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You can’t bring a search-engine mindset to social media and have it work. There are fundamental differences between a potential customer who goes to Google to find a solution to a problem and one who interacts with your company or product on Facebook. So says Michael Mothner, writing for Inc.com, in his recent article “Facebook Advertising: 5 Things You Don’t Know (& Should)”.

Where search is keyword-driven, Facebook is image-driven, which leads Mothner to an essential tip:

“The single most important element determining an ad’s success is that tiny image that goes along with the ad. It will literally make or break an ad. Intuitively, this makes sense: The No. 1 activity on Facebook is to look at photos, so Facebook users are trained to scan for pictures. The more your ad resembles Facebook content, the more likely a user’s eyes will stop at your ad–and the more likely they will be to click.”

All of Mothner’s tips center on the fact that people on Facebook want to be on Facebook, whereas people using search engines want to leave the search and get to the information. So keep your Facebook campaign fresh (every 5-7 days), visual and engaging. Forget copy, concentrate on your headline. Make your Facebook page a place your customers want to visit—with you and each other.

Laura Abrahamsen May 23, 2012

The upside to social media sites like Facebook and Google+ is that they allow you to connect with people from every era and facet of your life. The downside is exactly the same according to Gabriel Rossman, who wrote “The Beauty of Twitter’s Unfollow Bug” for The Atlantic.

In real life social ties fray and break naturally. No one really wants to be in touch with everyone they knew in junior high. On a social-networking site, however, it requires an active choice to cull your list of “Friends” and clicking a button that might as well be labeled “I Don’t Like You.” It feels mean:

“For these reasons I actually kind of love Twitter’s unfollow bug, in which you unfollow people at random. Sociologists sometimes talk about whether a tie persists after a random disruption as an indicator of the tie’s strength. For instance, if an executive on the board of two corporations dies, do they re-establish the board tie by placing another executive from firm A on firm B’s board?”

You can measure the strength of a particular social tie by seeing whether or not either party chooses to reconnect after a random break and use it to your advantage. It’s the social-media equivalent of the Little White Lie in which everyone saves face and the possibility to reconnect later is left open.

Laura Abrahamsen May 16, 2012

 

Not long ago a digital marketing strategy was all about link-building. But the Web moves quickly and the next big thing is increasing the number of “social shares” your content inspires according to Sujan Patel. Patel recently blogged about “Social Shares: The New Link Building” for Search Engine Journal.

According to Patel it’s becoming clear that search engine giants Google and Bing now include number of social shares in their rank calculations. The search engines are already developing algorithms that can separate legitimate shares from purchased “likes”:

“(I)t isn’t a good idea to go out and purchase social signals. Even if they do lead to a short-term improvement in rank, odds are they’ll be devalued at some point in the future, leading to wasted time and money.”

Building relationships takes more time but will pay off in the long run. Patel suggests embedding calls to action in your blog like Digg or Share This and establishing yourself as an authority figure in your field so that your social media actions carry greater weight. You can do this by reaching out to other authorities in a mutually beneficial way.

In other words, network on the Web the way you do in real life. Its reach is world-wide.

Laura Abrahamsen, May 15, 2012

 

If you had never heard of, let alone used, the Instagram app, it popped up on your radar screen recently when Facebook acquired it for $1 billion, the largest acquisition the social-media giant has ever completed. Maybe it was to eliminate a photo-sharing competitor but perhaps exclusive features of Instagram made the deal so sweet.

Chris Tacket, writing on technology for TheAtlantic.com, posted a transcript of an interview with Instagram founder Kevin Systrom. Tacket’s article can be found at “Will Post-Facebook Instagram Deliver on Its Founder’s Dream?”; the original interview was conducted by Digg founder Kevin Rose.

Tacket’s take on what Instagram has that Flickr and Twitter don’t, and what Facebook really wanted, was the ability to filter images by location data and timestamps:

“I imagine using Instagram to look up a restaurant I’m going to visit to see what food photos have been shared from that location in the past few days. Maybe I’ll be tempted to order something different because it looks so good. Rather than relying on what the official handlers of these locations’ social media accounts want to share, I’d be able to tune in to the users’ experience of them — to see the most recent visual media from those locations at this very moment, as shared by people who are motivated by little else save the act of sharing itself.”

Let’s hope that Facebook leaves this piece of Instagram intact.

Laura Abrahamsen, April 25, 2012

LinkedIn, the social-media platform aimed at its users’ professional lives more than personal lives, recently introduced a new set of software tools designed to allow its company members target, track and measure their followers.

Mark Walsh, writing “LinkedIn Debuts Tools to Target Followers” for Mediapost.com, noted that targeted updates and follower statistics will be free for members with a company page on the LinkedIn network, following a test roll-out with a small group of companies.

According to LinkedIn, followers are more active than mere users of their site and thus constitute a group that companies would prefer to engage:

“For example, followers are twice as connected as the average LinkedIn member and have joined twice the number of LinkedIn groups. Almost half (49%) say they are more likely to purchase products or services from a company that’s more engaged with its followers. About the same proportion (47%) say LinkedIn is a more appropriate social environment for getting company news and updates than other social sites.”

With these tools, LinkedIn is making a calculated effort to position themselves as THE social-media platform for businesses and professionals. Can they stop the Facebook juggernaut?

Laura Abrahamsen, April 19, 2012