One Idea For Each Social Network To Add Part II

In part one, I gave one idea to enhance or improve four of the big players in social media: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. (Read Part One) In part two, here, I tackle Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn. Again, there are are many more where these came from and I’d love to hear your ideas and feedback!
Here we go with part two –

Twitter: Twitter is sitting on a gold mine of data and they, mostly, know it. This is their claim to businesses and brands and media networks. To entice more advertising, they recently added some limited free analytics. Limited data and a virtually useless export option doesn’t exactly excite a marketer, particularly when the entry price point remains relatively prohibitive for beginners. With social media marketing, it is increasingly important to track not just the growth of your profiles, but the overall quality, efficiency, and engagement (there’s that word).
As flawed as it may be, Klout continues to interest me because it is an objective metric that takes into account all that data Twitter knows – reach, click-throughs, retweets, etc. and assigns a single index number to track performance. I’d be much more inclined to (and informed about how to) improve my Twitter marketing tools and make more use of the platform. For now, Twitter KPI’s are some combination of link clicks, retweets, and favorites. While website data and link clicks are useful, knowing the reach and overall performance of a Twitter profile would help immensely in reporting.

Google Plus: Many have heard and understood the concept of game-ification and reputation building. Google Authorship seeks to capitalize on this idea, to a degree, by placing quality content (based on consumption and social sharing) toward the top of search results. But should all +1’s be created equally. Try to stick with me on this scenario –> A user whose +1’s (content they have +1’ed) consistently deliver more click-throughs and consumption among Google’s search results than another user for whom the performance of their +1’s are not as consistently good?
If you’re still with me, the idea is this: grade the quality of a user and the content they recommend. If a user new, and was constantly reminded of, the effectiveness of their content recommendations, they’d be more inclined to find more and better quality content to share to maintain or increase their score. Several more ideas could arise from this, but this element of gameification to Google Plus, utilizing their reams of data, could deliver the engagement they’ve long sought.

LinkedIn: One thing Google Plus has done well is partner with brands and influential figures to promote its Hangouts feature. LinkedIn has, for quite some time, tried to become more of a content producer by working people they have identified as “influencers,” who write content for LinkedIn’s users to consume and share and, ideally, return to the site find more of. But the B2B brands know that, when they want to collect data from leads, they ultimately have a webinar, a whitepaper, or a conference with live speakers. A lot of professionals are eager, and even willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money, to hear from and learn from industry experts through live speeches and e-books/whitepapers.
Google Plus has continually partnered with pro sports leagues, newspapers, TV networks, and even the President of the United States to organize attractive Hangouts to increase exposure and use of its Hangouts product, as well as traffic to the site. I may not want to read Richard Branson’s “Five Keys To Leadership” (maybe I will), but I’d gladly go to LinkedIn to hear from a social media expert for which I’d normally pay hundreds or more to see at a conference. Enhancing and expanding this element of LinkedIn would greatly increase value for brands looking to connect with businesses and professionals looking to learn and network.

One Idea For Each Social Network To Add Part I

While I’m sure several pages and blog posts can be devoted to ideas to enhance or improve the major players in social networking, this posts offers a single suggestion for each. Some have been on my mind for a while, others more extemporaneous. Some small, some big. Please add your ideas in the comments!
Without further rambling, my one idea for each social network, Part I of II (Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram):

Facebook: One of the most effective social network features that makes me a sticky user is the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” on LinkedIn. It’s not only a small ego boost to know someone is interested enough to check out your profile, but interesting to see who within or outside your network is looking at your profile. I can only imagine the pull Facebook would have to drive users even more frequently to their site if this feature were added. (Perhaps with an opt-out option in settings).

YouTube: Not long ago, YouTube clearly began trying to service brands more effectively through channel customization and revenue share for video views. Brands consistently (try to) create quality content whose goal is to deliver more users to YouTube to see its video and banner ads. My idea for YouTube, though, is to have branded pages. Reward these brands for bringing in traffic by allowing them to “own” the page when a user lands on their video. Show their other related videos, not those of others; offer them banner ads for their products, or at least a revenue share with the existing banners, provide, and have a clear Subscribe button on the video page instead of forcing the brand to add an annotation to each video. I believe in the value and reach of YouTube, and its importance in video/content discovery and search, but they can be doing much more to help businesses.

Pinterest:  Pinterest’s first sources of success, primarily, were food and fashion. People loved showcasing their favorite finds, personal recipes or outfits they wanted to make, buy, or share. These are all amenable to social proof; yes via repins, but Pinterest can and should get more nuanced with ratings. When you try or see a recipe, see an outfit, product color, etc., users could enter a 1-10 rating, for example, and those pins with social proof could help enhance the Pinterest experience, as well as marketers looking to get feedback, showcase popular items, and throw marketing dollars behind items with social proof that have a better chance for conversion. People love rating things and could kill hours scrolling through, and rating, pins of all sorts!

Instagram: This is an idea I share with some peers, so I cannot take all the credit, but Instagram is way too noisy and could stand to benefit in several ways from segmented news feeds. I personally follow mostly sports teams and brands and a few friends, but I find I only see a handful of posts, primarily by some active sports teams, with others getting buried in the chronological news feed. I do not follow many Instagram profiles and already find it too many and find my bar to follow is excessively high, as a result. If I could view segmented news feeds – friends vs. brands; photo vs. video; categories of profiles — anything! Not only would this improve user experience, but provide more targeted news feeds and content that would improve advertising optimization.

See Part II on Thursday with ideas for: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Plus

Posted by Neil Horowitz

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Hidden Tricks With Social Media and Fan Outreach

It occurred to me there are a handful of little things I have done as a social media manager in my experience that are underutilized, but highly powerful to cultivate fan relationships and develop and promote advocacy (and unique stories to tell!). Maybe everyone is doing all this stuff, but here are my “hidden tricks” of social media.

  • Favorite-ing Tweets: Some (power) users utilize this function as a way to bookmark tweets to visit later, but, for a social media manager talking with a community of thousands, the ‘favorite’ function is a way to say ‘I hear ya; we’re listening.’ (or good tweet! / we agree! we like your tweet! etc.). Fans want to know they’re heard, want feedback, and to know that THEIR tweet, of the thousands of followers, was acknowledged, makes fans feel special. Emotional investment is the paradigm.
  • Like-ing Facebook Comments: Pretty much for all the same reasons stated above…could you imagine the elation if Justin Bieber ‘likes’ a 15 year-old girl’s comment on his post; give fans of your team [or brand] the same feeling of being singled out in a special way; that emotion can last for a lifetime and all it takes is (not to be overused) click. (You can also ‘like’ and comment on others’ posts in the Posts By Others, if your Page permits those) Also like-ing Instagram photos!
  • Direct Messaging (and even Replying for some!): Want to let a user know you see and acknowledge their concern or question without being public about it? Or open a correspondence with a user of potential influence (assuming they follow you)? The DM is a great tool and can facilitate not just great customer service, but fostering of deeper fan relationships. Do not underestimate the value of 1-on-1 relationships. Create advocates and operate with a conversion % just a liiiiitle better than Google PPC.
  • Pinterest (or Tumblr, but not what I use) Can Preserve Earned Media: Besides making the mentions on your graph and quarterly report having an attractive spike, the increase of earned media and accompanying brand mentions are not maximized to extract all the value from fans creating content that speaks highly of your team or brand! Pinterest can give these places a more permanent home, to showcase how much fans love your team. Whether it’s an impressive cake, a work of art, an oh-so-adorable baby or puppy picture, the best fan sign you’ve ever seen, or even a screen grab of an awesome tweet or FB comment that you wish everyone could see; Pinterest can be a place to store and share all this heretofore unrequited fan love!
  • More Showing, Less Telling: It’s not that attention spans are getting shorter and people are getting dumber (okay, it kind of is), but, in the social media environment, simplicity reigns supreme. The more visual, the better. The more clear the instructions, the better. Don’t out-think yourself trying to be creative or funny or making copy so attractive and mysterious they’ll just have to click through (hint: they don’t as much as you think). Be clear in the action. And, as the saying goes, pictures really do tell a thousand words and can be an effective, appealing way of disseminating information and all sorts of content.
  • Be clear, be concise: OK, so I’m probably breaking that rule in this post, but there is a reason studies consistently shows that shorter tweets and Facebook and G+ posts, etc. tend to garner more engagement. You can present any thesis you want, but pithiness is paramount as is simplicity. If you want people to re-tweet, they will more than if you do not ask. Make things obvious, then go back and make it even more obvious. Then post.
  • Give fans something to respond to: What is a key to engagement? Content that elicits (or solicits) response. Don’t just post a link to a press release or recap – tell the story, provide a context or frame, give a quote about the outcome/performance, try to use a picture that elicits emotion or is consistent with the story of the game. Yeah, the super fans will have watched the game or read the website recap, but the typical fan scanning down their News Feed may ‘like’ a post if you win; but may ‘comment’ or ‘share’ a post if there is a compelling story to share – a dramatic comeback, a memorable quote, a stellar individual performance, a oh-so-shareable statistic or milestone, etc.! The same goes for caption contests, fill-in-the-blanks, asking questions, etc. These are all manifestations of creating content that merits (as opposed to just hopes for) response.
  • Google Images and Statigram: While there are some (to be honest, quite subpar) social media search engines, these ones are the only for which I get enough value to use on a somewhat consistent basis. Want to see what kind of visual content (or, for video, YouTube) search these sits by keyword and hash tag and, while it is listed chronologically on Statigram (a site integrated with Instagram), use the time preferences for Google (also underutilized when looking for recent content, in general). Then, you can easily see what images have been posted related to your team or brand in the last 48 hours, week, month, whatever and not worry about something someone posted on their Geocities page in 1997.

What are your “hidden tricks” in social media? I’m sure there are tons on which I did not touch! Also, if you’re bored some day, look up “dark social” on the Internet and you’ll realize there may be so much more out there in terms of content and conversation that is happening in the ‘dark.’

Posted by Neil Horowitz

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Brief Thoughts on Premiere of Fox Sports 1’s “Crowd Goes Wild”

Fox Sports 1’s big original programming answer to ESPN’s popular, long running 5-6pm EST shows Around The Horn and Pardon The Interruption, was going to be the fun, innovative Crowd Goes Wild, hosted by Regis Philbin and company. After viewing much of the series premiere, I have just a few thoughts on where it is falling short and is really lacks much redeeming value at all.

First, the pace is quite slow in terms of content and discussion and there is little to no interplay or chemistry between the panelists. The lack of content and coherent discussion does not help, nor was the long segment spent on a horse named Regis and a carriage horse race.

Crowd Goes Wild

For a show that is all about “the crowd,” there are no visual shots of said crowd, little crowd noise, and very little crowd participation, digital or live (outside of a useless live poll on Regis the Horse). Crowd Goes Wild showcases no tweets from fans or celebrities or hosts related to the show and, while it touts all the ways to follow the show on social media, there is little content being posted and zero interaction. The fact that FS1’s website has nothing related to the show front-and-center (in the fourth box of their rotating header on the home page) does not help the interested fan wanting to see more about the show. (Of course, no website to learn more about the show being shown on the screen does not help, either). Incorporating contests for tune-in, content from athletes and celebs, social posts from fans watching the show, and a call-to-action for fans watching the show, even if it is just a hash tag or a URL directing to a social hub or mobile application. Their low volume and quality of use of Vine, Instagram, and even Twitter/Facebook shows the lack of proper strategic planning. Every campaign needs a social media and digital plan and every digital/social presence should be used, used for a reason, and measured.

There is little sports content; though, I did like some of their more off-the-cuff sports stories discovered on the web. What they failed to do was give fans a way to share these share-able stories. Why not post links via social media or at a hub or direct fans to visit a website or social site to locate the content via FS1 and share it with friends?

A last quick note is a failure, in my opinion, to have a share-worthy Grand Opening, with exciting guests, cameos, surprise appearances, etc. that would create a true buzz. Bring out a pop culture star, a sports legend, both, and more and create conversation right away and the need to not miss out in the future. Day one should NOT be business as usual. Instead, their only “guest” was former boxing great and Golden Boy Promotions head Oscar De La Hoya…there to promote fights being aired on Fox Sports 1. Rather than try to give a good impression to curious first-time viewers and potential fans, Fox Sports 1 followed up their self-aggrandizing Regis horse story with an appearance from De La Hoya to plug programming coming on the network later that night.

Overall, I watched Crowd Goes Wild with great interest and a passing thought it could be a different, thought-provoking alternative to ESPN’s programming. So far, Crowd Goes Wild is a failure on all fronts, in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on its strengths and weaknesses? What were you expecting?


Posted by Neil Horowitz

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