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Social Media Expert Interviews: Ann Handley

Social Media Expert Ann Handley Interview

This year recognised as the second most influential person in the industry by Forbes, Ann Handley is a true social media expert. Known for her writing for Entrepreneur Magazine, Mashable, and MarketingProfs, she is widely regarded as an one of the best in her field.

Ann, tell us a little about what it is you do?

I'm the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, which means I head up the content that MarketingProfs produces. MarketingProfs is an training and educational company that produces tactical know-how for more than 423,000 member marketers. Also, I embarrass my children on a regular basis.

Tell us about the journey you have undertaken to be where you are now? Where did you start?!

I'm not a marketer by training - I guess I play one on the internet. I am a business writer, editor and former journalist who followed a circuitous path into Marketing - like a lot of us! Prior to joining MarketingProfs 10 years ago, I was the co-founder of ClickZ.com.

How important would you say having a social media presence is for businesses these days?

To me, the question for business owners is: Why wouldn't you? Social media offers you an enormous and unprecedented opportunity: To connect with prospects and customers directly in a more personal and relevant way. Why wouldn't you want to take advantage of that opportunity?

What three bits of advice would you give a business that is taking their first steps into the world of social media?

1. Wade in. Before you do anything, spend some time interacting on social channels as a person, not on behalf of a brand. See the potential before you create a roadmap.

2. Create content as a cornerstone of your social presence.

3. Have fun! Have a sense of personality and express your humanity in your social media marketing - this stuff is fun!

What do you think the future holds for social media?

I hate this question! Frankly - so many businesses are struggling with creating content and maintaining a vibrant and human social media presence, that I think we should be focusing on What's Here vs. What's Next. But that's just me... I'm not really one to chase the Next Big Thing. I'm more about demystifying where we are now...

What is the coolest fact about Giraffes you know?

If you mean the animals: Loosely translated... their name means "covers a lot of ground". If you mean you guys, the coolest thing about you is that you guys 'get it'!

Ann has a book out which is a great guide to creating engaging and ultimately rewarding online content. You can also find out a bit more about what Ann does on her website.

How to use Twitter Lists

howtousetwitterlists

In late 2009, Twitter introduced the concept of 'lists'. They could very well be one of the network's most useful tools - and many people aren't taking full advantage...

In a nutshell, lists are a way of organising the people you follow on Twitter. They are a good way to group the different areas of your life and your interests. For example, you could have a list of the people you work with, to get a snapshot of what people are talking about who you work with. For example, we at Giraffe have a list of the people we're following who offer some of the best insights into what is happening in the world of social media.

Twitter lists are a great way of making sure that you don't miss any tweets from those people who offer you something of quality. It is also a great way of showing gratitude to people, as they are made aware when they added to your lists. Who doesn't want to be added to a list called 'My Favourite Tweeps' or 'Social Media Geniuses'!?

So how do you make lists? Here is a very brief how to guide:

1) Click on your profile drop down menu, and click on the 'Lists' tabs.

2) Click 'create list'.

3) Name your list, and don't worry about being too specific as you can have up to 20 lists!

4) Save the list!

5) Now, when you are on a user's profile and you want to add them to a list, simply click on the drop down menu on their profile and click 'Add or remove from lists'.

That is all there is too it - but if you're still unsure, Twitter explain it in easy steps here. So why not get on your Twitter now, and start organising who you're following to get more out of your Twitter account. We look forward to finding ourselves on one of your lists soon. Please?

What is Klout and is it really useful?

is klout really useful

 

What is Klout?

Klout is a website that supposedly measures the influence you have on social media. It was launched in September 2009, and modestly refers to itself as 'the standard for influence'. It has been met with very mixed opinions. A lot of people have jumped on the bandwagon and now have become hooked on the idea of boosting their Klout score up each day. Others label Klout as an inaccurate form of measurement which is about as much use as a chocolate teapot. So to get to the bottom of whether it is really useful, we have split the arguments into positive and negatives...

Positives - Important & Useful

Klout measures your influence on social media in the following ways:

  • 'True Reach' - A measure of the size of your engaged audience, excluding inactive and spam accounts.
  • 'Amplification Probability' - A measure of how likely your content is to be shared.
  • 'Network Influence' - A measure of how influential the people who follow you are.
On paper, that seems like a relatively appropriate list of criteria for measuring your social media influence. It is also important to note the true difficulty of actually measuring accurately how influential someone is on social media. The measure of social media success has long been a topic of debate, one that continues regardless of Klout's presence.It is undeniable that they have deciphered a pretty good algorithm for defining social media influence - but is it enough?
What is good about Klout is that it is presented beautifully and simply, and in the industry of marketing, people want measurements. They want to be able to see success and failures in front of them, so that they can learn and evolve continuously.

Negatives - Inaccurate & Pointless

The website has encountered a lot of criticism, and unfortunately it would seem that most of it is justified. There is a strong argument that it doesn't really offer a fair representation of a person's influence on social media, and that it just encourages people who want to 'level up' - as if they are in a game. Here are the reasons that suggest that Klout is an inaccurate and perhaps pointless tool:

  • It is easy to 'cheat the system' - and get yourself a high score. Go to Google and search 'how to cheat Klout' - and see how long it takes you to get through all the tricks. How can we take scores seriously if people can just cheat themselves to a higher score.
  • It is often inaccurate with it's information on you; claiming you are an expert of something you mentioned once perchance.
  • Klout takes absolutely no notice of your offline activities. You could be a world famous A-List star who models the latest ranges of Armani suits on billboards, but if you don't have a Twitter account, then Klout thinks you don't exist.
  • There is absolutely no evidence that supports that these people with high influence, are actually influencing anyone. In fact, as an article on Technology Spectator points out, experts suggest that real influence is created by easily influenced people, influencing other easily influenced people.  Wow, that's a lot of influence.
  • Experts show that influence isn't as simple as people with high influence telling people with no influence to buy things. In reality, influence is far more complicated and can involve lots of different people of varying influence levels.

The Final Word 

Klout have made a good effort at measuring social influence, but in reality it is basically a tool for narcissistic attention seekers who want to hit that perfect hundred. We wouldn't suggest paying too much attention to your Klout score, or anybody else's for that matter. Focus on getting actual results - trust us that when you get there you won't need clarification of your success from a website.

10 Social Media Statistics That You Won’t Believe

10socialmediafactsthatyouwontbelieve

If there is one thing we are sure about, social media is here to stay. We've rounded up some of the most interesting and unbelievable social media facts of the last year.

The internet is so full of amazing facts and figures it can be difficult to know where to start looking! So to save you the time and energy, here are our 10 favourite current social media facts...

1.  Brazil has the highest online friends – average of 481 per user, compared to an average of only  29 friends per users in Japan!

2.  Over 40% of Twitter users do not tweet anything!

3.  About 0.05% of the total twitter population attract almost 50% of attention on the website.

4.  Every month the online population collectively spends the equivalent of 4 million years online.

5.  There are more than 1 billion search queries per day on Google.

6.  By 2015, it is projected that brands will be generating 50% of their web sales through social media and mobile platforms with a projection of $30 Billion.

7.  The Google +1 button is clicked more than 5 billion times each day!

8.  In one day online, more iPhones are sold than people are born!

9.  4.8 billion people now own mobile phones. Just 4.2 billion own a toothbrush.

10.  In 2011, there were over 75 million more people playing Farmville than there were actual farmers!

So there you have it, some crazy, fun statistics about the internet and social media!  Which one is your favourite?  Do you have any ones we've missed that are even crazier?!  Time to share guys.

What is LinkedIn?

what is linkedin?

LinkedIn is the prime social networking site for professionals. First appearing in May 2003, it has since grown to boast over 160 million users. LinkedIn is practically the on-line equivalent of a business networking event - but how should it be used and who should be using it?

LinkedIn could well be described as the ultimate on-line professional networking tool. It doesn't work exactly like most of the other social networks, but it's kind of similar. Users have profiles which act almost like a comprehensive digital CV. Your profile should document your professional experiences, your education, your past work life and any recommendations. Once you've established your profile you can begin to build connections with people you know, and eventually with people you might not know.

LinkedIn is primarily used by businesses and professionals - that is the main difference when compared with other social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. You won't see any personal updates, family photos or holiday check-ins - all this should be kept for Facebook. According to LinkHumans, during 2011 most users were between 25-45 and working for companies that employed more than 1,000 employees. They put the amount of UK users between 5 and 6 million.

Let's take a look at some of the benefits of being a user of LinkedIn.

  • Being on LinkedIn is like attending those networking seminars, where you meet lots of like-minded people. But with LinkedIn you can make similarly great connections, but whilst sat in your boxers in front of a screen eating the third Rolo yogurt of the day.
  • LinkedIn is great for locating new suppliers and distributors. The site makes it easy to connect with other businesses, and then build great relationships with them.
  • The site is also a fantastic way to search for new employees, you can search for people and see their CV without having to even contact them.
  • Build the credibility of your business by receiving recommendations from customers and other businesses.
  • Gain more traffic for your website by linking your LinkedIn to your website.
  • Be able to research other businesses and make more informed decisions on mergers, partnerships, etc.
As you can see, there are numerous benefits to getting your business on LinkedIn.  It perhaps isn't the most fruitful of social networks when it comes to driving sales and traffic, but it certainly provides you with a lot of tools that other social networks can't come close to. Head there and check it out now!

 

What is YouTube?

WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA ALL ABOUT- (6)

YouTube is a website that allows users to search, watch, and share videos of pretty much anything (within reason). Every minute over 35 hours of video is added to the site, and 2 billion videos are viewed every day. It is free to have an account and free to share video, whether it's a family video that you want to share exclusively with other family members, or a music video you made for your mates band!

YouTube is fast becoming a platform that allows users to gain fame. Singers can post their videos of them performing and if things go extremely well, then they can receive millions of views and be picked up by a record label. This shows you just how fundamental social media has become to our everyday lives, it has so much power and possibilities. Interested in finding out more? This article outlines some amazing statistics for YouTube during 2011.

On YouTube you can make your own channel that you post videos to - this keeps them all in one place - and allows people to subscribe to your channel.  This way, they will be sent notifications of any new activity that occurs on your channel.  Additionally to this, every video can be commented on, and you can state whether you like or dislike the video with just a single click of your mouse.

How can YouTube be used for business?

  • It is easy to garner respect and approval as a business purely by having a wide social media presence. A lot of businesses have a Facebook page, but not many have several fully integrated social media accounts across the board.
  • People are on YouTube, the stats show that. Why would you not want to have a presence on the third most visited website on the planet?!
  • It's free. Pure and simple, a free way to market yourself to millions of people. Would you pay money to make an advert to put on TV? Then, why wouldn't you pay nothing to place that advert on YouTube too?
  • The potentiality of 'going viral'. 'Going viral' seems to be the buzz phrase at the moment. All it means is that the content you create is infectious, people watch your video and then feel they must share (infect) it with others. They then do the same, and before you know it half the world has seen that video you made of your cat playing a keyboard in a jumper; and sales of your home-made cat jumpers go through the roof.
  • On social media, the number one rule for many is 'content is the be-all and end-all'.  Well, video is the best of that content - people love videos.  This is demonstrated perfectly by the success of YouTube as a site.
  • Because of YouTube being owned by Google, having a presence on YouTube can be good for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) - aka, it helps you get towards the top of Google search results.
  • Your content on YouTube is active 24/7, people can watch your videos whenever they want, from wherever they want.
  • Having videos on YouTube will give your business a face, and make it seem less stuffy and boring. Good times.

We hope that this post has opened your eyes to YouTube and the endless possibilities that it offers you and your business. If you have any further questions, please feel free to leave a comment below!

What is Google+?

WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA ALL ABOUT- (5)

Google does search better than anyone - we all know that. And now they have ventured into the world of social networking with their own network, Google+. But what can it be used for, how does it work and who should be using it?

Google+ was launched towards the end of June 2011. They entered into the market at a time which means that they face an upward battle to acquire the critical mass that makes a social network worthy of being a part of for people - something which they are fully aware of.

So what is different about Google+?

In reality, Google+ could be accused of having a framework that is particularly similar to Facebook - you have a profile where you can post statuses which can be text, pictures or videos. However, the main difference with Google+ comes in that your friends are organised into 'circles'. This allows you to separate your best friends from those work colleagues that you act like you like, but secretly despise. This video explains how it all works in a handy cartoon.

At the moment it is struggling to compete with the might of Facebook - only time to will tell to what extent it grows. However its new and it's Google - so the likelihood is that it will become progressively more awesome over time.

What can Google+ do for your business?

You have a Facebook where people can 'like' your business, and a Twitter where you're building a great targeted group of people who follow you; so what's the point of having a Google+?  This is why...

  • Perhaps the biggest deal is that being on Google+ will really help you appear higher in Google search results. They are really plugging their new social network, and trying to grow it as quickly as possible - so they are gifting higher search results to their users.
  • People can share your page much easier, and recommend it with Google's +1 system.
  • It's a fast growing social network - and getting in early will allow you to grow with it - allowing you to be more established when the network becomes more commonly used.
  • You can use circles to your advantage, by grouping your customers in one circle, other businesses in another, etc. Allowing you to market directly to the people you wish to, and not just everybody.
  • Google are suggesting that being a part of Google+ will inherently help your efforts with their Google Ad Sense packages.
Giraffe can help your business be a part of Google+, as well as Facebook and Twitter.  We can run the whole show for you! Contact us now hello@giraffesocialmedia.co.uk - to discuss how we can help you reach for the wider audience using social media now.

What is Facebook?

What is facebook

The giant that is Facebook was launched in February of 2004. It is easily the biggest social network online, with over 900 million active users. Having recently floated on the stock exchange, the company is going from strength to strength, and is in a scarily healthy position in terms of where social media is going. 

Facebook came from Facemash, a 'hot or not' site developed by Mark Zuckerberg while he was attending Harvard University - if you haven't seen the film The Social Network, this article gives a great breakdown of Zuckerberg's path from hacker to CEO of the largest social network around. Since then, many innovations have made Facebook what it is today.

So what is Facebook?

Facebook is a social network where you create your own profile, with pictures and personal information - and then you add your real-life friends as Facebook friends. It essentially allows users to keep up to date with what their friends are up to, as well as communicate with them directly. It is simple to use, and the average person spends almost 8 hours on the site per month. Another feature of the site, that should interest you if you have your own business, is 'Pages'. Facebook introduced 'Pages' in 2007, and essentially this allows bands, businesses, and most other things have their own page. So how does that differ from your profile? Well a page doesn't represent an individual (unless a celebrity), and you can't become 'friends' with it - instead you 'Like' it - which does two things.  Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, it lets all your other friends know that this is a business that you approve of, or like. Secondly, it means that once the page is liked, you will then receive all the status updates that the page posts. Anyone with a business head, and even most without - can see the endless possibilities here.

So now we understand what Facebook is, why is it such a great tool for businesses?

  • As previously mentioned, receiving likes on your business Facebook page is essentially online peer-recommendation.  Research shows that 78% of people trust peer recommendations, where as only 18% trust traditional marketing.
  • When someone likes your page, that basically adds them to a list of people who you can market directly too.
  • Advertising your business on Facebook (and social media in general) is different to other forms of advertising. This is because people choose to be advertised to, by liking your page. Traditional marketing is usually a break from whatever they were to watch, or read.
  • Having people 'like' your page, will benefit you in the coming years when search engines begin to take in to account which of your friends like something on social media, and then gifting those businesses higher search results.
  • Being on Facebook shows your company as a forward-thinking and modern business.
  • There are over 900 million people to market yourselves to...not bad right?
  • It can be used to manage your reputation. Over 51% of mobile internet use is on Facebook. This means that people are sharing with their hundreds of friends their opinions of things they come in to contact with. Are people talking about your business? Probably. Wouldn't you like to be able to speak to those people and solve the negative experiences, and celebrate the positive ones? Definitely.
  • Facebook can be a great way to check out potential employees, to see what they are actually like, as opposed to their immaculate and generic CV.
  • Once you have built a following, you can create events on Facebook, and get people to attend them!

As you can see, the benefits of being on Facebook are endless, and really if your business doesn't create its page soon - it's going to get left behind. Here at Giraffe, we understand how to optimise Facebook pages, and create content that will generate interactivity and engagement.

Even if you have a page, the chances are you're not maximising its potential. So get in touch and we can help. Why not email us on hello@giraffesocialmedia.co.uk.

What is Twitter?

WHAT IS SOCIAL MEDIA ALL ABOUT- (3)

Born in the summer of 2006 and currently commanding over 500 millions users, Twitter continues to grow exponentially. But what is it, how does it work and who uses it?

Twitter is the brain child of Jack Dorsey. Launched in 2006, the social networking site allows users to send "Tweets" - 140 character status updates - which have been described as micro expressions of ideas or moments. In this announcement in March, Twitter disclosed that at only six years old they had over 140 million users, producing 340 million Tweets a day, the equivalent of more than 1 billion every three days.

Many people believe that Twitter is reserved for the younger generation who are constantly seeking out RTs (retweets) from Justin Bieber in vain. However, there is so much more to this network than meets the eye - and it can be used just as well for businesses looking to expand their brand.

Twitter has been dubbed the 'SMS' of the internet because of its micro-blogging format.  After you create your account, you can begin to write your 140 character messages to the world.  The other main feature of Twitter is that you choose to 'follow' people. Once you follow somebody, their messages will begin to appear on your home screen.  To have your messages read, you need to have followers.  The simplest way of achieving this is to follow other people that seem to be interested in what you're interested in.  On average, it would seem that about 30% of people 'follow back'.  If you want to see what a Twitter profile looks like, why not check out ours here!

So now we understand what Twitter is, why is it such a great tool for individuals and businesses?

  • It is easy to keep up to date with the latest news from the industries that interest you, by following the Twitter accounts of people in that industry.  You can usually find out news quicker through Twitter than you can through actual news websites.
  • It is a great way of finding people with similar interests and then having discussions about those interests.
  • It is FREE.  Who doesn't like free stuff?
  • Twitter can be easily used on the go, with 80% of Twitter usage being from a mobile device.
  • It is a great search engine to find the general consensus on a topic, that topic could well be YOUR business. What are those 500 million people saying about you?
  • It allows celebrities to connect directly with their fans, in real time.  And on the other end of that relationship, it allows fans to contact celebrities directly!
  • It is a great tool for creating traffic to a website, blog, or anything really.  Consider it an advertising tool, where the number of people who see your content is truly limitless.
  • All in all, Twitter is a lot of fun.

If the Giraffe team were to give you one piece of advice with Twitter, it's that you only get out of it, what you put in...

So, go have a browse of Twitter, or if you want the Giraffe Team to step in and utilise the huge possibilities of Twitter to help grow your business - contact us on hello@giraffesocialmedia.co.uk.

What is Social Networking?

What is social networking

With so much jargon floating around the internet, it’s easy to get lost! So to get the the best understanding of the world of digital marketing, it is a great idea to go back to basics and ensure you know exactly what social networking is…

As with our previous article on what social media is all about, we like to use Wiktionary to give simple definitions. With social networking, four are provided…

“1. The interaction between a group of people who share a common interest
2. Using social contacts to network
3. The use of internet communities to network and communicate using shared interests, related skills, or geographical location between consumers and businesses.
4. A web interface that allows users to post messages and interact. Groups and relationships of complete strangers may be formed by various means such as interests, mutual friends or common activities.”

When it comes to social media, we are concerned with the latter two of these definitions - so why have we listed them all? Well, to get a good grasp of what internet social networking is it’s a good idea to look at what it stemmed from - and social networking sites are a result of the first two.

Social networking for people

Essentially, a social network is just that - a network of people who act socially by sharing media or interacting directly with other users. These users could be your real friends, or you could make brand new friends who also happen to be between 21-30, support Chelsea and collect Super Mario memorabilia - such is the beauty of social networking sites!

Social networking for businesses

Far from just being about telling people ‘what sandwich you just ate’, (not to knock the importance of that information), a social networking site can also be used for business. Here, they are particularly useful as they allow companies to communicate directly with their customers. Social networking sites remodel how businesses and people interact. Rather than there being a one way line of communication, now a conversation can be started which can be intersected by other friends and users.

Still not convinced? The reason businesses are able to be so successful is the sheer number of users they can reach out to! According to DigitalBuzz, between the years of 2010 - 2011, Facebook alone had 640 million users amounting to 310 million daily unique visitors - which would make it the third largest country in the World. That’s a figure that it is very hard to overlook!

There are tonnes of social networking sites out there including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to name but a few. Each of them have their own intricacies and processes, so to give you the best idea of how they all work we’ll be exploring each one individually in further blogs - keep your eyes peeled!

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