How Social Media is Changing, and How Not to Get Left Behind

Social media and change go hand-in-hand. Facebook puts a 20% limit on the text in your cover photo. Then they take it away. Millions of Twitter followers “auto follow-back” anyone who follows them. Now they can’t. Google+ adds communities, and makes your cover photo huge. LinkedIn adds endorsements, and the ability to @ tag other users. Pinterest adds business pages, and the “people who pinned this also pinned” option. You get the point . . . Veteran social media users roll with the daily updates as joyfully as Pooh Bear greets each new pot of honey. Experts everywhere rush to blog about the latest change and the “revolutionary” effect it will surely have on the way we all do business. In reality, these changes might make things a little better, or a little worse, but they don’t significantly effect our strategy, or how we do business. Until recently, that is. Have you noticed this common trend in recent changes? Here’s what I’m starting to notice with each significant change made by the social media networks ~ there’s a major emphasis on helping users grow relationships. And an apparent desire to make it harder for those just interested in growing numbers. Let’s take a look. What Facebook Wants As you’ve probably heard, Facebook recently changed their algorithm. If you don’t know much about it yet, I highly recommend you check out Jon Loomer’s article on the changes. I agree completely with his analysis. Here, I’ll just highlight how the changes reflect Facebook’s desire to encourage and enable better relationship building. First, Facebook went to its users. Here are some of the questions they...

Has Google+ Gone Facebook With the New +1 Sharing?

It’s no secret that I love Google+. And what I love the most about it is the lack of noise that’s there. Google+ is the social network that makes it easiest to get only the content you want to see. So, I was a little nervous when I first heard about the new way Google+ is handling your +1 activity. I’ve spent the last couple of days reading everything I could find on it, and watching how it works in real life. Here’s what I’ve learned and experienced so far. What’s New at Google+ In case you haven’t heard, here’s what’s up. It used to be that the only way anyone could see your +1 activity on Google+ was to go to your profile and click on your +1 tab. That is, if you have that tab visible on your profile. As you can see, mine isn’t visible, which means no one had any way of knowing what content I had given a +1 to. Yesterday, Shimrit Ben-Yair of Google announced: We’ll occasionally highlight posts that were +1’d by people in your circles And if you +1 a post, we may highlight it to your friends as well Suddenly, your +1 activity wasn’t so private, or hard to find, anymore. Here’s the way it appeared in my stream this morning: What Does it Mean? As with most any change, some people are really happy with the potential benefits, while others bemoan the potential consequences. How you feel about it likely has a lot to do with how you use Google+. Facebook “Like” Comes to Google+ Your first reaction might be, “this...

How to Connect Google+ and YouTube (and My Google Rant)

Although I usually support the “underdog” rather than the “big boys,” I love Google. Most all things Google are awesome. And, of course, Google+ is the best of Google. But today I have a little rant against Google. I am not one to use my blog for opinion posts that do nothing to serve you or add value to your life. So stick with me, there is a lesson or two in here for you. First, my rant to Google: Dear Google: I love you, but, you need to start treating me like a person. Your Gmail service is phenomenal, and the recent updates have made it even better. However, the way you integrate Gmail with Google+, YouTube, Google Drive, and well, all of your products, leaves me feeling like a lost and confused victim of multiple personality disorder on most days. You see, your generosity in allowing me to have multiple Gmail accounts is both a blessing, and a curse. I have many different roles in my life, and having a different Gmail account for each of those roles is really the only thing that makes sense. But, although I am a friend, a customer, an online business owner, and the parent volunteer coordinator at my kids’ school, at the end of the day, I’m just one person. Unfortunately, Gmail won’t recognize that each of my separate email accounts are really just that one person. To you, I am 4 different people. The most tragic consequence of this is that I had to abandon the YouTube channel I used for my business. I already had a YouTube channel to...

Google+ Beginner’s Guide to Better Engagement and More Fun

Starting something new is often more overwhelming than it actually needs to be. Such is the case with Google+. Most people are coming around to the fact that they “should” be using Google+. But, an amazing number of those people either “haven’t gotten around to it” yet, or continue to describe Google+ as a “ghost town.” If there’s any truth to that one, then there are an awful lot of ghosts in the world. Today is not going to be about “why” you should be on Google+, but “how” to use Google+ for the benefit of yourself, and others. This isn’t a comprehensive, definitive guide to becoming a Google+ Ninja. That would overwhelm you, and you’d never get started. This is just the basics you’ll need to get your profile up and running and to start having fun. So, let’s go . . . 1. Ditch the Faceless Rainbow Look One of the unique things about Google+ is that virtually everyone has an account. If you use Gmail, you’re on Google+, whether you know it or not. And, if people go to your profile page and see this, they see a person who is technically on Google+, but is not using Google+: The surprising thing is, people with no picture and the default rainbow-like cover photo circle me almost daily. Which means they are at least wanting to use Google+. But what message are you sending when you can’t take 3 minutes and upload your picture and some kind of cover photo? The message that you aren’t participating on Google+. That you aren’t someone who will engage with others. Which means people...

Is Your Social Media Strategy a Waste of Time?

Is it possible that all the time you’re spending developing a social media strategy is wasted? I heard Tony Hsieh of Zappos say something in an interview a few weeks ago that made me think we might be taking all of this social media strategy stuff too seriously. When asked about Zappos’ social media strategy, Tony said, “Just be real, and use your best judgment.” Sounds reasonable. But what did this mean for the 50 blog posts I’d read over the last few weeks that spent a thousand words detailing how to develop your social media strategy for 2013? Can we just delete all of those and tell ourselves (and our employees) to “just be real, and use your best judgment?” Probably not. But I do think the “experts” tend to over-analyze stuff a lot. And I think we may all benefit from a simpler strategy that does focus more on “being real,” rather than worrying about who you are trying to be on social media. The Zappos Way There are two things Zappos does that makes this simple strategy work for them ~ where for others it would result in common occurrences of inappropriate and embarrassing tweets, followed by apologies and explanations. If you can do these two things, it will simplify your social media strategy, and your whole business. 1. Develop Your Core Values As Zappos began to grow really big, they took input from all employees and boiled it down into 10 core values to define the company’s family culture. And this isn’t just one of those “look good” kind of things that hangs out on...

7 Essential Social Media Habits in 2013

As we enter into 2013, I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned about social media over the last year, social media marketing trends I see as we head into the new year, and the most common social media mistakes. One of the biggest lessons for me has been that social media does not have to be as hard and time consuming as it first appears. Which is not to say that it’s “quick and easy,” it’s not. But, building a business through social media is extremely doable if you have good social media habits. Good habits in every area of your life are the building blocks of success, and social media is no exception. In fact, good social media habits are especially important because it’s so easy to get “lost” inside your social media networks. And to find, at the end of the day, you’ve done nothing revenue-generating. Social media provides a unique work environment. Doing business on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest can be like trying to sit in your office and work while your friends are constantly dropping by with jokes, cool pictures, party invitations and stories about their cute kids. Not exactly the focus you need. And exactly why good social media habits are essential. There are seven fundamentals that you must make into your social media habits. Yes, they will help you maintain focus. And, as important, they will help you develop a successful social media strategy that converts into good connections and great money. 1. Have Conversations You have a schedule for how many times a day you post on each of your social...