social networking

Is It Time For a Social Media Diet?

Do you get anxious when you think you are missing the latest Facebook newsfeeds or tweets from your besties? According to a recent State of Social Media study released by Harris Interactive and MyLife, 62% of adults who belong to more than one social network "keep an eye" on their networks daily; and 40% said they'd rather get a root canal or spend a night in jail than give up their social networking profiles!

If this sounds a little too familiar, it may be time to start that social media diet plan.

Social media pinning/posting/nipping/and tucking takes up a lot of our time and may actually have a negative impact on your lifestyle.

  • Do you find yourself feeling depressed, sad, envious, or even just annoyed at what a close friend or relative posts on your newsfeed?  A trip that you can’t afford, an engagement when you haven’t dated in over a year, someone’s weight loss success story after you’ve realized you’re up a pant size!  Can it get any worse sometimes?
  • Does looking at the success of others pressure you to be “keeping up with the Joneses”?
  • Are you missing out on other aspects of your life because you’re spending too much time pouring over your social media accounts?

I think it’s extremely important to recognize that you’re also not seeing people’s “real lives” most of the time.  How often do we post negative issues?  Is it often you take a photo of yourself right when you arise out of bed and say, “I’m beautiful and am going to post this photo to the entire world today?”  Rarely, I guarantee it.

The main point I’m trying to express if that if you start to feel depressed or moody as a direct result of your excessive time on these websites, then it’s time to make some changes.  Here are some actions you can take to improve your mood swings and social appetite:

  • Update the control settings on your accounts.  For instance, on Facebook, you have the ability to hide a friend’s newsfeed.  The person is completely unaware of this change (unless you physically block them), and you will no longer be able to see the negative posts, whether it be on a weekly, daily, or even sometimes, hourly basis.
  • Take a break altogether from the sites.  If you can’t quit cold turkey, then limit the number of times a day that you view your favorite sites.
  • Exercise or participate in some sort of activity or hobby to limit your time spent on the computer.
  • Catch up in person!  Think about the good old days when we didn’t even have such options and head to your favorite coffee shop or restaurant.  Gab the night away versus clicking it away.

The most important point I’m trying to express is if you find yourself “addicted” to social media or your favorite newsfeeds, to any extent, then it’s time to possibly take a hiatus.  Do you really have to see your best friend’s self-posed images every hour or even her most adorable English bulldog giving her kisses by the fireplace, or could you probably go without knowing about these non life-changing events?

Here’s food for thought…put away the phone or computer, save the eye strain, and engage in some positive physical activities.  Hit the gym or read a challenging book.  Surround yourself with the positives in life and you will find that a social media diet might be the best cure to a healthier lifestyle.

Branding for Small Businesses

As a business owner one of your top priorities is how your company is perceived to your prospective clients.  Careful crafting of your brand matters, no matter how big or small your business is.   You could have the most innovative service or product, but you need to make potential clients aware of it before you can turn it into a success.  Unfortunately marketing your business isn’t as easy as just placing your logo and a sales message on a postcard or flyer and mailing it to prospective clients.  Marketing is about branding your business so potential clients have an idea of what your business is about, what it may be like to work with you, and how you are different from your competitors.

Simple Works How is your business different from your competitors?  What makes your services or products unique and original?  What aspect of your business is the most attractive to the client?  These are just a few of the questions that should be addressed by your brand.  It should be conveyed in a smooth, easily understood, uncluttered way that is tailored to you audience.  Simple and direct.

Give Your Words a Voice Often times communicating with your prospective clients is done through a series of direct mail pieces, emails, newsletters, or your very own website.  Creating a unified “voice” that can deliver your message in addition to producing an overall image for your company will set you apart from competitors and take your communications from passive to active.  Aligning your message and brand across all channels such as print, website, blog, and social networking will further strengthen your voice.

Consistency is Key Sometimes a small tweak in your overall image is necessary to get a buzz going.  Changing a font here, a color there, or a new image to represent your brand could all help in highlighting your business in new, exciting, and different ways to the same audience, or help in attracting a completely new one.  Once you have identified which tweak or series of tweaks generates the biggest response stick with it and modify all your communications and client accessed websites to reflect that voice, message, and image.  Committing to the change once it is made is the most crucial step.  You may not get the desired results immediately, but scrapping all the work you’ve put in will only be a waste of your time and money, as well as confuse potential clients.

Building your brand can be a labor of love.  If you put in the work and let your individuality pour into your business and let it shine through your communication pieces this will truly set you apart from your competitors.  Your current and potential clients will see your products and services as genuine and attainable.  Branding is all about perceptions, so build the perception you want them to have!

Facebook’s Debut on the New York Stock Exchange

The morning of Friday, May 16th Facebook (FB) launched its Initial Public Offering (IPO) to eager traders on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Things seemed to take off to a great start as the opening trade came in at $42.05 per share, an 11% gain from the debut price of $38 per share. However, despite the early jumpstart, as the day of trading progressed prices soon plummeted back to the $38 initial offering price, and closed at $38.23 (up 0.23/0.61%). Current prices are significantly less than predicted, hovering around the $27 mark as the month closes. Despite the meager performance so far since the offering, it wouldn’t be true Facebook style without setting a few records along the way. According to CNN Money, more than 80 million shares changed hands in the first 30 seconds and upon closing 576 million shares had been traded in all. This is the highest trading volume for an IPO since General Motor’s IPO in 2010 with a trading volume of around 450 million shares. In addition, at the $38 share price, Facebook was predicted to raise $16 billion, making it the largest tech IPO on record with a valuation of more than $100 billion.

In light of the recent performance by Facebook, the travel website Kayak has decided to stall their own IPO until market conditions improve. Kayak itself doesn’t directly sell travel arrangements but offers a comparison of rates from leading travel sites like Expedia and Priceline. The site is funded through advertising.

The sheer size of its net-worth won’t guarantee success for Facebook as it joins the likes of Google, Apple, and Amazon.com Inc as one of the giants shaping the future of Internet economy. Google has already begun building walls to protect itself from the ever-evolving Facebook by integrating social networking across its products to try and combat the further proliferation. Additionally, more and more start-ups are turning to the Facebook platform to launch their own products and services, while others are developing and launching parallel platforms. Both outcomes attract significant amounts of investment capital potential. Pinterest is an example of a company funded exclusively by venture capitalists and investors that see the enormous potential and profitability of Web 2.0 companies.

Aside from Facebook’s monetary assets, the company has 900 million users worldwide, many of whom spend countless hours on the site exchanging enormous amounts of personal information. This enables Facebook to hone and target its advertising to the specific interests of its users. This is believed to be a competitive advantage, and one that Google has not been able to match. Google does, however, tailor its advertising to specific Internet searches, which many skeptics believe to be more relevant and more attractive to advertisers.

What will happen with Facebook’s stock value moving forward? Your guess is as good as ours…you never can tell what’s right around the corner with all things Facebook related!

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