Mar 04

Guy’s Guide to Pinterest: Pinning Testosterone

Guy's Guide to Pinterest

Guy's Guide to Pinterest

The statistics are incredible. According to ComScore estimates, Pinterest is the fastest growing social network ever.

In this age of social networking sites, you’d think that we had enough places for people to like and share stuff. Apparently not.

But a curious thing happened on their way to becoming an Internet phenomenon. Pinterest became an overwhelmingly female destination. By some estimates Pinterest is to 50% to 70% female. Everyone has an opinion about why Pinterest attracted so many women and what it means for social media marketing.

If you’re a male, you’re probably wondering why you should bother with Pinterest. Well, for one, it’s really kind of fun. (I hated typing that sentence, but it’s true.) It’s also a platform that shows huge potential for marketing and branding, since people are sharing the products and services that they love. If your campaign includes content marketing, you know that great product images can help your brand message go viral.

For a change, though, I am not here to talk about your content strategy or anything marketing-y like that. I’m here to help the fellas out there get started with Pinterest. Continue reading

Jul 20

5 Easy Tips for Using Google+

Google+ LogoWell, it’s official. Facebook finally has a real, serious challenger for their crown as king of the social media sites.

Google recently launched the Google+ social network. Geeks rejoiced (partially because it’s fun to play with new toys).

This isn’t Google’s first attempt at social networking. Far from it. They’ve had a few years of practice with stuff like Google Buzz, Google Wave, and Orkut. This time, it seems, they’ve come out with something that’s truly promising.

If you’re a marketer, you know that this will make it to a whiteboard near you sooner rather than later. Before clients start asking about it, you’ll want to know more about getting started with Google+.

Here are five really easy tips for getting started with Google+: Continue reading

Jul 04

Buying vs Earning Twitter Followers

Twitter logo as a blue square

I was an early adopter of Twitter, and yet, I’d failed to build a strong following. This was my fault, of course, since I was aware of the growing importance of the Twitter channel for social network engagement.

In fact, some of the people I’d helped to get started in Twitter were already miles ahead of me in building a strong following.

So, yeah, I was starting to feel like I needed to catch up. Fast.

I’d read a few interesting blog posts about purchasing Twitter followers, but I dismissed the concept. I mean, how good could these followers be, if they were willing to be bought and sold?

I was determined to build my followers the old fashion way: earn them. And then… Continue reading

Jun 19

5 Tips for Professional Networking on LinkedIn

Square version of LinkedIn Logo

LinkedIn Logo

Because of the rapid growth of social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, many people are unsure of how they should draw the line between professional and personal communications. It’s a bit of a balancing act, but if you follow a few rules of thumb, you’ll do a better job of managing your professional brand.

First off, if you aren’t yet familiar with it yet, LinkedIn has become the hot destination for professional networking. It’s the ultimate social and professional mixer that helps people connect through career experiences.

Essentially, you go to LinkedIn to create a living resume. It may help you get discovered by HR recruiters or former co-workers. So it is essential for you to market yourself properly. Here are five easy tips for making the most of LinkedIn.

1. Be professional.
It’s strange to even say this, but you need to treat LinkedIn as you would any other workplace. Consider LinkedIn just another extension of your career, because for now, it kind of is. There are enough working professionals on LinkedIn that you must assume that everything you write is going to be seen and interpreted by some of your co-workers.

Separate your personal online life (e.g., Facebook) with your professional online life (i.e., LinkedIn). There is the “work you” and the “home you.” LinkedIn is the place for the work version of yourself. Continue reading

May 31

A Killer Review – Social Networks as Critics

Killers Movie

Will my friends kill Killers?

Recently I wrote about how input from my personal social network compelled me to go see a movie that critics had panned. Now, it seems, the critics are being bypassed by some of the movie studios.

A recent article in NorthJersey.com revealed that the movie studio Lionsgate was planning to launch the new movie Killers without the customary practice of screening it for critics. According to the article, Lionsgate would rather take their chances with reviewers on Facebook and Twitter — that is, people who are probably closer to their target audience.

Lionsgate marketers are, pardon the pun, hoping for a killer review of Killer on Twitter.

As the media continues to evolve with new technology, the opinion of your friends has much more impact and influence than some anonymous reviewer. Sure, there will always be certain reviewers that we know and trust, but they are a fading source for information.

Marketers at Lionsgate recognize this and hope to ride the wave of buzz. It’s an interesting experiment, typically reserved for genre films. They figured (probably correctly) that the reviewers would hate their genre flicks, but that it would appeal to the target audience.

Now, they’re going straight to the audience. It’s the ultimate in buzz and viral marketing. It’s a new media stunt that garnered buzz for a movie property that was probably struggling for attention.

As far as I am concerned, I am now more interested to check out Killers. Now, at least, I know that I can trust the critics, since they are my friends.

And if they trick me into going to see a movie that I hate, well, I guess I need new friends.

Apr 08

Hot Tub Networking Machine

Based on the title, I had no interest in seeing “Hot Tub Time Machine.” Granted, I typically like John Cusack and Craig Robinson, but this one just looked lame. Then, when the reviews came out, and predictably the movie got some uninspiring reviews.

Then something social network-ish happened. My friend Mike Fasolo called me and told me, “ignore the reviewers. Go see this movie.”

Now, before I go any further, it’s worth noting that people trust their social network. Content is king, but context is what make the content personally relevant. They certainly do not trust the mainstream media.

I ignored the critics, hopped in my car, and caught an early showing of Hot Tub Time Machine. Know what? Mike was right. It was very funny, and I’ve recommended it to other people who have memories of the 1980s.

And this is why buzz marketing and social media marketing is so important. People have greater trust for the people in their personal social circle than they even do for paid professionals. Disney even recently canceled the iconic At The Movies show after 24 seasons of thumbs up, thumbs down reviews.

Hot Tub Time Machine clearly isn’t for everyone. It’s not a movie made for critics, but neither are mainstream movies like Avatar. The critics tend to like more highbrow entertainment, which makes sense.

In the end, HTTM will probably find it’s audience on DVD and BluRay, which is fine. It’s works just as well in a home theater as it does in a megaplex. Ultimately, the movie will travel organically and inexpensively through social networking channels.

Many marketers are still struggling to find that perfect social-media marketing formula, so they can tap it every time, like turning on a water faucet. But that’s exactly why social media is so effective. People trust their social network precisely because it’s not supported by advertising dollars. It’s fueled, instead, by people who just want to share with their friends. And you just cannot bottle and sell that.

Mar 12

Facebook Fan Pages Free and Fun

Facebook Fan Page Graph

The continued rise of Facebook means that all marketers — even those who have traditionally ignored social media tactics — are trying to figure out how to tap into this techno-social phenomenon.

One of the easier (and more affordable) ways to test the social waters is to set up a Facebook Fan Page. Plus, it’s free to get started.

I recently set up a fan page for my books (I’ve published three) and my CD-ROMs (again, three published). My books and CDs are resources that provide anatomy reference for comic book artists. Yeah, it’s a unique niche, I admit.

Setting up the “Photo Reference for Comic Artists Fan Page” was free and easy. If you were able to sign up for Facebook and set up a profile, you can figure out how to set up a fan page. For content, I uploaded sample photos from each of the books. It’s basically the same stuff that I have posted over in Flickr galleries and on my personal website.

Photo Reference for Comic Artists

So once you do that, you need to let people know about your page. Right now, I am promoting on the cheap. Basically, I shared the link with everyone in my Facebook Friends list who would be remotely interested in the page.

To my surprise, I got a dozen people on the first day, and then it quickly picked up from there. In less than two weeks, I had hit 200 fans. Not bad for word of mouth (WOM) promotion.

At that point, I had an audience. So I started uploading extra photos, like behind the scene shots that nobody has ever seen. As I posted pictures, people started giving it that thumbs-up “like,” which is a virtual endorsement. That resulted in more people signing up to be fans of the page. In the social marketing space, it’s all about relationships, so virtual approval is hugely important.

As a marketing channel, Facebook Fan Page is an free and easy way to begin spreading your brand message. Facebook even offers some rudimentary statistics and demographic information. It’s not very useful at this point, since my trends are just creating an initial baseline of information. At 10,000 fans you get access to more detailed analytics, but it’s unlikely that such a deep vertical like my books has that much of a broad-based appeal. But you never know.

Next month, I’ll try Facebook’s built-in advertising network to drive more awareness of the fan page. But for now, I am content recruiting fans organically, as they discover my page through their actual social network.

The next few weeks will be focused on posting new information and photos to get people engaged with the fan page. I’ll try running contest, just to see if people will participate. It will be at least six months before I get information about book sales, so I won’t know if this actually helps my long-term goal of selling books.

Stay tuned. More to come. Oh, and don’t forget to become a fan!

LINKS – NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSEMENTS:

Feb 18

Buzz, Tweet, ShareThis

ShareThis Logo

With all this talk of Buzzing and Tweeting and Facebooking, it’s easy to overlook the true value of social networks, at least from the perspective of content marketing.

Content marketing can help you effectively articulate your brand story to allow customers to evangelize it. Lots of products rely on evangelists to share messages because a personal recommendation goes a long, long way.

Consider the following scenario: You’re thinking of going to the movies this weekend. So you check the movie listings, and every film is lavished with the typical hyperbole. “Brilliant!” or “Laugh out loud funny!” or “Triumphant!” (Whatever that means.)

You check out the movie reviews, but the reviewers can’t seem to agree on anything, except the names of the stars.

Suddenly your friend sends you a mobile message on Facebook that says, “dude, you have to go see this movie. Ignore the reviews. You will love it!”

Which matters to you most? Is it (a) the review in the newspaper, (b) the ad that proclaims this to be “triumphant!” or (c) the message you got on Facebook?

No big surprise, right? You’re going with the recommendation from your friend, because (theoretically) your friend has little to gain personally or financially from you going to that movie. You trust that your friend knows what you like. Sure, the message may appear in a Tweet or on Facebook or on Google Buzz or whatever, but that’s just the channel. The most important thing is the social context of the recommendation. Content is king, but context makes it relevant.

It’s this social context that makes brand evangelists (and social networks) so valuable to the health of a brand. A recent study revealed that Facebook drives 44% of social sharing.

So if you have a brand, be sure to include social sharing features on your website that allow people to easily evangelize your brand message. Remember, your brand can be something that people go out and purchase…or it can be your own personal self-branding effort (i.e., Brand You). Whatever it is, you need to make it easy for people to share.

Check out the bottom of this post. You’ll see a little widget from ShareThis that will allow you to share my blog. Go ahead and share it with family and friends

Especially if you want to proclaim it “triumphant!” (Whatever that means.)

LINKS – NOT NECESSARILY ENDORSEMENTS:

Jan 10

Too Socially Networked?

So this morning I checked my email and discovered that someone had subscribed to my FriendFeed. Huh? I have a FriendFeed account? Turns out, I do.

Started going through some of my bookmarks, which helped me remember some of the other sites where I’m registered.

Get this. I’m registered at Facebook and Flickr and Picasa and Twitter and MySpace and Yahoo and AOL and Mahalo and Google and YouTube and Shelfari and Amazon and eBay and CNet and New York Times and Technorati and Eons and Wikipedia and LinkedIn. And…and…and…hoo boy.

And that’s just the stuff I can remember off the top of my head! I’d forgotten about FriendFeed up until today. Last week Squidoo emailed me that they updated their site. Great. Um, do I have an account there? Oh yeah, I do. Thanks for reminding me.

Turns out, I am registered to everything under the sun. (Well, except actually at Sun.com.)

It’s not like it makes me cool or special or smarter, since it’s free to register at all of these sites. In a way, it’s a little…weird and slightly addictive. And since I rarely check most of them anymore, a bit of a waste.

Is there a social network for people who register for too many things? Is that Posterous? I may have to join that. Nevermind, I just did.

Oct 11

7 Tips for Better Flickr Traffic

Since I first discovered the analytics features in Flickr, I have been obsessed with my stats. I just can’t help myself. Stats and analytics fascinate me. (Note: Stats are only available to Flickr Pro users.)

Here are a couple of observations regarding Flickr’s chocolaty goodness:

  1. Post consistently. My stats hovered around a depressingly low number for many months. The key to getting more views on photos was to actually upload photos more consistently. Sounds obvious, but the reality is that people in a social community tend to interact more with people who are contributing consistently.
  2. Give the people what they want. If you know what photos get the most traffic, that means there’s an audience for your work. If people like your dog photos and label them as “favorite” then keep posting your dog photos.
  3. Share timely events. My stats skyrocketed recently when I uploaded 388 photos in one batch. (Thank you Flickr Uploader!). I attended the Long Beach Comicon 2009 and uploaded my pictures within two days of the con. My average views went from 500 a day to over 5,000 per day. That’s a HUGE increase in traffic. Not all of it is sustained, but I have definitely increased my daily views significantly.
  4. Include links to your other sites. The traffic from Flickr to my personal website BuddyScalera.com is increasing. The more people look at my Flickr photos the more they go check out my webpage. I saw a pretty nice jump when I uploaded that batch I just mentioned. Flickr users tend to check out my photo reference books, which is good.
  5. Join groups & create groups. I belong to dozens of informal Flickr groups. Plus, I’ve created two Flickr groups, which has increased my overall photo traffic. Since I have particular photography interests, it makes sense for me to contribute to certain groups. But some of my interests didn’t already have a group, so I created Long Beach Comicon – Official Flickr Group and Comic Book Creators & Pros. One complaint: they don’t give administrators much access to group analytics, beyond giving a list of members.
  6. Participate. People are sharing their photos online because they want the world to see their pictures. Give people feedback on their photos. If you share a comment, people will want to see your photos, which will increase your base of viewers.
  7. Contact ‘em. There’s a “friending” feature on Flickr called “Contact.” Basically, it’s like friending someone on Facebook, except you get a feed of new photos that is being uploaded by your contacts. If you like someone’s work, you can check out their work in thumbnails as they upload the images. And unlike Facebook, people on Flickr are uploading photos, so you don’t have to wade through dozens of throw-a-sheep and super-poke invitations.

More on Flickr in the future. In the mean time, check out 10 Tips to Boost your Flickr Profile. Very good article about increasing Flickr traffic.