Guest Blogger: This post was contributed by Lauren Schultz. Lauren loves to talk about dogs, social media, and her favorite team The Ohio State Buckeyes. Say hello at gplus.to/lashleyschultz or @lashleyschultz.
“Should I be on Google+?” That might be a common response to a new-ish social channel, but not for long. Your organization or business might have a blog and a presence on Twitter, Facebook and maybe even Pinterest — great! While we would never categorically recommend getting on a social network without knowing more about your organization, Google+ is definitely worth a closer look. You probably already know this, but Google+ is stepping up in social. Everyone wants to be one step ahead on social marketing these days. If you do decide to test out Google+, here are a few easy ways to get the most out of it:
Google+ is many things, but one thing is certain: It dominates the search-engine space. If you are a B2C business owner, this is gold. By simply entering in your information in Local Places, your business can be found online by more people in your area. Start by filling out your Google+ Local page, making sure to include relevant keywords. Check out my favorite half-smoke spot Ben’s Chili Bowl and its use of Google+.
Did you know Google+ just launched new features with larger photos? Posts with images typically perform better. The larger photos make the page more visually appealing and may get you more +1s (Google+’s equivalent to likes). World Wildlife Fund (WWF) does a great job at using visual content.
Did you know that you can host a free Google Hangout of up to 10 people? Consumer Electronics Association did a fantastic job of keeping attendees and non-attendees updated on happenings at its huge annual gathering with Google Hangout. Check out a Hangout on Air from the 2013 CES. Now there is a way to snap your favorite moments with Capture; a camera component that allows you to take pictures during the Hangout. You can repurpose the Hangout for content on your page, especially the organic pictures from the Hangout!
There are many tools to explore in Google+, but I want to highlight this one. By simply logging into your Gmail account, you can sign up your site for Webmaster Tools. The next step is to create a Google+ profile and include a link to that profile on your site to let Google know that the site is yours. To learn more, head over to https://plus.google.com/authorship and explore this feature. This will help Google find your site and increase your site’s visibility in searches. The Google Webmasters Tools blog has very easy-to-understand guides including photo and video tutorials. There’s also a super-helpful cheat sheet for beginners.
These Google+ features will improve engagement with potential customers and the odds that users will navigate to your page or follow you on other social channels!
What social channels do you use most? If you don’t use Google+, what’s stopping you?
Creating a company culture has become a topic of interest among organizations seeking to brand themselves internally. The traditional office space has reached a plateau and companies are taking advantage of digital tools to create a virtual workspace enabling them to connect with clients across the country and employ people who work remotely.
In this respect it becomes all the more important that an organization creates a strong work environment, promoting a cohesive culture that supports and encourages an organization’s greatest asset – its employees.
Below are 4 tips on how to increase interactivity, boost communication, and cultivate a positive culture with insight from our own Thomas Sanchez, founder of Social Driver, on his experience building the character and culture of a start-up.
Gone are the days of corner offices enforcing professional hierarchy. Knock down the walls that divide a workplace! “When we were looking for a new office space, we intentionally chose a location that was more open so everyone could sit together,” says Thomas Sanchez.
Leaders must set the tone of intimacy and inclusiveness to help increase workplace interactivity. Doing so can allow relationships between employees and fellow executives to be more genuine, trusting, and comfortable. Having an open space is a simple way to make executives more accessible to employees, facilitating the flow of communication by making everyone feel included and equally valued.
“Meeting often is very important. Social Driver team members meet daily. Once a week we have a group meeting as a whole (remote associates video chat in) where we recharge our motivations, whether on projects or simply motivating each other. That one hour of recharge is a chance to stop and assess our culture and impact,” says Thomas. Prioritizing meeting and fellowship time is a great way to build a culture and it’s relatively easy to achieve by implementing some continuous practices.
Team meetings are a given when it comes to accomplishing a goal or starting a project, but one on one meetings are just as essential. Encourage employees to meet with each other one on one, it’s the best way to really have a two way dialogue and to ensure that everyone is being heard. Outings are another great alternative and offer a twist to the usual group meeting. Try a new lunch spot or take advantage of a nice day with a walk and talk meeting.
Giving people the opportunity to stretch their legs and leave the confines of an office can have an enormous effect on boosting morale and energy. If someone cannot physically make a meeting, do whatever it takes to include them. There are no shortage of digital tools to connect people so make the extra effort to set up a video chat with Google Hangout or Skype whenever possible (even if a phone call might be more convenient).
This is a great way of making group communication more accessible and encouraging interactivity. Thomas confesses that “a lot of times, it’s not me challenging the team. There are people on the team who push me to do better by probing for answers to generate successful outcomes. We also have a private Facebook group which is an easy way for me see what topics and successes my teammates are sharing.”
More pull and less push; listen more and talk less. This is a golden rule for everyone on a team, but it’s especially pertinent to executives and supervisors who can get in the habit of excessively putting out information without taking the steps to balance that push with pull in the form of feedback from their team.
Ultimately, a culture is created by the people who contribute to it. Making sure employees needs are being met is the best way to ensure that they will be productive and happy at work. Give options so that people can figure out what works best for them. This might mean offering more flexible hours to ease a harsh schedule or clearing out the extra office to make a communal workspace when an employee needs a change of scenery.
We have a culture at Social Driver that values the quality of work and supports the employees behind it. Everyone has different habits and needs, especially when it comes to work, a willingness to accomodate goes a long way and sets the tone of a work environment that gives back to the people who make it great.
You should talk to us. Social Driver is now hiring both awesome part-time and full-time people to help bring our projects to life. We have free Nespresso and lots of fun!
Remember, a company culture is not created from the top-down. It must be lived and developed through all the employees at your company. Make sure you are hiring individuals who will fit into the culture you have fostered and who will continue to contribute to your culture. Culture can have a huge impact on the success of an organization; here at Social Driver we pride ourselves on getting with the future through engaging, fun, and fulfilling work that is accomplished by a group of people all pulling for the same team. If you’d like to learn more about joining us, visit: http://socialdriver.com/jobs/
Interesting tech trends can often be hard to find considering the data overload we deal with every day. Search no further; we’ve got your back! Below are 7 links that the Social Driver team found technologically cool, entertaining, and informative:
The shoe-niverse gained an awesome new addition as Google revealed an interactive shoe at this year’s SXSW. The Google Advertising team placed a small computer in the tongue of a pair of Adidas. Equipped with technology to assess your movements and connect to your phone, the shoes are fully capable of telling you to be more active if necessary. “The Talking Shoe is an experiment in how you can use connected objects to tell stories on the Web today,” said Aman Govil, head of the advertising team.
Recently announced, the new feed redesign for Facebook plans to offer minimized sidebars and a more intimate approach to convey a personalized feel. The design also plans to offer more real estate in individuals news feeds to those who promote post or own sponsored stories on Facebook. Find out more interesting changes in our What the New Facebook News Feed Redesign Means For Nonprofits post!
Could your workplace noise level (or lack there of) be hindering your creativity? Coffitivity, an online ambient noise provider, claims that studies show ambient sounds boost creativity. Using a coffee shop setting, Coffitivity suggest that working in too quiet or too loud of an environment can increase chances of unproductivity. Try it yourself! Visit Coffitivity, plug your earphones in, and let the creativity flow!
Should patients’ text or email their doctors as an added form of communication in healthcare? This question raises a lot of arguments and the article above reaches even more brow raising points. Considering digital progression and the many ways we communicate, the article shares that still less than “90% Americans have never emailed or texted with their doctor.”
Business Insider shared a list of 25 most innovative businesses in DC. From LivingSocial, a daily deals website, to Black Jack, a bar with a bocce ball court, the district is definitely home to some innovative businesses. Other interesting businesses that made their list include Capitol Bikeshare, Clean Currents, and Genius Rockets.
Nerds are not the only personalities on the programming scene. Douglas MacMillan shares the rise of the “more testosterone-fueled breed of coder.” With the onset of the “Brogrammer” meme’s floating around the Internet, the article shares interesting ideas and quotes from new age computer intellectualists who come from diverse backgrounds.
And here is an added bonus! If you often enjoy your friends’ playlists then you’ll enjoy Turntable. The online app allows a group of people to create a playlist for everyone to enjoy at the same time. Each person is deemed a DJ and has a chance at spinning their record and impressing the group. Even better, the app is also downloadable for iPhones.
What did you read about this week?
Facebook recently announced a new design of the Facebook News Feed. The design reduces the left and right sidebars and expands the main News Feed to show full-size vibrant images, offering more real estate to visual content and a set of new sub-feeds.
According to Facebook, the same stories will appear as did before, meaning that Facebook has not adjusted Edgerank, the algorithm that determines what content is posted on your News Feed. However, the design will be much more vibrant and colorful, centering around larger images.
Facebook says that this change will provide a more seamless experience between mobile and desktop viewing, but we surmise that this is an attempt by Zuckerburg to position Facebook as the premiere advertising platform for digital marketers.
With the redesign, companies’ promoted posts and sponsored stories that use images will be given more real estate in individuals’ News Feeds. So what does that mean for marketers in charge of managing organizations’ Facebook page?
Up until now, many marketers have seen huge ROI in promoted posts and sponsored stories, partly because of Facebook’s lower-than-market-value advertising rates.
Advertising experts expect that Facebook’s shift in focus on visual content will allow them to gain higher ad prices in the future. This means that the days of cheap advertising on Facebook will likely be coming to an end. We expect ad costs on Facebook and other social networks to significantly rise in the future, so plan your budgets accordingly.
Facebook already favored visual content, but this News Feed redesign further reinforces that focus. When planning your editorial calendar, try to figure out how you can share your information visually, through a photo or photo album.
Infographics are a great way to share information (and have high virality), as are images with overlaid text (think memes). If you are using text in your images, make sure you follow the <20% rule!
With the new sub-feeds, Facebook users will now have the ability to choose to filter content more heavily. As with many of the changes to News Feed, this will positively affect some marketers view rates and negatively affect others. Among other options, users can now view content posted by only their friends, effectively opting out of content from organizations who they aren’t friends with but may follow.
Users can also see content posted by all the pages they follow, content just relating to Games or Music, as well as a variety of other filters. You’ll be able to advertise in any of these feeds, but you’ll want to be mindful of the context. For example, an advertisement that shows up in the “All Friends” feed may be viewed as more disruptive as one that shows up in the “Pages You Follow” feed.
Regardless of these changes, competition for space on Facebook’s News Feed is becoming more and more cutthroat. Not only do you have to compete with other organizations, you now have to compete with larger and more prominent ad spaces integrated into the main News Feed.
On average, about 15% of your followers will see the content you publish for any given post. That means that the chances of spamming your followers is nearly impossible, unless you are posting more than 10 times a day.
Digital campaigns have come a long way! Promoting up and coming products, services, and/or campaigns is now more readily available through Kickstarter—“a funding platform for creative projects.” At Social Driver, we help clients Get with the Future by supporting both entertaining and revolutionary social projects. Check out 6 of the best Kickstarter video campaigns that caught our attention:
Campaign #1: Kickstarter Open Source Death Star
The force is definitely with the team behind the Kickstarter Open Source Death Star campaign! Based in London, the project has received worldwide recognition & support. While creation of an actual Death Star may be bleak, the Kickstarter Open Source Death Star campaign is momentous. Steadily growing towards it’s goal to gain “more detailed plans and enough chicken wire to protect reactor exhaust ports.”
Campaign #2: Dog Days
Local directors Laura Waters Hinson and Kasey Kirby set out to document the successes and tribulations of two uncanny hotdog stand owners in the Washington, DC area. Coite, a former industrial engineer, and Siyone, a former East African refugee, join forces to keep street vending alive despite the new popularity of “food truck” vendors. The gain for pledging towards this campaign ranges from donating $5—which will allot you special thanks on the movie website, to $5,000 (or more)—which will grant you the credit of Contributing Associate Producer in the film and more perks. With under a month to go the campaign is almost halfway to their goal!
Campaign #3: LiveCode
“If you couldn’t code before, LiveCode is the answer.” The application—Live Code—is already available to a fourth of Secondary Schools in Scotland. Of those schools, students using the program for a year have shown a significant increase in computer science interest. LiveCode is produced by RunRev Ltd. (app developers) and is described as the “next generation hyper card” program. The Kickstarter campaign was created to help fund the program to run on every popular device and code in English. By mid-March the program will be available and free to schools and universities globally. The initiative of LiveCode is to encourage digital literacy by helping young minds write interactive software.
Campaign #4: /Crowdring
Through /Crowdring, Deepa Gupta, Adriana Valdez Young, Carina Molnar, and Leonardo Eloi planned to unite the world on social justice issues. In 2011, a movement in India gained 35 million petition phone calls from supporters to a local number. However, the supportive phone calls did not suffice because there was no system maintain and organize the data. /Crowdring is an application that is developed to allow those supporting any movement around the world to use their phone call as a petition signature. These “mobile signatures” will then be presented to politicians and lawmakers as encouragement for change. With developing partnerships in Rio, Nairobi, and Bangalore, /Crowdring is on it’s way to revolutionizing involvement in social movements.
Campaign #5: GPS Art Poster
This non-traditional art form has caught the attention of many. Although the campaign isn’t over the poster art exceeded its goal by over $7,000 dollars. Collected from thousands of impressions from GPS users around any city, each piece embodies layers of traveled routes. When finished the artistry shows a layout of a city with interconnected lines, some denser than others, which conveys areas highly traveled. The finished product, a frame-able poster, can be made from any area in the USA as well as the UK, Germany, Netherlands and Denmark.
Campaign #6: Embrace+
Say goodbye to interrupting meetings or movies with phone alerts! Described as a “fashion accessory with true functionality,” Embrace+ (for androids and Iphones) is a bracelet which alerts it’s wearer with color coded alerts. From incoming calls and texts to email, Facebook, or Twitter notifications, Embrace+ keeps you in sync without having the phone directly in your hand. Each notification has the possibility of being to be color coded letting you know exactly which type of notification your receiving. Even down to your girlfriend/boyfriend or boss calling you. The campaign for the sleek notification design is still underway to release the final product of the Embrace+ with the 5ATM waterproof grade.
Share in the comments below your favorite Kickstarter campaign!
To find out more how Social Driver can aid your upcoming campaign contact us at Info@SocialDriver.com.
Here at Social Driver we love technology and exploring the latest trends and how they could be used to benefit our customers. To make sure we’re keeping up with the latest technology, our company meets every Tuesday to talk about “Hot Topics.”
The most recent tech trend to catch our eye is Vine. Vine is a new app that allows iPhone users (sorry Droid lovers) to turn photos into short videos and share with their friends. The videos, similar in style to animated GIFs, range from funny art to advertising. Now that Vine has been around for a couple weeks, organizations are getting in on the action and posting fun videos with Vine as a new way to share content with their audience.
Could this new trend be used for your organization? Here are some things to consider when evaluating whether to use Vine to connect with your organization’s audience:
1) Are most of your audience members actively using Twitter? – Vine was developed by a Twitter-owned company and currently can only be shared over Twitter feeds, not on Facebook. If your audience is actively engaging others through Twitter, Vine could be a great option for connecting with them.
2) How concise is the message you want to deliver? – Vine videos are only 6 seconds long which means you have to get your message across within the blink of an eye. This still leaves time for making an impression, but it must be thought out and intentional.
3) How much time can you commit to planning and execution? – Even though the videos are short, the impact can be lasting. You should plan your Vine content and message just as you would messages communicated through other means of social media. There should be an obvious message and call to action for viewers of your Vine videos
If you decide to explore marketing with Vine we’d love to see your videos in the comments below! Feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like information on how we could help your organization use technology to reach your target audience.
At a recent Social Driver's Ed, Adam Gerber, a Senior Associate from M+R Strategic Services, discussed Facebook's promoted posts. He talked about how this tool has worked for some of his clients, sharing a step-by-step process of how to use the tool, what it does, who it reaches, and how much exposure your business could potentially receive for relatively low cost. Check back later for the video, but in the meantime we want to give you three takeaways from his experience with Facebook promoted posts:
Do not worry about slick infographics or a polished image-shares. The best images are the ones that capture your organization's goal in the most authentic way possible. All you need is a camera, a piece of paper, and a marker. Photograph a colleague holding the paper with your key ask handwritten out and sa
ve yourself the photoshopping.
If you can wrangle $10-20 bucks, then you have the budget for a couple great experiments with your promoted posts. Most people will never visit your Facebook timeline and will only see your posts in their own newsfeed so the risk of re-running similar posts is minimal. Try two variations on your call-to-action on the same day and see which wins.
Facebook wants to show your posts to people who will engage with it. Oddly enough, many of those people live in Asia where Facebook has high penetration and but little original content. That means that, unless you target your post to the United States only, you're going to get a lot of unexpected international comments, likes, and shares. It may boost your ego to see that level of engagement, but unless it contributes to your business goals, they're just a waste of money.
All things are going digital… Even the census records from 1940!
On April 2nd, The National Archives and Records Association (NARA) released individual records of the 1940 Census. Every 72 years, the census is released and this time it was scanned and digitized for the public to find online.
NARA and the US Census Bureau teamed up for a joint effort in the “40 Days To The 1940 Census” campaign to promote the release. I had the opportunity to interview Jennifer Smits, Public Affairs Specialist at the US Census Bureau and Hilary Parkinson, writer-editor of NARA to find out more about the campaign. The overall purpose of the campaign was to build excitement and anticipation for the historians, genealogists, and anyone interested in their family histories. Below are some of the lessons learned from the campaign that we can all takes bits and pieces from in the future.
The Census Bureau and NARA posted photographs from the 1930s and 1940s of civilians, enumerators, farmers, and The Great Depression. Slideshows and infographics were also posted as visual comparisons from the 1940 Census to the 2010 Census, as well as YouTube videos.. All of these images helped boost engagement, especially when asked to like, comment, and share. By posting daily facts, quiz questions, and slideshows about the 1940s, the curiosity and interest of the public grew with excitement because they had the opportunity to be involved participants in the campaign.
You do not need to create a new Twitter account to embrace your campaign because you can use hashtags instead. The hashtag proved to be beneficial for increasing engagement because users had a general hashtag “#1940census” to look for and use themselves.
The Census Bureau even reached out to popular genealogy shows on NBC and CBS. Tweeting to celebrities and television shows during air time was successful in spreading awareness to people, who may otherwise not have known about the census, and led them back to the campaign with the hashtag. Actress Rita Wilson even tweeted back! Twitter chats and Q&As provided an opportunity for users to share their curiosities and after the release, share what they found. These chats were also posted on Facebook to reach those audiences not on Twitter.
The US Census Bureau created their first 3 infographics ever to share the 1940 Census story. Story telling is important when sharing large amounts of data because people do not want to read large amounts of data. Infographics proved to be the best way to tell the 1940 Census story in a visually entertaining way. A visual of comparisons and differences between 1940 and 2010 were more appealing and engaging than words alone. This is especially true when posted on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr (by NARA), and Pinterest because users then had the chance to share, retweet, and pin. This created a larger sharing of the infographics that reached users on all platforms of the Internet, especially when picked up by the media. The Census Bureau has continued to create infographics for other data releases due to their success, and will continue to do so in the future.
On the US Census Bureau’s landing page for the 1940 Census, the interactive app of an old 1930′s Uncle Sam poster became a major hit for engaging the audience. To promote engagement, users were able to upload their favorite head-shots and place them in the face of Uncle Sam. This app provided an excellent source for people to personally connect with. Users had the chance to create and tell their own personal 1940s story by uploading their own photos and then sharing the updated poster across social media platforms. Aspects of personal connection helped promote the census by reaching out to people on a deeper level regarding their own family histories and stories.
When the census was released online, computers were really slow due to the amount of people trying to access the data. People grew quickly irritated and posted on Facebook and Twitter to NARA out of frustration. Social media once again pulled through because NARA was able to post on Facebook and Twitter that they were aware of the issues with the 1940 census server and were working on it as best they could. This provided an excellent way to reach out to mass groups of people in a time of need to clear the confusion and let them know what was going on. Once users viewed these posts, they were much more understanding of the issue and patiently waited instead.
A big thank you to Jennifer Smits and Hilary Parkinson! And If you’re interested in searching for your family, head to the digitized census here!
Social Driver’s Anthony Shop will serve on a panel at The National Press Club on Tuesday, October 30th discussing how social media has been used as a part of presidential campaign strategies, the role of social media in future elections, and why it’s important for communication executives to pay close attention to these trends pertaining to your the goals of your clients. Audience questions will follow. Get your tickets to attend this event now!
The election is now two weeks away and our Facebook news feeds, Twitter feeds, and YouTube channels are exploding with opinions, facts, disagreements and discussion. Digital media is more important to the election than ever before, and we’ve got some numbers to show it.
Blogger Devon Glenn at SocialTimes shares an incredibly revealing infographic created by iProspect to give us a “Digital Summary” of the election. From Obama and Romney’s Facebook fans and Twitter followers to your friend’s very opinionated political posts, social networks are affecting how we talk about the election, as well as what we are talking about. It’s no wonder why the online campaign budget jumped 616% from 2008.
Around here, we like creative ideas to circulate the office on a daily basis. To keep you in the loop, we will post our favorite links each week. This week’s What We’re Reading offers tips on your favorite social media tools to keep you on your toes with the latest happenings!
Alexandra Samuel from the Harvard Business Review Blog writes how early social media adopters can share their love of new media without overwhelming their co-workers. These are 8 helpful ways for going against the grain in acceptable and welcoming ways. If you see yourself as ahead of the new media game in your office, read this article to help tone down your excitement in ways that others can understand.
8 is the magic number today as Haydn Shaughnessy from Forbes emphasizes the importance of social media measurement. This article has great detail to pair perfectly with the infographic below. Shaughnessy shares specific tools and strategies that are useful when measuring your data. He also advises which measurements take prominence in your business and how you can monitor these more closely.
Awareness Inc. created an easy-to-follow infographic for a quick lesson in social media auditing. Not sure if your social strategy is working? Whether you need a refresher on Facebook or Twitter, this infographic is for you. Learn how to analyze your competitor’s numbers and start comparing to make changes of your own.
Amber Mac from Fast Company teaches us how to use Twitter’s new features to show off your professional personality. Mac writes about 3 key focuses with suggestions for your new profile options. So, go create a header, update your profile picture, and improve your photo stream for even more social media presence.
If you just took the advice from above and edited your Twitter photo, than you may be a part of the 75% of workers who access social media while on the job. Blogger John Hollon at TLNT discusses the amount of workers who use social media throughout the day regardless of their company policies that say not to.