Category Archives: Business

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Six Ways Nonprofits Can Start Using Social Media TODAY!

When I spoke at the Daily Do Good conference, I shared ways nonprofits can use social media as part of their marketing strategy. Most nonprofits know they should use digital and social media as part of their marketing strategy, but many are not getting the most out of their social media plan? Some many not even have a strategic digital marketing plan or know where to get started? Want ways nonprofits can get started using digital and social media as part of a strategic marketing effort? Below is the video from Daily Do Good talk where I highlight ways nonprofits can use social and digital media.

Here are some things I hope you’ll walk away with. When we talk about social media we are talking any two-way communication that is open to the public. This includes some spaces you already know about, such as, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others you may not have thought as being social, such as  email marketing campaigns or crowdfunding opportunities. The most important part of social media… in my opinion… is the “social” aspect of the engagement.

Digital media refers to audio, video, and photo content that has been encoded or digitally compressed. Digital media marketing then, is the use of this content to promote your brand or mission. Are you with me? For instance, let’s say you have a lot of photos either from historical references or from current events. These visuals help tell the story about your organization or mission and that’s what’s this is all about. Right? Good story telling.

When you hear digital content, what comes to mind. If you said “video” you are right on point. If you don’t know already, video is the single most important element in any social media strategy. Whether it’s video on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LiveStream, Youtube, or the new hot social space, Periscope video is King. So what does that mean to you and your organization? The content you should think about creating and marketing for your business is video. Period. Research by Pew Internet shows that more and more  people–across demographics–are watching online video. So whether your supporter base is made up of millenniums or seniors or a demographic somewhere in-between, they’re likely to watch videos on the Web at an astounding rate. And, of course, you want to be where your customers are. Right? With social media and video marketing in mind, how can you get started?

Technology and more specifically social media is NOT a cure-all, but done correctly, you can increase your visibility, donors, and cause. To get started, it is important for organizations to be very clear about what their objectives are and invest in crafting their story from day one. Most of your supporters will rarely check your website for updates. Meaning they likely only think of you and your cause now and then. Having them like your page on Facebook or follow you on Twitter provides you with an opportunity to appear on their feeds and give them daily reminders of your mission. From your social media sites, you can drive supports to your website, and after later donations, volunteers, and raise general awareness for your cause. How do you do that? How do you drive traffic to your social media accounts? You’re taking notes now, right? You start by including buttons linked to any and all platforms that your organization uses. Think about recording important events or, better yet, Periscope the event and share with your followers LIVE.

There is a lot to cover when we talk about social media for nonprofits. Here are six key takeaways you may want to focus on.

  1. VISUALS: A study conducted by Professor Albert Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA showed that 93% of communication is nonverbal since visuals can be processed by the mind 60 thousand times faster than text. With this in mind, it’s crucial to tell the story of your mission using appealing visual elements across all of your social platforms. Post pictures or video on sites like Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, etc. You may have seen dog shelters do this. They take video or photos of dogs that came to them in very bad condition. Then they show a healthy, happy dog that is nursed back to health. It’s a complete story. Told visually.
  2. FREQUENCY: Consistency is so important. Non-profits often only post to their social accounts when they have an event or a campaign. Work on building relationships throughout the year… before you need them. Also, it’s best to vary the types of post you use on social media, whether you’re running a campaign or not. Try to mix in press releases, with stories of the people you’ve helped, spotlights on volunteers along with information on upcoming events, and reminders of how easy it is to donate or contribute to your cause. Having a social media plan will help you with this. Post too much could put you in the “unfollow” zone. Don’t post enough and you won’t reach your target audience. If you need help getting started, check out my blog on Developing a Social Media Plan here.
  3. VOLUNTEERS: Create a volunteer social media corp. Your volunteer social media corp should be designed to amplify your messages. By ‘amplify,’ I mean they will share your messaging, not speaking on behalf of the nonprofit. To make sure the volunteers are empowered to amplify messages on your behalf, you can create a Facebook group or Google+ community where you can share the messages that are most important to the organization. Once the volunteers get the hang of it, you might want to start training them to become your social media community managers for your social sites and help you manage your weekly and monthly social media plan.
  4. SOCIALIZE: So many nonprofits broadcast only. However, you don’t want to make your posts a one-way conversation. Like I mentioned earlier, the most important part of social media is the social part of the engagement. For nonprofits, that will call for you to humanize your cause in a way that is relatable and actionable. You’ll want to pull on some heart-strings. Think about making your posts as conversational as possible. Listen to your audience and show them how important they are to your cause by responding back. That means replying to comments on your blogs, Facebook page, Twitter posts and comments on Instagram and Snapchat. Make an effort to comments on posts by other organizations or individuals who support your cause. When this is done correctly, your efforts will result in increased followers that will turn into increased donors, volunteers, and revenue.
  5. STORYTELLING: As I said, you will want to humanize the purpose of your cause. Relying on only phone calls, fundraisers, and direct mailings is no longer enough. If I get one more phone call from my local cultural theater house, I’m going to poke my eyes out! But, if they share a great story about their new play, I’m in! Show your audience what they are missing by not joining you. Or show them how you are changing the world. For nonprofits, emotive content is inherent in your makeup. In this regard, nonprofits are in a better position to use social media more effectively than most big brands. You have, or should have, a community that cares deeply about what you do. Having a well-crafted story will give you tons of content to share and resonate greatly with your audience.
  6. CROWDFUNDING: As a non-profit, you’re always looking for new ways to raise money. One option that has quickly caught on is crowdfunding. It is an easy way to raise money with donations from a large number of people. This  growing trend towards crowdfunding has created lots of new revenue streams and models for investment and funding. Before you jump out there, however, there are many things to consider. Nonprofits should take the time to research all the available options. Some crowdfunding sites charge a fee and others do not. It would be wise to do your due diligence to find the best option for your nonprofit. Then, when you are ready, remember that your crowdfunding campaign pitch is your first point of contact with potential donors. For your pitch to be effective it is crucial to plan ahead and include all the elements that make a compelling story. To learn more about how to develop a crowdfunding pitch, read my 5 Tips For Your Crowdfunding Pitch here.

Social media will continue to have a huge impact on the nonprofit sector. But, like most things in the digital world, social media is evolving quickly. Do not expect your website or social platforms, and blog to hit overnight. Social media and content marketing requires time and patience—so does building an online audience. It can take several months to see results from social media marketing. If you don’t have the time to manage your sites, think about hiring a digital media specialist. The team at Danielle Ricks Productions is ready to help!

 

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Five Digital and Social Media Stories Worth Reading This Week

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Here are five stories pulled from the headlines to get you up-to-date this week on digital and social media news. I’ve done the research for you. You can thank me later.

It’s the year of the “Influencer.” IBT: In Search Of The Real Thing: Why Global Advertisers Like Coca-Cola Are Ditching Celebs For Little-Known Instagram ArtistsPULL QUOTE: It was all about selfies for Christine Adelina, until May 1, 2014. That’s when the 22-year-old student and obsessive Instagram poster from London learned her large following on the photo-sharing app could translate to some decent income. After attending a meetup for Instagram “influencers,” she switched from bedroom and bathroom selfies to artistic portrayals of the world around her, now spending at least three hours a day on the app. And brands are gawking — handing over ad dollars to Adelina and other so-called influencers, anywhere from $300 to thousands of dollars depending on the deal, to join their marketing campaigns. While some sponsorship deals simply reward users with gifts for sending out company-related Instagram posts, others are contracted. Take Nabisco’s #PuttingOnTheRitz campaign, for example. That marketing strategy to promote new Ritz Crisp and Thin crackers — to which Adelina and a handful of other contracted influencers submitted two photos for this June  — reached 7.5 million people. One post from British blogger Tanya Burr, who boasts 2 million Instagram followers, drew 110,000 likes.

It’s the latest sign that Madison Avenue and its counterparts worldwide are recognizing the pitch power of organically born social media stars like Adelina and Burr. They can be just as influential, or even moreso, as celebs like the Kardashians. Consumers, the thinking goes, may connect more readily with individuals who lead lives like their own. “For ‘Putting on the Ritz,’ we were very interested in getting people involved. The campaign seemed more real,” said Jana Soosova, social media campaign manager at London-based PHD Media.

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While Instagram influencer Christine Adelina’s post was not the highest traffic-driver for the #PuttingOnTheRitz campaign, Nabisco paid for and endorsed the submission as part of its marketing strategy.  – Instagram Screenshot 

Earlier this month, Instagram introduced its first ad product for businesses. The system allows companies to quickly create standard ads, target them to selected users and include direct-response buttons (like “Buy Now” as seen on Facebook, Twitter and Google). The move will spur more ads on the Facebook-owned photo-sharing app — and fuel Instagram’s predicted rise to $2.8 billion in revenue by 2017.

Marketing jobs have gone digital and they are asking for a lot from their employees! MarketingProfs: The Most In-Demand Digital Marketing SkillsPULL QUOTE: The most in-demand job titles identified by the analysis were digital marketing manager and marketing manager. Those roles may be especially hard to fill given the wide range of skills required: Companies seeking marketing managers tend to look for proficiency in several disciplines, including social media marketing, SEO, PPC, content marketing, Google Analytics, and digital marketing. Other digital marketing job titles with a high volume of listings are digital marketing specialist, marketing coordinator, SEO specialist, Web developer, account executive, and social media manager.

If you’ve paid attention today, you’ll see Kanye West trending on Facebook (kill me now). What does it take to becoming a trending topic on Facebook? IBT: In Search Of The Real Thing: Why Global Advertisers Like Coca-Cola Are Ditching Celebs For Little-Known Instagram Artists – PULL QUOTE: But how exactly does Facebook decide what to put in the Trending queue? And why is it that trends sometimes show up hours if not days after they may be trending somewhere else? Facebook shows you things in your Trending line-up the same way it shows you things in your News Feed: Algorithms. It takes into account a few personal things, like where you live and what Pages you follow. But primarily it looks for two broader signals: Topics that are being mentioned a lot and topics that receive a dramatic spike in mentions. You can’t have one without the other. For example, Kim Kardashian is mentioned often on Facebook, so the total volume of mentions is always high and isn’t a good indicator of whether or not she’s part of a trending topic. Instead, Facebook looks for a spike in mentions relative to the normal chatter around Kim and other celebrities, too. Things that trend aren’t just the most highly mentioned people or topics. They have to be tied to some kind of relevant event.

Right now I’m rocking a Misfit. I ‘m using it as a replacement to my UP24 because I can swim with the Misfit. Am I missing out on not having an Apple Watch? ReadWrite: The Wearables Market Is Exploding, And Apple Is Stealing The Show – PULL QUOTE: Second only to Fitbit, Apple Watch rules the smartwatch scene.  A new report published by IDC paints an intriguing picture of the wearables market as it looks in the middle of 2015. The market grew 223% over the course of the previous year, and Apple—new to the sector and with only one wearable to its name—was bested only by Fitbit, in terms of devices sold during the last three months. That puts reports of rather underwhelming Apple Watch sales into perspective. (Apple hasn’t released official figures of its own, of course.) While the smartwatch has yet to make an iPhone-like splash so far, with nearly 20% of the market, but it’s already threatening to dominate the nascent wearables movement.

I’ll admit it, I’m developing Snapchat campaigns and have totally forgotten about Vine. Apparently, that is not a good thingQuartz: Vine is a sleeping giant (while everyone is focused on Snapchat)PULL QUOTE: A funny thing happened to Vine, Twitter’s short-form video app, after its initial buzz wore off: It kept going. If you haven’t checked lately, Vine, launched in early 2013, is still a thing. It has evolved from a social “Instagram-for-video” built atop Twitter into a unique mobile entertainment platform with its own style, format, and celebrities. And as mobile video continues its long-awaited rise, Vine has built and maintained an impressive audience. Vine serves more than 100 million people across the web every month, according to the company, delivering more than 1.5 billion “loops”—its term for video views—per day. Meanwhile, comScore says Vine reached 34.5 million unique visitors in the US in June across desktop and mobile—roughly the same as Snapchat, which has grown rapidly over the past year and is valued by investors at $16 billion.

 

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Social Media: Trends And Tips for Social Video Marketing

3You know that social media is an important element of any marketing strategy. But do you know the single most important element that you should add to your social media plan? It is video. Whether it is video on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LiveStream, or the newest kids on the block, Periscope and Meerkat, video should be the content you add to your marketing strategy.

Here are video marketing stats we can’t ignore:

  • According to Nielsen, 147 million Americans watch video on the internet
  • 87% of online marketers use video content according to Outbrain
  • According to Online Publishers Association, 46% of users take some sort of action after and after watching a video and 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online, according to comScore

More and more people–across demographics–are watching online video. And, of course, you want to be where your clients are. Right?

Here are five ways to develop a social media video marketing strategy:

  1. Decide What Story To Tell: A good place to start is to produce a video about your company and your services. Testimonial videos or an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) are also a great way to showcase your skills. Having an event? Think about live streaming.
  2. Choose The Right Platform: Research your options before committing to any one platform. If most of your audience is on Twitter, try Periscope. If you need a wider reach, use YouTube.
  3. Length Is Everything: Research by Visible Measures said that you have 10 seconds to grab the viewers’ attention. Make your video pop right off the top.
  4. Know Your Audience: Is your audience looking to learn more about you or more about the services you provide? Think about sharing video tips to your viewers so they’ll get to know you and what you have to offer. I’ve done a series of social media tips here.
  5. Engage Your Audience: Think about adding interactive elements to your video. Include in-video links.YouTube has “cards” or you can create your own links. You could also add a survey to encourage engagement.

Need help developing video content for your social media plan? Fill out the form below so we schedule your FREE one-on-one consultation.

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5 Tips For Your Crowdfunding Pitch

3Thinking about starting a crowdfunding campaign? Maybe you want to raise money for an upcoming project. Or, maybe your client needs to fund a worthy cause. Whether it’s raising money for your next CD project or a fundraiser to send a group of students abroad to study, there are a few things you should consider before you launch a crowdfunding campaign. One of the most important things to consider is the crowdfunding pitch. It’s the story behind what you are doing and why anyone would want to give to your cause. I’ve been working on a small crowdfunding campaign that is going to lead to a larger, capital campaign. Here are things I’ve learned along the way and five things to consider when beginning your crowdfunding campaign.

Any crowdfunding campaign starts with the pitch. Your crowdfunding campaign pitch is your first point of contact with potential donors. For your pitch to be effective it’s crucial to plan and include all the elements that make a compelling story.

A Crowdfunding Pitch Needs To Include:

  1. The Backstory – What is the campaign? Why will people care? Why will they donate? Talk about where the crowdfunding efforts will go and how it will help you or your cause. Show your passion, explain the impact of your campaign or explain about the people who will benefit from it.
  2. A Thought Provoking Video – Video clips give visitors a better idea of your project — they can see you or your project in action and not clicking through a series of static images. Do you have assets such as photos, powerpoint slides or digital images that can be assembled into a compelling video? If so, you’re halfway there.
  3. What You Are Raising Money For – Be specific and include your funding goal. Also include a breakdown of where the money is going and the purpose it will serve.
  4. When Will Your Project Take Place – Set a deadline, this creates a sense of urgency.
  5. How People Can Get involved – Have a multi-level donation stream offering. What will people get if they donate $1000, $50 right on down to a $25 donation? Beyond just donating money, what else can people do to help you? Outline any perks you have created.

Once all the elements for the pitch are addressed, then you much decide one of the most important details, which crowdfunding site to use.

Crowdfunding Sites– There are several crowdfunding sites. Each has their own pros and cons. Research the ones that will best suit your campaign and don’t be shy about asking others what has worked for them. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Then when you are ready to roll out share, share, and share some more.

Need help getting your crowdfunding campaign started? I’m here to help!

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Five Tips To Help You Develop An Effective Content Marketing Plan

4Social media, mobile technology, and word-of-mouth marketing have been serious game changers. People are getting their news and entertainment online, watching TV on mobile devices and subscribing to newspapers and magazines on tablets.

According to Entrepreneur.com, a Hilaire survey discovered that print, TV and radio advertising is being replaced with non-traditional means of content marketing.

So just what is content marketing?

The Content Marketing Institute reports:

Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.

The trends in content marketing tell us three things:

  • Traditional advertising, as we use to know it is dead
  • Content marketing has replaced traditional advertising
  • Having a winning content marketing strategy is the single most effective way to get leads and turn leads into business revenue

How do you use content marketing to engage prospects and customers?You do this via blog posts, social media sites, videos, and photos. Done correctly, this will generate leads, enhance your brand identity, and put your company’s expertise on display. But your blog, Facebook page, and Tweets are just a means to get your message out. The real value is in the content that you share. Where can you get started?

Here are five ways to develop a content marketing strategy:

  1. Have A Plan: No, really, have a plan. Far too often people forget that they must plan for the success they desire. Thinking they can wing it is the #1 mistake most folks make. Your plan should support your brand’s mission and goals. It will include the unique value you are looking to provide. It should also outline the obstacles and opportunities you may meet as you execute your plan. Preparation is the key.
  2. Start Writing: When readers find themselves consistently reading a brand’s content, they start to see that brand in a new light, not only in terms of credibility but also likability. You can start a blog, contribute as a co-contributor to someone else’s blog, or submit articles to your industry trade magazine. Not much of a writer? Do a video blog or an audio blog.
  3. Listen To Clients: Not sure what to write about? Start off by writing down the questions you repeatedly hear from your clients. I guarantee those questions will spur ideas for articles or blog posts that would be valuable to your audience and may even land you a few new customers.
  4. Identify Your Audience: Know the specific audiences for whom you will create content, what their needs are, and what your content engagement cycle will be. Will you post once a week across many social networking platforms or several times a week across only two social sites? Knowing your audience will decide your level of engagement.
  5. Schedule Your Posts: I don’t know about you, but I’m always busy. If you are as well, invest in a “Social Media Management Tool.” There are many to choose from, but one of the most inexpensive (there is a free version) and intuitive tools is Hootsuite. It will help you keep track and manage your many social network channels and free you up to do those other posts… which… by the way… can also be scheduled. Need help coming up with a social media plan? Read my blog on ten ways to develop a social media plan.

What content do you have to share that will help drive business to your company or advance your organization’s mission? Let me know if I can help you master just the right content marketing strategy for your business that will turn prospects and online community members into leads and clients. Fill out the contact form below so we can get started strategizing.

Danielle & Richard on set

You Can’t Afford Not to Do Video Marketing

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You can’t afford not to do video. Seriously. You can’t.

“In a world where earning attention is harder and harder, and customer acquisition is getting more and more expensive, video is one of, if not the best, way of earning those eyeballs. By 2017, video will account for 69 percent of all consumer Internet traffic, according to Cisco.

In comparison with text content, video quickly delivers information to our brains in a way that makes it easy for them to digest. Using video results in better conversion rates for businesses and provides a better, more human relationship with their customers, that increases brand awareness, loyalty, and fuels sales.”

Read the full article on Why You Can’t Afford Not to Do Video from Entrepreneur.com. Then when you are ready let me and my team help you with your video marketing needs!

For All Your Media Needs

For Your Media Needs

Are you tired of seeing black women portrayed negatively in the media? I know I am! In an effort to combat that image, Danielle Ricks Productions and RixStar Studios have joined forces to create our first offerings for R&R MediaWorks. We are pleased to roll out two joint ventures that will focus on debunking the negative images of black women in the media and instead, tell the true story of who we black women are as dynamic, powerful, vulnerable, caring, professional women of color.

Our first offering is and EPK (Electronic Press Kit) for Denise J. Hart. She is a speaker, author, trainer and coach extraordinaire. Click on the YouTube video to hear her story.

 

Coming soon!

The Things Black Women Are Tired Of Hearing, a web series that takes a look at the lives, minds and psyche of women of color. Click on the YouTube video to check out the trailer and sign up to get notices so you will be the first to know when the web series hits the Internet!

 

Interested in hiring R&R MediaWorks to tell your story?

We are here to service your digital media, video production, photography and film needs. We are dedicated to making sure all of our clients, regardless of race or gender are promoted in the most positive light. R&R MediaWorks for YOU!

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Digital Media News: Closing Out The Week With Five Things To Know

Ripped from the headlines, here are five things you should know this week for your digital and social media professional development.

Copyblogger: The Savvy Marketer’s Checklist for Seductive Landing Pages – Ever wonder what you could do to stop people from bouncing off your landing pages? You work hard to polish your sales copy. You’ve even recorded a snazzy demonstration video. But when you check your site’s analytics? You feel soooo frustrated. And the worst thing is … you don’t know what else you can do. How can you improve your conversion rates? Use the 40 tips in our landing page checklist to see where you’ve gone wrong. Or, use the checklist to create a landing page from scratch. See your email list grow faster, your webinars sell out, and your product sales go through the roof.

Here's What's NewRe/code: Twitter vs. Meerkat – Meerkat, the undisputed belle of the 2015 SXSW ball, was hobbled by Twitter’s mid-festival announcement of its acquisition of rival Periscope. The social video-sharing app had achieved a healthy dose of buzz for its savvy integration with the Twitter platform. Yet within hours of the news of its Periscope acquisition, Twitter fired the torpedoes: Informing its upstart rival that it would no longer have access to Twitter’s social graphing capabilities, which allowed Meerkat users to automatically push their livestreams out to their Twitter followers without building a separate contact list in the Meerkat app. Platform owner has significant power. Startup building on that platform is vulnerable. Platform owner capitalizes on its clout and attempts to move in for the kill. Sound familiar? It’s the hypothetical worst-case scenario so often cited by proponents of Title II net neutrality regulations — proponents including Twitter itself. [ED NOTE: This is the one to watch]

POLITICO: The Mobile Election – How smartphones will change the 2016 presidential race -As Hillary Clinton prepares for the formal launch of her campaign, and as Jeb Bush and Scott Walker are neck and neck in the polls, roughly two out of every three American adults, or 64 percent, own a smartphone, according to a new report from Pew. On the consumption side, the rise in mobile will “change politics the same way it is changing American life broadly,” said Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed. “People will organize and persuade on mobile devices and apps, the same way they live on them more broadly. Though mobile usage is highest among younger Americans, news consumption is “common even among older smartphone owners,” as “four-in-ten smartphone owners ages 65 and older use their phone at least occasionally to keep up with breaking news.” On the media side, the rise in mobile usage will increase the number of citizen reporters, whose influence on recent political campaigns has been quite significant. Video footage of an errant remark — from George Allen’s “Macaca” moment in 2006 to Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” moment in 2012 — can have more influence on a political campaign than any traditional news report.

Forbes: The Rise Of The Female CDO – The Chief Digital Officer is one role where women are outpacing men by two to one, according to a FierceCIO article citing research by Gartner , which also notes that the number of CDOs who are women has been growing dramatically every year. There are certainly some prominent examples, including Rachel Haot, CDO for New York State (and previously the City of New York), who was chosen Chief Digital Officer of the Year in 2014 by the CDO Club. Others include Jessica Federer at Bayer , Linda Avery of the Federal Reserve and Julie Bornstein, who holds the positions of both CMO and CDO of Sephora . [ED NOTE: Yay! That is all.]

1Harvard Business Review: Defining Strategy, Implementation, and Execution – It is striking how much confusion there is between strategy, implementation, and execution. Is “strategy” a matter of making choices about where we want to go, where we play and how we win, of setting goals and actions, about how we create and capture economic value over time? Is “getting things done” what we mean by implementation or execution? Do you “execute” or “implement” a strategy? And can you separate these from strategy formation? For strategy wonks like me, thinking about the definitions of these ideas provides endless fascination. For many business leaders, however, I find that the semantics matter a lot less. And that’s too bad because the semantics should matter. There are meaningful distinctions between strategy, implementation, and execution that are helpful to running a company or business in the real world. Ignoring, blurring, or getting them wrong creates sloppy thinking, deciding, and doing at all levels of an organization. Let’s start with strategy.

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3 tactics Facebook uses to avoid a security breach

“Companies would be wise to take a look at how Facebook itself works to avoid the type of data breach that wreaked havoc on Sony Pictures Entertainment. Hackers have stung Facebook in the past, and the company clearly doesn’t want to subject itself to further embarrassment and public backlash.”

Fortune

Amid the deluge of announcements that Facebook dropped during its annual F8 developers conference this week was a clear emphasis on computer security.

In CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote, the topic was easily overshadowed by all the new developer toys the social media company announced. But during the rest of the two-day conference, it was clear that security and infrastructure stability was top of mind for Facebook, and multiple sessions offered guidance to partners. (“Move fast with stable infra,” Zuckerberg declared, his spin on the Silicon Valley mantra, “Move fast and break things.”)

Understandably, the F8 sessions detailing security and privacy contained noticeably fewer attendees than other sessions—a sign, perhaps, that many businesses still consider cyber security an afterthought.

But companies would be wise to take a look at how Facebook itself works to avoid the type of data breach that wreaked havoc on Sony Pictures Entertainment. Hackers have

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Stop Counting The Number of Followers You Have

You’ve bNumber Imageuilt up a loyal follow of thousand upon thousand of folks across multiple platforms. Yet, you are unable to get them to buy your goods or services. You can’t get them to donate to your cause and you online marketing efforts are failing. Before you even think about getting more followers, start instead by setting some goals on the return you want from you do have. Here are a few tips to up the ante on your online engagement.

  • Post Good Content: Sounds simple right? From your Twitter and Facebook bio, to you profile photo, and each post you make, your content should support your mission, tell your story and the convey the essence of your brand. The content should be so good, so entertaining, followers want to be a part of your mission.
  • Develop an Engaging Voice: Your brand has a unique personality. That personality should translate to your online presence. Whether it’s fun, witty, cutting edge or all about business, your posts and online voice should match up with your brand.
  • Engage in other people’s conversations: Participate in Twitter Tweetchats. Follow hashtags discussions on Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to follow the hashtags of events you attend, and make easy to follow hashtags for your events. Start a conversation based on a link someone shared.

Getting more followers isn’t the end game. You win by getting followers who are invested in your brand and responsive to your calls to action. 

Social Media Is Still Relevant And Here Is Why

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Tinu Abayomi-Paul, web site promotion specialist, and author, is also the principal consultant of Leveraged Promotion, a website promotion company. Their specialty is bringing companies with an existing offline presence the local, national or international exposure they need to increase profitability, by leveraging the cost-effective tools available on the web.

In January 2014, Tinu was named one of the top 50 Industry Influencers by AGBeat. In February 2014 she was also awarded a Women’s Leader Fellowship by the Hot Mommas Project. In September 2012, Tinu is quoted in the CNN article: “Why Business Women are Flocking to Twitter”, as part of the CNN Leading Women showcase. In October 2012, Tinu was featured in TopRank’s yearly updated list of 25 Women Who Rock Social Media.  In June of that same year, Tinu was featured in AGBeat’s Business Leader Showcase. In December 2011, Liberated Muse named Tinu as one of the Top Ten Women in Social Media. Whew, that’s a lot of accolades!!

She is a woman in the know and an all around cool connector of people. I was able to catch up to her to get her thoughts on social media and where we are going in the social space.

Q- Why is social media relevant?

Social media is relevant because it provides a layer of communication and data in real-time, one that previously did not exist. In terms of customer feedback, focus groups and other types of research based on end user feedback, you can gather actionable data about a topic faster than ever before. As a marketing source, it helps democratize and facilitate word of mouth within a global context, at a cost low enough to even the playing field for small businesses.

Blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other tools also give power to the individual on a level that hasn’t existed before. We may not all be using it that way yet – but the potential to be able to use your personal voice and opinion to affect change on this level is unprecedented. If you wanted the potential to reach the world with your voice, as little as ten years ago, your options were much more limited than they are today.

For example, if you checked into a hotel in 2002 and had a problem with customer service, you could ask for management’s help to resolve it, but had few other options. Depending on how much the hotel cared about your repeat business, and whether or not customer satisfaction was a primary goal, your voice might be heard by the hotel or it might not.

Armed with social media, companies are now not just marketing to you; they’re marketing to whatever your potential audience reach is. Now, a complaint isn’t just a complaint – it can go on record on Yelp or Foursquare, go viral on Twitter, or be permanently posted to a Google local or Facebook business page.

How do you use social media in your work?

One of my companies helps build marketing systems for small businesses, integrating search, social or reputation management with existing PR or other types of online or offline marketing. All of the activities that increase visibility for a company are more effective in synergy.

Q- What trends to you see in the upcoming year for social media?

1- More discerning choices about what we’re paying attention to – the problem now in social media is that there are too many channels, most of them repeating the same information, though sometimes in different formats. The younger users are enjoying tools like SnapChat, which deploys a shared image, video, drawing, etc for a set period of time, then destroys it.

We’re seeing the results of the backlash, with people opting out of Facebook and other new media channels indefinitely or for set periods of time. And yet you never hear anyone say “I have to quit Googling, it’s just too much.”

The question is: how do we respond to those trends as small business owners and social media professionals?

2- The maturation of the visual web trend. Clearly, the web is becoming increasing more visual, and much less text heavy before our eyes. With internet enabled TV and other devices like Roku that gets the video we view on the web on the big screen, the demand for content that can be consumed on the bigger screen is increasing as well. Early movers will benefit when this trend hits a peak. It may not happen this year but it is coming.

3- The web will be soon be everywhere – our refrigerators will be linked to the grocery store, and we might be able to update our list by sending a direct message in Twitter. At the leading edge of this right now is mobile. If your social content isn’t web enabled, you’re missing out on a lot of additional exposure.

Q- What is your best social media tip?

Start all of your social-related endeavors with research and clear goals. Why this channel? Who uses it? What competes with it? What do we hope to achieve? How will we know we’re successful? And most importantly, what do the people we want to reach want to hear from us on this channel? The data is out there and accessible. Or if you have some access to the community you want to grow with, just ask them what they want.

This post is edited and updated from the original version that appears on the All Things E blog.

Trends in Social Media: GO VISUAL!

Meet Geoff Livingston! Geoff is an author, public speaker and strategist who helps companies and nonprofits develop outstanding marketing programs. He brings people together, virtually and physically for business and change.  A former journalist, Geoff continues to write and has authored three books including the social media primer Welcome to the Fifth Estate.

Geoff organized the first Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington in 2011, an event that raised $2 million for more than 1000 nonprofits using online media tools. He also started and sold social media boutique Livingston Communications (2009). He has won awards from the Society of New communications Research, the American Marketing Association, the International Association of Business Communicators, as well as an Axiom Award for his book Now Is Gone.  Geoff is a regular conference keynote speaker and panelist. He has presented at Mashable, Social Media for Nonprofits Atlanta and Boston, MarketingProfs, SUPERCOMM, CES, Penton Media, TEDx Peachtree, Procter & Gamble, Comcast, Dell, the U.S. Army (three different commands) and many, many more!

Geoff Livingston’s Tips of The Trade:

How do you use social media in your work? –  “It’s obviously a key component of my work, but I find it’s less and less of it.  I am building out and managing programs for clients, how-tos if you would as well as strategies.

More often than not, I am teaching organizations how to integrate social into the larger whole so they can get better results out of it.  That’s their primary issue, how to do we get people to do more with us instead of Liking, Plussing, Hearting (or whatever else it might be). So, I am building content and calls-to-action for lead nurturing.”

What trends to you see in social media? – “More play to pay.  Specifically, it’s getting harder to be seen with branded activities even with what I would call natural and organic social media activities. High dollar content, ads, and native advertising will become more important with each month. And part of that are companies making a profit on what they are offering for free.

As long as the benefit outweighs the costs companies will keep playing, but some networks will certainly suffer engagement for this. I think Facebook is the obvious loser, but I think they feel have to do it to appease stockholders. That’s my assessment.”

What’s your best social media tip? – “Go visual.  If you can communicate it with photos, graphics and/or video, it’s going to have more legs. This is particularly true for consumer, low-dollar B2B services and products, and nonprofit activity. Deep text doesn’t work well on a  mobile phone, and most people won’t engage with it while they are out and about (Starbucks, Metro, etc.) unless they must.”