We've had a great break and we're back at it now in the Earthsite office. 2010 is full of unknowns and excitement as people are laying out their predictions for the new year and the new decade. Earlier today I received a great post, via my Google Alerts, that does a great job of reminding us just how far technology and the social web has come in ten years (from a blog called Life Lessons). I'm looking forward to the evolution of the social web for this next decade, as it promises to be just as amazing as the past.
One thing is for sure- the only thing certain is change. Happy New Year!
Descriptions, tags and titles can all help your content be seen
Have you added content to the web lately? If you have, have you been tagging your photos, videos and blog posts? What about writing a brief description? If you're not, and are promoting your content, you may be missing out. Tags and desciptions not only make your stuff easier for people to search for, it also help keep the web nice and organized. (p.s.-you can usually go back and add title tags, and descriptions)
When tagging your stuff, make sure you are using keywords appropriately, adding short descriptions, and relevant titles. Think of it like this, "what do you want this image, video, or blog post to be associated with?" Most tagging systems break each keyword into separate terms, but if your item should be relevant to a more specific term you can use paranthesis to combine terms, and word combinations matter! Use as many relevant, specific keywords as possible, but avoid overinflating your tags.
For an example of tags in work: I'm searching Flickr's Creative Commons images for Bengal Tigers. I'd like a great shot of a tiger swimming underwater. I may type in "bengal tiger water" and yield these results. Hum... not really what I'm looking for, but if I search "bengal tiger" then I yeild these results and ahh much better!
Counter-intuitive isn't it? Shouldn't I have hit what I was looking for initially when I was specific the first time around? In this example, my results were front and center when I was less specific, but what if I had to search 50 pages to find the right image. Hello time sink!
Now pretent that underwater bengal tiger is your blog post, video, or image. Wouldn't you want someone to find it when they searched the first time? Tags, title, and description can get them there faster.
You've setup a Facebook page and update it frequently. You're an avid Twitterer, sending tweets everyday. You even have a Linkedin Company Profile. In each case, you reached some modest success and are gaining a few new eyes everyday. Still, you may be asking yourself, "Is it, worth it?" So what can you do to take your social media strategy to the next level?
In fitness, this is known as reaching a plateau. Here is what Alive.com has to say about reaching a fitness plateau:
“I don’t get it. I was doing so well, and all of a sudden, I stopped improving.” This is a familiar refrain from exercisers who believe their program has failed them. In reality, they have maximized what their workout was designed to achieve.
We're not taking about fitness, but the principle is the similar; you need to change it up. If you feel yourself in a similar situation, it's time to step back and re-evaluate your strategy and tactics. Here are some things you can do, or consider, to take it up a notch.
Recognize and inventory what's working and what's not
If you've been growing your social media presence for a while, you no-doubt have tried a thing or two to grow your followers, fans, and pageviews, and in most cases hoping they all somehow lead to more sales. Reflect back and look at the numbers. What was viral? When do you experience more comments? When was there a jump a in sales or website traffic? What context allowed for that event to happen? When was growth stagnant? What did your current followers/fans like?
Use what you've learned to inspire employee collaboration, innovation, and customer service
Most often the social web is referred to and used for marketing, but really it's about relationships, and that spans from business to friends and to co-workers. Enterprise 2.0 is a term, like web 2.0, that describes the phenomenon of companies utilizing the methods of social sharing within an organization. There are a variety of ways to get started. For example, Google docs are a great way to share private ideas and feedback within an organization (just think of a better password then password).
See it through your customers/audience's eyes
Use this stuck time to clean house. I used to work for Trader Joe's, the grocery store chain noted for their yummy food and awesome customer service, and I remember learning early on that viewing the floor from the customers eyes was a key to success. I encourage you to put on your customers eyes. Shoot, in the Goethe sense put on some sunglasses, crawl under your desk, or go outside before checking out the site to get yourself in the customer mindset. Take notes on what doesn't work, what you don't like about the 'experience.' React appropriately.
Try something different- Take a chance, be different, and aim for viral appeal
If you've growing a following/fan base, it may be time to "activate them." Contests are a great way to do that. Don't be afraid to try something new. If you haven't tried video, try video. If you've never been a guest blogger or podcaster, then look for opportunities to share your expertise (and spread the word).
Did you know that most web platforms have learning centers that teach you how to use their product/ or service? The longer the venture has been around the more likely you are to see some great tutorials, tips and techniques on how to use them. Even if you have a good grip on the platforms you can still learn something from these guides, or even better, share them with your less savvy coworkers to get them on board with your social media strategy. Here is a preview of what some of the big three in the social media have to offer.
Linkedin has some great features and is probably the most under utilized social network when compared to Twitter and Facebook. Linkedin's Learning Center provides guides for a variety of different types of users, such as: consultants, job seekers, entrepreneurs, attorneys, journalists, and more. If you're not especially Internet savvy, then you might want to start with the Training page where you can browse presentations based on different training "modules," or you can sign up for one of their free weekly webinars.
Twitter launched their learning center a few months back, and while it is focused on supporting business, it provides an excellent resource for anyone new to the Twitterverse. The guide starts by getting you off the ground with lingo and techniques, then supports you with best practices and case studies.You can also download the slides or browse books on the topic. We have a link to the slideshow in our blog here.
Facebook has a bit of a different approach to a learning center. If you know what you'd like help with, then Facebook makes it very easy to select the area you need help with, but if you are just getting started or want some more in depth training, then you might come up a bit short in tutorials. That's okay there are plenty of blogs, video series, and webinars that cover more indepth training.
Follow the Copenhagen Climate Conference with Social Media
Cop15, the United Nations Climate Change Conference is underway, and for the next two and a half weeks (Dec. 7th- Dec. 18th) people all over the world will be watching and participating in the monumental conference, in person and virtually. Over the last year, we've seen the social web really thrive for events and conferences, making it easier to attend from a far. You too can get connected and participate, so here are some of the ways you can receive news, get in the live action, and learn more about the conference.
COP15 on Twitter Follow the conference on Twitter and get real time update from folks at the conference and abroad.
No, I'm not talking about the plant used for paper by the ancient Egyptians. I'm talking about the font that all too many small shop owners use when the are designing their marketing copy on a budget. Nothing wrong with that by the way, you should be looking to spice up you advertising efforts. However, I've seen way too many people using the pre-loaded font called Papyrus.
So here is a great website to find an alternative, browse some of the 1001 Free Fonts that are available for public use, most have licensing options that are affordable. If you're on a budget and designing marketing materials yourself or with a friend, then this one's for you. They are easy to install and worth the time to pick out a few new ones.