Be Summer, Be Now

Is it my imagination or did the summer doomsayers start earlier than usual this year?

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summerIs it my imagination or did the summer doomsayers start earlier than usual this year?

I’m remembering in particular the woman on the CVS check-out line back on August 1st who had to ruin everyone’s day when she lamented, “It’s just countdown to Labor Day now.” By August 22nd, I can feel them revving up everywhere I go. They’re officially kicking into high gear.

I don’t know about you but I LOVE summer and want to cherish each of the thirteen+ hour days of sunlight while I can. I beg of you. Be summer, be now. Please.

Lessons Learned from Brands on Social Media

As I was working on the concept of the piece, and with a gazillion number of brands on social media, I wondered where to begin? I needed to narrow my approach and find a way to identify brands who were indeed, successful.

26 Ways Brands Succeed with Social Media Marketing was published today on Social Media Examiner.

As I was working on the concept of the piece, and with a gazillion number of brands on social media, I wondered where to begin.  I needed to narrow my approach and find a way to identify brands who were indeed, successful.

I reached out to Ryan Hatoum (@ryanhatoum), US PR Manager at Socialbakers, who graciously agreed to provide me with data (e.g. # of updates, # responses, # of new followers, etc.) about the 30 top brands on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.  And since the information changes week-to-week, month-to-month, I narrowed the list of brands I’d look at over a two-week period, November 1 to November 15, 2014. The weeks proceeding the writing of the article.

I took a look at who was doing what and how an update succeeded in engaging fans. Needless to say, the process was extremely interesting and helped me identify 26 noteworthy efforts.

I think you’ll find that the approaches can be applied to businesses of all sizes and industries and my hope is that they will provide readers with takeaways for their own social media efforts.

Thanks again to Ryan Hatoum and everyone at Socialbakers for their assistance.

Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays!

If you found your way to my blog as a result of the SME article, welcome and thanks for stopping by!

While you’re here you may also want to check out my portfolio and the types of services I provide. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments below, or via the contact form.

26 ways brands

The Power of Infographics

BAInfographics2014There are infographics and then there are infographics; so rich with data, and visual interest that they quickly cross over an invisible line and become beautiful works of art. Infographic fans will surely delight in The Best American Infographics 2014 edited by Gareth Cook.

The book is divided into three sections, You, Us and the Material World. And, technically a forth section entitled Interactive, where you can see screenshots of ten infographics and then navigate to the URLs provided in the text e.g. Transit Map, NYC, Block by Block, Brooklyn’s Past and Present.

Why the growing interest in infographics? As Gareth Cook points out in the book’s foreword, “…something like half of the brain is involved in processing images. This fundamentally is why infographics have become such a force in our increasingly visual media.” Good infographics as Cook suggests bring flashes of clarity and leave us feeling ahhhh.

Nate Silver explains that by taking a visual approach to organizing information that we can tell stories that have advantages over purely verbal ones. Namely they offer approachability, transparency and efficiency.

Even the book’s cover is an infographic that reflects the range of one word responses and number of times the same word was used to complete the sentence, “Infographics have the power to ________.”

The words ranged from advise to woo with the two most frequent used words being enlighten and reveal. There were 42 terms that were classified as being negative with the three most frequently used, annoy, argue and lie.

While it might be nearly impossible to decide on your all-time favorite infographics in the book, for me I found that they tended to be the the ones whose topics and visual explanations most reflected areas of personal interest. And in one word, I’d have to agree they had the power to enlighten.

Content That Delights, Teaches & Reminds

In a recent article on Facebook’s business blog, Mari Smith offers a suggestion that I’ve thought about a lot since reading.

As Mari suggests, regardless of the business you’re in you need to remember that people are on Facebook for personal reasons—“nobody wakes up in the morning, looks at their phone and says, ‘Gee, I wonder what some big brand is doing Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 12.00.55 PMtoday on Facebook.’’’

As an exercise I’ve been trying to stop and notice when content truly delights me in some way, teaches me something I didn’t know, reminds me of something maybe I needed to be reminded of. That’s what I’m looking and hoping for.

That’s what brought me to social media in the first place. And keeps me here.

Every Day a New Discovery

As often happens when the challenges are ramped-up a little, I started searching the Internet, long tail searches, keyword searches. Anything, everything.

No, I will not fix your computer.
Available from Think Geek. thinkgeek.com

A few years back I saw a man walking in NYC wearing a t-shirt with the saying, “No, I won’t fix your computer.” I was amused by the shirt and while I haven’t been the go-to person for fixing people’s computers, I’ve been known to tinker with a few people’s iPhones, iPads and pesky problems that can arise sometimes with apps and other what-have-you’s.

The truth of the matter is that I like doing these things. I like knowing that I can trust myself and that in turn, others have confidence in me. I instinctively know the terrain above and beyond my skills-set. After all, that’s what the Apple Genius Bar is for (wizards, every one of them).

But some times we don’t learn new things until we have to. After a question is posed to us we turn to the Internet like a sleuth trying to find any clues we can. And, every now and again, we come upon the solution to the problem that is deeply gratifying for the person who has come to us and in turn, makes us feel like we’ve truly been of help.

Recently my friend’s partner passed-away and she asked if I could help her save the voicemail greeting from her iPhone along with messages that her partner had left for her on her phone. I hadn’t any experience with this issue before and wanted very much to be able to help. But I also knew the stakes were quite high and that the last thing I wanted to do was to mess-up. After some contemplation I thought about offering to drive my friend to the Apple Store and be her buddy at the Genius Bar. But as often happens when the challenges are ramped-up a little, I started searching the Internet, long tail searches, keyword searches. Anything, everything.

First I came upon the application, DiskAid that offers iPhone phone transfers. And while it does a great job transferring all kinds of files it wasn’t until emailing support that I learned that voicemail messages aren’t stored on the phone, they’re stored on the phone carrier’s server.

At this point I contacted Verizon who had to transfer my call around to several departments and finally a helpful young woman rep told me, “Yes, I can help you! I actually haven’t had one of these requests in a long time.” The rep went on to tell me that Verizon outsources the support to a company, CBW Productions and provided the number.

You can either make the request via telephone customer service, 1-800-770-8046 or from their website. They will save greetings plus messages from a phone and send them to you either on cd, mp3 or usb. The price varies according to number of messages. All you need to provide is the phone number and password to enter the account. They would then take care of the recording.

And for people who are grieving it’s especially nice to know that you can do this from your computer, and not speak to anyone to make the request.

Content Strategy and Social Media

Today in my new article on Social Media Examiner, I discuss 26 Tips to Create a Strong Social Media Content Strategy, an A-Z guide, for creating engaging content. Read the full post>>

It takes commitment to deliver strong content and while it may feel daunting at times, keeping in mind the reasons why you’re doing it and who you’re trying to converse with will help keep you on track. Today in my new article on Social Media Examiner, I discuss 26 Tips to Create a Strong Social Media Content Strategy, an A-Z guideRead the full post.

If you’ve found your way to my blog as a result of the article, welcome and thanks for stopping by! Check-out and LIKE my new Facebook page.

I’ve had a Facebook profile for a number of years but found myself mostly using Twitter and Pinterest for work-related posts and decided it was time to roll-out a Facebook page. No time better than the present!

While you’re here you may want also want to check out my portfolio. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments below, via the contact form, or through my social pages.

social media content strategy

How to: Create Engaging Content

Is all content created equal?  I think not. There’s some that is clearly more engaging than other types of content.  The art of course is to know what will engage your target audience and once you’re confident–do more of it. Regularly.

Today in my new article on Social Media Examiner, I discuss 26 Ways, an A-Z guide, for creating engaging content.  Read the full post.

If you’ve found your way to my blog as a result of the article, welcome and thanks for stopping by. You may want to check out my portfolio. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments below or via the contact form.

ways to create engaging content