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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Marketer's Guide To Twitter

By Kristi Hines at KISSmetrics:  
While Twitter may not be as big as Facebook in terms of traffic, it has several advantages over Facebook. Not only is it easier to gain followers on Twitter, but you can engage with people before they become your friend on a personal profile or your fan on a business page.
The following is a guide to help you setup your Twitter profile and implement a successful Twitter marketing strategy. It gives suggestions and tips for those who are new to Twitter or are just looking for some new ideas.

Note: Although we refer to using automated techniques in this guide, by no means do we encourage you to spam on Twitter. Doing so will only subvert your own efforts. Automation is suggested as merely a way to increase the efficiency of certain repetitive tasks.

Researching the Competition

If you’re just starting out on Twitter and need a few examples to follow, why not start by doing a little research on what your competition (or colleagues, if you prefer) are doing in the Twitterverse.
 
I can *almost* guarantee that there is a similar blogger, freelancer, entrepreneur, local business, or any-sized business already out there taking advantage of Twitter. You can find them by visiting their websites or using directories such as Twellow and Wefollow to search for Twitter users in a specific industry.
Be sure to find the best examples to follow – if you’re a local bakery, and your competition down the road isn’t on Twitter (or only has 3 followers), then try broadening your searching for a local bakery in a larger city. Once you’ve found them, follow them and see what they do. Note what seems to get a good response and what doesn’t.
For more tips on researching the competition, I wrote a post here a few months back called 7 sneaky ways to use Twitter to spy on your competition. Be sure to check it out to see what you can learn from others in your field!

 

Essential Profile Elements

Again, if you’re just starting out, or if you’re not seeing a lot of success, one thing you will want to look at is your profile itself before you start going and searching for followers. Particularly, you will want to make sure you have the following:

Custom Background Design – When someone comes to your Twitter profile for the first time, they should see a great design that reflects your brand.

Concise and Descriptive Bio – You get a whopping 160 characters to describe yourself and what people will get when they follow you on Twitter. Make it interesting and convincing!

Profile Picture – No one wants to follow the generic Twitter icons. And not a lot of people want to follow a logo (unless it’s a well recognized one). What they do want to see is a person behind the profile. Social media is all about engagement, and people want to engage with other people, not just companies or bots.

Great Tweets – Last, but not least, when people are deciding to follow you, chances are they are going to do so based on your most recent tweets. If you visit your profile, you’ll see your last twenty tweets at the least. Make sure that these tweets reflect your engagement level with your audience – you should be sharing great content and responding to others MORE than you should be doing pitches and trying to make sales.
For more about creating an effective social media presence, be sure to see the 10 elements of a successful social media profile.

Finding Targeted Followers

Now that you have your profile setup, and some great tweets, your next on-going goal will be to gain followers. Sure, there are lots of ways to get just any followers, but the key is to get targeted followers who are interested in your industry.
So how do you find them? And how do you get them to follow you?
While everything shouldn’t always be about numbers, there is a certain thing to be said about someone coming to your profile and seeing that you have a good follower count. I usually like to start a new Twitter account out by finding people who have a follow back policy in place, usually implemented by an online application. Basically, you will be looking for people who have close to a 1:1 ratio of followers and following count.

Some great places to search include:

TwitterCounter Search – Enter in your keyword and you will see users with their following and follower count. Connect TwitterCounter with your Twitter account and follow those users directly from TwitterCounter’s search results.

twittercounter search results

Twitter Lists via Listorious – Search for Twitter lists compiled by other members from your industry. When you view these lists on Twitter, go to the following tab. Then click on each of the users. In the new Twitter layout, you will see their profile pop out on the right side of the screen so you can see their followers, following, and have the option to follow them.

twitter lists new layout

Of course, there are many more ways to find followers. You can use the Twellow and Wefollow directories mentioned above. There are also applications out there that automate the following process, the most popular being Twitter Adder which finds and follows new users regularly based on your customized searches as well as unfollows people who do not follow you back within a specified timeline.

Getting Followers from Your Own Online Properties

Do you have a website, blog, email newsletter, or other way to share links with others online? Then be sure to add your Twitter link to everything, down to your email signature, forum signature, and even other social profiles (such as your Facebook). This way, people who are already connecting with you online can easily find you on Twitter.
One great way to get more followers, specifically from your blog, is to use Twitter’s retweet button. It allows you to put a retweet button on each of your blog posts to make it easier for visitors to share those posts with their followers. But the bonus is that when you create the button, you can put in a Twitter account to recommend after someone shares your post.

twitter retweet button recommendation

This way, people who are already interested in your content are invited to follow you, and likely will because it is so convenient.

Direct Messaging Best Practices

Now that you have followers, the next step is to start engaging with them! One way to connect with your followers is through direct messages. Twitter users have a love / hate relationship with direct messages, as many of the ones sent seem like spam.
As you follow others, you will see examples of good and bad direct messages. The bad ones are those that are pitching a product or service right off the bat and those trying to get you to opt-in to their mailing list (usually through the temptation of a free eBook).
Think of that first direct message as the first thing you say to someone you have just met and shook hands with. You don’t want to put them off immediately. Think of your direct messages as a way to go above and beyond to connect with a new follower. Simply thank them for following you, or ask them what they would like to learn from you on Twitter. The latter can be especially helpful in surveying your followers to see what kind of tweets will keep them engaged.
The best way to do direct messages is by personalizing each one to your new followers. But of course, when you start getting dozens of new followers daily, it becomes a bit of a productivity issue to do so. This is where automation comes in.
Free services such as Social Oomph lets you register your Twitter account and send your new followers a direct message automatically. My biggest suggestion on this one is to remember not to pitch your new followers off the bat and ALWAYS try to reply personally to them if they respond to your message.
Something that can come in handy is to keep track of who direct messages you personally, past the initial welcome message. For example, do you have people who direct message you asking you to promote their blog content? Then the next time you have some content you really want to push, you can feel good about direct messaging them for a favor.

What Can Be Automated and What Needs to Be Personal

Automation can be a dirty word when it comes to social media, because there is no bigger turn-off on Twitter than realizing an account is nothing but an automated bot. But there are some forms of automation that can be helpful to incorporate for both yourself (to save time) and for your followers.
There are two automation services I use that usually get a great response from followers. The first is TwitterFeed. This service allows you to connect your Twitter account and publish tweets whenever your favorite blog adds a new post to their site using the blog’s RSS feed.

twitterfeed setup

By using the advanced settings to add on the blog’s Twitter account in the Post Prefix or Post Suffix, you will be letting them know with every tweet that you are a loyal follower of their blog and sharing their content, which may lead to connecting with the blog owner for guest posts, cross promotions, and more.
Why is TwitterFeed so great? If you choose blogs which fit your industry that your followers will like, they will appreciate your willingness to share relevant content with them and likely will retweet those items to their followers as well.
The second automation plugin works specifically with WordPress blogs – Tweet Old Posts. This plugin will tweet posts in your blog archives to your followers, this way new followers can see content that they may have missed out on.
The best part of both plugins is that they will keep your Twitter account active when you can’t be actively updating it. But it is important to remember that these cannot be the only sources of tweets for your account.
The most important updates you can do are the ones where you directly engage with the Twitter community – not only your followers, but also the influencers in your industry.
Having a higher instance of conversations where you are directly @username replying to someone is key to showing your current and potential followers that you are more than just a bot but an actual human who wants to communicate directly with others. This means that you need to not just be tweeting, but also be listening.

Listening on Twitter through Searches and Lists

One of the best Twitter management tools that I highly recommend for setting up your listening strategy on Twitter is HootSuite. This tool allows you to setup multiple tabs with 10 columns to help you monitor your mentions, direct messages, searches and Twitter lists.

hootsuite columns

Twitter Searches
Twitter searches are very powerful in the sense that you can monitor any tweets including a particular keyword. For example, if you sell auto accessories, you can setup a Twitter search in HootSuite with the keywords best muffler? to see when anyone is tweeting a question related to finding the best muffler. If you run a food blog, you can setup a search for cookie recipe? to see when anyone is asking for a cookie recipe.
In both cases, you can @username reply to the person and share a link to your website where you have information that answers their question. I have tried this with my blog using searches related to WordPress, blogging, etc. and have only received thank-yous in return.
You can also use the advanced Twitter search to get even more detailed with your searches, such as finding out who has been tweeting a specific keyword within 15 miles of a particular area code.

Twitter Lists
Twitter lists allow you to add people (up to 500) to particular lists to help you monitor those users. This is a great way to monitor thought leaders in your industry. You can create lists easily in HootSuite by adding a new column to one of your tabs, creating a new list, and adding users to it. Follow them to learn what topics are most important in your industry, retweet their posts, and respond to them when they have questions to get on their radar.
Another way to use Twitter lists is to properly segment your Twitter following. A new online service called Formulists automatically creates new Twitter lists for you based on your followers’ location, keywords in their bio, latest updates, and so on.
You can also create lists to help you expand your following that cross reference people that your followers interact with that you are not yet following. Check out the lists that you can create (currently 15 types with tons of options) to see what can benefit you the most.

Monitoring Your Business and Brand

Another great listening / online reputation management strategy that you can implement via Twitter through HootSuite is monitoring mentions of your business, brand, website, blog, or products by creating keyword searches for those names. This way, you can thank those who are praising you as well as respond quickly to those who might have customer service issues or other negative commentary.
Handling it on a public platform will also show other users (and possible potential clients) that your number one focus is their satisfaction, which will lead to stronger positive sentiment towards your brand as a whole.

Trending Topics and Hashtags

This one may not apply to every industry, but one way to spread your Twitter message beyond your own followers is to attach it to a currently popular hashtag (#keyword) or topic. The top 10 most popular hashtags are listed on the right sidebar of your Twitter homepage. You can change it to show worldwide trends or trends specific to a particular country.
If there is a trend or hashtag that you can jump on board with, your tweet will be seen by anyone following the topic. This is a great way to promote relevant blog posts and content that will drive new traffic to your website and possibly new followers to your Twitter account as well.

Twitter Chats

Finally, a great way to get involved with the Twitter community is by participating in relevant Twitter chats. There is a great schedule of regular Twitter chats that can be found in this Google spreadsheet. Joining in these chats regularly usually leads to an increase in targeted followers, as well as a great way to increase new traffic to your website, assuming you have content that directly ties in with the topic of the chat.

Your Thoughts on Twitter Marketing

I hope that this post has given you a great start on ways to take advantage of Twitter for both engaging with your community as well as for online marketing. What other tips and suggestions do you have to make the best of your Twitter marketing strategy?



About the Author: Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her blog Kikolani focuses on blog marketing, including social networking strategies and blogging tips.

Hulu Joins YouTube’s 1 Billion Views Club

By
A new member has just been inducted into YouTube’s 1 billion views club and the channel may come as somewhat of a surprise to some—it’s Hulu!  That’s right, the 37th channel to cross the 1 billion views mark on YouTube is another video streaming site.

Hulu has been posting videos to the huluDotcom YouTube channel since 2008.  The channel is currently home to 175 videos, including Hulu Superbowl commercials, teasers from original Hulu shows, clips from The Simpsons, Family Guy and more.  The Hulu content on YouTube doesn’t serve as a replacement for the content on Hulu, but rather as enticement for viewers to head over to Hulu to watch more.
The Hulu YouTube channel currently stands at 1,021,566,481 views with 322,981 subscribers.  It clocks in at 37 on the list of YouTube’s most-viewed channels and is closely followed by The Ellen Show’s channel, which is just shy of 1 billion at 988 million views.  Ellen is expected to join the 1 Billion Views club any day now.
To celebrate Hulu’s YouTube success, please enjoy this delightful Family Guy clip, care of the Hulu YouTube channel!



Read The Full Article Here











25 Facebook Marketing Tips to Increase Sales


By Jeff Bullas at JeffBullas.com:  
Facebook marketing whether it is a for a blogger, business, author or a musician must achieve the goals you have set out in your marketing strategy and plan.

The marketing strategy that you have created will keep you focused and on track otherwise you can be heading off  and engaged with all sorts of marketing tactics and activities that don’t achieve much but just keep you busy, distracted and scattered.

The Facebook page and the marketing activities you carry out on Facebook’s eco-system should be viewed as an extension of your blog. So tactics you maybe already doing on your blog can be enhanced and synergised by replicating some of those blogging platform activities on Facebook  that are relevant ad appropriate to the Facebook culture.
There are many goals you could set for yourself for your Facebook marketing.  Goals could include improving customer service, reducing traditional marketing costs, improving customer acquisition and optimizing your brand.
To keep it simple here are 3 core goals and 25 marketing tactics that you can action on your Facebook page that wil keep your blog growing and your business booming .

3 Key Goals for Facebook Marketing

  1. Increasing Facebook Likes – think of this as an additional asset that is similar to building your email subscriber database for your blog or business.
  2. Improve Engagement – This is where your subscribers, fans, followers can be nourished as part of your community from initial low level interest to a highly engaged raving fan.
  3. Increase Sales –  At the end of the day ‘likes’ are nice and engagement is good but you do need calls to action to ensure that something happens. This pays the bills and takes you on holidays.

25 Facebook Marketing Tips & Tactics

This section includes the multiple and various tactics for achieving 3 key goals of increasing Facebook likes (10 tips), improving engagement (10 tips) and increasing sales (5 tips). What needs to be kept in mind is that the first two goals are stepping stones in the process of achieving the ultimate goal which selling that ebook, consultancy or what ever service or product that you as a blogger provide

10 Tips to Increase Facebook ‘Likes’ and Subscribers

Facebook ‘likes’ are only a recent phenomenon in the history of marketing and acquiring Facebook ‘likes’ is a new and exciting additional tactic to distribute your content, news and ideas that build your client list in addition to your email marketing. Facebook likes do not replace your email marketing plans but add and enhance your marketing mix.
Mari Smith’s Facebook page provides a more than obvious example for capturing those important Facebook Likes.

25 Facebook Marketing Tips
So how do I start gaining those Facebook ‘likes”?

10 Tips to Increase your Facebook ‘Likes’

  1. Email existing prospects to let them know you have a Facebook page  and ask for them to drop in and like your page and provide a link to reduce the friction of making that effort. In other words don’t make them ‘think”. Make it easy.
  2. Invite friends to seed you page if you don’t have any likes yet.
  3. Embed a “Facebook social plugin” on your blog in the right side banner preferably up near the top that provides the functionality for readers to ‘like’ your page even when they are not on Facebook
  4. Create a landing page as your welcome page encouraging ‘likes’ that is highly visible and obvious
  5. Create a Facebook reveal page to provide that provides access to exclusive content but only when you ‘like’ the page. This exclusivity can make them feel like they are part of the ‘club’ at a very simple level.
  6. Offer them a free gift or PDF in the email to” like” your page
  7. Link to your Facebook page in your email newsletter banner. This could be at the top of the page the right hand side banner as well as at the bottom of the newsletter. Digtal design dictates that providing several options is much more effective than just one.
  8. Join Facebook groups in your categories of interest – and post a blog post that will drive traffic to your Fan page and connect with you on Facebook
  9. Capture emails for your email marketing database on your Facebook page. You need to keep in mind that email maybe old fashioned but it works and it works big time and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. So make it easy for people to subscribe by email to receiving news, updates and your blog posts when they are on Facebook via email.
  10. Provide a link in Facebook to prospects to subscribe to your Blog via RSS
There is one thing to keep in mind with Facebook ‘likes’ and that is that Facebook does not update everyone’s news feeds that ‘like’ your page. Facebook uses a algorithm called “EdgeRank” that determines which fans will receive your page update. It is determined according to how closely engaged you are with the fan. Read more here “EdgeRank: The Secret Sauce that Makes Facebook’s News Feed Tick.
The power of Facebook marketing is that it amplifies your content to not only your fans but the friends of your fans and this where the power and marketing leverage of social media starts to kick in that email cannot do at the same scale. Facebook provides a multiplier effect that is sharing at an “industrial scale”. Read more about that here: “Do People Share more on Facebook or Twitter?

10 Tips to Increase Engagement on your Facebook Page

There are many ways to improve engagement. Content is one of the most effective methods to start engaging your new ‘fans’ who have liked your page. Engagement can start with the low risk and entry level ‘like’  action on Facebook which is the dating equivalent of  ”let’s catch up for a coffee” tactic. There are other higher levels of engagement with the end goal to take visitors to your blog from followers to “raving fans” and become an emotional member of your “tribe”.
I post my daily blog posts to my Jeffbullas.com facebook page this allows me to engage with my target audience that are hanging out on “Facebook”. I don’t wait for them to come to me, I go where they are. Valuable content that adds value to your viewers and readers creates deep engagement

Apple Makes Huge Announcement about Twitter  Blog Post Update on Jeffbullas.com Facebook page
What are some other ways to increase engagement?

10 Tips to Increase Engagement

  1. Run polls using the standard Facebook ‘Question’ feature (above the ‘Write something’ box) to engage your audience with something that makes them actually do something.
  2. Implement ‘third  party” survey tools. One great service is Survey Monkey that provides much more functionality than the basic entry level Facebook “Questions” feature
  3. Include Twitter in your menu.  This is available as a standard setting on your Facebook fan page and provides another channel for engagement.
  4. As Facebook is a real time media you can publish the latest events, news on topics of interest that are happening in your industry or niche. In essence it is a real time sharing tool that will notify people that have liked your page about the latest ‘hottest’ news
  5. Update your Facebook ‘Page’ with your blog posts straight after publishing
  6. Respond to all comments on your Facebook page in a timely fashion
  7. Run a competition on Facebook
  8. Post your YouTube videos to your Facebook page. This provides another distribution point for your YouTube videos.
  9. Embed your Slideshare presentations on your Facebook page (Slideshare is a social media website that takes your Powerpoint presentations and converts them into a slideshow on the web). Just paste the link and your Slideshare presentation will embed within Facebook
  10. Photos at events can be uploaded to Facebook which humanize and personalize your brand. People just ‘love’ photos on Facebook and this will drive a deeper engagement with your prospects and customers. So mix up your media and this can be a challenge for a ‘text’ blogger. So think like a publisher and publish your content in as many places with as much rich multimedia as time and resources allow.

5 Tips to Make Sales on Facebook

At the  end of the day the final objective is to increase sales. You have  provided the incentives and tactics to let them like your page and become a fan. You have then engaged them with low level engagement from reading your blog post updates on your Facebook page or responding to a survey or a poll. It is now time to provide some calls to action and links and even an online store that can be created within Facebook to start making some sales from your Facebook Marketing.
Guy Kawasaki makes it easy for you to order and buy his book “Enchantment” on Facebook.

Guy Kawasaki's Enchantment Facebook site where you can order and buy his book

5 Tips to Make Sales

  1. Use a reveal tab that is set up as your landing page that provides access to a voucher that can be printed off or even emailed to the prospect that they need to bring into your store or claim online to get a discount on a product or service
  2. Consider an F-Commerce function – convert and sell within the Facebook ‘Page” without the customer ever having to leave Facebook. This will increase conversions. Every click or extra page in the process reduces your conversion rates by 15%.
  3. Provide a link on your Facebook page to your online store
  4. Link to the Apple store that may contains your PDF or if your a musician or band your music
  5. Link to the Amazon store where customers can buy your book or your Kindle ebook online.
So which one of these 25 Facebook marketing tips could you action today?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

YouTube Launches Photo App, Lets Viewers Snap & Share Instagram-Style Pictures Of Live Music

By
YouTube isn’t just about video anymore.  Over the weekend they launched a brand new custom camera application called FRONTROW that lets viewers snap photos of live streamed performances, just as if they were actually attending the event.  The app was launched as part of Vivid LIVE, an annual music event at the Sydney Opera House.

Ernesto Soriano of YouTube Australia writes on the YouTube blog, “During the livestream, not only can you sit back and enjoy the tunes of some renowned musicians, you can also participate right from your desktop!  In a world first, you can take photos of the event through FRONTROW camera app: zoom in and out to change your view, take photos during the live stream, apply filters and immediately share on your social networks.”
Check out the video below to see FRONTROW in action:



Read the full article here







5 Simple Metrics to Track Your Social Media Efforts


By at Social Media Examiner:  
Are you looking for simple, straightforward metrics to measure the impact of your social media efforts?
Social networks and blogs continue to dominate Americans’ time online (accounting for nearly a quarter of total time spent on the Internet) according to a recent Nielsen report on social media, .
While we all know how important it is to market through the various social networks, it is vital to track and measure your efforts for success.
Here are five simple metrics to find out whether your social media effort is paying dividends.

#1: Examine Referring Traffic

Google Analytics is a fantastic way to measure how much traffic is being referred to your website from the various social channels.

Under the Traffic Sources tab, click on Referring Sites and then type in your social network of choice to see how much traffic is being referred. Set up goals based on the actions you want your visitors to complete.

Quick Tip: For Twitter referrals, search both Twitter and t.co, which is the built-in Twitter link shortener.

traffic sources

Increasing referral traffic from social sites is a good indicator that your social efforts are moving the needle in the right direction.

#2: Review the Quality and Relevance of Content

Content is the fuel for your social media engine, but if it’s not relevant and useful, it’s a waste of digital space.

The correct way to assess the value of a piece of content is not by continuously checking every five minutes to see if your retweet count goes up or if someone comments on your blog. These “vanity metrics” give a false sense of hope that your content is generating leads for your brand or business.
Instead of judging the success of your content by the feel-good double-digit share button, pull back the curtain and see what’s really going on.

For each piece of content you create, monitor unique page views, time on page and total pages viewed. If unique page views go up, that’s an indication that your reach is growing, increased time on page shows that your content is interesting to the visitor and increased total page views means your visitor wants to learn more by clicking on other pages around your site.

You can easily track these three mentions within Google Analytics by clicking on the Content tab, then choosing Overview. This will give you a snapshot of your top pieces of content along with detailed metrics including page views, unique page views and time on page. Drilling down into your content with Google Analytics is a great way to determine which content is resonating with your audience.

#3: Look at Share of Voice

With social media, share of voice refers to the number of conversations about your company versus your competitors/market. The value of online customer and prospect interaction can be tied to the share of voice (SOV) metric, which I like to call “The Big Picture Show.”

Segment brand mentions by social channel to uncover opportunities for improvement. You may find that your efforts on one particular channel are going unnoticed, but excelling on another channel.

The formula for calculating SOV is simple: divide the number of conversations or mentions of your brand by total number of conversations or mentions about other brands in your market.
To get your total number of conversations you can use a free tool such as SocialMention or if you have the budget, a more robust tool such as Radian6 has a widget that can calculate this metric for you.

Share of Voice = Your Mentions / (Total Mentions for Competitive Companies/Brands)
share of voice
Share of voice: the number of conversations about your brand versus your competitors/market.

#4: Track the Total Size of Community and Engagement

Measuring and tracking the size of your collective communities is essential in determining whether you are adding value through your social strategy. Using a social CRM tool is a great way to integrate customer data with social profiles and interactions while monitoring growth and engagement levels.

Social CRM tools such as Sprout Social aggregate your activity into one easy-to-view dashboard where you can quickly see whether your strategy is moving in the right direction. Sprout offers a pretty good view of your basic metrics, including engagement and total size, and even goes a step further with recommendations for influencers to focus on.

sprout social
Social CRM tools are an easy way to manage and track your profiles and activity all in one place.

#5: Measure Sentiment

Sentiment analysis is imperfect at best, often ignoring the human element of sarcasm or simple context. To be completely accurate, you need to track this manually.

Go through your mentions and tag them as positive, neutral or negative. Add up the totals and measure over time. Are the good mentions growing and the negative mentions decreasing?
opinion
Sentiment analysis can be thought of as "opinion mining."

Track Your Social Media Return on Effort

The social metrics used to determine success are the ones that make sense for your business and that you can tie back to your marketing bottom line.

Building a simple dashboard manually or using a social CRM tool as mentioned above is an easy way to track and update these metrics on a weekly or monthly basis. You can then monitor trends and set goals for growth based on what’s working.

If your metrics are not moving in the right direction or seem to be stalled, try mixing up your messaging and experimenting with different posting times and frequency.

What do you think? Does your business measure ROE? Which metrics are most important to your social strategy?

INFOGRAPHIC: 20 Facts Every Marketer Needs To Know About Pinterest

Pinterest research, demographics and stats curated by social media marketing agency TAMBA. 20 facts about age, Income, Interest, average time spent on pinterest and more facts every marketer needs to know about Pinterest.
This Infographic brought to you by tamba.co.uk.






Browse more infographics.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Facebook’s Plans for the World Wide Web

David Amerland at Social Media Today: 
When you’re the world’s largest social network you find it difficult to let defeat slow you down. Facebook may be autocratic in the way it deals with its membership base and it may want to own the web and all its content but it is also the place where everyone goes to hangout online with their friends and it just keeps on growing.

The curious purchase of Instagram for which Facebook paid a billion makes even less sense now with Facebook rolling out its own version of it, in apparent direct competition, unless of course, we consider the timing.

Instagram was purchased just weeks after it was made open to Android users. It provided Facebook with a plan for mobile in its pre-IPO days and it stopped a rival from gaining a surge of new members. Then with the deal yet to be inked it brought out its own app called Camera in effect competing with itself.

Now you might think that dropping $1 billion on the table just to deny a competitor a measly 33 million members might be a steep price to pay, but not if you plan to fight that competitor at his own game and this is something Facebook might just be starting to think about. I am talking, of course, about search. Whatever you might be doing in social media and marketing search is at the heart of the web because it is how we navigate the web.

The problem is that search is a complex business. Creating a search engine that works well is truly expensive, as Microsoft has found out, and requires the ability to not just index information fast but also assess it properly. In case you have not noticed, in the Facebook environment, Facebook search sucks. It works worse than a third wheel on a bicycle and when it provides results from outside Facebook it has to rely on BING anyway.

Now a Facebook / Bing deal is not out of the question, Industry rumours have it that it’s something that has been talked about for some time. A hint that these rumours may be based on truth is given by the very recent interest Facebook has expressed in buying Opera.

Armed with a browser of its own, a search that works and the ever increasing depth of its social graph, Facebook could provide an alternative to search which could also help it make more money from its ad network. Should that happen we will truly have a universe populated by behemoths: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Amazon, each competing for our data and our custom. More than that however we will also have the era of the two webs. The Open Web, where Google is king and the closed, Facebook web where data can come in but can never go out. At that point marketing, complex enough as it is, will become even more complicated.

While all this sounds like a smoothly created grand plan for total web domination it is anything but. Facebook has been struggling with itself for a long time and I have frequently catalogued its errors in articles here. For a concise overview of just what has gone wrong you should check out Prasant Naidu’s piece on How Facebook is Killing Itself

Having gone public the social network is now under pressure to evolve and succeed. Whether it manages to do just that, or will do what it has done to date which is pull itself in all directions at once remains to be seen. Clearly the year head is going to get even more interesting.

INFOGRAPHIC: Facebook vs. Pinterest (5 Things We've Learned)

Facebook and Pinterest have proved useful channels for us when it comes to engagement and sales tools.  But just where do these channels differ?  Based on a sample of 50,000 visitors from Pinterest and 50,000 from Facebook respectively (March 15th – April 15th 2012), we at Boticca have produced an infographic on five key insights we have learned about the two channels.

This Infographic by Boticca.com


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INFOGRAPHIC: The State Of Social Media

Published by Seoco:
Social media has become a way of life for individuals and a new way of doing business. The social media world is continuously growing as more and more sites are created and users are being added daily. In the past years, we have seen numerous social media sites start-up and slowly disappear.
This infographic presented by The Seo Company highlights the many changes social media has made in the beginning months of 2012.




Twitter Shuts Down Summify Five Months After Acquisition

By Lauren Dugan at Media Bistro: 
Those still receiving daily Summify emails – which compile the top social posts from Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader – will have to start looking for a new way to curate their social feeds: Summify is shutting its doors on June 22, just five months after being acquired by Twitter.

When Twitter acquired Summify in January, both companies were very clear that Summify would eventually be shut down – now they’ve given us a date.
Twitter’s acquisition of Summify was mostly to bring the Summify team “into the flock” so to speak, and get them working on a new weekly Twitter email digest that launched mid-May. This digest uses the same logic as Summify, in that it highlights the most shared and relevant tweets in your network over the past week, but it obviously only focuses on Twitter content and not Facebook or Google Reader.
In Summify’s email to its users announcing the end date, they vaguely referenced the future work they would be doing at Twitter as the reason for their shutting down:
“We are going to focus our efforts on making Twitter even more engaging and useful for you. While we can’t get into details on what’s to come, we can say that we’re excited and we think you will be too.”
But loyal Summify users won’t be left completely in the dust: Summify has promised to continue to send them daily Twitter email digests – as long as they have a Twitter account – after June 22nd, while regular Twitter folk will only be receiving them once a week.

Manage Your Online and Offline Twitter Connections With #Hashable

By Mary Long at Media Bistro
Do you have trouble remembering all of the people you meet or do you struggle to connect who someone is offline with who they are online? Or maybe you help folks make professional connections – or just want to keep track of the introductions you’ve made for future reference? There’s an app for that.
#Hashable allows you to “easily save and remember everyone you meet, send biz cards, keep track of meetings and interactions, anchor connections with reminders and notes” and, if you’re competitive, try to accumulate the most Hashcred on the leaderboard.
When you first log on to #Hashable, you’ll be confused. Or at least I was. Figuring out how it works can be a bit of a treasure hunt, so here’s a rundown on how it works with Twitter:
  • You create an account, linking it to your Twitter.
  • You find friends that use Hashable and are on Twitter (if you like. It’s not necessary, but makes you feel less lonely on the page.)
  • When you are #meeting a connection in person for #lunch or you #intro(duce) people, tweet it using the appropriate hashtag (#meeting, #lunch, #intro, and so on) and @mention the @person(s) and @Hashable.
  • Hashable then creates an event for you in your “history” tab and awards you points for the interaction (where the leaderboard comes in). Oh and the person you’re tagging doesn’t have to be a Hashable user for this to work.
But why do this?
The History tab can be filtered and searched and you can set reminders for follow-up contact. It’s a pretty valuable contact relationship management (CRM) system – and you can use it on your iPhone, through the Hashable website or even via email.
It has a few nifty little features and privacy controls (or as I like to call them, anti-stalker features) that allow you to link it to Foursquare and designate certain users as “inner circle” so you’re not broadcasting your whereabouts to just anyone.
I started using Hashable last year and promptly forgot about it (so many apps, so little time), but that was mostly because I didn’t fully explore the CRM side of it (I’m was all about leaderboards at the time) and when I started to look for an app to manage my contacts, I can back across Hashable again and I’m ready to give it whirl. You?
Some folks don’t like Hashable, of course – just as some don’t like Klout, calling it yet another way to make yourself feel important when you’re really not (again, like Klout). But this commenter sums up its usefulness pretty nicely (in case I haven’t sold you on it already):

Death To The Install! Play Facebook Games Straight From News Feed

By Josh Constine at TechCrunch
People don’t want to install and give data permissions to games, they want to play them, so now Facebook is allowing games to be played directly from within news feed or Timeline stories. These previews give gamers a taste and could get them over the install hurdle once they’re already addicted.
Facebook has to keep delivering growth for apps to get developers to stick around, or better yet, build for it first. Feed gaming could be a big selling point that could get devs to prioritize Facebook’s canvas over iOS, Android, Chrome web store, and other platforms that force people to download and install before the fun starts. Some of Facebook’s most popular games are already using this tactic, and you can try it out here for Angry BirdsBubble Witch Saga, and Idle Worship.

Facebook tested feed gaming with Angry Birds earlier this month, but now any games can publish playable feed stories. They show up with a little play button over a thumbnail image in the feed or timeline, but instead of starting up a video, a flash embed of the game opens up. You can instantly start flinging birds, shooting bubbles, popping penguins or whatever. When the game round finishes, you’re often prompted to click through and install / give permissions to the full version.

You can try out feed gaming here for Angry Birds, Bubble Witch Saga, and Idle Worship.
This is going to work. The friction of having the decide whether a developer deserves your data can’t be understated. It probably drives away a ton of potential gamers. Even though most games are freemium and don’t cost anything to download, the try before you buy option means you don’t have to invest until you’re more sure you’ll actually enjoy a game.
Expect this to become a core part of the growth strategy for Facebook games. Developers will need to decide how to distill their games into a 30-second mini-experience. For some twitch games that will be easy, but for deeper strategy games it will be a challenge. They’ll also need to come up with hooks like “beat your friend’s high score” or “earn extra virtual goods by playing from the feed”.


I think people still feel guilty playing Facebook canvas games. These aren’t mobile where you can justify playing because you’re doing so on the move when you’re unable to be productive. These are web games that may be distracting you from your work, or at least communicating with your friends. When you click a link and the first thing you see is a permissions prompt, that guilt is triggered, and you shy away instead of installing.
By delaying the guilt trip data permission until after you’re already having fun, you’re much more likely to speed through the install process to get your next gaming fix. Even the most studious, serious, buttoned down business men are now going to try Facebook games, and some will end up installing and paying.

How to use the new Facebook Camera App?

Via Gizbot:  

Facebook has introduced its own Facebook camera app for iOS devices. This is completely different from Instagram app which they acquired earlier. This Facebook camera app will help Facebook users to access photos easier as well as faster from handheld device itself. It is a big addition for all the Facebook users who wish to browse the photos of their favourite ones from their mobile itself. The app can be downloaded from the App Store.




Features of new Facebook Camera app
  • The app is so user-friendly that you will be able to post a dozen of photos simultaneously
  • You will be also able to browse through the latest photos of your friends in one place itself
  • The app also arrives with filters as well as crops for editing and customizing the photos
  • The app will also allows you to tag your friends as well as add captions
  • You will be also able to see the photos from different applications
How the Facebook camera application works?
First you will have to download the app from the App Store and install it on your mobile. Then open Facebook camera app from your mobile. The first thing that you will see once the app is launched will be thumbnail icon kind view of latest photos from that of your friends posted on Facebook. For getting an enlarged view of any photo, you will have to just click on that photo. For seeing more photos, you will have to swipe it.


One of the most interesting features is the capability to add many photos at the same time. From the range of photos given, you will have to click on the photo to checkmark. Once you checkmark the photos that you wish to post, you will have to tap the ‘Post’ button atlast. This will post all the photos that have been selected. Before sending the photos, captions can be added to add fun element. You can also tell your friend your location and you can even tag your friends in the photos.


The new application not only makes posting photos easier, but also gives you options to edit them and customize to your liking.
You can crop the photo by clicking on the crop tab for resizing as well as modifying the photo. If you want to rotate the photo, then you can make use of the rotate tab. Finally to add any kind of brightness adjustments or giving different visual effects, you can make use of filters option.
Some of the filter options include;
  • Cool
  • Light
  • Emerald
  • Bright
  • Golden
Facebook camera app differences with Instagram
Facebook’s latest camera app even though has much functionality similar to that of Instagram has some differences too.
  • The first thing is that the photo filters option is not that impressive as that of Instagram
  • Instagram houses some of the best photo filters. Facebook camera app filters are mainly focussed on the colour temperature as well as contrast where as the Instagram combines various elements together to give a variety feel for its filter options.
  • One of the major differences in Facebook Camera app compared to Instagram is the presence of uploading capabilities which allows any number of photos posted at the same time.
  • Another difference includes the photo feed capabilities in Facebook which is also much superior compared to that of Instagram
Instagram is more of a photo editing tool, where this new Facebook camera application acts as a photo collaboration tool.
Overall, Facebook Camera app for iOS is a very good package for the Facebook users to have on their iPhone or iPad.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

A Simple Step by Step Guide to SEO

By Kristi Hines at KISSmetrics:
When it comes to search engine optimization for a new website, some businesses can be intimidated due to the amount of information out there. And often, if they don’t have the help of an experienced in-house SEO or consultant, they will do nothing.
Today, we’re going to look at some easy things you can do to start your website’s SEO on the right foot – even if you can’t hire a professional to help you out.

1. On-Site SEO Basics

Some of the most important elements for search engine optimization happen on your own website. You may hear a lot about link building (which we will get to in just a moment), but link building without good on-site search optimization isn’t going to be as effective. Here are the bare minimum on-site optimization elements you should put on each of your website’s main pages, including and especially the homepage.

The Golden Rule of On-Site Optimization

Before we get started, one thing you want to keep in mind when using any of the following SEO elements is not to overdo it. You might be tempted to shove a lot of keywords onto your pages, but that is not the goal. In fact, Google has unleashed an over-optimization penalty that targets websites that have too many keywords stuffed onto one page. So when it comes to keyword optimization, keep it simple – think of up to five keywords or keyword phrases for each page on your website and optimize for those.
If you’re not sure what keywords to use, try entering some preliminary ideas on Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool to get suggestions. Or, if you really want to get into the keyword research process, check out the KISSmetrics Guide to Keyword Research – Part I and Part II.

Title Tag

On-Site Search Optimization SEO Title Tag
The title tag on pages of your website tells search engines what the page is about. It should be 70 characters or less and include your business or brand name and keywords that relate to that specific page only. This tag is placed between the <HEAD> </HEAD> tags near the top of the HTML code for the page.

Meta Description

On-Site Search Optimization SEO Meta Description
The meta description on pages of your website gives search engines a little more insight into what your page is about. There is still debate about whether meta descriptions can help with keyword rankings. Regardless, you want to write your meta description with a human audience in mind that includes the page’s main keywords, as the meta description does show up in search results.

How the Title Tag & Meta Description Looks in Search Results

Title Tag  and Meta Description in Search Results
The above image shows how KISSmetrics’ own title tag and meta description shows up in Google search results. You can see that the keywords searched by a user (in this case, the keyword was KISSmetrics) are bolded by Google in both the title tag and the meta description. This is why you have to use your business or brand name and keywords in both the title and meta description – it helps your search results stand out to the searcher when they are searching those terms.

Using WordPress?

If you use WordPress on your own domain, you are in luck. Adding title tags and meta descriptions to your pages is easy using free plugins such as All in One SEO, Platinum SEO, and SEO by Yoast. You can also get SEO suggestions by using premium plugins such as Scribe SEO.

Additional On-Site SEO Elements

While the title tag and the meta description are the most important SEO elements, they are not the only ones. Be sure to incorporate the following into your website’s page content for further search optimization.
  • Internal Links – Link building isn’t just reserved for external sites linking to your website. You can help search engines learn more about your website by internally linking to other pages on your website within your content. As an example, this blog post utilizes internal links when linking to other posts on the KISSmetrics blog.
  • Header Tags – This blog post utilizes three different levels of HTML header tags that help break the content into sections as well as let search engines know more about what each section of content is about. The <H1></H1> tags surround the post title – there should only be one set of <H1></H1> tags per page. The <H2></H2> and <H3></H3> tags surround subheadings on the page – there can be multiple instances of both. Using header tags helps both readers and search engines break up your content into digestible sections.
  • Image Name & ALT Tags – If you use images on your website, you should think of good keywords for both the image name and the alt tag. On the first image within the post, we use <img src=”on-site-search-optimization-seo-title-tag.png” alt=”On-Site Search Optimization SEO Title Tag” /> as the goal is to optimize it for the keywords on-site search optimization. This helps search engines find good images for their image search based on the keywords specified.
  • Bolded Text – You don’t want to get too crazy with this one, but occasionally bolding a selection of text to get a reader’s attention can also help search engines distinguish other important information and keywords in the page’s content.

2. Why You Need Content

If you keep up with the latest in online marketing news, then you have likely read about content development and content marketing. Content is great for both your website visitors and search engines. The more content you have, the more likely your visitors will stick around on your website. And the more content you have, the more likely search engines will be to put more of your website’s pages in the search index.
The key to pleasing both search engines and visitors is to have quality content on our website. Quality content can include a variety of things including, but not limited to, the following.
  • Blog Posts
  • Industry Articles
  • Tutorials & How To Guides
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
Creating quality content for your website can be a huge investment, but it is worth it. Search engines will love it, and visitors will love it so much that they will share it on social media, leading to even more visitors. You can start out by simply creating blog posts on your website, and as your audience grows, you can expand your content inventory to additional types of media. To learn more, see the Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing.

3. Off-Site Optimization (aka Link Building)

Link building is probably one of the most talked about (and debated about) SEO tasks. The basic goal of link building is to get other websites to link to yours. If you think about ranking at the top of search results as a popularity contest, then links are like votes saying your website deserves to be ranked highly. Getting links with keyword anchor text will help you rank specifically for the keywords that are linked to. For example, Adobe Reader ranks number one for the keywords click here because so many websites linked to it using the anchor text click here to download Adobe Reader.
So how do you get links? There are lots and lots of ways to do it – some good, and some not so good. If you read enough about link building, you will hear ultimately about three kinds of links and link building techniques.
  • Organic Links – These are links you don’t have to ask for, and they are the best kind. Especially if you can get them on sites with high authority such as major news outlets and other well-recognized name websites.
  • Whitehat – This basically stands for good, quality link building (the kind you should strive for).
  • Blackhat – This stands for spammy, low-quality link building (the kind you should avoid).
Most websites will have a hard time generating enough organic links to raise their rankings in search engines. This is why link building is such a popular services. But you can get started on building quality links by doing some of the following activities.
  • Submitting guest blog posts to popular blogs in your industry. Generally, you will get a link back to your website in an author box at the top or bottom of your post’s content.
  • Reaching out to related (but not competitive) businesses to see if they will link to you. A good way to do this is to see if the businesses you work with have link pages on their site for partners, vendors, suppliers, etc.
  • Create local search profiles (if applicable) and social media profiles. While the links do not always count towards search rankings, they can attract clicks which will generate more incoming traffic to your website.
  • Submit your website to applicable industry directories or, alternatively, buy advertising. For example, anyone in the wedding business could get listings with a link back to their website on The Knot, The Wedding Channel, and other similar sites. Bypass low-quality directories that have nothing to do with your industry or ones that link to shady websites in the adult, pharmaceutical, or online casino industries.
  • Create link worthy content. Infographics are a great example – you create a beautiful image representing important information and allow others to use the infographic on their own website in exchange for linking back to yours as credit.
For more information about link building the right way, don’t miss our post on Natural Link Building 101!

4. How Google+ Can Help with Rankings

Speaking of creating social profiles for links, if your goal is to dominate Google, then you should make sure you join Google+. Google’s own social network can help you rank better in search results for people you are connected with. For example, when I’m logged in to Google+ and I search for SEO, I get the following in my top five search results. Personalized search results based on who I am friends with are marked by the little person icon.

When I’m not logged into Google+, you can see that the two personalized results shown earlier are not in the top five. One of them isn’t even on the first page.

It goes to show that personalized search results trump even local search results. Hence, if you want to get into the personalized search game, your goal is to do the following.
  • Create a Google+ personal profile and business page.
  • Recommend the website you want to rank well in search results by giving it a +1, sharing the website on your profile and/or page as a status update, and linking to it in your profile information under recommended websites.
  • Fill out your profile information completely to make others want to connect with you.
  • Check your settings and make sure that your profile information is public along with your status updates.
  • Share other interesting updates on your profile so it doesn’t look too self-promotional.
  • Start connecting with people who you want to see your website in search results. Use the search box on Google+ to find people to connect with and add them to your circles. Hopefully, most will add you back.
Essentially, the more popular you are on Google+, the more likely you are to influence personalized search results with those who are following you. Hence, take advantage of this social network to its fullest extent to reap the benefits.

5. Monitoring Your Results

Last, but not least, you will want to keep track of your SEO progress by monitoring your results. The two most important tools you can use to monitor these results are the following.
  • Authority Labs – Create a free account which you can get after using the 30 day trial of the pro account. Use this tool to track keyword rankings for your website so you can see if they are moving up in search results.
  • Google Analytics – Use Google Analytics to learn more about the visitors to your website. In particular, monitor your organic search traffic sources to see what keywords people are using to find your website in search results. By setting up goals, you can see which keywords lead to visits where visitors do what you want them to do on your website such as sign up for a mailing list or purchase a product. This will help you learn what keywords you should be targeting with your SEO campaign.
There are a lot of other valuable SEO tools out there, but these are the best ones to start with to help you learn more about whether your SEO efforts are making a difference.
If you can follow the suggestions in this post, you will definitely start off on the right foot when it comes to your website’s search engine optimization. And hopefully you will start reaping the benefits of getting more visitors through search engines too!



About the Author: Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her blog Kikolani focuses on blog marketing for personal, professional, and business bloggers. You can follow her on , Twitter, and Facebook.


INFOGRAPHIC: Google Drive and the Battle for the Cloud

Published by Firmex:
This info graphics looks at the cloud document sharing and the different options available for users. It particularly analyzes Google's late entry in the market place and the impact this is likely to have on the industry in the long run while considering their current market shares for some of their other products.


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Saturday, 26 May 2012

INFOGRAPHIC: Translate Social Media Engagement To Sales

When talking about social media, the word "engage" comes up a lot. It seems that no one can discuss the topic without mentioning the importance of engaging, but what exactly does this mean for a business? How will engaging on social networks translate to real world profits and sales?

This Infographic is Published by FirstScribe Designed By VictorM




3 Deadly Sins of Social Media Marketing: Facebook, Groupon, and Pinterest

By   at ClickZ: 
Social media marketing is what most CMOs have at the top of their list for spending increases this year and next. Indeed, social media holds the promise of wild viral effects, socially infused search results, and virtually infinite possibilities for targeting. But as many marketers dive into using social media, some are learning lessons the hard way; some lessons are costly and others may cause irreversible and permanent damage.
Facebook - Perpetuating the Myth of Reach and Frequency
Doing social media shouldn't mean sticking ads on Facebook. Unfortunately, most of the early adopters ended up doing just that. They are still asking for "reach and frequency" - how many people did we potentially show our ads to - because of their TV advertising mindset. And Facebook is more than happy to take their money, by throwing off several hundred billion impressions per month by displaying up to nine ads per page and charging on a cost per thousand (CPM) basis (see: The Facebook Ad Scam). But as budgets shift from TV advertising to digital and social, the metrics of success must also be updated.
After several quarters of experimenting, advertisers are left scratching their heads and wondering about return on investment (ROI) and business impact. Some big advertisers are realizing that the banner ads simply don't work - General Motors, for example, publicly stated that it is cutting its $10 million of Facebook ad spend and the associated $30 million of agency, content, and creative costs. The "soft metric" called "branding" is just not good enough anymore, especially in light of click-through rates being a "rounding error to zero." Awareness alone is no longer enough to get modern consumers to take action.
Fortunately, there are better ways of "doing" social media marketing that are not only more valuable but also longer lasting. Users are on Facebook to socialize. Most people don't "friend" Lipitor or boring brands on Facebook; they friend their friends. Their conversations aren't media that can be bought or sold. In fact, this kind of media doesn't exist ahead of time like television airtime per a schedule of TV shows. People's conversations happen when they happen. And most advertisers don't have a right to speak to them, yet. It's like a thief breaking into your house at dinnertime and shouting at you to buy their products; or getting so-called influencers to do the shouting for them. Instead, advertisers need to earn the right to speak and be in the conversation with knowledgeable consumers. This takes time and persistent work - like providing something of value, insights, something sharable, etc. Truly understanding your community of fans takes time; but once the relationship is built up it can yield continuous payoff; and these conversations are free.
Groupon - A Quick Fix Leads to a Lifetime of Regret
The exact opposite of persistence and patience is a quick fix called Groupon. Thousands of local businesses rushed headlong into doing Groupons to drive traffic to their restaurants, retail stores, etc., with the promise of repeat business to make up for the "loss leader." As it turns out, actual experience has shown that those repeat visits and purchases never materialized - why would they, when the user just got your product or services for 80 percent off. Some businesses didn't even live to tell about their horror stories - remember the little cupcake store that had to make 20,000 cupcakes at a tremendous loss to fulfill the Groupon campaign. Not many would live to tell their story after something like that.
Instead, how about a free solution? If every restaurant would politely ask their patrons after their meal to write them a Yelp review - good or bad - they would start to accumulate reviews that would be useful in helping the next potential customer make their purchase decision. Modern users are so savvy they will look at the number of reviews, the recency of the review, and whether anyone else thought it was valuable. Or how about having patrons "check in" on Foursquare with pictures of the food they are enjoying (of course, all of this depends on the food and service being solid or stellar). While these approaches won't drive the hordes of people beating down your door (after all, it isn't as sexy as 80 percent off), they will yield the long-lasting benefit of real advocacy by fellow restaurant-goers, not the advertiser.
Pinterest - Just Because Everyone Else Is Doing It Doesn't Mean You Should Too
The latest shiny object that all advertising "moths" are chasing is Pinterest. It has been widely cited in the media as the "fastest growing social network in history" and tagged with irresponsible claims like "the top social referrer." While accurate, the key term is "social referrer" - it is comparing Pinterest with Facebook and Twitter. And in certain instances like magazines it is the top traffic driver among social networks. But when compared with all referrers actually driving traffic, including Google search, it is a mere 1/50th - not terribly large (see: The Myth of Pinterest). There are certain instances where Pinterest is brilliant - visually driven sites and products like home decor, design, furnishings, etc.; food and beverage; and fashion. Pinterest was also great when a handful of curators carefully selected a small number of beautiful items - thus simplifying the decision-making process for other users. Now with practically every image from the Pottery Barn catalog posted to Pinterest, the value of curation is lost and the user must choose from 15 sofas just like they would in the catalog.
Instead, how about a free solution? If images on a website are properly named and even tagged with proper "alt text" then search engines can find them. Google images can bring them up in search results and even comingle them with results on the first page. This not only provides a shortcut to page one of Google results; it also provides a longer lasting search engine optimization (SEO) value. Note that Pinterest images are served from Pinterest and the linkbacks are "nofollow"-ed, thus giving no SEO power. So Google image search optimization would yield more direct and longer term benefits than chasing the latest shiny object.
Social media is about attracting actions and conversations, not shouting at people.
The moral of this story is that social media is about slow and consistent relationship building, where trust is earned over time and dialog is cultivated through an exchange of real value.

10 Facebook Tips for Power Users

Via Mashable:  
1. View Photos Full-Screen
You can browse Facebook photos in full-screen mode, making for a better gallery viewing experience.
In an album, click on the first image, then hover over the photo. A floating menu will appear along the bottom of the image.
Click on "Options" and you'll see the ability to "Enter Fullscreen." Now you can browse with a clean, black background.
To return to normal mode, simply hit the Escape key or the "X" on the top-right of your display.


2. Hide What You Read
If you like Facebook's new social reading apps, but don't want to broadcast to the world what you read on your coffee break, adjust the settings accordingly.
For apps that you're already using, head to "Account Settings" from the drop-down menu next to "Home" at the top-right of your display. Go to the "Apps" tab.
Now click "Edit" to the right of the relevant app. In the box that opens you'll see "Posts on your behalf - Who can see posts this app makes for you on your Facebook timeline?"
Use the drop-down menu to select "Only me." You can also follow this same process as you sign up to new apps.
 
 
3. Create a List Based on Your Interests
Have you taken advantage of Facebook's "Lists" functionality?
Similar to Twitter lists, you can create lists based on your interests and then tune in for a targeted catch-up on certain topics.
To create your first list, simply click "More" next to the "Interests" section on your homepage menu. Click "Add Interests," then "Create List."
Your lists can be comprised of people, subscriptions and friends. Once created, you can choose to make them private to you, or share them with the world.
 
 
4. Populate Your Map With Pics
You can retrospectively add locations to images you've already uploaded to Facebook, making for an interesting map that shows all the places you've been.
To populate your map with photos, click on the "Photos" box under your cover photos and select "Add Photos to Map."
You will then be able to scroll through all your images and add the relevant geo data.
There's more information about adding imagery to your Facebook map here.
 
 
5. Reposition Photos on Your Timeline
If you want your timeline to look as lovely as possible, you can fine tune how your images appear.
If an image is off-center or you can't see the main focus of the photo, reposition it to look better.
Click the "Edit or Remove" pencil icon on the top-right and select "Reposition Photo." Click and drag it until it's in a better position.
 
 
6. Hide From Friends In Facebook Chat
There's bound to be a few people you'd rather not chat with on Facebook. Hiding, or appearing to be offline to certain friends, is simple.
Just click on that person's name in the chat window, as if you were about to start a conversation, then hit the cog icon in the top-right.
From the menu, click "Go Offline to [Name]." You are now hidden.
A more detailed walk-through of this process can be found here.
 
 
7. Pre-Approve All Tags
Did you know you can set your Facebook account to require pre-approval before any tagged content appears on your timeline?
To set this up, select "Privacy Settings" from the drop-down menu on the top-right of your Facebook page.
Next to "Timeline and Tagging," click on "Edit Settings."
Look down for "Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your Timeline" and "Review tags friends add to your own posts on Facebook" -- set these both to "on."
We have previously offered a more detailed look at this process. It can be found here.
 
 
8. Hide Annoying Content From Your News Feed
What appears in your Facebook news feed is subject of much discussion, but you can control it, to a certain extent.
From the homepage, click on the pencil icon that appears when you hover over "News Feed," and select "Edit settings."
Here you can hide posts coming into your stream from certain people, certain apps and certain pages.
If you really want to drill down to customize your news feed, we have previously offered some useful tips here.
 
 
9. Create a Secret Group
You can create a "secret" Facebook group that only you, and the friends you choose to share it with, can view. It's a fun way to share members-only content with a select few.
To start your secret group, click "More" next to the "Groups" area on your homepage. Select "Create Group" on the next page that loads.
Once you've named your group, choose a fun icon from the drop-down menu, add friends and then check the "secret" option.
You will now see your new group under the "Groups" area in your homepage. Click on it to post to the group and view content from others.
 
 
10. Upload Images in High Quality
Finally, Facebook's default photo upload functionality is not high resolution.
If you want to ensure your images are the best quality possible, always check the "High Quality" box as you upload.
It will take a little longer, but the better images should be worth the wait.