about social media right? You know some of the best way to use it, you know why it’s important for business no matter who your customer is, and you know how to avoid being a hijack victim. Did you realize you’ve learned all that? WOW… impressive, huh? Take a minute to call up all your friends and brag… I’ll give you the right. You are so smart. Well lucky for you, if you are finally getting comfortable with social media and have really developed an AWESOME strategy… it’s now time to… THROW IT OUT THE WINDOW.

Don’t be scared

Okay, maybe keep some pieces. The social media networks are now maturing, which means there are most likely changes on its way. Those social media networks I named on my first post may not be the best networks for you a year from now. And just like I said in the second post.. . I’m a psychic. So I have some Social Media Evolution Predictions to WOW you.

Social Media will become more specialized.

Hmm… maybe inspired by MySpace?

There are hundreds of different media websites that are focused on a particular interest. For example, BakeSpace is a website  for those who love to cook. It allows you to share recipes , follow mentors, while sharing with old and new friends (“Bakespace,” ). Honestly just discovered this…but may start using it. There are so many undiscovered social media sites to browse! One that I do use is Flixster. This site allows you to check out movie times and download movies to watch across any Google, Android, or Apple device. Of course what I like about it is the social part. When I’m looking up what movies are playing at my local theater, I can instantly see what Rotten Tomatoes rated it, as well as what other people are saying. This has honestly talked me out of some movies I’ve wanted to see, and talked me into trying other movies I’ve ended up loving (of course I can’t name one off the top of my head…but I swear it happened). Basically what I’m saying is that more and more “niche” social networks like these are going to develop, and help cater to special interests. It brings people closer together who share a common interest. Now you don’t have to annoy people who don’t care, just so you can talk about what you love! My sister will be so relieved. “Social media is now starting to mature, fragment and specialize. Facebook, for now, are many people’s “home base”, but as in life, all people have to leave home sometimes. (Moorehead, 2012)”  I believe this to be the same for Twitter as well. These will still remain but that number of users daily will begin to decrease. Don’t worry I, of course, have statistics to back me up! The amount of visitors to these “niche” networks have been growing, with a 48.1% increase in the last three months (Nelms, 2011). Right now they are at the bottom of 50% of networks, but I believe this number will keep on growing (Nelms, 2011)..

More photo and video generated networks

On Facebook and Twitter photos bring in the highest number of engagement across the board, followed by text and video (Murphy, 19 J).  In just 9 months Pinterest accumulated about 120 million unique visitors. In January 2012, the average user was spending about 89 minutes per visit on Pinterest. Guilty as charged… I get so inspired to DIY and start pinning away.. of course I haven’t attempted one project yet, but that’s beside the point! Anyway! Pinterest is tied with Tumblr for the second highest average minutes per visitor, right behind Facebook (Silverman, 2012). At the beginning of 2012 Instagram had 15 million users. WEAK…eh, they could do better. Now Instagram has about 80million users. Now because of this sudden jump, it’s no surprise that 40% of the top brands are now on Instagram (Wasserman, 2012).   Do you get where I’m going here? These are both social media platforms dedicated to viewing pictures, and it’s because of these two ever so popular brands that I believe more photo and video (because let’s face it… random videos are the most entertaining at work) will quickly grow in the social media age.

More Social Media Management Apps

So now that we have all these new photo generated, and so many “niche” social media networks, how in the world are we going to manage them? I’m not sure if Hootsuite will be able to keep up with the 13 cooking networks I’m on. There is going to have to be more companies working on better ways of managing content. They will help users manage their entire social media networks, as well as helping businesses manage theirs. On top of this the social media analytics will have to be more developed, and provide more detailed insight in order to survive with the maturing social media age.  As long as social media is growing, I believe social media management tools will be growing as well.

So now that I gave you the insight into the next year … what are you going to do with it? PREPARE!!! Get ahead of the crowd. Join some niche networks your company fits into, and build awareness before those other brands jump in and overwhelm the user! Find creative ways to take photos and get your message across… POST THEM! Just get out there and be a head of the game…. Or you will have to keep reading these blogs. HOW AWFUL!

Get Ahead! Don’t Be this Guy… It’s Awkward.

Thanks for reading again! YOU ARE THE BEST!

I couldn’t come up with all of this myself … my references:

Bake space. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.bakespace.com/loginjoin/aboutus/

Moorehead, P. (2012, April 10). Facebook is for old people. Retrieved from http://techpinions.com/facebook-is-for-old-people

Nelms, D. (2011, June 16). Retrieved from http://socialmediatoday.com/amzini/306252/social-networking-growth-stats-and-patterns

Murphy, S. (19 J). Mashable | social media. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/06/19/how-to-get-more-likes-shares-on-facebook-infographic/

Silverman, M. (2012, February 28). The rapid rise of pinterest. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/02/28/pinterest-user-engagement/

Wasserman, T. (2012, August 08). 40% of top brands are on instagram . Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/08/08/40-of-top-brands-instagram/

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Be Careful and Stay Safe My Friends

Should We All Get One?

So now that you are fully engaged in social media and LOVING everything about it. It’s important to consider any risks that you can encounter with social media. The big one SOCIAL MEDIA HIJACKERS. Yes this is a real thing…GET NERVOUS. But don’t worry I’m also here to suggest how to AVOID being one of those brands. Yes, you can now begin calling me the GREAT MASTER ALLYSON.

Social media sites have minimal security which leaves brands like yours and mine subject to hacking. Facebook alone has about 600,000 compromised logins per day, for super math addicts that’s one hijacked login every 140 milliseconds (Perez, 28Oc). CRAZY.  55,000 Twitter accounts were hijacked on May 8th, 2012, on June 6th(Laird, May), 2012 200,000 accounts were hacked on LinkedIn (Paul, 2012).

Is this How You Are Picturing Me? Don’t Answer

Why is trying to scare us away from Social Media after spending all this time convincing us to use it? Is this girl even sane?”

Just one more story and then the good news!

This one is about a company we all know, and probably hate for the sole reason of their prices. But we use them anyway because…well we HAVE TO… Shell Gasoline.

When Shell gasoline entered the social media frenzy they did a great job engaging fans. Shell has built their Facebook likes to 1,560,393, but more importantly their users are engaged because 15,833 people are talking about the company (Shell Facebook, 2012).  On top of this they have 66,680 twitter followers (@Shell, 2012), 172,334 LinkedIn followers (Shell LinkedIn, 2012). So this is great right?  YES! Who knew so many people liked oil and gas! WOW!

But what are all these followers talking about?

Well for the past few months is been about “Shell’s Social Media Oil Spill”.  In May a website called “Artic Ready” was launched. It appeared with Shell’s logo, and even had the same characteristics of Shell’s website. Mimicking the brand’s attributes almost perfectly and even using their slogan “Let’s Go” in a number of places. One catch… guess who didn’t put up this website. Yep… you figured it out. Now guess who did produce this Shell Oil website? Greenpeace and the Yes Men (Forbes, 2012).  You can tell this is going to be a good story already…

The website has been set up to notify the general public of Shells drilling in the Artic. It poses as Shell’s point of view and their enthusiasm for harming the environment to make money (“Artic ready,” ). GREAT for Shell’s PR! Imagine being on that public relations team… no sleep for weeks. They even went as allowing the general public to create ads. These ads were shared on all forms of social media.

The “Best” Ad, Picked by Greenpeace and the Yes Men, even ended up on a billboard.

Don’t worry it gets worse. Greenpeace and the Yes Men then made fake social media accounts with fake attempts to control the spread of the ads. From there followers began retweeting with statements about how this was an example of corporate social media gone terribly wrong (Forbes, 2012).

So all though social media accounts weren’t hacked, the accounts were hijacked and used as their own. It could have been 100times
worse if the accounts themselves were hacked. Now Greenpeace and the Yes Men have released an official statement taking responsibility for the spoof. All though the damage is done and shell is still working to regain their brand image, they have still chosen not to sue Greenpeace for their spoof (Vinh Tien Trinh, 2012). Otherwise the Shell Company has been posting numerous stories on how Shell is actually helping the environment and its global community.

Now for the Risks… and Some Avoidance Help

So now you probably are dying for some good news? Are you going to have social media PR nightmares tonight?

Statistically good news

750,000,000 plus users login to Facebook every day (Perez, 28Oc). Meaning that of that 600,000 users hacked a day is only 8% of Facebook users (Feel  free to check my math). 50 million twitter accounts are logged in each day, meaning only 0.1% of twitter accounts are hacked (Parr, 2011).  So really it’s not too many people, but either way … WOULD YOU WANT TO BE SHELL RIGHT NOW?

So How to Avoid “Being Shell”?

  1. Don’t Drill in the Artic and Ban Greenpeace from Coming Near Your Ships
  2. Don’t Piss off Greenpeace

Okay seriously…

Here’s how you can avoid being hacked or hijacked.

  1. Use a secure email address when setting up any social media accounts. Hackers hack into your email and then  click  “I forgot my password”, and boom an email appears with a way to change your password. By using a secure email you can avoid, your email being hacked while at the same time avoiding your social media accounts from being hacked (2 for one special I just gave away!)
  2. Hackers research you… yes in a stalker kind of way via internet. They discover everything they can about you, and then they use this to guess your password.  Don’t use your birthday which is posted all over Facebook, your dog’s name which can be found through scrolling your 1000 pictures of it, or any other personal information.
  3. Check all strange emails or files with spyware. If not these geniuses can send you a file that records everything you type. BINGO PASSWORD HANDED TO THEM.
  4. Double check emails you receive from your social media pages. Avoid going to them directly from the email.  Hackers can create an email that looks exactly like your Facebook page, have you click on it which takes you directly to your social media login (but it’s a fake website), and not knowingly you have typed your login into the hackers own page. Check the website address to ensure it’s where you want to be!
  5. For your security settings always use https instead of http. It ensures you are at secure websites.
  6. Don’t have social media accounts automatically save your password
  7. Verify all social media accounts. To do this you will need a company email verification in order to successfully validate your account. This helps users differentiate which accounts are the actual company representatives, and which one are impersonators.

So now that I’ve scared you.. I hope I’ve also helped you! Good Luck… and until next week!

The Real Brains… My References:

Perez, S. (28Oc). Tech crunch. Retrieved from http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/28/facebook-sees-600000-comprised-logins-per-day/

Paul, I. (2012, June 06). Pcworld. Retrieved from http://www.pcworld.com/article/257045/update_linkedin_confirms_account_passwords_hacked.html

Laird, S. (May, 8 2012). Twitter debunks reports of 55,000 hacked accounts. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/05/08/twitter-hacked-accounts/

Shell Facebook. (2012, August 07). Shell facebook page. Retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/Shell

Shell LinkedIn. (2012, August 07). Shell linkedin. Retrieved from http://www.linkedin.com/company/1271?goback=.fcs_GLHD_shell_false_*2_*2_*2_*2_*2_*2_*2_*2_*2_*2_*2_*2&trk=ncsrch_hits

@Shell. (2012, August 07). Shell twitter. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/Shell

Forbes. (2012, July 18). Shell oil’s social media nightmare continues, thanks to skilled pranksters behind @shellisprepared. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/07/18/shell-oils-social-media-nightmare-continues-thanks-to-skilled-pranksters/

Artic ready. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://arcticready.com/social

Vinh Tien Trinh, B. (2012, July 16). Shell arctic ready: Company won’t sue greenpeace over spoof campaign. Retrieved from

Parr, B. (2011, Oct 17). Twitter has 100 million monthly active users; 50% log in every day [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2011/10/17/twitter-costolo-stats/

Social media hijacking: Don’t be a victim!. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://socialmediamagic.com/blog/social-media-hijacking-dont-victim/

Back for more? Thanks!

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Back for more? Thanks!

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Now that I’ve finally convinced you that Social Media is essential, I want to explain to you why it needs to be mobile. Yep, I’m creating more work for YOU, but it’s worth it I swear. This one takes some time, especially if you have a large inventory. “Oh great… what is she going to make me do now? I’ve done everything she’s asked and she still wants more? She is needy…” Did I forget to mention I was psychic? It will eventually help you grow revenue, so bear with me!

Bar code scanning is an older mobile application that has been progressing more and more with time (don’t you wish everything could do that? Come on economy… catch on to this magnificent trend!).  It has leveled the playing feel and created free publicity for all businesses with low prices.

Okay that’s great and everything but what does bar code scanning actually do? What kind of information can you pull up? By scanning product bar codes with a mobile device’s camera you can pull up not only the price of the item in the store, but also the price of the item at stores near you , as well as online prices. Guaranteeing that you are getting the lowest price for your item!! HOW COOL IS THAT? I just drove an extra 5 miles and saved $20!!! WOHOO! Okay I may be frugal.. but it’s got to be somewhat exciting for you too.. right?

Just in case I’m wrong.. I’ve got more convincing coming your way! With Imagebar code scanners, not only are you getting the lowest price but you are also pulling up reviews. For example, say you are trying to decide between a Samsung 51” LED television and a
Panasonic 51” LED… both have all the features you want… but which one is better? SCAN THE BAR CODE.. this pulls up customer reviews and some apps will even prioritize your friends’ reviews so you can get the utmost personal opinions.

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I hope you haven’t left me for your nearest mall, because now we need to talk about how it will grow your business. I promise after you can sprint to the mall with your new bar code application.

STAY WITH ME PEOPLE!

First here are some stats:

  • 44 million people have a scanner app on their cell phone (AT&T) (your target market has got to be somewhere in there….)
  • 44% use UPC bar codes (AT&T)
  • Between January 2011 and October 2011  more than 10.4million scans passed through the AT&T Code Management Platform (AT&T) (Hint: That’s only ONE cell phone company!)
  • Are you an online company? A global company? Scans come from over 125 different countries every single day! (ScanLife)

So, when you upload your inventory and prices into a mobile bar code scanner application, and a scanner is at another store scanning a bar code/UPC connected to one of your products – there are a few things that will happen.Your store’s product price will pop-up for the customer to compare. Additionally, your company information will show up so consumers can familiarize themselves with the company.

Are your company’s prices higher? It’s okay, it will still give that consumer interaction with your brand. Additionally, if the consumer’s friends have shopped at your store and left reviews, then they may be more willing to shop with you. Personal reviews place a higher value than pricing to some… (not me). Are you adding additional services to your price (installation, free delivery, etc.)? Show this in your description, it may be something other stores aren’t offering.

Lastly, if a consumer scans a UPC of an item stock item at one store, you could reap the benefits of stealing the customer. YESSS! Once they take one walk into your store they will never return to that awful competitor…right?? LET’S HOPE!

So get your inventory uploaded! BUILD … GET CUSTOMERS!

I told you I would convince you…

More people to believe!

AT&T. (n.d.). Scanning: The news. Retrieved from http://www.socialsearchmobile.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/mobile_mkt_solutions_quarterly_newsletter_12-22-11.pdf

ScanLife. (n.d.). Test your mobile bar code iq. Retrieved from http://www.scanlife.com/blog/br/tag/upc/

Does Social Media Scare You?

Does Social Media Scare You?

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Don’t worry I’ll be an expert soon. Reading this book soon so I can be quoted by others “Well like the expert Allyson said…”. Now that would be pretty cool.

You’ve been avoiding that moment, by changing the subject, trying to convince your boss that it’s just not right for your specific company, or by simply pretending you have an extra loud cough that suddenly made you deaf to anything that’s being said. But that dreadful day has come, you must enter that nerve-racking business of social media. Your boss has asked you to rise to the challenge, and why shouldn’t he? You’re smart I bet.. I mean you knew enough to read this awesome blog, so already I think you are doing great.  So, don’t worry, I’m here to tell you – YOU CAN DO IT!

So before we get started, I should warn you… I’m not an expert. But I will pretend to be for this purpose of this blog, and I will let you know whenever I figure out I’ve misspoken. I’m just here to guide you through my experiences of what’s worked for me and what has not. Hopefully you’ll learn all my “whoops guess I shouldn’t have done that” mistakes and you can avoid those altogether.

So to get started these are what I call the Introduction sites to Social Media. As they are the basic and probably going to be your most successful sites.

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Facebook

Why is this so great for business? What’s the point?

  • The Facebook wall or timeline (I hate this update by the way) is the most useful element of Facebook. Learn it, use it, love it.Image

Not only is this the easiest way to reach all your fans at once, but it also sits on your page for days! How many times have you wished you could tell a story once and it goes out to everyone without even typing a single name? “Well my deep sea swim with 20 hungry great white sharks was okay, eh no big deal. If you asked me about twenty people ago I would have probably explained how many times I almost died, and how 100% freaked out I was… but 60 people later.. it was just..eh okay.” So you have a company update? You have new products coming in the door?Image You have something completely random that you want to share just because? PUT IT ON YOUR WALL!

Instantly your post will go to every fans timeline, and then if they hit that little thumbs up button, it will show on all their friends timelines, and if they “like” it will go to their friends timeline, and boom you’re only three degree away from Kevin Bacon. PERFECT.

Now for consumers your wall is the place they are going to complain, admire, or just want someone to talk to. Either way, RESPOND! Do not hide negative feedback left on your wall, as those who did see it will notice that it was hidden and that looks bad. Instead write the nicest response back and direct them to a different channel to solve this issue, example “Hello Joe, I apologize you were not satisfied with your product, we would like to take this opportunity to turn this experience around and make it a positive one. Please feel free to email me at a*****@gmail.com so we can work to resolve this issue.” Now this issue has been redirected, and fans will see that your customer service is responsive. If they have left positive feedback or just want to talk, answer back. Always answer back. The key here is engagement, which we will talk more about in a future post.

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They even have a cool sticker to help remind consumers to check in!

FourSquare

It’s kind of like a game, the consumer competes with their friends to earn badges and check-in points at different locations. As a business you want to make sure you own your location of FourSquare. Meaning make sure those visiting can check in to your company. As they do so it will automatically update their friends where they are (Exposure 1), and it will also link back to their Facebook (Exposure 2). Also, on FourSquare you can browse what’s near you, so if you are on Foursquare your company and company description will show up (Exposure 3).  That’s three ways a consumer can be exposed to your brand by just registering your business to foursquare! CRAZY!

BlogsImage

Aren’t they just the best? You get to read people’s stories and advice whom aren’t really experts but think they are interesting anyway… like me! This is a great way to share company news, and updates. It allows the company to express how they came to the conclusion they did, and how the company plans to grow. It helps explain everything in detail, while also being creative.  It can also be a place to give advice, for example, if you are a company that sells TV’s you may give advice on how to fix a dead pixel. AND PEOPLE WILL FIND YOU INTERESTING! Blows my mind that people actually read my posts! Wohoo! THANKS!

ImageLinkedIn

LinkedIn is super professional, my least favorite but still considered very important. It’s a great way to share company news and industry information with your suppliers, partners, vendors, and other companies. This will be your “Facebook” for professional businesses. There is a “wall” just like with Facebook and this is where you can post all updates, and it will also allow anyone who’s “connected” to you to view it. It’s also where you can find your future employees. You can post jobs online, and look through applicant’s electronic resumes. You can also look through potential interest and contact them based on their public resume before they even apply. It’s a great way to find new employees and business opportunities! Remember to always appear professional on LinkedIn, you are not reaching consumers on the website!

YouTube

 

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One of my favorite YouTube channels.. Jenna Marbles. She is 100% nuts

This is where you can be the most creative! Any commercial you launch throw it on here! Not launching commercials? Make one for fun, and put it up here! Or just sit in front of the camera and do a video blog post instead of writing one for a little change.  YouTube is a great way to just have fun with your business. The business I work for decided to randomly have their version of the Highland Games. Although electronics were used, it really had little to do with the business itself. It was just a way to attract people to our site, and get our name out there. The consumers give quick feedback of what they thing of your video, so it’s a great way to try out an ad before it airs.

I hope you found this interesting! Another blog to come next week! Please feel free to post about any other social networks you believe are essential for beginners!

Thank you!