Category Archives: Social Media

Social media has come a long way. It is getting easier to target niche customers with precision.  But there are so many different platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, FourSquare which one do you chose? All? There is no easy answer (oh I can hear the moans and groans :) – I frequently get the eye-roll and gasp “… not another one”).

The reality is that social media takes time and requires a long term approach.  It no longer can be ignored.

With that in mind, I came across an article which I had bookmarked a few months ago on FourSquare. This is an older post, but very comprehensive

http://mashable.com/2011/04/27/how-to-foursquare/

The way search engines operate is a subject of constant debate. Nobody seem to agree on the intricacies but everybody agrees that search engine ranking factors are a soup of different algorithms working in tandem looking at different aspects of a website and how they are related to other sites .

Since recently, most minds in the trade are in agreement that social factors such as Twitter and Facebook (among other things) are impacting the way a site is being ranked by search engines. In particularly Google is looking at social factors for ranking in a big way. Unlike other times, this claim is not vehemently rejected or hotly debated since most people understand that Google has some sort of agenda with the newly introduced Google+ platform.

There are a couple of things that you have to keep in mind when you try to go down the road on using social signals for rankings. First, social signals are still used to measure the social impact of a given website or a webpage. Search engine algorithms still reign high. However, getting a couple of hundred ‘likes’ for your website is going to be considered as a clear enough signal for search engines to consider your website seriously for rankings. Same goes for tweets and social bookmarks.

The beauty of social signals is that it’s hard to fake a social signal unless you are an uber social media junkie. Also, faking social signals is easy to monitor so it doesn’t make much sense for a business to do it. If more social signals are generated from the same set of people, that can mean only a few things like the following:

  1. These people have very similar interests
  2. The social signal generated is valid for a small niche of social media consumers
  3. At least some of those social profiles are fake

So unlike most other ranking elements, social signals are a better signal for search engines. But there are some barriers which stop social signals from being used widely at the time of this writing. For example, Bing is the preferred search engine for Facebook. Also, with Microsoft owning 1.6% equity of Facebook valued at $1.36 billion, Google may find it difficult to get full access to social elements usable for search ranking any time soon.

On the other hand, Twitter lets search engines use its data. But consider this. Twitter users produce 200 million tweets per day. Considering an average tweet being 110 characters long and an average word being 4.5 characters long, Twitter publishes around 44 million words every 13 minutes which is equivalent to the word count of all the 32 volumes of ‘The Encyclopedia Britannica’! In any sense of imagination, search engines don’t have the capacity to crawl, index and rank most of the Twitter data at this point.

So do you have to worry about the social signals for search engine rankings? To be honest, it may be a good time to start considering the potential benefits. If you do not have a Facebook fan page or a Twitter account for your business, we would encourage you to start building your networks. Once you get into it, you’ll notice that it is quite fun and interesting connecting to customers in a new way.

Seems far-fetched and think that we must be joking? Well, it is real and there are optimal times to post on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.  After some solid research, guys at Vitrue came up with some really interesting facts that can be helpful for small to medium size businesses that use social media for improving their business reach. There is a lot of information in their report. But let us break down the important elements that may help better position your social media efforts.

Days when the most number of viewers get on Facebook

Image courtesy: Vitrue

Most interactions happen towards midweek with the peak taking place on Wednesday.

Let’s have a look at the times in which most number of interactions happen on a weekly basis.

most number of interactions happen on a weekly basis

There are few peaks in Facebook interaction throughout a day. The peaks happen somewhere around 11.00AM, 3.00PM and 8.00PM EST and there are few factors that contribute to these peaks.

  • The highest peak at 3.00PM EST coincides with noon/lunchtime PST.
  • 11.00AM EST is 8.00AM PST. So East coast is taking a break presumably while West coast is coming online.
  • 8.00PM spike coincides with East coast dinner time and 5.00PM West Coast checkout time.

This is actually a fascinating breakdown of social media interaction in the United States. More information can be found here at Vitrue (Be warned, you have to part with your email address). But what’s more important is how to use this information for better Social Media campaigns.

How to use this information?
It would be a good idea to share information in the morning. In fact, sharing information in the morning is 65% more effective than any time else judging by the flow of shares, likes and comments. Stats aside, sharing information in the morning makes sense because you’d have your information available for a longer time.

Contrary to what someone would expect, Social Media is not so effective during the weekend. It’s quite an irony also because social interactions are deemed to happen during the weekend but apparently not so online.

The most important takeaways are:
Optimize and schedule your posts to go out during the morning for maximum visibility and engagement.

Schedule posts a few minutes before the top of the hour. Most number of people go on Facebook during the 0-15 minutes of each hour so have your content ready for them to share soon before they get on Facebook. It gives a competitive advantage for your business if they see your posts at the top of the updates stack first thing as they log in.

Facebook interaction is fueled by what you offer to your audience to take away. Make your information juicy so the community managers out there share it with their peers. If possible, offer something back to them as tribute for following you. Simple gestures go a long way in customer engagement and customer satisfaction.

Read more of the Vitrue article here.

Twitter is one of the fastest growing social media tools. Loved by millions who use it for its simplicity and shortness, Twitter is a far more effective way to communicate with a peer group than Facebook or any other social media.

Twitter’s simplicity should not be underestimated, the real power is in harnessing ones followers. Hypothetically speaking, if Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) were to retweet one of your tweets about your product to his 6.5 million followers, chances are they in turn would retweet the same to their followers. Before you know it a tweet can go viral and be noticed by millions. If a company were to try to reach an audience say of 6 million TV viewers, they’d have to spend some real money. Twitter is free. Unlike many other social media, Twitter is always on the go, things are constantly changing by the second.

The good news is that it is easily accessible. It’s supported by almost all the smart phones and almost any internet device, so keeping your followers up-to-date is easy.

In some cases, Tweeps, as the Twitter users are known, tend to think out loud through their tweets. In fact there are many well documented instances where brands, famous people, journalists, sports personalities among others found themselves saying things that they shouldn’t be saying in the first place. Therefore it is a good idea to read up on twitter etiquette and establish a companywide protocol for tweeting.

So how can a small company find its way in this tweet-maze? It’s not difficult to start, start with meaningful tweets about your industry. No one is going to care if you just picked up Starbucks for the day, so keep the personal stuff away. First it would help to have a good idea what Twitter is and how to use its many unique features. For example, Twitter hash tags and lists are two of the most important weapons in a good tweep’s armory.

Let’s say that your company rents out party equipment. You could tweet about a new line of Gazebos that just came in and tag the tweet with a #gazebo hashtag. So let’s say a user in Miami is searching Twitter for a Gazebo rental in Miami. The tweet could be something like this: “Nice #party by the Virginia Key Beach #Miami under a nice blazing red #gazebo by www.sample.com”. The hashtag gives the user an opportunity to tap into more interesting tweet streams.

Start off by following people in your industry. Always try to keep the Followers and Following ratio close to each other. It is sometimes suspect if someone is following 5000 people but only has 2 followers. Keep posting meaningful content and you’ll see your follower count rising on its own. Share things about your area of expertise; answer general questions on your field; follow hash tags which have a good focused following; (This however does not necessarily include the trending topics!) and be a good tweep in general.

There are a few tools you can use to increase your presence in the Twittersphere. Start with the Twitter business section. It can give you really nice pointers on what you can do on Twitter to promote your business effectively on Twitter. Read this case study on moxsie available on twitter business section.

Take some time off to think through your twitter strategy. It can help you a lot with taking your brand to the next level of online visibility.