Category Archives: Trends

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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 For instance, let’s say you have a lot of photos either from historical references or from current events.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 Media Updates Making Headlines

3Here are five digital media news stories ripped from the headlines. I’m most interested in Amazon’s entry into the Internet of Things, one of my tech obsessions and Periscope’s new On Air Button. I’ll be using Periscope to do a live broadcast of my “Social Media For Nonprofits” talk at The Daily Good Conference and to broadcast the breakaway sessions. I’ll report back on my user experience with the web page interface after the conference. In the meantime, here are my picks for the top five digital media news stories making headlines.

Variety: Snapchat Shutters Original Content Channel

Snapchat is laying off members of a team assigned to a channel on its Discover platform devoted to original programming, dubbed Snap Channel.

The closure has prompted the exit of Marcus Wiley, a former executive with broadcast network Fox who was brought on to figure out how Snapchat would build up its programming lineup. Since his hire in May, Wiley led a group of 15 that has been disbanded, with some being pink-slipped and others being reassigned elsewhere in the company.

Until its removal from Discover a few weeks ago, Snap was the home of short-form content produced internally at Snapchat since launching in January. The channel was once home to ‘Literally Can’t Even,’ a split-screen comedy series starring and written by Sasha Spielberg, daughter of Steven Spielberg, and Emily Goldwyn, daughter of John Goldwyn”

TNW: Periscope now has an embeddable ‘On Air’ button for broadcasts

“Periscope now has an On Air button for websites that tell everyone when a broadcast is live.

It’s a useful little tweak that anyone can use. All you have to do is enter your Periscope username (typically your Twitter handle without the ‘@‘) into Periscope’s button generator, and it creates a code so you can embed a button into a webpage. Your username takes the place of the ‘broadcaster’ text, seen below.

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Periscope’s On Air button also comes in two sizes, and automatically toggles when a broadcast goes live.”

Re/code: Twitter Unveils New Video Advertising Strategy

“The company is taking a different approach to video ads. More precisely: Twitter is adopting YouTube’s video advertising approach. What that means is that publishers and video makers can upload their video to Twitter, and Twitter will attach short ‘pre-roll’ ads in front of those clips and split the ad revenue with the video owners. Which is how YouTube, the world’s biggest video site, does it, too.”

TechCrunch: Amazon Launches AWS IoT — A Platform For Building, Managing And Analyzing The Internet Of Things

“Make way for another big player entering the Internet of Things space. Amazon today is announcing its long-awaited IoT platform for AWS at its re:Invent developer conference in Las Vegas. As Amazon describes it, it is a managed cloud platform ‘that lets connected devices easily and securely interact with cloud applications and other devices.’ The platform, which is launching in beta, will be able to support billions of devices and trillions of messages, ‘and can process and route those messages to AWS endpoints and to other devices reliably and securely.’ AWS IoT will integrate with Lambda, Amazon Kinesis, Amazon S3, Amazon Machine Learning, and Amazon DynamoDB to build IoT applications, manage infrastructure and analyze data.”

Advertising Age: Reuters Is the Latest to Try Reinventing News With Digital TV Service

“Early next year, the company plans to introduce Reuters.TV, an ad-supported digital service that allows subscribers to receive personalized video content created solely for the platform. Reuters.TV will cost a monthly fee, but the company declined to say how much it will be. The service will initially be available on iPhones and iPads.”

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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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Stories Making Headlines in Digital and Social Media News This week

3I pulled the social and digital media headlines from across the interwebs so you wouldn’t have to. Here’s what you need to know to get up to date this week..

Fast Company: How Periscope, Meerkat, and Snapchat Will Change How TV Covers News, Sports, and Weather – The $70-billion-a-year television business (in the U.S.) has been under attack from all sides—Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, and other services are all stealing attention (and revenue). But amid the shift to on-demand entertainment, traditional TV has doubled down on what only it can offer: live events, particularly news, sports, and weather. Easy-to-use, mobile live-streaming services could upend what has been the last sacrosanct aspect of the TV industry. This doesn’t necessarily mean doom and gloom for TV networks; in fact, it creates a universe of fascinating possibilities for them to reimagine their businesses. [ED NOTE: Just last week my media partner and I did a Periscope, Meerkat and LiveStream event for a Baltimore Reporters Roundtable. These easy to use platforms made the programming accessible and allowed my Digital Media Mavens partners and I to share our content across platforms in ways that would have been impossible just a few short months ago. You can watch an archive of the live stream here.

CopyBlogger: The Disgustingly Simple Rule for Web Writing That’s Often Hard to Swallow – Web users are mission-minded. Cramped for attention. Bent on standards. And uninterested in learning new navigation methods. What you have to remember is that people don’t go to the web to window shop. They go there to drive 60 miles per hour — and look at billboards. Thus, there’s only one good reason why you should learn how to write clear, concise and compelling copy for the web… [ED NOTE: If you need some tips who writing for your blog, you can check out my blog post, I BLOGGED FOR 21 DAYS STRAIGHT. HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED]

Mashable: Facebook Messenger now gives context about the people contacting you. – To make new connections less jarring, Facebook Messenger is introducing a new feature on Thursday that gives you bits of information about someone messaging you for the first time, whether the person is one of your Facebook friends or not. The Messenger team is rolling it out to iOS and Android users in the U.S., UK, France and India over the next few weeks. [ED NOTE: That’s not creepy. Not creepy at all. You know I’m kidding… right]

More of Facebook, because, well, it’s FACEBOOK!

Re/code: Microsoft, Facebook, Google And The Future Of Voice Communications – All of a sudden, it seems like Facebook, Google and Apple are climbing all over each other to own the voice interaction, and specifically, the phone conversation. They’re in a race to compete in the most valuable part of “social” — as if they’ve forgotten, until now, just how much humans ultimately value one-on-one conversation.

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Your End of Week Social and Digital Media News

InsertITWorld: How Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google compare on user privacy – Nearly three-quarters of people with access to the Internet use social networking sites, a number that has skyrocketed since early 2005, according to the Pew Research Center. As social networks continue to permeate our everyday lives, so do the privacy and security risks associated with our accounts. Here’s a look at how Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ stack up on user privacy and security settings, plus instructions for finding and updating these options to maintain control over your account. [ED NOTE: If you haven’t done a Facebook Privacy Checkup, click here to get started TODAY!]

Re/code: Periscope Added a Million Users in Its First 10 Days – Buried amidst the chaos that was Twitter earnings this afternoon was a small nugget on the popularity of the company’s new live streaming app, Periscope. CEO Dick Costolo said on the earnings call that Periscope added a million new users in the app’s first 10 days on the market. It’s a relatively impressive number considering competitor Meerkat was at 120,000 users three weeks after it launched. (Periscope, of course, benefitted from the buzz Meerkat generated and also the fact that it had a well-known owner to help push the news.) It’s unclear if Periscope was able to sustain that growth — when pressed for more metrics on the app and its user base, Costolo declined to share anything. Periscope launched in late March after Twitter acquired it back in January. The app is still not yet available to Android users.

NewsCred: How Brands Marketers Can Grow Their YouTube Audience – In the brand space, the leaders are Disney and Samsung, which have nearly three billion and one billion views on their channels, respectively. Not surprisingly, one of the top B2B channels is Google Analytics; it has over 11 million views and 113,000 subscribers. Once you hit your stride like these creators and channels, you can foster brand loyalty, close leads, and provide content to the people who matter the most to your company: your customers. NewsCred spoke with two huge YouTube channels, Rooster Teeth and WatchMojo, about what they did to achieve a high subscriber count, billions of views, and a dedicated audience.

MarketingProfs: Bye-Bye to These 10 Web Design Trends – When technology is ever evolving, change is the only constant. Take, for instance, the realm of Web design. Design trends come and go. Some may only breeze by while others last longer. Either way, design trends come into being and fade because of changes in technology and user demands and expectations. As long as human beings desire improvement and expect more, design trends will continually evolve. And we need to learn to adapt accordingly. Often, that means saying goodbye to design trends that are no longer working. So here are 10 Web design trends that are among the fading; you should ditch them if you want to keep with the competition and increasingly demanding audiences. [ED NOTE: Must read]

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!

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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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Cutting The Strings: The Push To Go Wireless – My MacBook Review

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CNET reports that Apple is once again shaking things up and changing the computer game.  

“Ready or not, Apple’s new MacBook is cutting the computing industry’s cables.

The slim laptop has just a single USB port, the new tiny Type-C variety that’s slowly popping up in devices this year. It’s a multipurpose port that connects to external devices like hard drives, runs video to TVs and external monitors, and supplies the laptop with power when it’s charging time.

The new USB port is remarkably flexible, but it’s still just one port. For those who need to attach printers, Ethernet cables, external hard drives, cameras, monitors, keyboards, mice, TVs, game controllers and tablets, that might seem confining”

UPDATE: So, I got the sexy, gold MacBook. Here’s my review:

When I moved into my new workspace I bought the new iMac. Love, love, love it.  But to not be tied to my desk, I needed a light weight laptop. Now, my MacBook pro is a BEAST, but it’s heavy and not the best portable option. After a lot of research and comments from friends, I decided on a brand new MacBook. I landed on the gold one because I like to be different and it matches my iPhone.

So here’s the thing. The MacBook is small, portable, light laptop. That alone gets five stars from me. Sometimes I need a break from my office to chill on the rooftop of the office building or if I’m at home, I often like to work in my backyard. I also will work just about any place that has free WiFi. Having something lightweight is a must. Portability aside, the speed, memory and battery life on the MacBook is superb and the retina screen anti-glare is everything. But this is a portable laptop. It should not, in my opinion, be your one and only computer. If you are only going to buy one, get the MacBook Pro. I know it’s heavy, but it’s a BEAST and you cannot… simply can not… beat the speed and functionality for the price. Mine is three years old and it is still going strong. Now, it’s an old 17-inch (funny how three years is old in the lifetime of a computer) so it’s heavy as crap. That’s why I got the sexy, light, MacBook.

In regards to not having a dedicated USB port, I have to admit, I’m not in love with that concept yet. I find myself transferring files back and forth via the Mac AirDrop even though I know the intention is to get us to use the cloud services more. I’ll get there. Baby steps.

FullSizeRenderUPDATE TO MY UPDATE: I’ve had my sexy MacBook a month now. I. Love. It. The battery life is killer. It’s lightweight enough to take everywhere and while my iMac and MacBook Pro remain my work horse computers, I’m all in with this MacBook.

Know The Length of Everything Online

Have you ever wondered how long your blog posts should be? That email you just sent, was it too wordy? What about your Facebook update? Did it go on forever? Maybe you’ve agonized over the proper word count for a blog title. Oh, come on, don’t act like it’s just me.

How long should your email be? How many characters should you use in your Facebook post? What is the proper count for use as your titles, tags, and other descriptions?

A lot of time has been put into calculating the exact length of titles, tags, posts and everything in between. The crazy good people at The Next Web have found out the best length for everything on the Internet. In fact, I may be typing too much right now! Take a look.

The-Length-of-Everything-online infographi

Editors Note: I took their advice. The title of this blog is only six characters, as they indicated it should be. Interestingly enough, the title of their blog was eight words. Things that make you go, hmmm.

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.”

Tips to Rock Your Social Presence

Shannon Mouton leads the internal marketing and digital communications efforts for McKinney & Associates. She is a relationship marketing professional, with a passion for utilizing social technology for building business relationships, sharing information and advancing the greater good. Her 20-plus years of marketing, communications, and 12032876_10206198800663549_1037900389348578334_ocommunity-building experiences have afforded her unique opportunities to foster communities where none existed, develop and launch innovative programming and bridge generational, economic and racial divides. Shannon is a contributor to Women Grow Business and has been featured on the Digital Sisterhood Network and American Express OPEN Forum.

I asked Shannon to share some of her best social media tips with me. This is what she had to say:

1. Social media is an part of my workday as I’m responsible for the virtual marketing for the organization. We focus on social tools and platforms that allow us to showcase our expertise and experience as a strategic communications firm. Instead of spreading a little content over a lot of platforms, we do a lot of content over a few platforms. For instance, a team member will write an article, “How to Pitch to Reporters” and we post that article as a blog post and a week later we turn the article into a presentation for SlideShare. We will also post both forms of the information to Facebook and Twitter because we understand people receive and retain information differently.

2. The three social media sites the firm will probably still be using in two years are YouTube, SlideShare and Facebook. While the written word will always be important, visual communications is becoming increasingly so as a method of delivering messages to a variety of audiences. These sites focus on visual communications and lend themselves to the written (and spoken) word. We enjoy and use Pinterest, Instagram and Flickr, which are visually based platforms, but they lack the strong written or verbal component that we need for long-term strategic communications.
3. My best social media tip is also a tip for living your best life: do a few things exceptionally well, instead of being adequate at a lot of things.
This post was originally shared on All Things E