Category Archives: Social Media

Vine vs Instagram

There is no doubt that video platforms are becoming increasingly popular in the social media landscape.

Learning about the future of video in social media marketing is extremely important, especially when considering the following statistics:

  • 2/3 of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2017 (Neomobile)
  • Five tweets per second contain a Vine link (7th Chamber)
  • Since the launch of Instagram video, there has been a 37 percent increase in Instagram shares on Twitter (Buzzfork)
  • Instagram videos are creating two-times more engagement than Instagram photos (Simply Measured)

While Vine was the first video platform to boom, Instagram launched their own video capabilities just a few months after Vine came to market. Not only did Instagram’s launch of video functionality place them as a direct competitor to Vine, but they one-upped Vine by introducing 15 second video, compared to Vine’s measly 6 seconds.

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To the surprise of many, Instagram hasn’t replaced Vine in the social media-sphere. In fact, Vine has only continued to grow despite the competition; Vine has gained 27 million users since Instagram integrated video in June 2013.

And while Instagram may have the power of numbers (130 million users compared to Vine’s 13 million users), Vine has the power of engagement. According to Luce Performance Group, from June 19 to July 19, Vine videos got .0206 percent average engagement rate and an average of 20 retweets, while Instagram videos got .0111percent average engagement rate and an average of 7 retweets.

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Although Instagram and Vine are comparable in many ways (how to shoot video, the ability to add a text description using hashtags, and the ability to upload and share videos across multiple social media platforms), there are a number of differences between the two platforms:

Vine vs Instagram

Despite the fact that Instagram has more features than Vine, Vine doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. The social media platform has a niche audience and offers a number of unique features that Instagram doesn’t:

  • The ReVine feature: allows users to essentially “Retweet” videos which appear directly on their profile. This feature allows for videos to go viral much faster.
  • The Loop: this feature encourages users to get creative.
  • Shorter length: the 6 second length makes for efficient uploading and downloading, providing users with instant gratification.

Similarly, the more you play around with both Instagram and Vine, the easier it is to see the differences in functionality of each platform. Getting to know both platforms well makes it easier for you to choose the appropriate one based on your goal for creating the video in the first place.

For example, Vine is a great tool to use for the following:

  • Looped videos
  • How-to videos
  • Video teasers: feature a new product or show a snippet of an upcoming event. The six second length will keep viewers interested, making them eager to learn more.
  • Creative videos: it seems as though Vine’s shorter video length produces more creativity because it forces users to be smarter about what they shoot. Vine is great for creating stop-motion animation.

Instagram is great to use for:

  • Promotional Campaigns & Commercial Style Videos: The extra nine seconds that Instagram provides (when compared to Vine) allows for much more “meat” in the message, making Instagram the better choice when you want to create a lengthier video which has a specific call to action.
  • Already created videos: Instagram lets you upload existing videos from your phone’s media library / camera roll, whereas Vine requires you to shoot the video directly in the app.

When it comes down to it, it’s really all about preference considering the fact that Vine and Instagram have a different appeal to users.

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Go cast your vote and comment below sharing your opinion on which video app you prefer and why.

5 Tips for New Bloggers

Ashlee Green1. Learn how to write. There is no doubt that rising technological innovations have changed how we communicate, but it is still true that good, solid writing with use of real words and proper sentence structure communicates most effectively to readers. Write active, concise sentences: Choose your words wisely.

2. Edit. In other words, do not get attached to your words! If you have trouble with this, ask a friend to edit for you. Read and reread your text to make sure that details like times, dates, names, website links, photo credits, grammar and spelling are correct. After finishing a blog post, wait 24 hours, reread it again, and then post it.

3. Incorporate links. To build virtual community, link to fellow friends and bloggers’ websites. Think of it as e-networking: The old “I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine” mentality, otherwise known as “reciprocity”. Choose the bloggers and blogs you link to based on styles and readerships similar to your own. To gain credibility, link to factual, news-based websites: It proves that you take pride in researching and providing your readers with fresh and accurate information. Links provide an outlet for your readers to explore your blog topics on their own time, potentially fueling more blog comments, sharing, and general interaction.

4. Outsource work beyond your skill set. If you have very little experience with technology and web design, then the amount of time it will take you to teach yourself how to create a banner for your homepage, infographics for blog posts and a beautifully designed website layout will be much more work-intensive and much less efficient then you think. Consider–at least initially–asking friends and family for help or hire a web design specialist.

5. Pick a social media platform. Find the social media platform that most resonates with you (Image-oriented? Instagram. Love words and link sharing? Facebook. Short attention span? Twitter, etc.) Then, update it regularly: several times daily, if possible. Most platforms can be linked together, so connect the one you use most with all of your other profiles and updates will happen simultaneously. Marketing via social media is a great and easy way to get more views.

SEO Workshop in Buffalo NY

Social Media Club Buffalo

  • Do you live in Western New York (or nearby)?
  • Are you interested in learning about Search Engine Optimization?
  • Do you have specific questions about how things work when it comes to optimizing your website for Google, Bing & Yahoo?

 

Well, we have the event for you!

SEO Workshop in Buffalo

You Don’t Know SEO!

Join theBrewRoom’s Sam Insalaco along with Buffalo.com and the Social Media Club of Buffalo on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at Brawler’s Back-Alley Deli for an informational workshop.

Learn more about this event: https://www.facebook.com/events/625637024155907/

Reserve your spot today.

A Non-Definitive List About Twitter Lists

For how simplistic Twitter is, there are some amazingly productive things that you can do with it.  One of my favorites is creating lists.

  • You can break it down by topic: city specific, industry specific (ie: thought leaders, competitors, etc), frequent and/or regular customers, clients, employees, etc.
  • You can track important events.Twitter List
  • You can organize your thoughts.  This is especially helpful if you follow many people and/or many different kinds of people.
  • You can curate content.
  • You can track competitors (just don’t name your list “competitors”) and/or prospective clients (just don’t name that one “prospects”).
  • You can clearly prioritize your time spent online and optimize it.

You can do so much with the information that you’ve gathered from your Twitter lists.

  • You can interact with users more easily.  If you have a list dedicated to regular customers, you’ll be more likely to see a tweet and respond to them when you designate a listed category for them; they don’t get lost in the shuffle.  Remember-social media is social!
  • You can showcase the people you work with and align yourself towards.  When people go on to your Twitter profile, they’ll see all the Twitter lists you’ve created (granted, they have to be designated as public).  Then, they can see in your “Clients” list, who you’re working with, what you’ve done for them, and want to be a part of that list, too.  Exclusivity is a powerful motivator, my friend.
  • You can streamline your time spent on Twitter by clearly seeing everything laid out.  Instead of scrolling endlessly through your feed, you can just go to your “Thought Leaders” Twitter list, easily find their tweets, retweet, and respond to what they’ve said (thus stepping closer to being a respected leader in your industry as well).  You can catch up on what’s happening in your group of employees.  You can respond to complaints from customers in a timely fashion.

Here’s a fun post from Hootsuite about using a “Listmaker” account.  There’s a lot of really useful information there, so if you’re interested in furthering the power of your Twitter list, take a look.

And if the thought of all of this is too overwhelming for you, just contact theBrewRoom team.  They can set this all up and run it for you (or show you how) to reduce your anxiety.  Of course, you can always make a Twitter list of “anxiety-reducing people” that you follow.

Social Media Needs to be Social

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that social media is, in fact, social.  Every time that certain car commercial comes on (you know, with the rep reading tweets and their hashtags), someone in the room with me asks, “What’s a hashtag?”  It’s a link to all the tweets in the world with said hashtag.  Then the inevitable, “But…..why?”  So you can see what people are saying (and jump into the conversation, of course)!  We’re so focused on using the Internet to throw information out into the universe that we forget the best way to use it; no one wants to be talked at, they want to converse.  Social media, and the marketing that goes with it, is virtual word of mouth.  It’s a conversation.  There are people constantly talking with and engaging other people.  If you want your business to be successful, you need to engage as well.

Let’s say I work somewhere like “Office Space.”  I have 3-5 on any given day asking me to tweet something, usually a promotion.  Of course, they all think Bill Lumberghtheir message is the most important one to disseminate (so it must be posted NOW).  Well, when you overload people with text and they aren’t getting anything meaningful out of it, guess what will happen to your message? It’ll get tuned out (or they’ll just unfollow you period).  Now, when Lumbergh comes back 5 minutes later to ask if anyone is talking about it, he’ll be let down because the answer is no.

Long story short: be social.  Show you care about the community that you’ve built:

  • Ask questions.
  • Answer questions.
  • Include comments when you retweet whenever possible.
  • If you need to promote services or events, do it in a way that’s natural and not pushy.
  • Mention people to get the conversation going if you have a piece of information that you think is of interest to them (just don’t be spammy; no one likes that).

And don’t forget to “listen” to the conversations.  It’s a two-way flow of information.  Don’t expect to get a response if you are not responding yourself.

Should Your Business Use Facebook Hashtags?

The internet is a-twitter (get it?) with talk about Facebook #hashtags.  I personally plant myself firmly in the “Hashtags are for Twitter” camp; however, there are great benefits for businesses using hashtags on Facebook.

So far, Facebook hashtags are relatively new and slightly limited in usage.  They are only workable on the “desktop” vFacebook Hashtagersion with Facebook hashtags for mobile being introduced in the future.  Also, the algorithm that distributes content on the news feed won’t be affected, which is good and bad; you can’t gain ground but you can’t lose it either.  Further, as Cotton Delo writes in AdAge, “Advertisers won’t be able to target people posting hashtags about a particular TV show or live sports event, and they won’t be able to sponsor a hashtag in the vein of promoted trends on Twitter.”

You can play with Facebook hashtags in other ways, though.  It’s a great tool to promote across platforms as the hashtag will now work between Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook.  You can use hashtags as you would in those other platforms and have it populate on Facebook in a meaningful way now.  While you can’t target people, you can track what they’re saying and adjusting your content likewise, ie: you’re able to stay relevant in the conversation.

The SEO implications are also important.  Previously, if you searched for a hashtag, Google (or whoever you prefer-I’m also solidly in the “Google” camp) would pull up results for Twitter.  With the inclusion of Facebook hashtags, though, you’re now potentially increasing your Facebook traffic.

Reports are mixed as to what exactly Facebook will do with this information goldmine.  Again, Cotton Delo explains, “Posting with a hashtag could be seen as a more tangible expression of affinity and could thus help to make graph search into a useful product.”  Rather than “liking” content, you can engage in a more meaningful way by actually talking about a brand.  She cautions you to take things with a grain of salt, though, in another writing for AdAge :

Facebook has a much steeper privacy bar to clear than Twitter does in terms of publishing user content. The vast majority of Facebook posts are private, meaning that the public ones eligible to be shown on hypothetical hashtag pages would be the tip of the iceberg of conversation happening on the platform.

So if you’re one of the chosen ones who has been included in the hashtag roll out, give it a spin.  I know theBrewRoom would love to speak with you about deepening your strategy on Facebook.  It couldn’t hurt to be an early user of this experiment on Facebook.

What do you think about Facebook hashtags?

Penguins, Artificial Intelligence and King Content

If you follow Information Technology news, you’ll hardly miss the numerous articles about Google exploring and developing artificial intelligence. This research includes ‘neural networks‘, ‘deep learning‘, ‘Google Now‘ and similar programs and they all point towards Content Marketing. This isn’t ideal research for them and its important to those who create content.

SEO Penalties
Back in the day, SEO companies could get away with black hat tricks like keyword stuffing and link farms. These were tactics that allowed companies to cut corners to artificially rise in search engine results. In 2011, we witnessed a symbolic turning point when J.C. Penney was found to have used such techniques to obtain a number one spot in natural search listings for almost everything they sold. When these link farming tricks were discovered by the likes of Google, J.C. Penney fell precipitously in the rankings. Google (as well as Bing, and the like) are working hard to put a permanent stop to these tricks.

Most recently, Google has released another update to its search algorithm – dubbed “Penguin 2” (a sequel to earlier “Panda” and “Penguin” updates).

These updates are being released to leverage better artificial intelligence, as Google pushes its search engine to ‘understand’ the content. As an indicator of their change in philosophy, in Google’s Webmaster Ranking article they changed their advice in May 2013. What had once read:

In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.

Was updated to:

In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.

This is the goal of modern search engines and their keen interest in artificial intelligence – to stop cheats and hacks and to raise high quality content to the surface.

For those who want to be found on the web through organic search techniques, then the importance of creating meaningful, helpful and interesting content cannot be overstated.

What’s more, with social media, we have more channels than ever that go beyond our own websites and these channels are content hungry. Organizations that want to be relevant on the web cannot treat their content marketing as an afterthought. Instead, they must create a plan and manage it with expertise. The content engine needs constant stoking with good fuel to move your web presence forward.

Should Your Business Use Google+?

With all the buzz about the Google+ redesign, I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s more important than ever for businesses to use this tool.  From grouping users in circles to having a Hangout, there’s a lot of potential for one-on-one conversations with users.  So, should your business use Google+?Google+

Before I start, let’s get some terminology down.  Google likes to change things at random, so it’s possible between the time of posting and the time you read this, it will have changed again.  Long story short, Google+ is like a typical user-driven social media platform.  Google Places is a business listing.  Google+ Local is like a hybrid of the two.  For a nice long threaded discussion about this, check out the Google Groups Forum.

Even if you do nothing but update your business listing and claim it as yours, make sure you have some sort of presence on Google+ Local.  When you do, you’ll be able to update your address across all of Google-land.  That means one click to update your info on Search, Maps, and of course, your Google+ and/or Google+ Local page.  This also mean more “Google-ability.” Make sure that everywhere you list your address is consistent.  It’ll lead to a higher search engine rank and Google won’t be left guessing which is the correct website and address to display.

Similar to Pinterest, Google+ is a great way to foster a sense of community.  While you can absolutely share pictures, try to focus more on engagement than selling.  Satisfy your customers’ curiosity and share a sneak peek of new products or a behind-the-scenes view of the office.  Ask questions and respond to answers you receive. +1 people’s posts and comment on them.  Share relevant content with your circles.  You get my point.

Or start a Hangout.  It’s a great way of engaging with your users.  Group the people you follow into categories (Circles) and target content towards those Circles.  For example, use a Hangout to show VIP customers how to do a rockstar at-home facial or make a certain signature dish (leave out the secret ingredient or don’t–that’s your call).  Invite other users to be VIPs to get exclusive content, too, by signing up for your newsletter or posting online that they want to be a VIP (or any number of things that works for your brand).

Bottom line: Google+ is all about creating a great user experience and engaging with the user.  Just be authentic.  Nothing turns people off faster than blatant agenda-pushing.  Not sure if you have the time (or the ability) to pull of a Google+ creation and execution of your own?  Not to worry, theBrewRoom can handle that for you.

There are lots of fun and useful features within Google+ once you get to know it better. Start exploring Google+ today!

Should Your Business Use Pinterest?

Second in the series of “Should Your Business Use…”  If you missed last week, catch up on my recommendations about Tumblr!

Pinterest is a virtual world of visual stimulation where users can upload and bookmark, or “pin,” in a very public, very organic way.  Since it’s inception three years ago, Pinterest has exploded.  As of April 2013, there are 48.7 million users; of them, 80% are women and 67% have bought or found something they wanted to buy using Pinterest.  This place is a referral powerhouse.  So, should your business use Pinterest?

Well, do you cater primarily to a female demographic?  You do?  Excellent, keep reading!  (And eveNorstromPinterestn if you focus on men, you want to be on Pinterest.  I’ll get there.)  I mean, who wouldn’t find something to buy when you basically have a gigantic billboard of “I want this now!”  Veruca Salt would have a field day (not sure how many pins are of squirrels, though).

Sure it sounds like fun and games, but you have to be mindful of who you are trying to reach.  And in the Pinterest game, Nordstrom is winning with over 4.4 million followers.  Why?  They have a clear focus and a specific audience in mind.  And they are careful to monitor it.  Says Shauna Causey, Nordstrom’s social media manager:

We found that it’s a great way to not only share info but also learn about our community. Pinterest allows us to see what trends and styles the community likes based on engagement – likes and repins.  We view this as another way to engage with customers rather than marketing.

Now there is something worth noting.  While Nordstrom is using Pinterest as a way to gauge community engagement, they think of Pinterest not as a marketing tool but as a way to build a community.

BellsPinterestSwitching to man-land, the Bell’s Brewery Pinterest page is one of my favorites.  Sure they have recipes and decorating ideas, but it’s focused on beer, specifically their beer.  Yes, there are craft ideas, but they are beer crafts.  There’s also a board dedicated to happenings in Michigan (it would help to note that they are based in Kalamazoo).  Again, you see community engagement.  You also see a company who has a clear focus of what the page is supposed to do and who is using it.  It’s a perfect blend of Bell’s Brewery advertising with a general message of “this is for people who enjoy craft beer” in a natural, non-obtrusive way.  They highlight their best assets, but in a way that is very organic to what Pinterest is.

So even if you aren’t a boutique clothing store or a trendy cafe, you can (and really should) be on Pinterest.  Like I reported regarding Tumblr last week, this is a hub of visual marketing.  Still not convinced that “serious” businesses are on Pinterest?  Check out the New York Times.  They’re all in.

Oh, and you can keep up with my Veruca Salt habit here, the power behind theBrewRoom here, and the other stellar guest blogger here!

Why I Love LinkedIn (And Why You Should, Too)

linkedin company pageFacebook and I are off and on. Twitter and I hit some rough patches in the beginning. Google+ and I just sometimes don’t see eye to eye. But when it comes to LinkedIn, I have nothing but affection.

Earlier this year while working at a startup technology company, I got a message in my LinkedIn inbox about a job opportunity. I hadn’t been looking. I hadn’t sent my resume to a single person. But I HAD kept my LinkedIn profile up to date. I went on the interview, got the job, and will celebrate my three-month anniversary with the company next week.

So yes, I do consider LinkedIn to the match.com of professionals and companies, but there are plenty of other reasons why I am excited about LinkedIn. Here are just a few:

1. LinkedIn Today

LinkedIn Today gives me customizable industry news that I almost always find useful. And because the content is tailored to my job and influencers, I find myself skipping fewer articles based on their lack of relevancy to me. This is a great tool for anyone who wants to stay constantly updated in their field.

2. Groups

Groups are a great way to interact with other people in your industry and build a reputation as a thought leader. You can bounce ideas, tactics, and personal stories off of your peers and get an online connection with professionals that really understand your struggles and triumphs.

3. Recommendations

If I want to know what kind of worker someone is, the first place I look is under their recommendations on LinkedIn. I aim to get at least one recommendation at each job I hold, and will only recommend other users if I truly think they are talented and hard working. Because my LinkedIn profile often serves as my online resume, I consider this the ever important “references” section.

4. Job Listings

Even though I’m not currently looking for work, I like to browse the job listings on LinkedIn and send them along to friends. More and more companies are hopping onto the LinkedIn bandwagon, creating pages for their companies and listing fantastic job opportunities that you can apply for with a click of a button – your application can be autocompleted from LinkedIn.

5. Introductions

Just like face-to-face introductions hold a high level of value, so do LinkedIn introductions. Anyone can type in their dream company, find the HR director, see if they have any mutual connections and ask to be introduced. It’s as if all of us have our dream jobs right in the palms of our hands… we just need to make the right connections!

Yes, I might be a little bit biased. LinkedIn is the reason that I am working at a company where I get to live out my dream each day. But who is to say that the same can’t happen to you or your business? You know what they say – it’s all about who you know. And the connection you’re looking for might be a click away.

Jess Brown's LinkedIn ProfileDon’t forget to connect with ME on LinkedIn!

 

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And even better, connect with us on LinkedIn!