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FUN FACTS FRIDAY: To Tweet or Not to Tweet, Best Social Business Practices

Fun Facts (1) impact Virtual Services knows using Snapchat is fun and popular so, we’re taking a look at the social phenomenon in this “Fun Facts Friday” post!

According to BusinessInsider.com, daily use of the app is slightly edging out Twitter for the first time in social media history (as short or ever-changing as that is).  Ready for this?  Snapchat’s daily use tops off around 150 million snaps, compared with Twitter's 140 million daily tweets.

Thinking you should shift your business social media strategy to Snapchat?  Not so fast.  Twitter is still more attractive to advertisers because users are more engaged with content, with one-third of brands marketing on the platform at least once a month, compared to 4% on Snapchat.  That's also according to Business Insider.

We already knew this within impact Virtual Services’ Social Media Services division, but enjoy sharing with you for “Fun Facts Friday!”

impact Virtual Services exclusively hires its Virtual Assistants/Virtual Executive Administrators from within the U.S.  Its global headquarters is located in Madison, Wisconsin.  CONTACT SALES TEAM to hire your new VEA!

How Will You Get Your Message Across?

Today there seems to be so many phone apps that it’s almost impossible to get them all straight. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, games in general, food networks, music channels, and the list goes on and on. I should also clarify that when I talk about apps here, I am not referencing finger food, but rather downloaded software applications for smart phones! Specifically, I’d like to focus on a discussion surrounding the messaging applications. What are considered the best and why?

I’ll begin with WhatsApp Inc. As if Facebook doesn’t own enough technology, this past February, Facebook negotiated a $19 billion takeover deal of WhatsApp Inc. (a global messaging tool). The goal of this mega deal is playing out exactly as it was set out to do, “connect 4 to 5 billion people over the next five years,” writes Parmy Olson of the Forbes staff.

One of the founders of the app, Jan Koum, just announced last month they had hit 600 million monthly active users (Forbes, Aug. 2014). The way they average the number whatsappcrunching, they are gaining almost 833,000 active users per day. This is astonishing to me! Critics also tend to scrutinize active users vs. registered users, as there is a difference. It’s a fact that many of us download apps and then never look at them past day one. Yet, these reported numbers still speak volumes for WhatsApp Inc., and they are steadily increasing.

Founded in the Silicon Valley, WhatsApp Inc. was intended to be branded as the “what’s up” messaging tool. It’s a popular tool that can cross platforms between iPhones, Blackberries, Androids, etc. This particular app is very well recognized within the European culture, and is gaining popularity here in the US. I’m not incredibly familiar with it but I’m sure it’s going to be become very trendy, very soon.

Maybe you’ve tried WhatsApp and you weren’t a fan? If that’s the case, no worries, as there are numerous other messaging applications that you can download for your own personal use.

Other popular messaging applications include:  

  • Facebook Messenger – A very easy and convenient tool for conversing with friends and family, both over wifi and cellular networks. Recent changes have made this a separate app download from Facebook itself, and focuses strictly on being a messaging tool. This app also allows for voice messages, charging data use rather than cellular minutes.
  • Skype – Skype is one of the most widely used messaging services and can be an option for any platform. You can send standard text-only messages, audio messages, and conduct video calls.
  • Google Hangouts – This app lets you link up your existing Google account and view all of your Gtalk and Google+ contacts all in one place. Video and audio are also available.   This is a fantastic tool when used in the U.S. and Canada, as these users receive zero charges (except for incurred data).
  • Line – A messaging app that is available world-wide. This app also supports video and audio, and there is a movie feature where you can video a short film and send it to your contacts.

So many options, so little time, right? I wrote this article to point out some of the best messengers available for your smart phone. Some apps are more user-friendly than others, but all share the same main features: texting ability, audio/video capability, global availability, user-friendliness, and, for the most part, free!

We’d love to hear your feedback as well! Do you find one app more efficient than another? Have you ever even heard of WhatsApp? Which of those referenced above are your favorites and why?

Technology is ever-changing and it is communication that allows us to move forward, learn, keep challenged, and remain satisfied. Whatever your choices become, get out there and have fun with them. If one option doesn’t work the best for you, always remember that you are just one click away from un-installing and moving to the next big trend.

The Big Dance and Social Media

I thought for this blog topic, I’d try to appeal to my followers that are sports fanatics!  Even if you’re not a sports fan, it is hard not to turn on the television in late March/early April and get suckered into watching the final few seconds of a neck in neck basketball game in the craziness of March Madness. As you have probably noticed, there are endless rules associated with the tournament, designed to cover even the most miniscule infractions.  Surprisingly enough, even though you would think these rules extend into social media, they are still yet to do be defined when it comes down to how to deal with the issue of student-athletes and social media.

I guess the biggest issue that comes up is how to control what your favorite student-athlete says via Facebook, Twitter, etc., without violating the individual’s freedom of speech rights.  This topic continues to be an on-going challenge, and neither the NCAA, nor its member institutions, have quite figured out exactly what the solution should be.

There have been many instances of public tweets where student-athletes have vocalized their opinions and traumatized their teams.  Author Jordan Parker (bleacherreport.com) march madnessrecently wrote an article stating a mishap where Ohio State University recently responded to a student-athlete’s obnoxious tweet with the following:

We allow our student-athletes the opportunity to express themselves via the social mediums.  What we do ask of them and communicate to them is the importance of being respectful, appropriate and aware that their communications can impact many people. We remind that others may have different views and opinions on what may and may not be appropriate, so always remember not to post or tweet anything that could embarrass themselves, their team, teammates, the university, their family or other groups, organizations or people.”

Seems pretty simple, right?  These “values” aren’t new, they are worldly views of respect.  It’s not rocket science that what you say publically is not going to disappear.  Not even the best lawyers can erase something that is documented publically.  Once it’s said, it’s said, and there is always someone out there waiting for the opportunity to get famous by recognizing someone else’s foolish mistakes.

Since this behavior can be very debilitating to a college team of any sport, there are companies that are looking out for the outspoken student-athletes.  UDiligence, Varsity Monitor, and Jump Forward are just a few of the companies that have products designed to help athletic departments monitor social media feeds, potentially stopping troublesome issues before they occur.

As social media is continues to be a trending topic, the issue isn’t going to go away anytime soon.  This year has been filled with headlines from the college sports world, most, if not all of, which have been documented over every social media site out there.  Specifically, the NCAA and colleges and universities alike cannot hide from the trend. They have to work together to develop a set of rules and regulations that protect and regulate without stepping on student-athlete rights.  It’s strange they haven’t yet, since the NFL, NBA and NHL already have social media policies in place.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you agree that the best discipline will be the consequences of the players’ own actions or do you feel players should not be allowed to vocalize their thoughts, no matter how positive or negative?  Personally, I think freedom of speech allows the impact to be a personal one.  If you think it may harm someone, maybe you should think twice about publicizing your viewpoint, student-athlete or otherwise.  Either way, it’s an exciting time for college sports, so be sure to tune in and enjoy some of the craziness!

Are You Targeting the Wrong Social Network?

By Melissa Goodman, Social Media Specialist at IMPACT So many small business owners have the mindset that if we capture tons of followers on our social media networks, that will be the key to a greater success for our business, but is this necessarily true?

Take, for example, your Twitter account.  According to Courtney Rubin, from a post on Business Writers, a 37 year old female is the target audience for Twitter.  If that is not the market that you are trying to reach to market your product, then chances are there is a better social network out there for you to utilize.

I recently read a study performed by Pingdom, a website monitoring service.  They surveyed 24 of the most popular social networks, including Facebook and Twitter.  The results from these studies said a lot about the target audience on the different sites.

  • More than 55% of Twitter users are older than age 35.  So, if you want to capture women in their mid-30’s, you should create Twitter posts that capture this audience’s attention.  Such topics as motherhood, careers, family, and beauty are all great topics for this type of account.
  • The youngest users, under the age of 24, found DeviantART.  This actually surprised me, as I would have thought Facebook was the leader.
  • LinkedIn had the highest percentage of users over the age of 55.  It is great to know that this generation is utilizing such networking services.
  • Tech-focused sites tended to be heavily male dominated, which is generally the rule of thumb.

Overall, it was found of the 24 sites, the majority of users were female (51.25 percent vs. 48.75 percent male).  It comes with no surprise that Pinterest was the most female dominated site.  I guess we have finally proved how much we love to eat, decorate, and shop!

What is the point to all of this?  Well, there tends to be a target audience for all social networks.  If your small business is more tech-savy, you may want to learn more about Slashdot.  If your audience is more artsy/creative, you may want to research Pinterest more in depth.

Have any of you noticed a difference in social networks?  Do you see the same members across the board or is it easy to differentiate?  Sometimes the key is not to have thousands of followers, but to connect and really engage those who are truly interested in your product.   I think it definitely pays to research if you want to reach a target audience specialized to your products.  It’s especially important with year-end approaching and the sky rocket sales that are usually predicted in the holiday season.

Staying Ahead with LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch with current colleagues and make business connections. However, like other social media tools, developers are constantly changing and upgrading the site to stay competitive and give users even more great ways to interact. The following article offers a brief summary of some of the most recent changes to this site and how they might affect current LinkedIn users. New Criteria for a 100% Profile Having a LI profile that is 100% complete plays a significant role in search engine rankings. In the past, a profile would be deemed 100% only after all the vital information was completed, which included the need for at least three recommendations. While having valid recommendations is a great resource on a LinkedIn page, often this requirement would lead people to obtain recommendations from friends and family members. The recommendation requirement has now been replaced with the need to have at least 50 connections.

Absence of Tweets Up until just recently, LI users who also had a Twitter page were able to automatically feed their tweets to LinkedIn. While this function gave users the ability to easily and regularly populate two social media sources at one time, it was not always with business relevant content. While you can still send LinkedIn updates to Twitter, you will not longer be able to share your Tweets on LinkedIn.

Updated Profile Layout In addition to the above changes, LinkedIn is also in the process of updating its current profile page layouts. There will be many small changes, however one of the most noticeable will be the larger profile picture. This makes finding a good picture even more important. Using a casual cropped photo might still work, but the larger photo makes it even more important to find a relevant photo or even professional headshot.

In addition to the larger photo size, the summary content is also going to play a more important role on your LI page in coming days. It will no longer be appropriate to repost a copy of your resume’. Instead, content should be search engine optimized to make it easy to find your page. It is recommended that you take the same care with the content of your LI profile as you would with a website. This means your page will have an appropriate mix of keywords to help it come to the top of the search engine heap.

Finally, other elements of the page layout are also being updated. For example, job titles will no longer appear in the brief overview next to the photo. This space is reserved for the names of current and recent employers, as well as educational institutions. Furthermore, contact information, including websites, email, Twitter handle and phone number, are now located behind the contact button beneath the profile photo.

Today’s social media tools create a whole new way to conduct business. While five years ago a profile on LinkedIn might have seemed like a passing fad or another fading business trend, this online networking tool is proving itself to be a relevant and vital way to conduct business in the 21st century.

Personal Online Networking

Looking for new online networking opportunities? Think about personal networking to build your professional network and web traffic.

Everyone knows Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, but those are just the leaders of the social networking pack. When it comes to building connections to drive traffic, exposure and conversion, there are hundreds of options.

Social sites are consistently being added to Google's real-time search results, which is key for your activity getting picked up and brought to relevant searchers.

Many of these sites and other personal networking sites will be unfamiliar to the masses. But not for long.

It is estimated that "personal networking" generates more than 150 million unique visitors per month, 100 billion page views, and 5 billion overall visits. The time spent on these sites is also drastically climbing, with a 6% increase from March to April 2011.*

The use and definition of "personal networking" will vary from person to person and business to business based on many factors, but it is a hard category to overlook in the world of online exposure.

Here are some recommendations on sites with the highest potential: **

  • Pulse.Yahoo.com
  • Wikia.com
  • Tagged.com
  • Yuku.com

Define Your Contacts

From these statistics, it is not a leap to identify that you SHOULD create a personal networking plan, but how do you go about it? Start by identifying your network contacts and creating a process to follow to build your network.

  • Keep in mind that asking your current contacts for help, recommendations, and support is a great place to start.
  • Break your contacts into two tiers.
  • Tier-One Contacts will be your hottest and closest current, past, and present colleagues and friends. These are going to be individuals you have the closest connection to. You can even go as far as to include vendors, consultants, recruiters, bankers, venture capitalists, and others whom you have established a relationship with.
    • The goal of the Tier-One Contacts is that this will be your highest point of influence when you want to start utilizing your network. These are people who can help you make new connections, or if you are in the job market, help you find a new job.
  • Tier-Two Contacts will be your casual contacts. The people you know through a friend of a friend, or whom you have not had close relationships with. Consider realtors, developers, publishers, attorneys, accountants, investors, professional organization associates, friends of friends, and more.
    • The goal of the Tier-Two Contacts is to extend your reach. Make your network more all-inclusive so hopefully you can start to develop relationships outside your normal contact zone and create Tier-Two relationships into Tier-Ones.

Once you have defined and developed your network, use it! Do you need to drum up new business for yourself or a client? Are you looking for a new job? Are you interested in expanding your business? Then personal networking could be one of the keys to success!

References: * Compete.com ** Website Magazine

Twitter Terminology: What Are They Talking About?

Twitter seems to be everywhere you look these days. From your favorite website to your neighborhood bakery. It seems as though everyone is tweeting.  And what does tweeting mean anyway??? It is not uncommon to feel lost amongst the terminology and ever changing social media landscape.

Here are some basic terms to get you started...

  • "Tweet" - A twitter posting, less than 140 characters.
  • "ReTweet" - Reposting what another user has already tweeted.
  • "Follower" - A user who is reading your tweets.Twitter Terminology
  • "Follow" - To receive another user's tweet stream.
  • "Tweeps" - Twitter friends and followers that you are constantly in communication with.
  • "Twittosphere" - All people who tweet as a collective group.
  • "Avatar" - The image used to represent your account and persona.
  • "Buttons" or "Goodies" - Use these tools to put links to your Twitter account from your website, blog, e-mail and other websites.
  • "Follow Count" - The number of people that follow you and that you follow. Your Twitter "network" size.
  • "Handle" - aka "username". The unique name you have chosen to represent you on Twitter.
  • "Follow Friday" - #followfriday is a game in which people suggest who to follow on Twitter. It helps everyone find interesting Twitter users.
  • "Hashtags" - aka "#". The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. People use the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize those Tweets and help them show more easily in Twitter Search. Clicking on a hashtagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets in that category.

We hope this helps, good luck and have fun on your Twitter journey!