2 New Features that will Improve Your LinkedIn Experience

Whether you use LinkedIn as part of your master networking toolkit or you’re just a casual user there are a couple new features that are worth taking a look at.

Professional Portfolio

You can now upload files to a media viewer to show off any interesting work associated with the positions you have listed on LinkedIn. A thumbnail of the media is listed below the associated position and opens up in a viewer when clicked on. From there you can read a brief description and click through to the original if a link is available.

The portfolio pieces are currently better suited to visual content but hopefully the feature will be expanded on in future updates. In the meantime it definitely helps make your profile look more interesting.

Who’s Viewed Your Updates

Whos Viewed Screenshot

LinkedIn updates don’t necessarily get as much engagement as Facebook posts and Tweets so it can be difficult to gauge how successful or worthwhile your posts are. Given that, the new “Who’s Viewed Your Updates” metric is a nice addition. It’s very basic but shows you the number of views, whether they’re a 1st, 2nd or 3rd connection as well as the number of likes and comments. It’s simple but lets you know how far-reaching your posts are and possibly what content is better-received.

Do you think these updates will help LinkedIn to be more useful for you? What other features would you like to see on LinkedIn?

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Facebook Adds New Metrics to Insights for Brand Pages

A June announcement from Facebook let us know that a pretty big overhaul of it’s Insights for Brand Pages was on the horizon. It is currently available to a limited number of Page Admins but will fully released by the end of the summer. Here is a breakdown of the changes you can expect.

Overview

Overview Page

The Overview page now gives you a breakdown of information on Page Likes, Post Reach and Engagement, including metrics like Shares and Post Clicks. Which is a nice break from their previous Virility metrics which were too subjective to be of much use. You also see your 5 Most Recent Posts and their reach.

Page

Pages

Page Likes

The Page section now offers up some very useful graphs that correlate the activity on your page by date, and then breaks the data down by organic, paid, unlikes etc. You can also now see where your Page Likes are coming from (Sponsored Posts, Page Suggestions, Mobile) which will be helpful for planning your ad budget and campaigns.

Posts

Posts

Posts Options

The Post metrics now help you clearly see the type of content that has worked best on your page which is something I always ask my clients to focus on while planning upcoming content. You can now easily see how your audience interacts with text-based status updates, video posts, photos and links and compare that with the overall reach of the post types.

People

Overview Fans

People

The previous Page Insights had a reasonable demographic breakdown but I’m delighted to see the addition of metrics like When Your Fans Are Online. That is incredibly useful information for scheduling posts and page moderation.

There are a few minor complaints that I’ve has so far which are probably easily-fixed by Facebook. It’s now more difficult to look at an overview of activity for a specific range of dates, which is a pain if you have scheduled reporting periods. Also, there is still a two-day delay in getting the most current Insights which I was hoping would disappear with the update. But that said, this is still a massive leap in the right direction and this Page Admin is very happy to see the progress.

What are your thoughts on the new look and metrics of Facebook’s Page Insights? Will this new information be useful for planning your Facebook campaigns? Did Facebook leave out any metrics that you were hoping to see? Leave a comment below!

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You Better Be Thinking Micro when it Comes to Tumblr

tumblr

Tumblr, the microblogging platform known for it’s seizure-inducing GIFs (and Joseph Gordon-Levitt posts), has steadily become a bigger and bigger name in social media marketing. Even before its recent acquisition by Yahoo!, brands like Adidas were using the platform as part of their online marketing efforts. The combination of a dedicated community and the appeal of micro-anything definitely adds to the allure for content marketing and brands alike. But does really Tumblr hold up as a worthwhile blogging option compared with more traditional platforms like WordPress?

Tumblr Culture

“It’s maybe a little hip-hunter to say, but the most important point of difference is Tumblr’s culture,” explains Fred Spears, Editor and Writer for Pixel Union.  ”Wordpress is a platform, and a great one at that. There’s a huge community around WordPress, but it’s mostly developers and designers, not necessarily users. The community itself is limited to the people who can actually work on the core software.”

With such a strong culture and community on Tumblr, it’s important to think about the type of content you should and shouldn’t be posting. The fact that Tumblr is a microblogging platform is a good indication of what you should avoid. “There are definitely posts that DON’T work well, especially for businesses.” say Spears. “Quote and text-only posts are too flat to really garner most readers’ attention (the average user follows well over a hundred blogs, and the hardcore upwards of 500) so text just isn’t electric enough. That being said, GIFs and videos are wildly popular. Anything that disrupts the dashboard’s otherwise immobile or static texture is going to grab many more eyeballs than other media.”

Branding

The basic functionality of Tumblr is a bit restrictive when it comes to customising the site to fall inline with a brand’s look and feel. But, like WordPress, there are both free and paid themes available to give you more functionality and a smoother look. Check out some of these brands that Fred recommends:

Southern Living
Roots Canada
Dirty and Rowdy
Furby (my personal favourite)

Fred’s suggestion for dipping your toe into Tumblr is great advice for any platform: people are much more interested in who is behind their soap or pants or whatever than they are in continuous product information. Eschew traditional marketing language, and be unique. Whatever tricks or standards there are now, they likely won’t exist in another year. Do something new, and people will respond to it.

Disclaimer:
Pixel Union designs very lovely Tumblr themes and will very soon be introducing WordPress themes. Pixel Union is based in Victoria, Canada and shares an office with Jenni, which is how she gets such great Tumblr advice from them. Neither Jenni, TSPB or Pixel Union received any monetary benefit from this post. The only thing exchanged was some good chat.

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Facebook Page Insights Broken Since May 13th

Facebook Page Insights

I do weekly reporting for a Facebook page that I ‘m a Page Admin for so I got a bit huffy when I couldn’t complete this week’s report because my Page Insights were several days behind.

Is it me, did I break my Facebook Page?

I immediately took to the web in an attempt to find out about the possible Facebook glitch. But low and behold, there was not a post on it to be found. Which I thought was odd considering the thousands of sites that post any and all online hiccups, important or not. I did find this thread in the Facebook Help Centre that let me know that I wasn’t completely alone on this but still no real answers were forthcoming. So I went into panic mode and emailed my trusty (?) Facebook Account Rep. My Rep replied within a few hours, which is stunningly prompt, with this:

‘Page insights is currently having issues gathering info past May 13. It’s affecting all pages at this time. We will update everyone when everything has been restored.’

No real answer on what has happened or when my blessed Page Insights will return to me, but at least now I know it’s not just a small group of us who have angered the Facebook Gods and are drowning in wrath.

Third Party Applications

If Facebook Page Insights aren’t updating within Facebook, then they’re not feeding through to third party applications like Sprout Social, which is what I use for my reporting. I had actually noticed this issue in Sprout Social first and sent them a tweet about it. A quick peek back at their Twitter feed today shows that a few people were getting the same reply from them. As soon as Facebook Page Insights come back to life, so will the third party reporting.

In the meantime, I’m drafting a list of things to do with all the spare time I have now that I’m not obsessing over that dip in page impressions. Silver linings!

Are you experience an Insights outage?

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Three Online Photo Editing Apps Reviewed

A huge part of creating good content is creating good images, or at least creating entertaining images. I have Photoshop on my work computer but am far too cheap to put it on my laptop (especially with Adobe’s latest subscription model). And for me, Photoshop is a bit over-complicated for what I want to do anyway. Here are some great web-based apps for creating and editing snappy dapper photos when you only have a few minutes to spare.

Picmonkey

Seattle-based Picmonkey has been a favourite of mine since Picnic bit the Google-buyout bullet. It has some similar features to Picnic (which is now the Picasa photo editor) but is constantly releasing new features and filters. Beyond basic edits and touch ups you can add text, borders, graphic overlays and filter effects. My current favourite is the Ombre effect which does this jazzy blue (you can change the colour) fade business.

bi polar penguin ombre

While I have a subscription that gives me access to every feature, this is more than enough to keep you happy for free as well. They also have a pretty sweet Facebook app that allows you to edit photos pulled straight from your FB albums.

Collages

Picmonkey also a handy collage tool that lets you upload multiple photos and lay them out using preloaded templates. Great for product shots and events.

PicMonkey Collage

Pixlr

Totally free and 3 options depending on how creative you want to get with your photo wizardry.

Pixlr-o-matic

pixlr-o-matic

Not quite as amazing as their mobile app, Pixlr-o-matic still has plenty of game going on. You can upload a photo, apply effects and add overlays and borders. They have quite a few options to play around with, especially if you’re going for bright and playful photos. My only complaint is that the 1:1 cropping function doesn’t allow you to edit what portion of the photo is being cropped. When that’s an issue, I crop photos before uploading them to the app.

Express

Express is basically the web version of their sweet mobile app which means you can apply cool effects like this:

bi polar penguin express

You can also apply text and make basic adjustments. It’s a great feature for someone who likes to play around but isn’t comfortable using more Photoshop-like tools.

Editor

To me, Editor feels very similar to some open source photo-editing programs. You can create new images, edit using layers, paint, burn, dodge, blur and a number of other tools that will be familiar to Photoshop users. One small drawback is not being able to resize an image that you open as a new layer. Though, it is possible that I just haven’t figured out how to do that yet.

Do you have a favourite photo editing app that you’d like to share? Leave a comment and let us know what it is!

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Great Social Tools for Social Causes

Photo Credit – Flickr infomatique

Using social media to reach out to the masses clearly isn’t a new concept so it makes perfect sense that social causes would also make use of social platforms to amplify their message. Social media is inexpensive, it has a further reach than most traditional media options and you never know, your heartfelt efforts may even go viral. Hello, KONY.

The concept might be old hat but there are some interesting applications and networks that are making it easier than ever to activate your would-be support base.

Thunderclap

This recent campaign for March for Innovation is a great example of the power this application. Find a message, add your voice, Thunderclap together. It’s basically a recipe for becoming a social army and in this case the army is fighting for smart immigration reform. What would your Thunderclap be about?

Change.org

Change.org makes it incredibly easy to rally folks around your cause. You sign up, start a petition and write a compelling argument for why it should be signed. Change.org has a great email marketing program to help support your petition and introduce it to new, previously unknown allies. It’s also a very share-friendly site which is always handy.

Causes

Causes provides a few more tools to package up your message. You create a custom page that integrates with Facebook, set up your own email campaigns and can even receive donations. Pretty much everything you need to find people to help you save the world.

Good Ol’ Facebook

Facebook really does give you one of the best platforms for drawing an audience around your cause. Setting up a page to coincide with your other efforts will help you find new supporters and stay in touch with them. Check out how some of these pages, big and small, use Facebook:

Stick it to Fast Food
Upworthy

If you have a digital media budget you can also increase your Facebook impressions and page views with “promoted page” paid campaigns. However, from my own experience, this needs to be done with caution as you can just as easily attract a boatload of haters who are happy to spam your wall with the opposite of you want it to say. My tip is to refine your target audience as much as you can and keep a close eye on the page notifications.

Well, there you have it. Now go forth and make your world a better place to live!

Have you used social media for, or to support, a social cause? Do you think social media helps win the battles? Tell us about your experience!

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The Truth About Peer Recommendations

If you have been getting friendly with the likes of Klout Perks, Yelp and BzzAgent then you’ve likely noticed that there is some serious swag you can get your hands on these days (and I don’t just mean landing a job). But is this just internet’s way of saying “I Love You” or is there a less touching force at play?

BzzAgent describes their process as the chance to try “cool new products, share deals with friends and influence top brands.” But actually it’s your network that is being influence by your promotional efforts, not the brand. Facebook has made a pretty good business from your influence with their “Sponsored Stories” advertising program.

From Facebook Sponsored Stories

Your Facebook activity and corresponding influence is a hot commodity. But as most of us have heard at this point, if you’re not paying for the product then you are the product! And that is certainly true with the content you publish online.

Free is good, right?

Privacy issues aside, if you’re being rewarded with a free product or service then surely it’s you’re the one getting the most benefit out of the transaction, right? Sadly no. Peer recommendations are the most effective form of marketing*, far more effective than print, TV or online marketing. And harnessing peer recommendations, likes, pluses and shares on social sites is big business. Though the majority of marketing budgets are still being spent on TV and print, there is a noticeable shift towards platforms with social integration. Trust in traditional marketing has fallen so drastically in the last decade that it only a matter of time until marketers figured out what to replace it with. Ever notice how keen Starbucks is to give you access to free wifi while they’re “rewarding” you for being such a lovely customer?

I like giving reviews!

If you like giving your opinion but would like to maintain more control over your influence then stick to sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor where you have plenty of space to give your what for and the reviews can remain as anonymous as you would like.

*Ninety-two percent of consumers around the world say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising (SOURCE: Nielson “Global Consumers’ Trust in ‘Earned’ Advertising Grows in Importance” 

Image credit – www.bzzagent.co.uk/

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Friday Freak Out – People Asking Me to Retweet Their S**t

Image credit - brandstyledesign.com

Mike and I were chatting about our freaks outs of the week and it turns out that we had the same complaint. We have both been approached by people, under slightly different circumstances, asking us to tweet or retweet what turned out to be total crap. For Mike, he was sent a direct message asking him to retweet a link to a bunch of people that are trying to raise money to make a movie. Fine, who doesn’t like movies? The problem was that they had absolutely no prior relationship with Mike and the request came out of the blue. Bad idea!

For me, I had one of my clients  send an email with a link to a blog topic that they thought would be “interesting” to our network. It was a nice break from the usual emails they send complaining about pricing but when I checked out the link it wasn’t an interesting blog post at all but a straight up sales pitch for business coaching and offered no actual value to readers.

Seriously, it’s just plain tasteless to send requests like this and it’s going to burn you sooner or later. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely a right way to ask for a retweet and studies have shown that you are more likely to be retweeted if you do ask for it. But don’t be a jerk about it!

How to ask for a RT (and not be a jerk):

1 – Make sure what you want to have RT’d is worthwhile.  If you’re asking someone to go to bat for you then it had better be something that won’t make them cringe when they look into it.

2 – Don’t send that type of request to someone that you don’t have an existing relationship with. Being on the receiving end of those requests is pretty off-putting and more likely to get you called out for it (or even the topic of a Friday Freak Out post).

3 – Ask nicely, folks! Adding ‘Please RT’ to your tweet is a direct, non-offensive way to show that you want to get your message out there and the decision to RT is then left at the complete discretion of any potential RT’ers.  If your going to directly ask someone to promote your content then don’t pass it off as something it’s not and give an honest reason why you’d like their help with it.

4 – Don’t be offended if your request doesn’t go your way. Everyone has the right to decide what they want to put out to their social networks and your content isn’t a good fit for me, then take it like a champ and get over it.

Do you freak out when you get these RT requests too? How do you go about asking for a RT?

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Social Change – The KONY 2012 Viral Fallout

I am on my third cold since Christmas so the word ‘viral’ is a touchy subject for me but the controversy surrounding the viral popularity of the KONY 2012 campaign is distracting me from coughing and sniffling right now and that’s nice!

Viral Sensation

Even if you’re not a social media addict, you probably still saw the KONY 2012 video lurking around Facebook or Twitter (or here on TSPB). Considering the video has been shared on Facebook over 2 billion times, it would have been nearly impossible to miss it. The stats showing how quickly the video and overall campaign reached dizzying heights in views, shares, tweets, mentions and pluses are nothing short of stunning. According to this post from The Drum, the video reached over 112 million views in nine days easily surpassing any kind of viral video that came before it.

Viral Controversy

And then came the naysayers! Nearly as popular as the original campaign, the droves of people and posts calling the campaign a ripoff quickly followed. It’s tricky to say if the controversy has added to the video’s viral popularity but it certainly added an interesting layer of conversation to a topic that many of us were unaware of a week or two ago.

Social Change

Only time will tell if the social media movement will bring about any kind of quantifiable change to current events (I say current since it’s now clear that the specific events from the KONY 2012 video are no longer taking place) but I think anything that brings attention to social issues is positive, regardless of controversy. I also think that this may be an indication that people are hungry for a real cause to get behind. Maybe we’re getting tired of hearing one another complain about our “first world problems”. In age of shortening attention spans and desensitisation, it’s nothing short of a miracle that 112 million people sat through a 30 minute video about a subject that didn’t benefit them in any way.

What are your thoughts on the KONY 2012 video? Do you think it deserves the attention it has gotten? Do you think that social media is a good platform for social change?

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Is Twitter Selling Out or Just Selling Data?

News hit the wire yesterday that a company called Datasift, the company behind Tweetmeme, has been given access to all tweets dating back to January 2010. The company, which is already known for it’s deep analysis of social media data, says that this access to the historical twitter information will allow for an “ unprecedented capability to filter Social Data, extract meaning and create insights.”

What does this mean?

According to the video that was their latest blog post, Datasift aggregates public social data which can then be dissected and analysed for consumer behaviour, trends and insights. Basically, they look at the overall sentiment of posts, the originating location and details about any linked pages.

Who would be interested in this data?

This kind of in-depth social data will be most sought after by very large brands. And, in accordance with that, it’s likely to come with a hefty pricetag. The service is still in a testing phase but you can sign up for the wait list.

Should Twitter have the right to profit off your content?

There are a few questions in all this that deserve some attention. To start, Twitter does indeed have the legal right profit from public tweets but will users be comfortable with this? Will this stir up some attention from privacy advocates as has been suggested by Mashable? Will the public embrace Twitter the same way if selling tweets becomes a major source of income for the social media site?

What to do if you don’t like it?

If you are not comfortable with your two year old tweets being man-handled for data then you should be able to opt out by deleting the old posts. Is it worth the hassle?

Do you have any thoughts on the latest Twitter news? Does the sale change your views about Twitter? Will you be deleting old posts? Please leave a comment and let us know!

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