Social Media

Analyze Facebook data with Wolfram Alpha tool

(CNN) -- The scattered bits of information you upload to Facebook might not seem interesting on their own -- a photo of a baby here, a happy birthday greeting there. But taken as a whole, your Facebook profile is a trove of data that can be analyzed to find patterns and stats about your online life (or your friends' lives).

A new tool from Wolfram Alpha churns out an extensive and personalized analytics report all about you based on Facebook data. Go to the Wolfram Alpha site, type in "Facebook report" and click the button that reads Analyze My Facebook Data. You will need to give the Wolfram Connection app permission to access your Facebook profile and history.

Once it's done computing, you'll be presented with a detailed, interactive, graph filled, time-killing report of your Facebook life. Get stats on the types of friends you have, including age ranges, relationship status and religion. See your most popular photos and posts, a chart of when you're most likely to post on Facebook, and a neat graphic showing how all of your friends are connected to each other and to you.

There are over 60 sections of information to dig into, including word clouds, pie charts and maps. You can also get a report on your willing Facebook friends by typing "Facebook Friends" into the Wolfram Alpha search field.

Wolfram Alpha is a computational search engine that is known for, among other things, being part of the brains that power Apple's voice-assistant, Siri.

Dr. Stephen Wolfram, the founder of Wolfram Research, is deeply interested in the personal analytics field. In March, he shared detailed analytics of his own work life, using vast amounts of data he's been collecting about himself, including over two decades of e-mails, a log of every keystroke he's typed for years (100 million plus), meetings, phone calls and, thanks to a pedometer, steps taken. He looked at the data for trends that would give him clues about his own life and behavior, including when he's most creative

Most people don't have that extensive an amount of data on their lives, but they probably have more than they think. While Wolfram has been actively recording this data, most people have been creating trails without realizing it. E-mail archives, FitBits, Tweets, texts and geotagged images and check-ins are all usable stores of information about your life. it's just a matter of time until there are accessible tools to extract, helping make sense out of all of it.

Wolfram says there are plenty more sources he hasn't tapped yet for his own personal number crunching, including medical data, his genome and motion sensors in his home. The Facebook tool is just the start for consumers too -- the company plans to add new tools and features in the future.

The Facebook analytics tool is fun, but also a sobering reminder of just how much information we willingly share with social networks. It could inspire some people to clamp down on the amount of information they share online, and others to record even more and embrace all the interesting possibilities of tracking personal data.

"I've no doubt that one day pretty much everyone will routinely be doing all sorts of personal analytics on a mountain of data that they collect about themselves," says Wolfram in the blog post.

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Wolfram Alpha Products

Changes coming to Firefox Yahoo search and Do Not Track

 

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Starting next month, Mozilla and Yahoo will both be implementing some changes to their respective business models: Mozilla will abandon Google in favor of making Yahoo the default search engine on its Firefox browser, and Yahoo will start honoring some of its customers' Do Not Track requests for a change.

 

Mozilla first made this announcement in a Nov. 19 post on the Mozilla Blog, noting that “Search is a core part of the online experience for everyone — Firefox users alone search the Web more than 100 billion times per year. … Google has been the Firefox global search default since 2004. Our agreement came up for renewal this year, and we took this as an opportunity to review our competitive strategy and explore our options.”

For now, any Firefox browser comes equipped with a Google search window (usually in the upper-right corner of the toolbar). Of course, any Firefox user is free to that setting, so that the search window instead goes to Bing, DuckDuckGo, or other options. Starting sometime in December, the default will change from Google to Yahoo Search, powered by Bing – though, again, Firefox users will have the option to change those default settings if they wish.

Mozilla added that “Under this partnership, Yahoo will also support Do Not Track (DNT) in Firefox.”

That is a significant change from Yahoo's previous policy. Last April, Yahoo made a point of announcing that it wouldn't even allow Do Not Track requests to be made — which, arguably, was a better (or at least more honest) policy than what it had before: allowing Do Not Track requests, then ignoring them.

Not that Yahoo was or is unique in that regard: most browsers that accept “Do Not Track” requests tend to ignore them. Google Chrome's Do Not Track Page, last updated in October 2012, says this:

Does Chrome provide details of which websites and web services respect Do Not Track requests and how they interpret them?

No. At this time, most web services, including Google's, do not alter their behavior or change their services upon receiving Do Not Track requests.

"Personalized experience"

So in April, when the “Yahoo Privacy Team” updated Yahoo's policy blog, it boasted about making “a personalized experience” for users: “As of today, web browser Do Not Track settings will no longer be enabled on Yahoo. As the first major tech company to implement Do Not Track, we’ve been at the heart of conversations surrounding how to develop the most user-friendly standard. However, we have yet to see a single standard emerge that is effective, easy to use and has been adopted by the broader tech industry. … The privacy of our users is and will continue to be a top priority for us.”

So what happened to change Yahoo's mind about Do Not Track since then? The Do Not Track initiative thus far has (unsurprisingly) proven spectacularly unpopular with advertisers, presumably because they figure that the more data they have on you, the greater their chances of making money thereby.

Last June, an ad-industry trade group called the Digital Advertising Alliance urged a web-standards group to abandon their Do Not Track efforts, for fear that ordinary web users like you and me might be tricked into inadvertently having our online activities not-tracked when we'd actually prefer everything we do be tracked non-stop, or something:

Microsoft, for one, now turns on the do-not-track signal automatically for some Internet Explorer users.

The ad industry says that do-not-track signals set by default don't reflect a user's preference to avoid tracking across Web sites. But the industry also says there's no good way to distinguish between a signal set by a user and one set by a developer.

So, as of last summer, Microsoft's policy set it apart from such companies as Google and Yahoo: they wouldn't honor Do Not Track requests even when they received them, whereas Microsoft made Do Not Track a default setting.

Fast-forward to this month and Mozilla's upcoming changes to its Firefox browser: the Yahoo Search function coming to Firefox is powered by Microsoft Bing. Will Yahoo henceforth honor Do Not Track thanks to a newfound appreciation for user privacy, because they can't avoid it with Microsoft, or for some other reason?

She's inspired

Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer didn't say one way or other, in her blog post trumpeting the new arrangement between Yahoo and Mozilla, Meyer made no mention of privacy or Do Not Track, but discussed how the new arrangement was sure to be wonderful for Mozilla, Yahoo and all customers thereof, and added:

Our teams worked closely with Mozilla to build a clean, modern, and immersive search experience that will launch first to Firefox’s U.S. users in December and then to all Yahoo users in early 2015. The interactive and integrated experience also better leverages our world-class content and personalization technologies.

Search inspires us because we think it’s something that will change and improve dramatically, and because fundamentally, search is about human curiosity — and that is something that will never be finished.

Google to lose ten-year-old default search status next month

Consumers wary of social media privacy protection

(Jim Hood @ ConsumerAffairs) In an odd juxtaposition, 80% of Americans say they use social media daily while 96% say they don't trust social networks to protect their privacy. You might wonder why so many people use something they think isn't safe, but that's a question that's seldom asked.

recent survey conducted for the Craig Newmark Foundation provides a clue, however: we want the government to protect us. 

The survey found that many Americans think privacy laws are too weak, with Millennials being the strongest advocates for tougher privacy protections.

Millennials and Baby Boomers are the groups most distrustful of social media, the survey found.

  • Only 7% of Millennials have a lot of trust that social media sites will protect their privacy and personal information. Their trust of social media sites is down 9% from two years ago.
  • Adults 65+ have the least trust;
  • Of those who use social media the most – at least four social media sites – only 14% have a lot of trust in them;
  • Most of the best-known social media sites are seeing increased usage since 2014, according to responses to survey questions about which sites people use.

A majority of Americans surveyed also expressed concern about the lack of safety online, including fears over identity theft, email hacking, and non-consensual online tracking.

Create a Massive Social Following

( @ SiteProNews) When it comes to the follower side of social media management, we all know quality trumps quantity. Yet the fact remains that follower count is still a significant vanity metric. You can’t grow your quality social contacts without focusing on quantity, at least as a secondary objective.

One of the questions I hear most often about social is a simple one: How do small businesses most effectively build their social following?

If you’re ready to see your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and beyond numbers start to swell with quality connections, this article will get you on track. Below are several expert-approved tips for creating a social following that truly wants to read your content.

Tip #1: Get Over Yourself

The entire internet is now espousing the value of well-crafted content, but there’s a secret sauce in this practice that makes all the difference. If you want to build a loyal following, your content has to be truly stellar, unique, and of value to your demographic. But you probably already knew that.

The easiest way to guarantee you’re meeting these objectives is this: don’t generate narcissistic content. The majority of your offerings need to be informative, not incessantly rambling about any facet of your products. Value is not uncovered in me-focused content, but in information that is relevant to your demographic. A good rule of thumb: offer 1 piece of company-centric content for every 9 pieces of valuable shares. The result will not only be a bigger social following, but one that is volumes more loyal.

Tip #2: Create the Content People Want

So what does it really mean to create content of value? Well, you first need to know the audience you’re serving as intimately as possible; all their likes, dislikes, and so on. Once you have a clear view of your target, the types of content you create is critical. Here are some proven content types that people respond to:

  1. Commenting on Industry News – Provide links to the latest advances in your niche, as well as insightful commentary on what the news might mean for the industry, or how it might specially impact your readers.
  2. Asking Questions – By far one of the more successful techniques, but with one caveat: you actually have to listen. If your company can show a proven track record of asking poignant questions and responding to customer data, your loyalty and friend shares will go through the roof. Don’t just ask questions with the intent to ignore the answers, however, as folks will catch on.
  3. User-Submitted Content – Sometimes your audience will ask fascinating questions or post relevant, intriguing comments. Use these in your social campaigns to not only showcase valuable content, but to make social stars out of your biggest fans.

The goal here is to share information, not status updates, company news, or things the mass audience will clearly not be interested in.

Tip #3: Own Your Expertise

One of the biggest mistakes companies make in attempting to create a social following is to be too generic. If you don’t echo yourself as an authority or guru for your chosen space, people simply won’t engage.

The folks with the biggest followings on sites like Twitter, aside from celebrities, are bona fide experts in their fields. Roy Povarchik calls this Twitter Greatness. Your content needs to reflect this expertise, not just in the actual information shared, but in the tone as well. Write with tremendous authority, be detailed in your knowledge share, and engender a sense of credibility in everything you produce.

This means you must include actual data at times to back up any declarations, and you also need to dedicate yourself to fact-checking. If you share any information that can easily rebuked, your reputation will most certainly suffer.

Tip #4: Stagger Your Content Shares

Want to know the single easiest way to get folks to unfollow you? Over-publishing content in “bursts” across your social channels. Tools like HootSuite allow you to schedule social media blasts, spacing out content releases in ideal time frames – use them to not only space out posts, but to publish them on optimal days and times (whenever your audience is most likely to be online.)

The most grievous offense in this category are auto-generated tweets and updates. If you run a poker site that auto-tweets every time someone wins a big hand, you may think you’re drawing worthy attention to your brand. The truth is, you’re likely to gain more followers short term, but lose them as fast you as you gained them with over-sharing.

Tip #5: Offers, Offers, Offers

There’s no easier way to offer value to your audience than giving away products or serving up significant offers. That’s also a proven method for boosting your followers by double digit percentages.

The key here is to truly make these offerings valuable. A 5% discount for an online store isn’t a sexy offer. A BOGO (buy one / get one) or 50% discount is. These offers must feel truly special in order to entice folks to take action, so make them worth your while, and your customers.

Tip #6: Be Positive!

Your social media tone is directly linked to your follower numbers. Those who opt for a more negative approach, who speak poorly about competitors or take on Twitter wars with other people or brands, are hardly ever those with impressive social numbers.

Instead, craft a voice that always has a positive message shining through. There’s a reason pictures of cats own the internet; they make people happy. Adopt the same philosophy with your brand’s social shares (either with or without the cats) and your numbers will most certainly increase.

Creative Ways Businesses Can Use Google+

 ( Look up “Google+ for business” in, well, Google — and you will find over a million results primarily focused on the search benefits Google Plus offers authors and brands. This is required reading, of course, so you can gain the optimum benefit from all the marketing you will be doing on Google Plus.

But beyond the Profile, Authorship, and Search benefits, how can you use a feature-rich social platform like Google Plus to really set your business apart from the rest? Here are twelve ways to get you started:

1. Hangouts on location for virtual tours

Hangouts are a “group chat” feature that also includes video calls with up to nine other people. If you are a realtor, a project manager, or someone else who needs to be “in the field” to walk through a project with your client or team, Hangouts are the perfect solution. The added bonus is that all the chat and photos shared into the Hangout are stored, so you can come back to them later.

2. Auto Awesome a staff photo for your cover art

Google Plus loves its photographers and has some seriously-awesome features to make your photos shine. One feature is called “Auto Awesome,” wherein a series of five or more photos uploaded to Google+ at the same time, containing roughly the same subject matter, will automatically animate. So… taking a series of photos of your staff waving “hello,” for example, then setting the animated “autoawesome’d” version as your cover photo will display everywhere your Google+ hovercard is triggered.

3. Party Mode for your awards banquet

Events created in Google Plus have a photo sharing feature built-in called “Party Mode.” If you are hosting an awards banquet or some other group function, housing the event on Google+ allows attendees to automatically upload their photos to a single location that all attendees can access. No more emailing and texting photos to each other!

4. Host a panelist virtually via Hangouts

Do you host seminars or roundtable discussions? Want to be able to bring in world authorities as panelists, without the expense of travel and lodging? Put up a screen, connect to the internet, and call them up via Hangouts. If your expert is presenting, they can even screenshare their presentation directly.

5. Use photo editing tools to create your own branded memes

As we said, Google loves its photographers. There are filters and crop tools available for the photos you upload, and you can also overlay text on your photos. Create the perfect personalized meme to go with a piece of content, for your cover photo, or maybe just to show off something funny that’s happening at the office. You can also download these pics to use elsewhere.

6. Broadcast live product demos and launches using Hangouts On Air

Your YouTube channel can be outfit as its own television network by hosting Hangouts On Air that stream live, then saved to YouTube for people to watch later. Interviews, roundtables, product demos, and even launches are all perfect candidates for Hangouts On Air. Build buzz around the event, then everyone can tune in to be the first to watch.

7. Curate and share staff, industry (or even competitor) circles

Shared circles are one of the discovery features for Google Plus users trying to find people and pages to follow. You can share circles publicly or privately. On the public side, perhaps your brand page shares a circle of team members that are on Google Plus to help your customers. Or you can share a circle of attendees to a recent event so that everybody can follow each other (who needs business cards at this point?!). You can also invite an entire circle to a Hangout for collaboration purposes.

8. Drive pins and tweets back to your Google+ posts

Google+ posts are unique in that they are treated as individual web pages that get indexed in search. This means you can tweet the link, pin the photo, and otherwise direct traffic from other social channels back to your Google+ activity. Why do this? Because from the individual post page, people can follow you directly, share, comment, and plus-one your post; all of which send social signals to Google that over time will boost your rankings in search (oops, I promised myself I wouldn’t go there).

9. Spearhead a local networking community

Google Plus Communities can literally act as virtual Chambers of Commerce. By building a vibrant, local community of business owners, you can host Events, Hangouts, share ideas and leads with each other, and find new prospects.

10. “AMA” (Ask Me Anything) events for customer feedback

Have you ever wanted to crowdsource an idea or put your CEO on the spot for some grilling? “AMA” events can be widely publicized Events on Google+ and can be huge opportunities for a business to gain exposure or build a community around its brand.

11. Embed Google Drive surveys and presentations

Google+ integrates across all its products, which means that if you create a presentation in Google Drive, you can embed it directly into a Google+ post — perfect for showcasing the recent deck your CMO presented at last week’s conference. Oh, and this works for any Google Drive document, including surveys. Users literally don’t have to leave the stream to view and interact with them.

12. Show fan appreciation using the amazing content creation tools in Google+

Whether someone left a glowing review, or you just want to give a shout out to an awesome fan, you can combine one or more of these features we talked about to put them in the spotlight. Do an interview/blog post about their experience with your product as a Hangout On Air, create some quote graphics from the Google+ Photos toolset, and share some of their own Google+ posts to your stream.

As you can see, Google+ offers a suite of features that you can mix and match to get your business some serious exposure. And once word gets out that you’re being innovative with what Google+ has to offer, influencers tend to notice… that’s when all the hard work pays off

Dominate Social Media in 2014

 

@ WebProNews) Social media is now the single most popular activity on the web. According to a Fast Company article on social media marketing, 93 percent of marketers use the top platforms to reach their intended audiences. Chances are, you’re one of these marketers or entrepreneurs.

Social media is just like any other aspect of the web; dynamic, multifaceted, and extremely fast paced. While some trends, like rockstar content creation, are evergreen and always in fashion, other strategies come and go as fast as a 140 character Twitter tweet.

Want to be on the cutting edge of social media strategies this year? Then start adapting the ideas below, if you aren’t already. Coupled with stellar customer service efforts and that aforementioned killer content, these marketing tips can help you get ahead of the social media curve in 2014.

Play Up Your Snafus

Acting graceful under fire is one of the single most effective ways to engender more brand loyalty. Acting defensive and angry is a surefire way to go down in flames. Social media gaffs happen – and if they happen to you, don a sense of humor and call out the elephant in the room. It just may have a wonderfully positive effect.

Use this tactic only when appropriate, however; it’s astounding the number of companies that still try to use humor at times that are simply not laughable. Most mistakes are benign though – like posting an incorrect price, date, or otherwise erroneous missive. If this happens to you, make lemonade; call out the blunder with bravery and aplomb, and your customers will take notice in a good way.

Tie-In Campaigns to Current Events

Social media campaigns that directly reference hot trending topics are genius, and growing in effectiveness. Holidays have always been an easy seasonal target, but expand this view point by weaving in current events with your marketing messages. This takes craftiness and fast-action, however; and please, choose your events wisely. They need to have some reference to your business or industry, and for heaven’s sake, please don’t use public tragedies to try and get more Likes or retweets. MSN, I’m talking to you – this company has been guilty of using celebrity deaths to try and garner more social media fandom. The moral here: use the latest world news to guide your campaigns, but by all means, keep it classy.

Become Obsessive about Quality

The adage that more is more is no longer remotely applicable in the social space. Firing off a dozen tweets a day that are vaguely interesting or self-serving is hardly a tactic that will win over your audience. Instead, be passionate about premium content.

Premium missives equal updates and campaigns that are unique, interesting, current, and truly of value to your audience. You already know not to incessantly post about your company as a sole tactic; incorporate a dedication to high quality content into everything you post, and your numbers will reflect this commitment.

Integrate Real-Time Social Apps into Your Sites

Don’t just think of social media advertising as something you do in your social channels. Adding real time twitter feeds and Facebook stats into your own content brings a myriad of benefits. It keeps your customers current on your latest news, it entices them to join the conversation, and it keeps search engines happy via fresh and dynamic content. This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but comb through the huge library of corporate sites out there and you’ll see the majority are still missing the boat on social integration.

Be Daring and Be Creative

You aren’t going to create a blazing social media campaign by playing it safe. The beauty of internet marketing is the real-time opportunities to test ideas, assess successes and failures, and to switch things up whenever we deem it necessary.

Never rest on your laurels and play it safe. What worked for you last month will likely not continue to produce the same results; if you aren’t willing to spend time being creative and exploring multiple channels, you aren’t likely to see the results you seek.

Remember that content is your best friend in the social space, and this should guide the bulk of your unique marketing angles. Write, shoot, or produce stellar content (blogs, videos, audio content, etc.) and let those pieces guide your updates and tweets. Statistics continue to prove that social sends with images, links, videos, and audio links have astronomically higher response rates. Make sure you are creating stellar content, and using it to your highest advantage in the social scene.

Make Friends with Your Metrics

Finally, if you’re not obsessively tracking your social metrics, you’re missing the truth about your campaigns. Modern tracking solutions are epically detailed these days, and many help to summarize and analyze complex data in a palatable, easy to digest fashion. These numbers are your friends, no matter what they are communicating. It’s no longer a luxury to simply launch social missives and casually watch the results. You need to be granular about analyzing data, and spend time each month digesting the reports. Without this due diligence to the details, you risk repeating mistakes and missing the signs of a big win or epic fail.

Facebook Dependentcy Not Necessarily A Bad Thing

 

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Photo (c) Matt Shirk - Wikimedia Commons

(Truman Lewis @ Consumer Affairs) Do you check Facebook several times a day? Maybe you play games with friends, post your opinions, check feedback on your posts, and look for chances to meet new friends.

If so, you may have a Facebook dependency. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, says Amber Ferris, an assistant professor of communication at The University of Akron's Wayne College.

Ferris, who studies Facebook user trends, says the more people use Facebook to fulfill their goals, the more dependent on it they become. However, she says this is not the same as an addiction.

Ferris and her colleagues studied 301 Facebook users who post at least once a month. They found that people who perceive Facebook as helpful in gaining a better understanding of themselves go to the site to meet new people and to get attention from others. Also, people who use Facebook to gain a deeper understanding of themselves tend to have agreeable personalities but lower self-esteem than others.

"They might post that they went to the gym. Maybe they'll share a post expressing a certain political stance or personal challenge they're facing. They rely on feedback from Facebook friends to better understand themselves," Ferris says.

Ferris explains that some users observe how others cope with problems and situations similar to their own "and get ideas on how to approach others in important and difficult situations." Other Facebook dependency signs point to users' needs for information or entertainment. In other words, a user knows about the local festival scheduled for this weekend thanks to Facebook.

Personality traits

Ferris' colleague Erin Hollenbaugh uncovered personality traits common among specific types of Facebook users.

For example, people who use Facebook to establish new relationships tend to be extroverted. Extroverts are more open to sharing their personal information online but are not always honest with their disclosures, Ferris says.

The most positive posts online come from those who have high self-esteem, according to Ferris.

"Those who post the most and are the most positive in posts do so to stay connected with people they already know and to gain others' attention," Ferris says. "This makes a lot of sense - if you are happy with your life, you are more likely to want to share that happiness with others on social media."

Finally: Facebook, Inc.'s Next-Generation "Like" Button Is Here

(Daniel Sparks @ fool.com) During a "townhall" question-and-answer session at Facebook's headquarters in September, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company was working on ways for users to express a different reaction beyond "liking" a post. Today, the company is finally rolling out what it was talking about: The next-generation Like button is here.

Origins
"People have asked about the 'dislike' button for many years, and probably hundreds of people have asked about this," Zuckerberg said during its public Q&A, "and today is a special day because today is the day that I actually get to say we are working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it."

While Zuckerberg didn't articulate what this new button could look like during the September Q&A, one thing was clear: Facebook did not want to epitomize the up vote/down vote systems in different online communities, such as the Reddit community.

The interest in a "dislike" button stems from a way to express empathy, Zuckerberg said, not from an interest in criticizing a Facebook status. "If you're expressing something sad," Zuckerberg explained, "... it may not feel comfortable to 'like' that post, but your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand."

Introducing "Reactions"
The veil has been removed, and the new button is here. Facebook is calling the new way to interact "Reactions."

"Today we are beginning to test Reactions -- an extension of the Like button that gives people more ways to share their reaction to a post in a quick and easy way," said Facebook product manager Chris Tosswill in a blog post on Thursday.

To interact with the next-generation Like button, users can hold down the button to choose from different emojis. There are seven emojis to choose from, according to The Wall Street Journal. These include the traditional Like, angry, haha, love, wow, and yay.

This new Like button is initially only available in Ireland and Spain, as the company still categorizes the feature as a "test." "We want to hear from people who use Facebook what works and what doesn't during this test, before we make this change for everyone," Tosswill said. But it sounds like Facebook is pretty serious about rolling this feature out in one form or another to everyone on Facebook; "Stay tuned!" Tosswill said.

More data for businesses and marketers
This new Like button has key implications for businesses and marketers. Namely, Facebook can provide more specific data on how posts and advertisements perform.

"We see this as an opportunity for businesses and publishers to better understand how people are responding to their content on Facebook," Tosswill said. "During this test, Page owners will be able to see Reactions to all of their posts on Page insights."

Because users will be able to choose from more options than Like when interacting with content with this new button, Facebook will be able to generate more useful information for businesses and marketers. And as the company collects more and more data about the use of the new Like button, the social network will likely offer improved targeting abilities for its ad products.

With the majority of its money coming from advertising, having even more specific data will likely be a huge win for Facebook.

The article Finally: Facebook, Inc.'s Next-Generation "Like" Button Is Here originally appeared on Fool.com.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright 1995 - 2015 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

 

Google+ Guide To Success

(Rachel ORiordan Art Division) Google+ is Google's own social network, but it's been slow to gain popularity. Google+ continues to tweak its services and make changes in response to its users' needs, leading to a more versatile platform with better integration with many of Google's other services, such as Reader, Calender and Youtube.

Google+ easily displays all types of media, such as video, images and text, and has a simple, intuitive commenting system. It's incredibly diverse and easy to navigate, with an organised, structured overview.

The Basics

Google plus circlesCircles are the groups you put the people you're following into, allowing you to differentiate between friends, family, acquaintances and those you are simply following, but don't actually know. You can rename your circles and create as many new ones as you like, allowing you to group people as you see fit. It's also possible to put one person in several different circles, and a person does not need to add you back in order for you to follow them.

The +1 feature allows you to show your interest in specific stories, both within Google+ and across the web. If you click the +1 button on an external web page, the story will appear in your profile, whereas if you +1 something within Google+ it will add a +1 to that particular story – it's akin to 'liking' something on Facebook.

Your Home page shows the news stream of all the stories posted by people in your circles, and it allows you to filter your stream in order to view specific circles. Likewise, you can post your own entries to Google+ here, and choose which circles you wish to be able to view each update.

google plus hangouts iconHangouts are one of the biggest selling points of Google+. Hangouts are video calls, but more versatile than you've ever seen them. Google+ hangouts have several different uses, such as holding video conferences of up to ten people and broadcasting live shows to other users. These broadcasts appear both on participants' profiles and on YouTube (which is a part of Google) channels. Once a hangout has ended, a recording of it is posted on the participant's stream.

 

Other Features

Uploading and sharing Photos is a standard part of Google+, as are Games and Pages, which are similar to its Facebook counterparts. The Events page is compatible with Google Calender, and allows all the people who attend an event to add their own photos to it. The Local page tells you what's nearby, from cafés to theatres and everything in between. Maps, reviews, contact details and opening hours are all included. 

The Explore page features a news stream of stories, based on recommendations specifically for you, chosen according to your profile and +1's. It can be likened to Twitter's Discover page, and the stories featured do not include anything from your circles.

Google+ is largely seen as a place for people with things in common to interact, rather than a place for friends and family to keep in touch. For this reason, deep conversations and meaningful discussions are not uncommon.

Anything posted publicly to Google+ is indexed incredibly quickly by Google (funny that!), meaning it will show up in relevant search results fast. The +1 feature also alters search results for Google+ users, giving pages associated with those in your circles a higher ranking, leading to a more personalised and relevant search.

Google+ has been slow to break into social media, but we cannot ignore the fact that it's a part of the world's biggest search engine and will therefore likely have considerable impact in the future, as more changes are made and it's able to integrate more fluidly with other popular platforms.

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HootSuite for Social Media Management

5 Reasons to use HootSuite for Social Media ManagementSocial media has grown from a curiosity to an integral piece of corporate strategy in the space of only a few years. Nearly overnight, companies have brought on whole teams of specialists to craft effective social media strategies and manage multiplying numbers of social media accounts. Companies are hungry for better social media tools to engage their constituents. Below is a list of five features key to delivering on a social media strategy.

1) Scheduling

Social media doesn't sleep, but that doesn't mean you don't have to! Ensure your social media management tool of choice allows you to schedule messages in advance. So even if you're in New York, you can schedule messages out to your customers in Tokyo during their workday.

If you want to take scheduling to the next level, look for a tool that offers the ability to schedule large batches of messages at once. This will be a super useful time-saver when it comes to managing campaigns or contests that require heavy messaging around a certain period of time.

2) Geo

When it comes to interacting with your customers, those in different locations may have different needs, speak different languages or follow different trends. You're going to want a tool that optimizes your searches and filters your searches by language to help you curate relevant content for different demographics.

3) Keywords

Social media is also an effective way for businesses to keep their finger on the pulse. Setting up keywords or search streams provide insight into what is trendy among your customers. This can help you develop a marketing strategy that focuses on customer's lifestyles and personal preferences.

Keywords are useful for keeping track of competitors' activities but they're also useful for tracking brands that are complementary to your offering. If your product is often purchased in conjunction with another product, keep an eye on the complementary product's social media activity to take advantage of promotions or recent sales, as these are potential leads ready to be converted.

4) Collaboration

It takes two to tango especially when it comes to being social. Collaboration is key when it comes to developing and executing an effective social media campaign. Ensure your social media management tool enables you to seamlessly collaborate with your team to ensure you execute an integrated social media management strategy.

5) Reporting

Gone are the days of social media purely being about 'building buzz.' It is now a line item in budgets as companies invest resources in these channels and there is an expectation for reports which show ROI for social media outreach.

Make sure your tool has the ability to analyze important metrics such as click-through rates on shortened links, clicks by region and top referrers. It's also important to have access to Facebook Insights and Google Analytics.

The most effective tools will provide the ability to access in-depth granular metrics on the efficacy of your social media programs. This will allow you to determine which messages resulted in the highest number of conversions, which platform is providing the greatest return and which time of day is most effective to drive traffic.

What it takes to go Pro?

Social is here to stay and to maintain a competitive advantage, businesses need to stay abreast of this ever-evolving space. HootSuite Pro help teams engage with audiences and analyze campaigns across multiple social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn from one secure web-based dashboard and mobile app.

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How To Know If Your Linkedin Password Was Hacked

Worried that your LinkedIn password may be a part of the nearly 6.5 million compromised on Wednesday? Password management firm LastPass has released a secure tool to see if your password was among the stolen.

News first surfaced about the security breach after a Russian hacker said he stole 6,458,020 encrypted LinkedIn passwords and posted them online (without usernames) to prove his feat. The breach comes on the heels of news that LinkedIn’s iOS app potentially violates user privacy by sending detailed calendar entries to its servers.

LinkedIn confirmed that some passwords had become compromised and said it would contact affected users with details on how to change their password.

SEE ALSO: LinkedIn Hacker Steals 1.5 Million Passwords from eHarmony [REPORT]

Although usernames associated with the passwords were not released, the passwords themselves will surely be used to help reverse-engineer other cryptography systems. We also expect to see these passwords added to dictionary lists of programs that attempt to break into various accounts.

In other words — if you’re a LinkedIn user, no matter how strong your password seemed — it’s a good idea to go ahead and change it.

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Increase Facebook Referral Traffic

( @ SitePronews) Facebook referral traffic is traffic that comes from the Facebook domain. Technically, this also refers to affiliate advertising from the website, but most people (as with this article) are referring to the traffic you can get from the Facebook profiles and fan pages. The amount of referral traffic that people get from Facebook is small. The best legitimately recorded record is in the 20 percent-plus range. Average referral rates are closer to eight percent but rose to 10 percent recently, most likely due to increased mobile Facebook referrals.

Here are five ways you can increase your Facebook referral traffic:

1. Create a hook that needs to be answered via the website

This is the most obvious tip, but it is so often blurred with online marketing attempts that it is rendered useless. Take it back down to its most basic level and try to stay away from advertising, promotion and marketing. Sure, you can do all of that on most of your posts, but every now and again you need only create a post that gives a hook and links to the website that provides the answer. Something simple may be all that is needed such as, “We just cut the price of our Doc Martins” followed by a link to the website.

2. Speak plainly and openly as a human writer on your Facebook posts

A big mistake that a lot of Facebook posters make is to write as if they are writing a corporate newsletter. It is true that you cannot often voice your marketing with just one voice and one person, but this is social media, where the rules of marketing apply less because the social media networks are not built for market use.

You may quite easily put your Facebook posts in the first person, and even post a picture of the person who posted it. For example, is it so crazy to think that a Facebook fan page may have posts that were written by the company’s members of staff? This would explain why they have numerous different posts by different people. So long as the images of the people posting are not linked to their personal Facebook profiles then everything is OK.

3. Intimate that people only need pay a short visit 

You need to make it clear to people that they need only pay your website a short visit. This will send a subtle message that will make your viewers more amenable to visiting your website (i.e. that they are not abandoning their Facebook session). The problem that a lot of people have with clicking on links on Facebook is that it could essentially threaten their Facebook session, and they want to stay on Facebook because they are having fun. Having pages open in another tab still makes them feel as if they are leaving Facebook, so remind them in a subtle way that they are going to be able to get right back to Facebook after they have taken a quick peek at your website. Obviously, once they are on your website you can work toward keeping them there for as long as it is advantageous to your business.

4. Explain the website provides more of what they enjoyed on your post

If your Facebook post viewers enjoyed your post and have returned because they like other posts that you have made, then make it clear and obvious they can get more if they visit your website. This is especially easy if your website has some sort of entertainment value. If you are trying to gather support for your eCommerce site, then attaching it to some sort of entertainment channel may be a good idea.

5. Create artificial pressures such as time limits

This sort of thing is such a classic marketing technique and yet is still quite effective to the point of even working if you are trying to get Facebook users to visit your website. The words, “limited time offer” are a bit overused, but if you can create a logical and plausible reason why people are better off visiting your website now instead of later, then you will get more conversions as a result.

An artificial pressure is sometimes created by making a user think that he or she may lose something if he or she does not act quickly. You may also convince them they have more to gain if they visit now instead of later. If you can create a plausible pressure, then your conversion rate will go up.

LinkedIn adds Feature for Iinfluencers

(CNN) -- LinkedIn hopes to jazz up its news feed with the addition of 150 super influencers on the network who fans can follow, a la Twitter.

The elite circle includes President Obama, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, physician/writer Deepak Chopra, Virgin founder/CEO Richard Branson, motivational speaker Tony Robbins and Mashable's founder/CEO Pete Cashmore, among others. Fans can follow the celebs for regular updates, just like on Twitter. However, there are some differences. There's no 140-character limit on updates and the communication is designed to be business-related.

"Our goal is to always make sure that there's high quality," says Dan Roth, executive editor at LinkedIn. When asked when the next round of super-influencers will be added, Roth replied, "The answer is we don't know."

LinkedIn has reason to wade cautiously into this Twitteresque feature. While fake accounts and off-subject tweets are part of that social network's charm, unleashing the same on LinkedIn could destroy its niche as a sober forum for business. As such, the activity of the initial 150 will be different than their Twitter feeds. "People come here for a purpose," Roth says. "They're at work or thinking about work. It's not about their personal lives."

The group's ability to engage LinkedIn's audience will be ranked by views, likes, comments and shares that are visible to all users. Such metrics will both act as a self-regulating feature, but will also prompt the inevitable ranking of the top 10 and bottom 10.

The addition of the program is the latest evolution for the nine-year-old LinkedIn, which was initially little more than an online Rolodex. Over time, the site has emerged as a social network with its own hive of activity.

Twitter's decision in June to no longer let users tweet to LinkedIn may have actually helped the company overcome criticism that it's a low-engagement network: PageLever, an analytics tool for Facebook Pages, found that the Twitter disentanglement actually prompted a 1,000% increase in page referrals from Facebook. Since the Twitter breakup, LinkedIn also ushered in a redesign that made it look more like Facebook or Google+.

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LinkedIn proves it's no Facebook (in a good way)

(Julianne Pepitone @CNNMoney ) Post-IPO life hasn't been kind to Facebook and other newly public social startups, whose plummeting shares have left investors downtrodden. But LinkedIn, the first of the big social network upstarts to go public, continues to prove it can be a money-making machine.

Wall Street analysts had high expectations for LinkedIn's (LNKD) fourth quarter, and the company still beat on both counts. LInkedIn netted $40.2 million, or 35 cents per share -- more than three times as much as the $13 million it made a year earlier.

Sales came in at $303.6 million during the past quarter, up 81% over the year.

Shares rose 19% in morning trading, reaching an all-time high of $147.43.

As a business networking site, LinkedIn might not be as sexy as Facebook (FB) and other buzzy startups. But from the start, LinkedIn stood out from the newly public pack. The likes of Yelp (YELP), Pandora (P) and Groupon (GRPN) weren't profitable when they decided to go public, but LinkedIn was earning money and had a solid business model to boot.

The company has touted its multiple-revenue-stream approach, and all three money-making sectors were strong last quarter.

Sales from job-recruitment tools rose 90% over the year, accounting for more than half of the company's overall revenue.

Ads and other marketing revenue increased by more than two-thirds over the year. Advertising represents just a quarter of LinkedIn's revenue -- at Facebook, by contrast, ad sales account for 84% of revenue, and they were up only 41% last quarter.

The final fifth of LinkedIn's sales comes from subscribers who pay for premium accounts.

The company didn't shed much light on mobile, however, a continued pressure point for social networks like Facebook. Facebook shares are finally turning around now that the company is beginning to serve ads to mobile users, and Zynga posted a surprise profit on Tuesday as its mobile userbase expanded.

On a conference call with analysts, CEO Jeff Weiner said about 27% of the site's visitors last quarter came from mobile apps, a 15% jump from a year ago, and about one-third of people looking at job postings came from mobile devices.

One analyst on the call asked about LinkedIn's ongoing testing of mobile ads, and Weiner stressed it's "still early." Because of the limited space on smartphones in particular, the company wants to "be thoughtful" about its mobile ad rollout, Weiner said.

Meanwhile, LinkedIn's overall userbase is growing. The company passed the 200 million member mark during the fourth quarter, representing a nearly 40% increase from the same quarter last year. It's adding about two members per second, and the international market is especially hot: More than 64% of LinkedIn members live outside the United States.

The company also touted its fourth-quarter redesign of LinkedIn profiles, saying that nearly twice as many members updated their pages versus the fourth quarter of 2011. LinkedIn did not provide specific numbers on that point.

LinkedIn expects sales of about $307 million for the first quarter, and about $1.43 billion for the full year. Both figures were in line with the outlook analysts expected.

The social network continues to outperform more traditional job search competitors as well. Monster Worldwide (MWW) Thursday morning reported a $73 million loss last quarter, and the company decided to exit some foreign markets to focus on its U.S. business. To top of page

Linkedin More Business 10 Ways

( @ SiteProNews) LinkedIn is today’s top business networking website where business professionals of all kinds migrate in hopes of making new connections and creating new business opportunities. It’s estimated there are now over 200,000 million LinkedIn users, making LinkedIn one of the world’s top social networking websites along with Facebook and Twitter.

 

Although everyone and their dog has a LinkedIn profile, knowing how to use LinkedIn effectively is no easy task. For many business owners their LinkedIn experience starts and ends with the number of connections they make with most believing bigger numbers will convert into more leads or sales.

 

Sadly for most people this is not the case, and once LinkedIn users don’t experience the results they are looking for, their enthusiasm wanes. There are countless profiles around the world that sit there with little or no activity because people have given up, thinking LinkedIn just doesn’t work for them (at least when it comes to getting more customers).

Speaking from experience, however, I can tell you that LinkedIn is indeed a very strong promotional tool that when used properly can be a great source of free marketing for your business.

Like anything else in life, getting the results you want takes some time and commitment, so don’t expect too much too quickly. Once you get a better understanding of how LinkedIn works, it will help expose your company to a whole new audience not available anywhere else.

On that note here are 10 important tips to remember that will help generate more interest for your business on LinkedIn:

1. Make Sure Your Profile Is Completed Properly

Before doing anything else make sure your LinkedIn profile is filled out properly. Choosing to not to complete your LinkedIn profile in full is the equivalent of filling out a job application and leaving half of the fields blank. For people to take you seriously, it’s important to treat your LinkedIn profile as an online resume that features your best skills and accomplishments. People must view you as a credible resource for whatever service or product you are selling before they choose to investigate your company further.

2. Include Pictures, Links and Videos In Your Profile

LinkedIn continues to evolve with each passing day and now allows you to add pictures, links or even videos to your profile rather easily. Reading through endless text will bore your visitors in a hurry so anything you can do to spice it up a little is an advantage. If you have pictures of your business available or a portfolio of your work you want people to see, make sure you include this in a place that’s clearly visible. A picture is worth a thousand words is an old but very true saying when it comes to LinkedIn or any other aspect of marketing.

3. Include a Call to Action In Your Profile

Rather than simply listing your business details in your profile try and include something that tells visitors what you want them to do next. Invite them to view your website, join your other social media pages or call you for a free consultation. A call to action creates more of an impulse response with people who may give your profile a look but otherwise won’t react with any sense of urgency. Don’t go overboard with full blown sales pitches but communicate your message in a way that makes visitors want to take the next step.

4. Update Your Status Regularly With Useful Content

Not updating your status on a regular basis is one of the major mistakes most LinkedIn users make and will ensure people forget about you fast. Once you make connections with people, it’s important to make sure you stay in front of your audience so they get to know and recognize your brand. Post information relating to your line of work that others may find helpful, including tips, articles, resources, videos or whatever else. Once people begin to respect you as an authority in your particular subject matter, they are more likely to contact you in the future.

5. Target Your Approach When Making Connections

A lot of people will try and add new connections randomly which is still technically considered a no-no acording to official LinkedIn policy. If you are going to try and make connections with people you haven’t met, try and think logically about what kind of people could benefit from your service. Also try and make connections with people in a similar industry to yours or who offer a complementary service so there is a valid reason for you to make the invite. Collecting a bunch of people who have no interest in you or your business may build up your numbers but won’t help generate buzz for your business. Also remember if your business only serves local customers, you want to try and connect with people in the same area as you.

6. Join Multiple Groups and Actively Participate

There are countless groups on LinkedIn for almost every topic imaginable so join some that interest you and get involved. Posting to group conversations is as important as regular status updates. Not doing so won’t garner you much attention. Remember the goal of a group is to network, meet new people and turn them into acquaintances through meaningful conversations. Groups are a great way to build your list of connections and also to target specific areas of interest that make sense when promoting your business.

7. Optimize Your Profile For Search Results

Many people don’t realize that you can do a search on LinkedIn similar to how you look for information on Google. People don’t just search for someone’s name on LinkedIn, they search for topics or businesses they are interested in as well. Try to include important keywords throughout your profile that other people can use when searching your type of industry. Profiles that are well optimized will show up at the top of many common LinkedIn searches and will bring more targeted traffic to your profile page.

8. Create A LinkedIn Business Page and Make People Aware of it

Yes, LinkedIn has officially jumped on the business page bandwagon, joining the likes of Facebook and Google+. If you haven’t started one yet, do so immediately because promoting a business page can take weeks, if not months. If you have a strong list of LinkedIn contacts already, send them a personal message to follow you on your business page as well (and make sure you are willing to return the favour). Your business page will let you showcase your company in ways your personal profile will not with better options for photos, videos, posting, etc. Don’t neglect your normal profile when building your business page either, the two must work off each other as a cohesive unit for best results.

9. Say Hello to People You Add or Who Add You

Whether people openly admit it or not, they will often add a new connection or accept an invitation to connect with no dialogue or interaction. You won’t be good friends with every contact you have on LinkedIn but at least try to engage some of them in a manner that lets them know you appreciate their interest. If it’s simply sending a personal message saying nice to meet you and thanks for adding me, a personal message goes a long way in building relationships with others. Acknowledging someone as not just another random connection but a real life person lets you stand out in the crowd almost immediately.

10. Get a Professional Photo Taken

You’ve probably heard the saying “image is everything” or perception is reality” a million times. Whether it’s fair or not, having a striking profile picture will make you appear important and more like a big time player in LinkedIn circles everywhere. Professional photos have a huge impact in any aspect of marketing whether it’s websites, magazines, or print ads you get in the mail. If your profile picture is poor or just average, that’s what your first impression will likely be with others. Also don’t ever use personal photos for your LinkedIn profile, make sure you look the part of someone others would want to do business with.

Of course there are more advanced methods of LinkedIn marketing once you get the hang of it and start to see the results you’re after. Remember there is no magic formula in creating the perfect LinkedIn strategy. It is a skill you must practice and develop over time. Work hard, be consistent and your efforts will pay off

Make Online Money With Facebook

If you always wanted to earn online income but didn’t know where to start, why not jump on the most popular social network site and take advantage of their ad serving platform?

Featured Story: Click Here to read about 2 College Guys Who Made $119K in One Month Using Facebook!

Believe it or not, tens of thousand of people are using Facebook every day to chat with their friends and have fun… while others are making money at the same time.

Would you like to know how to cash-it on this social phenomenon?

Would $5… $50… or $150 in additional income make you happier? What would you do with the “new found” money?

Let’s make it happen, here are three quick steps:

Step #1

Once you have signed up to Facebook your first step should be to think about how you want to present yourself. You don’t want to fake it, just be yourself and showcase your skill, your hobby or knowledge – that is what makes money from Facebook.

Don’t forget that you want to attract the attention of a specific group of people here, so that you become known as someone who is something of an expert on one particular subject. So choose wisely!

Step #2

Go for a popular niche that you personally like and have an interest in. Develop your persona in that area. If you already have something of a web presence in a particular area then you’ll use that in your advantage because — it will help you as more and more people become aware of who you, your skill/knowledge and how this can help them.

Step #3

Your first port of call, if you have anything second hand to sell which is related to your niche, is the Marketplace. It’s free to place ads in the Marketplace and there is no limit on how many you can place.

EXAMPLE: you come across a bargain lot of books on your subject on eBay or at a yard sale you can list them all individually on Facebook and sell them on for a profit.

If you have a budget to spend on advertising and you have some external websites you want to promote, you can try out the Social Ads to see what benefits you get from them. It is well worth reading through the relevant help section to see what is involved though, as it is quite in depth.

FACEBOOK BEST ADVANTAGE:

The main benefit of becoming a Facebook member is that you can build and use any number of applications to perform certain tasks on your profile page.

The GREAT NEWS is that Facebook doesn’t frown at users making money from their Facebook page, and indeed many people link in to other websites outside of Facebook itself.

People are constantly building new applications and often they are used by many other users to create pages that appeal to their own particular needs.

This is partly why you will succeed in making more money from Facebook if you brand yourself carefully before you get started on the site.

BRANDING YOURSELF?

Figure out what it is you want to do and what you want to achieve. If you already have a website up and running then you will be able to link into that, so keep the look and feel of your Facebook page in the same vein as your site.

But while you can link to other sites outside of Facebook, some people also sprinkle some affiliate links on their actual Facebook page itself. For example, some quick research revealed one person who links into a range of ClickBank products on their page and does well from doing so.

So long as you start from a strong position with a particular focus and brand in mind, you can do well by experimenting with all the benefits that Facebook offers (and they’re growing).

Take time to build up a network of friends and make sure you become known for being an expert in your particular sphere of interest/niche.

Exposure is what you should aim for. The more people you make friends with and add to your network, the more money you should be generating. However, don’t make the mistake to go after “friends” for money.

Put people first, money will follow. It’s like in the real life, just a different medium, the same communication skills and principles apply though.

You should always sound, look and act real, don’t pretend to be someone else. People feel it nowadays more than ever.

Make Online Money With Twitter

Every time we turn around we’re hearing about another social networking site offering users unlimited possibilities. Twitter is just such a site. Twitter is a very popular site that’s gaining more popularity every day. Members are constantly “tweaking” their friends, family members and even work associates! It seems like almost every one of all ages has a Twitter account today and many are making money doing it. Yes, you can make money with Twitter. Join the thousands of others that are doing that very thing. While you won’t become a millionaire overnight, Twitter offers you a great chance to earn some real cash!

Twitter Offers Many Money-Making Opportunities

There are several ways you can make money with Twitter. Before you can begin making money on Twitter, you will need lots of contacts the better. It’s been shown that Twitter users are getting as many as 20,000 followers within just the first month or two of joining. Imagine if you made a sale to just 1% of these followers: you’d have sold to 200 people. The opportunities to make money are endless with Twitter. So make as many friends as you can on Twitter and develop a good trusting relationship with these users. The more Twitter friends you make, the better your opportunity to make money.

Become an Affiliate on Twitter

Affiliate marketing is a great way to make money online while doing very little in the way of work. Most online companies offer an affiliate program to anyone interested. Find a company that offers affiliate marketing (it will be on the bottom of their website). Sign up and wait to hear from them. They’ll check out your Twitter page and make sure it offers good opportunities for sales. Once they’ve accepted you as an affiliate, you’re all set to go.

Put up an attractive ad for the business and promote it to all your followers. The more of your followers you can get to purchase the product, the more money you’ll make. Since Twitter is such a large social networking site, the possibilities just keep getting bigger and bigger. Some companies will even pay if a person just clicks on the ad without making a sale, although these are rarer. Affiliate marketing is a very popular way to make money and if you have a Twitter page anyways (who doesn’t?), you may as well make some money at the same time.

Make Money on Twitter with RevTwt

RevTwt is a platform that deals with CPC (cost per click) and allows you to make money from your tweets. For those unfamiliar with Twitter, tweets are messages and posts you put on your Twitter page.

Sign up for an account with RevTwt and they’ll check out your Twitter profile. After doing this, they’ll allow you to put ads for different products or services on your Twitter page. Each time someone clicks on these ads, you can make money.

As you can see, there’s a lot of money to be made off of Twitter but the key is to get as many followers as possible so make all the friends you can!

Managing Social Media 14 Tools

14 Tools Every Entrepreneur Needs for Managing Social Media
Image credit: OZinOH via Flickr

( @ visual.ly) Smart businesses know that social media is a power to be reckoned with, as it creates a direct line of communication between your company and consumers and allows anyone with an internet connection instant access to the latest buzz around your products or services. Not to mention, it can help you to generate revenue, while building your brand presence.

Let that marinate for a second. This potential for a triple treat is no task to walk into empty handed or unprepared. Unless you want to turn your social media endeavors into a triple threat, you should develop a strategy (one based on as much knowledge as possible about your audience and their behavior).

 

The 14 tools below will help you and your social media manager take on the complexity of the job.

1. Visually's Google analytics report

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

While Google analytics can provide a plethora of information, the data can often be daunting and complicated. So to jazz up data, try Visually’s Google analytics report, which is an app that creates a custom infographic of your website’s activity and performance. This free report tells your website’s story for the week loud and clear. It highlights where your wins came from, which gives you that push to make next week even better. You can opt to have these reports delivered straight to your inbox every week.

Related: Going Beyond Facebook Paid Posts to Reach Customers

Pricing: Free

2. TweetDeck

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

This free, easy-to-use Twitter-management tool allows you to oversee all aspects of your Twitter account(s) in one interface. TweetDeck gives users the freedom to customize their display by showing or hiding various columns. Considering TweetDeck is specifically tailored for Twitter, it may not be the best tool for those looking to simultaneously manage various social networks in one place. Nevertheless, it gives a great deal of control over the intricacies of your Twitter profile without the hassle of navigating across profiles.

Pricing: Free

3. HootSuite

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

HootSuite takes it a step further and allows you to manage multiple social streams like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Foursquare, among others. The platform makes it possible for you and your team to delegate between responses to fans and followers, eliminating the stress of coordinating responses and potentially overlooking valued fans. While HootSuite remains one of the most used social-media management tools, it does lack a basic function: The ability to have images appear as image previews in the Twitter feed as opposed to collapsed links. 

Related: 10 Advanced Facebook Tips and Tricks

Pricing:
Free - Up to 5 social profiles, up to 2 RSS
$8.99/month - Up to 100 social profiles, up to 9 team members, advanced message scheduling and more
Enterprise (custom pricing) - Unlimited

4. Sprout Social

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Like Hootsuite, Sprout Social is a social-media dashboard that monitors and manages multiple social networks. It has a clean interface and user-friendly dashboard built around six tabs: Home, Messages, Feeds, Publishing, Discovery and Reports. Connecting your Facebook, Google+ (Pages only), LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, Sprout Social suggests new people to follow or unfollow and offers many ways to schedule updates in advance. Although Sprout Social still has much to improve on (like offering a wider range of social networks), it is paving the way towards fruitful social-media managing.

Related: Boost Sales With These 7 Social Media Steps

Pricing:
$39 per user/month - Manage up to 10 profiles, real-time brand monitoring, comprehensive reporting tools, and more
$59 per user/month - Manage up to 20 profiles, Helpdesk and Google Analytics integration, deluxe reporting and more
$99 per user/month - Manage up to 50 profiles, ViralPost time optimization, custom interface, and more

5. Crowdbooster

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

If your main focus is Twitter and Facebook, then this is the tool for you. Crowdbooster helps streamline your social-media activity, so you pay attention to what matters. Aside from scheduling posts for both Twitter and Facebook, it allows you to easily keep track of new fans and followers by reminding you of followers you have not yet responded to and listing recently acquired influential followers. Although there seems to be a lag time between the syncing of Crowdbooster with Facebook and Twitter's API data, it presents a dynamic tool that helps direct growth and engagement metrics.

Pricing:
$9/month - 1 Facebook page, 1 Twitter, 1 User and more
$49/month - 10 social media accounts, 8 users and more
$119/month - 30 social media accounts, 30 users and more

6. Twitter Showdown

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

The Twitter Showdown app allows users to compares any two Twitter accounts head-to-head. While the app is meant to be a light-hearted, fun way to see who rules the Twittersphere, it can also produce some insightful information on different Twitter accounts in your industry or when comparing yourself to your competitors. Twitter Showdown gives you insight on follower-to-following ratio, level of tweet engagement, mentions per tweet, tweet timing and, overall, how two accounts compare.

Related: 9 Advanced Twitter Tips and Tricks

Pricing: Free

7. Edgerank Checker

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Although Facebook pages comes equipped with insights and provides significant data on likes, reach and people talking about this, among other metrics, sorting through the data and making sense of it can be a hassle. Edgerank Checker helps admins understand how their followers interact with each post by assigning it an Edgerank score and makes recommendations to assist with future posts. With this tool, admins can even monitor each post in real time.

Pricing:
Free - EdgeRank score, EdgeRank score over time graph
$15 per page/month - Real-time analysis, post grades, recommendations, negative feedback analyzer

8. Buffer

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Buffer is a simple and effective tool for sharing content through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. It’s particularly useful for small businesses that don’t have the time or resources to update their social media channels regularly but would still like to maintain a social presence. With Buffer, you can schedule bulk posts ahead of time in a queue. It also offers a number of extensions through Chrome, Firefox and Safari, which makes sharing what you find on the web that much easier. On the downside, Buffer falls short when it comes to monitoring discussions.

Pricing:
Free service - allows for 2 profiles and 10 updates in the queue for each profile
$10/month - unlimited updates and up to 12 profiles

9. SocialBro

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Specific to Twitter, SocialBro provides insights to your analytics, suggestions for targeting and engagement. It also helps keep tabs on your key influencers and competitors. It works best when coupled with a scheduling tool like Buffer or Hootsuite, because it is geared less towards publishing content and more towards offering reports for marketers. With SocialBro’s integration of both Buffer and Hootsuite, you can import the optimized schedule to sync with your queue and use the results to adjust your engagement.

Pricing:
Free 15-day trial
$13.95/month - Up to 20,000 social contacts across 5 Twitter accounts and more
$39/month - Up to 50,000 social contacts across 15 Twitter accounts and more
$149/month - Up to 200,000 social contacts across 40 Twitter accounts and more
Enterprise - On demand

10. Postling

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Postling is perfect for businesses looking to expand their reach across social networks. Keeping track of responses, brands and people, this tool sends a daily digest of your recent activity across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, Yelp, YouTube and Flickr. One cool feature is tracking news every time your business or brand is mentioned on the web. With a click, you’ll be able to share that tweet or review.

Related: Brand Visibility: Techniques and Tactics

Pricing:
$1 first 30 days - unlimited usage
$10/month after 30 days - manage up to 5 social media accounts/ additional accounts cost $3/month each

11. Tailwind

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Previously known as Pinreach, Tailwind tracks activity across Pinterest including information about your company, products and competitors. In addition to the general reporting of growth and engagement, you can connect Google Analytics to track conversions and see which activity is most profitable.

Pricing:
Free - Limited profile and domain trends
$29/month - 90-day history archive, track 2 competitors, invite 2 collaborators, basic audience IQ and more
$99/month - 1-year history archive, track 5 competitors, invite 5 collaborators, advanced audience IQ and more
Enterprise (custom pricing) - Unlimited history archive, track unlimited competitors and more

12. Social Mention

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Social Mention is a real-time social-media search and analysis tool that scrapes user generated content across the internet for any given company, product or search term. In a single stream, this tool will give you the most recent relevant results, metrics on unique authors, reach, frequency of mentions, sentiment and top keywords. This tool should be on every social media manager’s shortlist.

Pricing: Free

13. Shoutlet

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Shoutlet is an enterprise-level social-marketing software that aims to help companies understand their market, grow their social database and drive their business by creating a seamless platform that guides targeted campaigns through analytics. In addition to publishing and scheduling content, the streamlined community-management platform makes it easy to create custom workflows to ensure the needs of all customers and fans are being addressed. 

Related: Business Still Not on Facebook? Get Up to Speed With These 4 Steps.

Pricing: Request a demo

14. Argyle Social

15 Tools Every Social Media Manager Should Use

Similar to Shoutlet, Argyle Social focuses on building stronger relationships with your social following. It helps you establish your most valuable content, ensuring your efforts add value to your marketing strategy. Argyle Social places emphasis on B2B social marketing by monitoring prospects and tracking conversions. Underscoring their focus on B2B engagement, Argyle Social has integrated with Marketo, Pardot and Silver Pop, by directly linking social media actions to the impact on marketing and sales. 

Pricing:
$200/month - Ideal for small marketing organizations
$600/month - Powerful features for seasoned marketers
$1100/month - Complete solution for advanced users and larger marketing teams

Proper Linkedin Profile - Getting The Most Out Of It

Over the past couple of years, LinkedIn has become the premier “business to business” network resource, boasting in excess of 100 million users.

People use LinkedIn to find jobs. Businesses and “Head Hunters” use LinkedIn for locating key employees with specific talents. Business uses LinkedIn for selecting management candidates and partners. Companies use LinkedIn to evaluate suppliers/vendors, technical resources/solutions. And sales uses LinkedIn to obtain prospective customers. Essentially, LinkedIn is one gigantic networking event that you cannot afford to miss, and you have to do it right!.

The Profile Says It All

Your LinkedIn profile may be your prospects’ first contact with you and your company. First impressions count, so let’s make it a good one.

The LinkedIn profile, information wise, is a lot like a resume or CV, with an objective statement, education, and a chronological listing of your work. Where it differs is that it should be written in the first person (me, my), and you should use each listing to sell your capabilities and the resulting benefits for the reader. 

Be open and honest: Integrity is everything, and facts are too easy to check online, so make sure your profile highlights you and your capability without embellishment.

An incomplete or closed profile can create suspicions for a potential client. So make you profile complete, open, honest, and professional.

Profile writing – my Top Tips

1. Ensure your profile is 100% complete. Your profile reveals who you are, how you got there, and how that event or experience can benefit the reader. Authenticity is key, show all of your relevant experience. It is important to show no gaps in your work experience. List ALL of your work experience, even if it is not relevant to your current roll.

2. Include all education: Along with schools and institutions, you may have received training offered by companies you worked for and business associations. Highlight each occurrence and how that education uniquely qualifies you to offer your products and services.

3. Recommendations: The LinkedIn Recommendation system is very powerful AND very easy to use. In fact, LinkedIn requires a minimum of 3 recommendations to list a profile as “complete”. Recommendations from customers are most powerful. Recommendations  from management or superiors adds credibility. A few recommendations from colleagues can be useful to demonstrate that you are a team player. I recommend the 3 2 1 ratio approach:  at least 3 recommendations from customers, 2 from superiors, and one from colleagues. In addition, a few recommendation every couple months is far more effective than having all of your recommendations listed at one time. It would be good if you could add a new recommendation every two months, 6 per year, thus revealing a continued high level of service and customer satisfaction over a period of time.

 4. The Photo Is Important:  People do business with People. As such, studies show that people are 40% more likely to view your profile if you include a photo of yourself. It servers to warms and humanizes your profile, and helps people remember you, the person, as the one to do business with!

Your profile is about YOU. Do not include partners or kids. No logos, avatars, or buildings, just you in all of your glory. Make it a close-up so folks and really see you.

Make it professions. Wear business attire and make it your best image possible.     

Do not leave it blank.

5. Name and Headline: Use your name, not your company, phone number or LION (Linked In Open Networker). Using your name reaps benefits when someone is searching for you.

Your headline should sell what you do. This is key because you want people to click through to your full profile. Simply stating your job title will not yield good results. Use the headline to answer What You Do and Why it is Beneficial for the reader to continue reading!

6. Summary: A properly summary will briefly list who you are, what you do, and why you are the best person to provide goods and services to your customers. Use short but powerful paragraphs (not bullets), and make it personable. Finish it with your contact information and a brief invitation to connect with you.

7. Work experience: This section is used liberally by search engines. Be conscious of keywords. Your description should powerfully reflect how people would search for you and your services. Simple role titles may not provide the desired results. A carefully written role description, however, will greatly enhance your profile.

As with resumes or CVs, gaps will lead a reader to have instant concerns about you. Tell it all, listing benefits every step of the way.

8. Web links: LinkedIn provides for three web links. You can use them to link to your website or to articles written about you, or links listing some of your successful projects. You can also change the title to the web link. Key is, use them all AND use them to your advantage.

9. Applications: LinkedIn allows you to embed presentation, link to your blog, and your YouTube video. Done correctly, application links can add authenticity to your profile and provide addition advertising.

10. Profile Settings: Make sure that your profile is visible to everyone. Otherwise, nobody will see it.

11. Customize your LinkedIn URL: The public URL that LinkedIn gives you is customizable. Make it memorable and searchable.

12. Update your profile: Edit your profile regularly, to keep it fresh and up-to-date.

Final thoughts

Keep in mind that a good LinkedIn profile ranks extremely well on search engines. When potential clients, employers or recruiters search the web for your name or capabilities, your LinkedIn profile may be the first things they are likely to find in a search engine list. In addition, any links listed on your LinkedIn profile will attract the attention of search engines to those links. So make sure you have a LinkedIn profile, and maximize it so that you can get the most benefit from it.

Take LinkedIn Publisher Program Seriously

(John Jantsch @ Duct Tape Marketing) LinkedIn recently starting rolling out a new content program that allows LinkedIn profile holders to add long form blog posts. The program piggybacks a bit on the Influencer program launched in 2013 that features long form content from folks like Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Maria Shriver and Mark Cuban.

LinkedIn has been on a bit of a content tear over the last few years snapping up tools like Slideshare and Pulse as well as creating programs like the Influencer program and building topic based communities inside of Pulse in an effort to battle networks like Facebook for more and more of your online time.

In announcing the latest publishing program LinkedIn had this to say:

“Starting today, LinkedIn is opening up our publishing platform to our members, giving them a powerful new way to build their professional brand. When a member publishes a post on LinkedIn, their original content becomes part of their professional profile, is shared with their trusted network and has the ability to reach the largest group of professionals ever assembled. Now members have the ability to follow other members that are not in their network and build their own group of followers. Members can continue to share their expertise by posting photos, images, videos and their original presentations on SlideShare”

The opening process is a rolling one and is said to only include about 25,000 profiles initially. If you are one of the chosen ones you should have received an email from LinkedIn alerting you, but you’ll also notice a little pencil icon in you status update box as in the image below.

300I’ve been testing the program and believe it has some real upside for many business owners and marketers.

 

Engagement is high

I’ve added four posts currently and all appear to be getting a nice amount of pageviews and engagement. The thing I noticed right off the bat and truly appreciate is the engagement is coming from people I don’t currently interact with so my content is gaining exposure into some new places.

LinkedIn automatically showcases the content as recommended reading for relevant profiles.

Search results are immediate

All of the posts are showing up in Google searches for pretty specific content within hours of publishing. LinkedIn content has always been highly regarded by Google and this platform might offer content producers who don’t currently rank highly another vehicle.

And, while links you might embed in your posts are most likely the “no follow” type, with page views numbering in the thousands for most of my posts, I’ve got to believe those links are getting some clicks.

 

It’s about authority

Published content that collects social signals and shares does wonders for an author’s authority and for many the LinkedIn publishing platform might be one of the best places to get exposure, build engagement, pick up +1s and send Google an authority message.

I’ve decided to amplify the content outside of LinkedIn to see how much initial attention I can drive to it and I’ve also placed a link to my Google+ profile in the short bio at the end of each piece to help Google add this to my author profile.

I recommend that you take a look at this publishing avenue as another potentially potent place to distribute your message and spread your expertise.

Twitter Newbie Ten Rules

If you're just beginning to explore the potential benefits of Twitter, these recommendations will help you build a network that has some real value.

 


If you're a longtime Twitterphile with half a million followers, you probably know most of the things I'm about to cover here or else it's coming too late. But if you're still getting things off the ground and trying to figure out whether there's any value in relationships that consist of 140-character snippets, I think you'll find these 10 rules helpful in building a more valuable network.

To be honest, my own interest in Twitter is in the potential it has yet to develop. At this point, I don't think it is what it could be. The value of attention is still real, but getting people's attention isn't the challenge anymore. It's getting the attention of the right people, which on the Internet means building a relevant network of people who share your interests. The natural shortcoming of Twitter is that it keeps racing by, and each message is just a blast that spreads for a moment and then gets washed away. Contrary to the premise that a good network is based on reciprocation and mutual interests, randomly building your "followers" to five, ten, or a hundred thousand can create a mess for you to sort out when the real worth of momentary messaging becomes clear. (Hint: I don't think it lies in blasting out “secrets” about teeth-whitening or free webinars about how to get/buy more followers.)

The intent of the guidelines below is to prevent the tendency toward superficiality and quantity-over-quality in Twitter's growing stream (just under 50 million unique visitors per comscor” Facebook has more than 300 million by comparison). Many of these ideas I've picked up from other people who are better at it that I am.

Is it even possible to avoid Twitter's inherent weaknesses? Last week, Dell announced that it attributes three million dollars in revenue to Twitter since 2007. That's a start.

The rules

1: Don't direct-message me with something you are selling, especially at odd hours. That will get you deleted.

2: Don't follow anyone whose messages say "Follow me." Saying it is not a good reason.

3: Never follow anyone whose name is a city, vacation spot, or other vague reference.

4: Don't follow anyone whose ratio of followers to following is more than 4:1. (Sorry celebs' any exceptions to this have to be outrageously interesting, and most of you are not.)

5: If you talk more than once about what you ate recently, you get unfollowed. No exceptions.

6: Don't follow people who use to direct-message someone with some personal comment instead of using (e.g., @Joe eah) This either means the person isn't following you or you are just lazy.

7: Don't follow people with o_O as their icon/photo. Lame (or spam).

8: Porn and other raw sewage gets deleted and/or blocked. Sorry; not my idea of a network.

9: Unfollow people who keep sending the same message. Once might be an error or a correction, but this is the wrong way to overcome the "shotgun" shortcomings of Twitter.

10: Ignore and possibly unfollow people who consistently send out a URL with no explanation. Unless you have a network of only your relatives, why would anyone expect people to click on something just because they sent it?

Building the quality network

To sum things up, here's what you should be looking for in building your Twitter network:

  • People with the same interests you have (check relevant # filters)
  • Those in your professional field with pertinent things to say
  • People who generally make great observations and thought-provoking connections
  • Sources of relevant “early news flashes” that are relevant to their network(s)

Building this kind of group will take more time than using an auto-responder, but it will give you a network that has some real value. And keep in mind that the people who are successful with any social media tool are the ones who start with the premise "What can I give?" rather than "What can I get?"

Use Linkedin To The Full

 

         
     

How You Should Be Using LinkedIn -- But Probably Aren't(Toddi Gutner @ Business on Main) If you're like me, you hastily set up a LinkedIn page, accepted invitations to connect, and then left your page to wither. Big mistake. In a recent survey of 835 business owners by Vistage International and The Wall Street Journal, 41 percent of respondents singled out LinkedIn Corp. as "potentially beneficial to their company" -- not just to job seekers.

To find out just how employees, employers and small businesses can tap this professional networking site, we turned to Nicole Williams, one of LinkedIn's experts and a small-business owner herself. Williams highlighted several essential tasks for using LinkedIn more robustly to build one's business.

Related

Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn for BusinessUltimate Guide to LinkedIn for Business

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Create a complete personal and company page profile
"To get the full benefit of LinkedIn, you really have to put yourself out there," Williams says. "Many people underestimate the importance of filling out an entire profile," either as an individual professional or a business owner. That means it's essential to list all past experience that may reflect your ability to execute and problem-solve, even if you think it's irrelevant.

While the professional page can be solely about your skills and experience, your company page needs to include a description of your products and services as well. Using both types of pages increases the chance that you or your company will be found in a search. You want to make it as easy as possible for people -- whether they're recruiters, vendors, potential clients or current customers -- to find you, says Williams.

Much of your ability to be found through searches will rest in the keywords you use in your profile and company pages. To ensure you're using the right search terms, make sure you include some of the recommended LinkedIn skills that automatically populate when you indicate your professional category. The benefit of using these particular words is that LinkedIn actually changes them based on what's trending in the industry.

Finally, ask for recommendations from clients, employers and vendors. "This can help qualify you in [a field where people] don't know you," says Williams.

Share ideas, follow companies and join groups
Small companies are usually strapped for resources, and professionals often wear several hats at once. Typically there's only a small team or not even one full person who handles a specific function, whether it be marketing, human resources or business development.

To tap into new ideas, identify and implement best industry practices, or just ask a question -- there's no reason why small-business owners and their employees can't use the wisdom of the masses. By sharing ideas, following companies and joining groups on LinkedIn, small businesses can level the playing field and get the kind of information they need to compete.

There's a six-episode video series on how to use LinkedIn for small business that covers getting started on building a profile, learning how to build lasting connections with clients, linking profiles to Twitter accounts, leveraging LinkedIn Ads, using the site to reach out to potential investors to grow one's business, and finding corporate partnerships.

We have also included a brief tutorial below, with hyperlinks to walk you through the recommended tips.

How to build a company page (watch this video for more information)

1. Place your cursor over "Career" at the top of your home page, then click "Companies."

2. Click the "Add a Company" link in the bottom right area of the page.

3. Enter your company's official name and your work email address.

4. Click "Continue" and enter your company information:

  • If the work email address you provide is an "unconfirmed" email address on your LinkedIn account, a message will be sent to that address. Follow the instructions in the message to confirm your email address and then use the instructions above to add the company page.

  • A red error message may appear if you have problems adding a company page.

  • A preview of your completed company page will not be available. When you publish the page, it will be live on our website.

How to follow a company

  1. Place your cursor over "Career" at the top of your home page, click "Companies," and search for a company. Then click "Follow Company" in the upper right of the company's overview page.

  2. Move your cursor over a company name on someone's personal profile, then click "Follow Company" from the mini company page, if one appears.

  3. Scroll down to the "Following" box on a profile and then under "Companies" click the "Follow" link underneath the company name.

How to find and join groups
You can find and join LinkedIn groups from the Groups Directory or the Groups You May Like page. Please note that there may be multiple groups on LinkedIn for each interest, organization or affiliation.

Find a group

  • Move your cursor over "Network" at the top of your home page, and select "Groups" from the dropdown menu.

  • Search for a group using the search box at the top.

  • Select groups from the "Groups You May Like" box on the right, or click on "More" for a larger menu of groups to choose from.

  • Browse through list of suggested groups.

Join a group

  • Click "Join" on the Groups You May Like page or anywhere you see the button.

  • Respond to an invitation from a group member or manager.

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226895#ixzz2YjTAiyMu

Viral Marketing Secrets

( @ SiteProNews) The elusive quest to create a truly viral ad campaign is always top of mind for marketers. If an ad or marketing campaign really resonates with the masses, a brand can go from zero to hero in as little as a week. There’s a highly honed craft to creating a viral ad campaign, not the least of which includes insane creativity and total marketing expertise.

There are, however, some tried and true viral tricks of the trade that, if practiced with intention and finesse, can help improve your viral odds. For assistance in compiling this list of expert tips, I consulted Alexander Debelov, the CEO of Virool.com.

Step 1: Learn from Past Successes

The most savvy way to decipher how to make a video splash is to first study what has worked for other brands. Below is a list of the most popular ads of the past two years. Studying these meticulously will help you understand what resonates with the web.

Step 2: Enhance Viewer Engagement

Debelov, the marketing guru behind the viral success of Kobe vs Messi (which is the single most viral brand video of 2013), reminds marketers to heavily study viewer engagement with their ads. “Show the video to a smaller sample of viewers,” states the Virool CEO, “and optimize it using analytic tools such as a heat map of mouse movements and clicks” .

Relying on your own instincts regarding how your audience will react can result in a totally missed opportunity. Commit to taking the time to test your content, and tweak according to feedback, and you have a much higher likelihood to hitting a slam dunk at launch.

Step 3: Time Your Release

Choosing when to release your ad is as critical as it is for movie execs plotting the release of a film. There are two main rules around choosing the right launch time:

  1. Study the latest YouTube stats and choose a day and time to release your ad that requires the least amount of views to hit the top of the leaderboards.
  2. Discover when competitors in your industry are releasing new ad campaigns (via press releases and other media), and ensure you aren’t overlapping.

Step 4: Seed Your Initial Views

Debelov also recommends that you have a plan in place to get the first round of views amassed for your video straight out of the gate. “Before a video can be shared, a core group needs to see it first. Use a platform like Virool.com — or reach out to others on your mailing list — to get these initial views.”

This is a huge mistake that many marketers make with video campaigns; they send the release out to their list before there are any seed views. Often folks will see low viewing numbers and assume the content isn’t worthy, without making note of the new release. This can automatically turn off new viewers without ever getting a chance to win them over with your clever content.

Step 5: Accelerate the First 24 Hours

By far the most critical time period for your media release, if viralness is indeed your goal, lies in the first 24 hours. Once you have your seed views, it’s time to alert the masses that your ad is waiting. The responsibility is now on the marketing team to go all-out in order to ensure a strong initial showing.

You’ll want to create as many marketing spikes as possible in this first day of release. This doesn’t just include views, but also likes and comments too. React to your viewers’ comments in real-time. Spread the video across all your social channels and web sites. Do everything possible to get eyeballs and engagement totally in action around your video release, and as fast as humanly possible. Gaining momentum on day 1 is truly the most important factor to an overall viral campaign.

Step 6: Keep up the Momentum

Once your initial marketing spikes wear off, it’s essential to keep fanning your viral flames. How? Debelov suggests that “when you see the pace of video views starting to slow, use more paid ad views and reach out to your biggest fans with new incentives for social sharing.” The key here is incentivizing sharing – by offering your loyal viewers rewards for assistance in making the ad viral, you are essentially expanding your marketing team exponentially.

The underlining theme for viral ads is twofold:

  1. Careful planning and research prior to launch
  2. Persistence in marketing strategies post-launch

It goes without saying that your video must be appealing to your audience, and have that certain je ne sais quoi that makes viewers click “share”. Whether you choose a heart-string tugging route or go all-out on humor, quality cannot be over-emphasized. Once you have that gem of an ad, the marketing team must carefully assemble an iron clad release plan in order to have any hope at viral success.

What To Know about Tumblr

   
Yahoo's $1.1 billion purchase of blogging site Tumblr is the biggest move since CEO Marissa Mayer took over the Web company.
Yahoo's $1.1 billion purchase of blogging site Tumblr is the biggest move since CEO Marissa Mayer took over the Web company.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Yahoo buying Tumblr is a bid to make its own base younger, cooler
  • Founded in 2007, the site hosts 150 million blogs
  • Animated GIFs saw a comeback on Tumblr
  • There's lots of porn -- an issue Yahoo may have to address

(Doug Gross @ CNN) -- Yahoo's purchase of hot blogging platform Tumblr, which it announced Monday, was big news for the hundreds of millions of folks who already post to the site or check in to follow those who do.

But the $1.1 billion buyout will also no doubt introduce Tumblr to lots of folks not yet wholly familiar with it, even if their Web searches for viral memes and cute kittens have already landed them there unawares.

So, here are some facts you need to know about Tumblr (which, in the grand tradition of Web startups everywhere, shed its "e" early on).

It's big and getting bigger

Founded in 2007, Tumblr has stayed hot on a Web that can be unforgiving once it decides you're yesterday's news.

While its numbers aren't comparable to social-networking giants like Facebook, they're certainly enough to put hundreds of millions more eyeballs on the ads Yahoo serves up as its bread and butter.

Let's face it -- when the White House signs up for an account, you know you're onto something.

To wit (according to the company):

Number of Tumblr blogs: 105 million

Monthly visitors: 300 million

Posts per second: 900

New signups every day: 120,000

It loves an animated GIF

If there was a ground zero for the rebirth of the Web's beloved video loops, it was Tumblr.

Once relegated to the scrap heap of Web culture (we miss you, Peanut Butter Jelly Time), the past couple of years have reminded us of an enduring truth: It's fun to watch a cute duck, a bouncy Olympian or "bros" watching basketball over and over and over again.

Tumblr's quick, visual-friendly publishing platform is perfect for GIFs. Nobody expects a 10,000-word essay. Make us laugh and all is well.

Oh, and how did Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer choose to make the big announcement? On her own Tumblr. With an animated GIF.

They've figured out mobile

Our society is becoming a mobile one and increasingly, phones and tablets are the preferred portals for people to access the Web.

For example, more people now access Facebook via mobile than on the traditional Web (a fact the site has had to aggressively address to stay relevant and make stockholders happy).

5 questions answered about Facebook Home

But while some desktop titans are having to adjust, Tumblr is already living comfortably in that mobile world.

More than half of Tumblr's 300 million users access it with its mobile app, and that crowd does so an average of seven times a day.

There's kind of a lot of porn

Shocker -- there's porn on the Internet.

But while most any corner of the Web that allows user posts is bound to have its share of naughty bits, Tumblr has become a go-to spot for adult-entertainment industry types and amateur smut-lovers alike. (The company, of course, doesn't say what percentage of its site is adult content, but a recent analysis puts it at over 11 percent.)

And the site doesn't really shy away from that fact, acknowledging as much in its community guidelines.

"Tumblr is home to millions of readers and bloggers from a variety of locations, cultures, and backgrounds with different points of view concerning adult-oriented content," the entry reads, asking users only to make sure to identify such pages as NSFW ("not safe for work") and, of course, not to post anything illegal.

That's all well and good for an edgy startup, but could be an issue that needs to be tackled as Yahoo aims to appeal to as many advertisers as possible.

In the meantime, just make sure you look for those four letters when searching the site.

It's cool

For a few years, nobody's really been sure what Yahoo is, other than a place where an aging user base gets its e-mail and looks at a few news stories.

Tumblr is Mayer's bid to get young and hip -- and it's not a bad bet.

From "Sh*t My Dad Says" to "Reasons My Son Is Crying," the most buzzed-about blogs of the past few years have tended to originate at Tumblr.

Whether its "Kim Jong Il Looking at Things" or "White Men Wearing Google Glass," fun and a little bit edgy isn't hard to find on the site.