Rachel Discovers Happiness

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Archive for the tag “news”

On Managing Social Media

The other day I had the opportunity to speak with a few other people about managing social media, both personally and professionally.

There was a lot of good information that came out of the conversation so I thought I would open up the conversation here to see what you all think. See below for some questions that I’ve had or heard from other people.

Image via FinancialSocialMedia.com

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What are the best social media sites for my clients?

Social media is not one size fits all. In order to figure out which platforms are best for your clients you first must understand what the company hopes to accomplish through those channels. What is the end goal? What would the company like to achieve? Whether the purpose is to open up communication between business and consumers, share relevant stories and information about the company or stay involved in industry conversations, there is a social media site to help your client do just that. Research the demographics and purpose of each social media site and utilize the ones that fit into the consumer demographic of your company.

How often should I be posting?

That really depends on which platform you are using. For example, I wouldn’t post more than two times a day on Facebook; this site is normally used for more personal communication and longer interactions. People don’t like their Facebook news feeds to be cluttered; chances are, if you are posting too often, people will unsubscribe from your updates which means that your message won’t be reaching them at all. Twitter is a different story; it serves as a constant news feed and chances are your Tweets get buried in the pile-up. The more you Tweet, the more likely your viewers are to receive and respond to your message. I’d say that the length of the message and level of interaction you desire by your targets should have an inverse effect on how often you post: the longer the post (Blogs, Facebook, etc.) the less often you should post on that platform.

What is the best way to build a fan base on Twitter or Facebook?

The best way to build a fan base is to be open, facilitate conversation, ask questions, respond to others and be proactive about your outreach. If the company can afford it, buy ads on whichever social network you are using. You can generally add filters to your advertisements to target specific demographics based on age, sex, interests and location. Sites like Twitter and Instagram use hash tags in order to aggregate posts about the same topic, this is a good way to reach people who are interested in the same things you are. Also, live Tweeting from events like concerts and conferences are a great way to start discussions.

Hash tags don’t work on Facebook. Don’t use them there, it’s just obnoxious.

What is the best way to control multiple social media accounts?

There are tools such as TweetDeck and HootSuite which allow you to schedule Tweets, analyze traffic and manage multiple accounts. There are also tools like BufferApp which is like a queue for your Tweets letting you put a bunch of Tweets in a line and schedule when they go out. (Note: I personally use BufferApp, but I know others who use TweetDeck or HootSuite and like those platforms a lot.)

A word to the wise: don’t put your personal account and a client account on the same management app (especially on your phone or tablet) – if you aren’t paying attention you can end up inadvertently posting something to the wrong account causing problems for everyone involved.

How should I control responses on my social media accounts?

It is always important that your company or the company you’re representing has an ironclad social media policy. Make sure this policy states the company’s stance on bullying (and what this means whether it is based on race, religion, sexual preference, age, etc.) and profanity. You can set filters on many social media sites so that comments and posts that contain specific words (think offensive four letter words) won’t show up on your account, even if just for a second. Make sure you cover all your bases, and then make sure that you have the policy published somewhere available to the public in case you hit any retaliation from users whose comments get deleted.

What should I post about on my/the company’s blog?

Make sure you are writing about things that your viewers will want to read. Don’t just regurgitate information already posted on other similar blogs. Keep your posts short and to the point, about 600 words long (unlike this one which is at 774 right now). Include videos of things around the office or of important events in your industry. Conduct interviews of people in different positions throughout the company; ask the same questions of everybody, you will get different answers and readers will be able to see the different aspects of your company. If you do recap posts of concerts or events make sure that they are timely and occur within 24 hours of said event.

As far as number of posts per week, you can decide to post once a day, twice a week or any frequency you like, just make sure you stick to it. People on social media like consistency, they like to know that on Tuesdays they are going to get a blog post from you, or on the third Friday of every month your company is going to give them a drink recipe to try over the weekend. Having a backlog or edcal of posts is always a good idea, that way you can schedule your posts and you are sure that they will go out even if you don’t necessarily have time to write that day.

Is it okay to auto-post between social media platforms?

Cross posting between social media platforms is generally frowned upon. Although it isn’t the worst social media faux pas one could commit, consumers generally feel that auto generation of content is impersonal and redundant. You should have (mostly) different content on all different platforms, and even if it’s similar information, your post should be phrased differently whether it is on Twitter vs. Facebook vs. Google+.

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What do you think of these social media management tips? Are there any you disagree with? Do you have any to add? Let me know in the comments!

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Facebook buys Instagram for $1 billion… wait, what?!

The big talk around the office within the past ten minutes has been that Facebook has purchased Instagram for $1 billion.

What?!

Yes, that’s right, Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement this morning… by posting it to his Facebook Timeline.

For years, we’ve focused on building the best experience for sharing photos with your friends and family. Now, we’ll be able to work even more closely with the Instagram team to also offer the best experiences for sharing beautiful mobile photos with people based on your interests.

This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.

That in itself is big news – the fact that a $1 billion acquisition was made is news, AND that it was announced on Facebook? That is unreal.

Seriously, when Kris saw that John Swartz posted about it on his Twitter, we were all incredulous.

A $1 billion business deal? That’s crazy, no matter what the companies are!

This announcement comes on the heels of the April 3 announcement that Instagram was now available to Android users.

Now we are all wondering, what does this mean for Instagram? Why is this mobile app worth $1 billion? What plans does Facebook have for it moving forward?

We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.

And what does the way this news was broken mean for the future of tech company announcements… especially in the social media space?

Friday Links 2012: Week 5

This week was so crazy. I hardly had time to check email and read my morning websites. In fact, I don’t think I read my normal allotment of sites a single day this week, so I apologize for the lame links.

As I said in my other blog, I’m not quite ready to share everything with Cyber Land yet, but I promise it will happen within the next few days.

Anyway, here you go:

And a picture from today just because I thought this tea was pretty.

(**Squeals!!**)

I hope your week was productive and that your February started out wonderfully!

The Future of Social Media: Social Bookmarking

I’m not sure if I mentioned that a lot of big things have been happening in my life over the past few weeks. I can’t explain them here just yet because I don’t want to jinx anything, but I will write about them soon enough (cross your fingers that things work out). Because of these things, I have been all over the Bay Area within the past week which hasn’t left too much time for blogging. I’m sorry I’ve been MIA.

Although I have been busy, I have had the opportunity to speak to a lot of different people about social media and how it is used by businesses to increase their visibility in the public eye. Yesterday I had a particularly interesting conversation with somebody about what the future of social media is. It got me thinking…

When she first asked me what I though the “next big thing” was going to be in social media, I thought for half a second and then replied with “social bookmarking sites.” We talked about it for a few minutes and then moved on. But even after our conversation was over and I was on my way home, that question stuck with me. What IS the future of social media? What will be the next site everybody’s talking about? We’ve already had Facebook which connects us with our friends, Twitter which allows us to follow celebrities and industry news, and crossovers between the two. New social media sites are being developed every day; I even had to create a separate email account so that I could send all my social media update emails there instead of getting them in my regular inbox. The most recent social media site that everybody is talking about, however, is Pinterest.

I won’t get into long drawn out detail about what Pinterest is – if you don’t already know, you should go take a look at the site. Beware, it’s addicting. Basically, though, it’s a social bookmarking site. You find something online that you like (with Pinterest it’s pictures), click the handy dandy “Pin It” button that you install on your browser’s toolbar, and then everybody who follows you can see what you’ve pinned. Simple enough, right?

Anyway, there are more and more sites like Pinterest that are coming out. SnipIt is one of my other favorites. I use SnipIt for news (three of my boars are SnipIt “favorites” and are featured on the main pages covering their topics) and articles whereas I use Pinterest for all things pretty and creative. People like to be in charge of the kind of information they read about/look at on the internet and sites such as Pinterest, SnipIt, ChimeIn, Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon allow users to post links that they find amusing and share them with their followers. These platforms also give users the ability to choose their interests and find articles/information/pictures/blog posts on topics that they select, rather than topics chosen at random or “trending” topics (AKA topics that are most popular/talked about at that time).

Within the past 12 hours I have read a few articles about what the future of social media is. According to the YouTube CEO, the future of content is niche channels.

An article published today on Mashable states:

The way consumers access and consume media is changing rapidly, YouTube head Salar Kamangar believes, and YouTube is evolving to accommodate it.

“We’re entering the third wave of media,” Kamangar said […] “The first wave was the broadcast networks. The second wave was cable networks. Now it’s about giving people exactly what they want to watch today,”

People have specific interests in a variety of topics — say, yoga and stand-up surfing — but it’s difficult to find a continuous stream of video content catered to those interests, Kamangar contends.

What do you think? Do you agree with this assessment of changes in social media and news sites? How do you follow your interests online? What are your favorite social bookmarking sites?

Friday Links 2012: Week 4

Hello Readers,

So sorry I didn’t post my Friday Links yesterday. This week has been pretty crazy. I haven’t really had time to relax, take a breath, or even think. I don’t want to tell you about it because I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m crossing my fingers that some things come through for me.

Anyway, here are my favorite Tweets of this past week. Hope you enjoy them. You can see photos and different links on my other blog here 🙂

What stuck out about this week for you? Did anything exciting happen? Any big news?

Friday Links 2012: Week 3

If you spent any amount of time online this week, you noticed that the Stop Online Piracy Act (or SOPA as we all begrudgingly know it) pretty much took over all aspects of the Interweb. Just about every website, blog, and Twitter feed was inundated with information about SOPA, and mine wasn’t any different. Although I did spare you all from seeing yet another blog post talking about what SOPA is and the implications the bill would have on our freedom of speech if passed, that doesn’t mean that I didn’t Tweet about it as obnoxiously as the next person. For this, I apologize.

Originally, most of this week’s links were going to be about SOPA and understanding what, exactly, the bill says. Even though I took a couple law classes in my undergrad career, the legal jargon of bills is still confusing. If you are anything like me and can’t comprehend what the bill is saying but still want to know what the heck is going on, some of my links might help you.

Ironically, my first link will explain to you why the rest of my SOPA links aren’t all that important anymore, and therefore, aren’t posted here. Hooray! (Plus, I wan’ted to keep you from going insane.)

Have a fantastic weekend.

Want more of me because you are just so intrigued by my thrilling life? Don’t worry, you can always see my favorite personal Tweets and photos of the day at Rachel Discovers Happiness.

Twitter-vention

Earlier this month, as I was curled up in bed with my beloved Glamour magazine, I came across an article entitled “Twitter DOs & DON’Ts: Your 10 Tweeting Commandments” and, naturally, I was intrigued. As I quickly breezed past the basic rules such as “DO play nice” and “DON’T bitch about work. This is not the place (and—hello!—they can see you).”

I was about to turn the page since it is all stuff I’d heard before… that is, until I reached Commandment Number 6: “DON’T exceed your tolerable four-tweets-a-day limit.” My heart stopped.

WHAT?! But BufferApp lets me schedule up to FIFTY-TWEETS-A-DAY, and you’re telling me that I can only post four times if I want to be nice to my followers?!

Once I collected myself, I decided I would hold a personal Twitter-vention and ask a few friends who are in similar industries as I what they had to say. Luckily we were already in a group Gchat so I didn’t have to look too far to get some advice.

When I announced my surprise, frustration, and yes, shame at the number of allotted Tweets per day, I was greeted with affirmation that more than four Tweets a day was a little excessive. But there was a catch: more than four Tweets a day was only excessive if the main purpose of the Tweeter in question was to inform their followers of their personal life. (See Commandment Number 2: “DON’T overshare.”)

After we established that some people share way, WAY too much on Twitter, we also agreed that it was okay for certain accounts to post more than their allotted four-tweets-a-day. These accounts include (but are not limited to):

  1. TV/Web Personalities (as long as they are entertaining) 
  2. Informative Blogs/Websites 
  3. Amusing Bloggers 
  4. News Stations 
  5. Innovative and Funny Accounts 
  6. Harry Potter Parodies (as long as they are funny) 
  7. Justin Bieber 

Whew. My anxiety subsided a little bit. I tend to use Twitter for a combination of personal and professional information – an activity that I don’t recommend since it is not easily accomplished. I never post things immensely personal to myself or my friends. I don’t post anything that I wouldn’t want my boss to read or that my parents would be shocked to see. Sometimes I post opinions, include videos, or share random thoughts, but that is very rare and definitely doesn’t exceed the four-a-day limit.

I do, however, post an average of seven professional/newsworthy Tweets a day, as well as one or two good retweets. (Note: This number is for week days – on weekends I hardly ever post professional/newsworthy things, and I tend to only post four times a day on Saturday and Sundays.)

Today I cam across the following Tweet from @BufferApp: 

After clicking through to the link and reading through the  blog post, I was put at ease. The post encourages bloggers to retweet their post four times in order to gain maximum coverage. That is 14% of your weekly Tweet allowance. If I’m writing three blog posts a week and Tweeting about those posts four times each, that takes up 42% of my allowance!! No way is that correct.

Through the research I’ve done since discovering that Glamour article, I’ve decided that the four-tweets-a-day allotment goes for personal Tweets. That does not include professional tweets, articles, retweets, or replies to followers/Tweets you find interesting.

Maybe I’m kidding myself and I’m just a Twitter addict, but either way, until I’m proven wrong, I’m going to just continue doing what I’m doing.

What do you think? How do you use Twitter? How many posts is too many on any given day? What are your favorite accounts to follow?

Friday Links 2012: Week 2

Hope you had a fantastic week!

Click here to see more friday links (the non-professional ones… the “fun” ones if you will) and my photos of the week.

And just because this is so incredibly important, I have included it on both my blogs.

Friday Links 2012: Week 1

Welcome to the first Friday Links of 2012! I have just started using BufferApp which helps me schedule Tweets throughout the day, even if I’m not signed on to Twitter. That way, my Tweets aren’t all posted at the same time – in the morning when I do my big daily news binge.

Because I am now posting on Twitter a lot more, I will try to limit myself to 10-15 of my favorite links for the week, that way my readers aren’t inundated with every single post I put on Twitter. That would defeat the purpose, now wouldn’t it? Plus, if you want to see all of my Twitter posts, you can just follow me 🙂

P.S. If you like my Friday Links posts on this blog, you might want to check out my Picture-A-Day posts on my other blog: Rachel Discovers Happiness.

In Defense of Toms

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in almost a week. How lame am I?! I couldn’t let this blog go untouched for an entire week and have two Friday Links posts in a row – that would just be pathetic.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but couldn’t really find the words (plus I wanted to take some photos for it). It’s about the shoe (and glasses) movement: Toms*.

If you aren’t familiar with Toms mission statement, it’s simple: One For One. With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need.

One of my Christmas presents from my mom was a pair of women’s “ash” Toms. Everybody I know has a pair of Toms. I liked the idea of receiving a pair of Toms for Christmas because not only can I wear them anywhere, but they are comfortable (oh so comfortable!), “cute” (I think the other benefits make them cuter than they would be otherwise) AND they help out kids who don’t have the means to purchase their own shoes.

I was so excited when I opened them, and my mom felt really good about gifting them to me. That is, until the first day I wore them in front of Philo. When I pointed out to my mom that I was wearing them, MJD piped in and mentioned that Toms are just about all his girlfriend wears – she likes how cute and comfortable they are. Then, Philo piped in… like he always does.

He started in on this rant about how Toms isn’t actually as great as everybody thinks it is. That the organization may help children, but actually harms the shoe producers and stores in the area that the shoes are handed out.

This is a habit of Philo’s that annoys us all, but have all learned to ignore. One of us says something and Philo jumps in with how we are wrong, then he informs us of the correct way to think about whatever situation we are talking about, and all of it is based off of some article that he read once. Eating meat? Humans are not built to consume meat, also, it’s not sustainable, also, you are consuming a carcass. (I’m sorry for that mental image, but imagine hearing that every time you eat meat) Donating to a charity? That charity isn’t as good as you think it is, the money doesn’t go where you think it does, plus, here is a list of all the vegan charities that actually make a difference in the lives of millions of people. Blah, blah, blah, blah… he goes on and on. Nobody else’s opinions are valid. He always finds a counter argument for everything we say. I could say that dogs like to be pet and wag their tails, and he would come up with a reason why I’m wrong.

Anyway, so this conversation thoroughly bothered the rest of us. When my mom and I got home, we sat down and did some research on Toms, their mission, and where the shoes go. I downloaded the Toms Giving Report and read it beginning to end, then saved it on my computer. I read blogs, articles, and opinion pieces on not only Toms, but other charities as well.

Page from the Toms Giving Report

My conclusion after all my research? Toms was about the best of the best as far as charities go. Your donation goes where they say it goes, and I can’t find anything to suggest otherwise. They aren’t asking you for money, they are asking you to purchase a pair of shoes for yourself so that you get something as well as the children you are helping. Children. NOT adults. Local shoe stores aren’t going out of business; Toms shoes go to children who wouldn’t be shopping at those shoe stores in the first place.

Shoes have value beyond being critical for physical health. Many schools in developing countries require shoes for attendance. And some soil-based diseases not only cause physical symptoms, but create cognitive impairment too, crippling a child’s long- term potential … Children who are healthy are more likely to be successful students, and access to education is a critical determinant of long-term success.

– Toms Giving Report

The shoes go to kids whose families don’t have the means to purchase shoes on their own. If the kids don’t have shoes, they aren’t able to go to school. If they aren’t able to go to school, they aren’t able to get an education. If they can’t get an education, they are less capable to pull their families and their countries above the poverty line. Toms makes sure that the shoes given to children follow their school’s dress code/uniform in order to ensure that the shoes accomplish what Toms wants them to. Toms also only makes shoes in sizes that are required by the children in need.

School children in Nairobi, Kenya wearing their Toms. (via: http://www.facebook.com/Toms)

Toms is not only giving these children shoes, Toms is giving them a future.

That might sound cheesy, but I firmly believe that it is true.

Toms gives shoes in places such as Argentina, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Zambia, to name a few. These locations aren’t picked at random. Toms and its affiliates do lots of research to make sure that the the children receiving the shoes are deserving and that the shoes will make a difference. Toms doesn’t use any child labor in the production of its shoes and the organization works with its partners around the world as well as businesses where the shoes are delivered whenever possible.

Recently, Toms has expanded from shoes to glasses. I guarantee there will be further expansion in the future. I’d keep my eyes open if I were you.

Anyway, I apologize for this rant. It just really frustrated me and I thought that I would share my thoughts with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

Have you done any research on Toms or other charities? Where are your favorite places to donate? Do you have any opinions that parallel Philo’s mentality?

*FYI: TOMS stands for “Shoes For a Better Tomorrow”

Disclaimer: I am in no way associated with Toms or any of its affiliates. The opinions stated in this post are 100% my own.  

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