The Fab Five: Five Social Media Tips and Tricks You Need to Know

Over the past couple months, we have seen a significant amount of change in the world of social media: from the birth of Google+ to the constant transformation of Facebook. It’s a testament to the fact that the world of social media will never stop evolving. To help keep you current on some of the things that are going on, I have made a list of five tips and tricks that I think you should add to your social repertoire. Here goes:

1. Google+ Hangouts Directly from YouTube – If you haven’t heard, Google+ is the new social media platform that Google just rolled out last month to compete with Facebook. It is still in limited field-testing, so a finite number of users have been allowed to sign up. However, if you are one of the lucky ones that is already Google Plus-ing, here is a cool tip: If you are watching a video on YouTube (another Google product), you can start a Google+ hangout directly from the Share menu. (For those new to Google+, a hangout is an informal, impromptu video chat session. It’s a way of saying, “Hey I’m online and ready to chat with whoever else is out there.”) This allows you to watch and comment on videos with up to nine of your friends in real time – as if you were sitting in the same room. You can play, pause and stop the video you are watching and the action will be mirrored on your friends’ screens.

2. Uploading Photos Directly to Twitter – Last week, Twitter announced a new, long-awaited feature. You can now upload photos to your Twitter feed directly from your Twitter profile instead of having to rely on third party applications like Twitpic and TweetDeck. All you have to do is click on the camera to add an image to your Tweet. If you are a current Twitter user, you should see this notification next time you log in to your account:

3. How To Customize Your Facebook Status Update Settings – We’ve all been there. The office gossip asks to be your friend on Facebook. You don’t want to say Yes because you don’t want everyone from work knowing your innermost secrets. But, you can’t say No because it will cause tension with your co-worker. So, you begrudgingly confirm the friend request and begin the practice of meticulously monitoring and censoring all of your Facebook activity.

Shouldn’t there be a better way? There is! You can customize who sees certain information on Facebook. Just go to Privacy Setting under the Account menu.

Under Sharing on Facebook, click on Customize Settings (refer to screenshot above). From this screen, you can control how and with whom every piece of information is shared on Facebook: things you share, things others share and your contact information. For each item, you can select to share with: everyone, friends of friend and networks, friends and networks, friends of friends, friends or you may customize a list (see below).

The custom list is where your power lies. This is where you can choose to share information with friends but then you can list anyone that you want to exclude from the list under the Hide This From section (see below). So all of your friends except for the office gossip will see your posts. Who ever thought Custom Privacy would be such a beautiful concept?

4. How To Customize Your Facebook News Feed Settings – On a related note, say that the office gossip posts twenty times a day about things that you could care less. You can’t remove her (or him) as a friend because, as stated previously, you don’t want to ruffle any office feathers. But, you can’t stand having your News Feed cluttered with meaningless information. Here’s what you do: Click on the “x” next to the post in question.

This will bring up a menu where you can specify one of the following: Hide this post, Hide all by [person’s name], Hide all by [application’s name], or Mark as Spam. If you choose to Hide all by [office gossip] you will no longer see any posts by this person. You will be happier and that person will be none the wiser. Everyone wins!

5. “On This Day…” Facebook Gets Nostalgic – I have saved the best for last today. There is a rumor floating around that Facebook has started rolling out an update to user profiles. Whenever you are on a Like page or another Facebook page other than your own, you will see a section on the right called On This Day. The section will show what the currently logged in user posted on the same day in a previous year (provided that you actually posted something).  This feature could potentially be quite hilarious or severely humbling depending on the nature of your posts.  Has anyone experienced this new feature yet?

So, there you have it: The Fab 5. I hope this has been informative, entertaining and/or insightful. Please comment below – I would love to hear what you think about all of these features.

 

The Ever Changing World of Social Media

Just when you thought you had Twitter down, a basic understanding of LinkedIn and you finally know how to upload a video to YouTube, the world goes and changes everything! From plug-ins to location-based marketing initiatives to the move to higher bandwidth, there’s change afoot in the world of social media. Star Hall at Entrepreneur.com put together the top social trends of 2011 that I’m now sharing with you. This isn’t to scare you into not using social media – quite the opposite actually. This is to give you the knowledge and power to move forward with your social marketing plan with confidence.

1. Location-Based Marketing: Location services will grow in popularity as people get more comfortable checking in to a business. This will be the result of enhanced safety features — such as privacy options that block your location from public view — and more enticing brand offers. It’s time to acquaint yourself with sites and applications such as Foursquare, Facebook Places and Gowalla. These sites will help you better target prospects’ likes and interests, pique interest and influence purchase decisions by offering discounts, promotions or giveaways when they “check in” to your business.

2. Video Platforms: YouTube might be one of the largest user-generated video-sharing sites on the Internet today, but other platforms will begin to surface that are more business-focused, easier to market videos on and not as crowded. Sites like Viddler, Vimeo and Dailymotion will gain momentum with a stronger focus on live streaming on sites such as interactive broadcast platform Ustream, or streaming straight from blogs.

3. Text Campaigns: As the mobile arena grows, small businesses will continue to move marketing campaigns to mobile phones. Start by incorporating a mobile widget onto your site to help collect mobile numbers through an automated system and create campaigns specific to area codes or regions.

4. For Cause Tweet-a-thons: A Tweet-a-thon is a fundraising campaign on Twitter for which users encourage their followers to tweet about and donate to a particular charitable cause over a specific period of time. These initiatives will gain in popularity as savvy entrepreneurs capitalize on the relationship-building advantages of social media and the good publicity that comes with giving back.

5. The Move to Higher Bandwidth (4G): Say goodbye to 3G. The use of higher bandwidth will not only be a necessity but a demand from busy consumers. Widely becoming recognized with carriers such as MetroPCS, 4G speed allows marketers to get the message out faster with quicker download times. Jump on this bandwidth wagon early and incorporate it into your 2011 marketing plan.

6. WordPress-Based Websites: Open source publishing application WordPress will become the platform of choice. Why? It makes it easier for websites to implement search-engine optimization at little to no cost with plug-ins, which add specific capabilities to software applications. To stay competitive, I recommend that you consider moving your website to a WordPress platform. These sites are user-friendly and do not require knowledge of HTML code.

7. Plug-ins: The use of plug-ins will proliferate, with thousands of new options surfacing monthly. An increasingly popular plug-in is Scribe which monitors and scores your keywords and updates to your site automatically to increase results with your search-engine optimization.

8. Review Sites: Websites dedicated to customer reviews will dominate the social media landscape. Consumers want to be heard, and more importantly they want answers. Sites such as Groubal.com, will achieve this by consolidating common user-submitted complaints and presenting those petitions to businesses, demanding answers for their wrongdoings. Consumers are even creating blogs specifically about teaching people how to complain effectively. This is another reason to monitor conversations about your products and services online. Moving into 2011, make sure you have a plan for how to respond to positive and negative reviews. Remember to respond immediately. Reviews will start to spread like wildfire with these sites.

9. Monitoring Conversations: Show your customers you’re listening and responding. Set up online monitors for your company. You can choose social-media dashboards or keyword-alert services. There are free service sites Hootsuite and Tweetdeck. These dashboards not only allow you to monitor but participate in live conversations. If you haven’t set up Google monitors yet, they’re free. Go to www.google.com/alerts.

10. Presentation Platforms: As teleseminars become overused and tired, interactive web seminar platforms will step in to fill that market need. New presentation platforms such as SlideRocket.com and Prezi.com are incorporating easy-to-build presentation tools with social media, live feeds and video. People online want to see the presenter, not just listen over a bridge line. Choose your presentation platform for 2011 and make sure that it not only streams well but also allows for immediate interaction and cutting-edge presentation tools.