Mashable Marketing Director Takes on Social Media

By iCopy Blogger, Senior Social Media Analyst and Movie-Meltdown Expert, Alex Dalenberg

A couple weeks ago, Todd Wasserman, marketing editor for Mashable, posted this share-worthy takedown of social media marketing – Let’s Face it: Most Social Media Marketing is a Waste of Time.

Read the whole thing. It’s worth your time, especially if you’re tired of the usual social media evangelism that floods your B2B Twitter stream.

Basically, the point Wasserman makes is that the importance of social media is way overblown for marketers and needs its own Jerry Maguire moment. You know, when Tom Cruise gets mad at his seedy sports agency and decides he isn’t going to take it anymore.

And Wasserman’s not the only one pointing this out. A study from IBM, which he cites, shows that Twitter generated zero sales referrals on Black Friday.

My personal favorite piece of social media analysis gleaned from Black Friday: most people were tweeting about long lines. Now that’s some serious brand insight.

Among Wasserman’s more salient points were a few that I heartily agree with:

  • You can’t buy “likes” anymore.
  • The level of engagement from your followers is much more important than your raw number.
  • And your social media efforts mean absolutely nothing if you’re not offering a quality product.

Take it from us: We write and edit the heck out of everything iCopywriter clients assign – but there probably isn’t a case where sterling grammar saved a bad business model.

But there is one point Wasserman makes that I think is up for debate. You’re not a publisher, you’re an advertiser, he says.

I’m not so sure. In the literal sense, yes, you are promoting products and services with your content. But from a nuts-and-bolts perspective of what it takes to do that online, you face the same challenges that print and online publishers do everyday:

  • How to create clean, compelling content that reflects well on your business.
  • How to keep that content updated on a regular basis.
  • And, most importantly, how to find the people who can make that happen.

How much time, energy and money you invest in social media and other forms of content depends on how you measure ROI. That’s going to be different for every firm. You might say the right response to social media is also from Jerry Maguire: “Show me the money.”

But from our perspective, businesses are cranking out more text than ever before. Like everything else your business does, it needs to be quality.

[Editor's note: I resisted the urge for a shameless self-plug in that last line...well, almost...]

 

 

Big News- Google’s Author Rank is on its Way

By iCopy blogger Alex Dalenberg

So … this is happening:Google authorship.

If you haven’t yet heard the rumblings coming out of SEO world, heads up. If you create, post or access content on the Web, Google’s new author-ranking scheme is going to affect you, one way or another.

Here’s the gist of it. Google has been quietly rolling out its new author rank program – which has more or less been in the works for years. The idea is that content creators are now able to link the stories and posts they create to their Google Plus identity.

This is a big deal because the conventional wisdom says that someday soon, authorship is going to play a major part in Google’s page rankings.

You can find a few good primers at Forbes as well as the SEOmoz blog, but the main takeaway here is that it isn’t just going to matter how well a page or domain performs; it’s going to matter who writes it, as well.

The idea is that more reputable authors – judged by things like social sharing in the form of likes and plus ones, comments, links and more – produce better, more reputable content. Therefore, it’s reasonable to expect that Google is going to give posts by those authors much more weight in search listing results.

This isn’t out of the blue. As the Web becomes more social-oriented, so should the way we search – at least in theory. But for now, here is the least you need to know, as far as we see it here at iCopywriter.

1. Your Google Plus account matters now.

Love it or hate it, Google is pushing hard to make its own social network much more relevant. And, as far as it can affect search rankings, they have a lot of leverage here. If you’ve been neglecting your profile, it’s time to get it up to date and start posting your content.

And, if you post your own content, it’s time to make sure that Google can find you. They have a comprehensive set of instructions here.

2. The rules are still the same. Quality content will win.

The fundamentals of this game are unchanged. Quality authors will provide quality, relevant content. However, more than ever, it’s time to think about how to create content that readers are likely to share and discuss. In my mind, this means useful content.

3. Do you know who is writing your stuff?

You will need to soon. With Google Authorship, the focus is shifting to individuals and personalities. For those who are willing to embrace the different voices that make up their company, rewards await.

iCopywriter is keeping up with the news and happenings of Author Rank (and all-things-SEO). Don’t you want us on your team?

Photo credit: followtheseinstructions

 

FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – The Twinkies are All Right

By: iCopy Blogger Alex Dalenberg

With snack-making giant Hostess Brands announcing that it intends to close shop after some 80 years, the social Web is mourning the death of the iconic Twinkie.

Both Hostess and Twinkies are trending today on Twitter. To paraphrase the classic film Ghostbusters – and the greatest Twinkie-related line in film history – let’s say your average Twinkie represents the normal amount of social media activity related to cream-filled sponge cakes.

Well, according to this morning’s sample, it would now be a Twinkie 35 feet long weighing approximately 600 pounds.

As Winston would say, that’s a big Twinkie.

But don’t weep for your snack food yet. According to USA Today, it’s very likely that another company could pick up the brand, which still has plenty of name recognition, given today’s social media spike.

Have you checked out iCopywriter lately?

Photo Credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – Collection of Houseflies has Twitter Account, Despite Being Houseflies

 By: iCopywriter Senior Editor, Heather Price-Wright

And you thought Justin Bieber fans’ Twitter feeds were inane.

An artist named David Bowen has set up a colony of houseflies in an acrylic sphere equipped with a hanging wireless keyboard so that the flies can send messages to a Twitter account. The flies, unsurprisingly, don’t have much to say – mostly long strings of punctuation, interspersed with the occasional number or letter – but what they lack in wit they make up for in sheer volume.

How, exactly, does this work? A camera captures the flies’ movements inside their sphere, and every time one lands on a key, transmits the corresponding symbol into a tweet. Tweets are posted when the flies rack up 140 characters or when one lands on the Enter key. You can learn more about the project on Bowen’s website, or watch a pretty dull video of the tweeting flies at work.

Which basically means just being flies.

The flies seem to be on some sort of hiatus; their latest message, sent Oct. 17, was the single number “5.”

We can’t help feeling that this project reveals the rather sad nature of Twitter and other social networks as a whole. After all, are most of the tweets we follow actually that much more interesting than the random movements of flies on a keyboard? Excuse us as we have an existential crisis.

Meanwhile, if this is art and/or social commentary, then we’re just going to go ahead and set up a Facebook for our cats walking across our keyboards while we’re trying to work.

Fjdsiafu8789&*)(*YILHJklfhdsjklfhdjkshfdjkslhfkhkhyiuY&&*YFS&*YFGSHjklfhdjksghdjshgkly7ity78yds78f6Y&*^&*(TYHJB

–      Fluffy

Have you checked out iCopywriter.com lately? That is, if you’re not secretly a fruit fly.

photo credit: orangeacid

FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – University of Munich Students Create Real-Life ‘Harry Potter’ Clock

By: iCopywriter Senior Editor, Heather Price-Wright

 

Overall, it’s been a freaky week in social media. This terrible story reminded us why we shouldn’t live our lives simply to “share” what we see online, because the consequences can be dire. Plus, as The Guardian reported earlier this year, and as way too many recent news stories have reminded us, Twitter and other social networking sites are harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol. Truly scare stuff.

So what do we do when the online world feels bleak and unfriendly? Turn to magic, of course!

A group of students at the University of Munich has created its own version of the clock in the Harry Potter book and movie series. You know the one we mean – the Weasleys’ household timepiece that shows, not the hour of the day, but the location of all the members of the family (including, spookily, “mortal peril”).

The students – Claudius Böttcher, Fabius Steinberger, Frederik Brudy and Felix Praschak – don’t run their clock on actual magic (we wish) but instead via a mobile app. The app can be updated manually, or use GPS tracking to automatically log a person’s location. And as far as we can tell, when it comes to mortal peril, there’s no app for that.

Lack of actual magic aside, the clock is a pretty cool, and potentially even useful, little invention. It features modified hands (which you’d label with people’s names) that rotate 360 degrees, connected to a microcontroller that will turn the hands when a server is updated with users’ locations. Which, as far as we non-engineers are concerned, is basically magic anyway. The clock features 12 location options:

  • Work
  • On the Way
  • Home
  • Sports
  • Lunch
  • Hospital
  • Prison
  • Lost
  • Travel
  • Relax
  • Party
  • University

We like that it retains some of the tongue-in-cheek humor of the original wizarding clock, with entries like “prison” (just in case you don’t get your one phone call).

What do you think? Are you as obsessed as we are with getting one of these for your own house? After all, who hasn’t wanted to pretend they live in The Burrow with Fred, George, Ron, Ginny and the rest of the gang?

Have you checked out iCopywriter.com lately? We can wave our very own magic wands to produce the best-quality content for your business.

 

 

FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – 10 Totally Freaky Things We (yes, us) Do on Facebook

By: iCopywriter Senior Editor, Heather Price-Wright

Lately, our FreakyFriday blogs have been focused on the weird ways other people use technology and social media. But look, we’re fair people, and we’re totally willing to admit that we’re right there with them. After all, when even the folks at Facebook are worried that people misuse Facebook and develop unhealthy relationships with social media, we know it’s a big, big problem.

So today, in the interest of fairness and hilarity (and the fact that we’re actually allowed to waste time on Social Media while we’re at work), we turn the microscope on ourselves and give you:

10 Freaky Ways We Use Facebook (and Other Social Media)

10. Posting funny status updates, and then immediately and repeatedly refreshing out notifications to see how many likes we can get.

9. Following things like “Taco Bell” and “Lady Gaga” and pretending these things are actually our friends, inviting us over for tacos or letting us know they love us “little monsters.”

8. Getting deliberately furious with the status updates, articles and pictures shared by our “friends” whose political opinions differ from our own.

7. Engaging in pointless debates with said “friends” that always devolve into 70-comment-long trolling matches.

6. Looking at pictures of the children of people we dated in high school.

5. Looking at pictures of everyone’s pets. Seriously, friends: I can has more cat pictures? Throw in a video of a pug in a Star Wars costume and we’re good to go!

4. Stalking our really successful friends’ Klout scores, and then crying because no one at The Huffington Post ever retweets us.

3. Signing on through other people’s Facebook accounts to stalk the weirdos (they’re the weirdos, not us – trust us) who have defriended and/or blocked us.

2. Laughing hysterically at stupid memes we have seen roughly 1,000,000 times.

1. Two words: Wedding pictures. Our friends’, our friends of friends’, random strangers’ … if you’ve posted pictures of your special day anywhere on Facebook, we’ve probably looked at Every. Single. One. It’s a problem.

What about you? What creepy behaviors do you engage in on social media, and what totally freaks you out when other people do it? Let your social media freak flag fly in the comments!

Have you checked out iCopywriter.com lately? We’re here for all your SEO copywriting needs!

What the Collision of Social and Mobile Means for Your Brand

By: iCopywriter Blogger, Kimberly Crossland

With over 74% of U.S. Smartphone users accessing social networks from their mobile device, the collision of social and mobile is clear. The statistics continue to show staggering intertwined social and mobile usage, with 42% of people accessing their social networks daily. These results from a recent survey conducted by internet statistic firm, Compete, show the inevitable interlacing of popular technologies has arrived. Now, businesses who were caught behind are revising their traditional marketing plans to try to keep up with this new way to connect and compete.

But now that you’ve heard and seen the proof in the pudding about how vital social media and mobile marketing are to your success, how can you put it to work for you? Here are a few ways your business can get on board the social and mobile train and stay – literally – in the palms of your customers’ hands.

  • Go real time – With the explosion in popularity of Foursquare and other location-based mobile apps, customers have grown accustomed to sharing their location and experience with their network by checking-in wherever they go. To encourage these check-ins, businesses are using small incentives, such as giving away a discount or free dessert as a reward for the check in.
  • Simplify new connections – Your customers flock to your brand because of similar interests. They typically share these interests with their network of friends who may not know about your brand just yet. Simplify the connection between your customer and the hundreds of business leads they have waiting for you on their social networks by giving them something quality to share. High quality content gets shared by loyal customers and puts your brand in the eyes of the leads you are hot to get your hands on.
  • Encourage offline experiences – Social media does not have to stay simply online or in print. Now, mobile app developers are creating innovative networking technology to allow their attendees check in and find others in the vicinity to meet up with and create real offline experiences. If your business is hosting an event, encourage people to join you offline by promoting it online to your followers and fans.

Social media and mobile technology have undoubtedly converged to create new ways for businesses to connect with new leads and keep current customers engaged on a more interactive, real-time level.

What has your business done in terms of social media or mobile promotions?

Have you checked out iCopywriter lately?

Freaky-errrr-FunFriday: Faves of the Day – Dig Into Our 4 Favorite Tech and Social Media TED Talks

By: iCopywriter Senior Editor, Heather Price-Wright

FreakyFunFriday: Faves of the Day

It’s Friday, and it’s hot, and frankly, we’re not in the mood for anything freaky today. What we’re really in the mood for is lying by the pool eating popsicles, but barring that, today is a day to be entertained and to learn something. And what better way to do that than by watching our favorite TED Talks?

In case you haven’t heard of TED Talks (really? You haven’t heard of TED Talks?), the gist is that the nonprofit organization TED, which stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design,” gets crazy-smart, top-of-their-field experts in those three realms to give talks on their work, in the name of spreading what TED calls “Ideas Worth Sharing.” The talks can be long or short, deliciously simple or wonderfully high-tech, but they all are meant to teach and inspire everyday people to learn, share ideas and innovate together.

There have been a host of TED talks on the subjects we geek out about, from SEO to social media to anything techy. But a few stand head and shoulders above the rest as our favorites. So, without further ado, we present for your edification and enjoyment:

  1. How to Be a Social Media Power Player and Also Make Awesome Tacos http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgj2K6_Iym0
  2. He May Have Creepy Hair, but Man do We Need What He Does http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNOnvp5t7Do
  3. Goofy Sketches and Flash Mobs Make People Love Each Other http://www.ted.com/talks/charlie_todd_the_shared_experience_of_absurdity.html
  4. The Only Time I’ve Ever Though Algorithms Were Cool (and Also a Little Scary) http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/kevin_slavin_how_algorithms_shape_our_world.html
  5. (A Bonus) This Isn’t About Tech but It’s Too Beautiful Not to Watch http://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_kay_if_i_should_have_a_daughter.html
  6. OK, One More, Because Who Can Resist Billy Collins http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/billy_collins_everyday_moments_caught_in_time.html

 

FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – Zombie Apocolypse & How Social Media Is Fueling the Frenzy

By: iCopywriter Blogger, Kimberly Crossland

Ever play that game of telephone in school? You know, the one where one person tells another something, and it gets passed around until the last person blurts out something completely different?

The same thing happens every day in our media-fueled world.

Not only has Hollywood driven us to believe that the Mayans got it right thousands of years ago and  the end of the world will hit us with a Zombie apocalypse (good thing I have my garage stored with plenty of freeze dried foods – wait, don’t you?), but now the inherent nature of social media has helped to fuel this fire even more.

The zombie apocalypse stories all came to a head when a man, high on bath salts (otherwise known as the new LSD by people on the street), stripped himself naked and jumped on top of an innocent homeless man only to begin eating his face.

This was no comfort to the believers of the destined Zombie invasion.

So the inevitable happened. People began to voice their fears, whether joking or real, to their social media channel of choice. And stories started popping up everywhere of similar events. One man reportedly cut his stomach open and threw his intestines at police officers, while another ate the brain and heart of a missing person. The list goes on. And if you’re really intrigued, you can check out a running website filled with the Zombie stories for some solid entertainment (or horror, depending on what you believe).

So why are all of these stories just popping up now?

The answer is simple. Now, people are hungry for more weird, creepy and completely bizarre stories. That’s just a case of supply and demand. People have always been crazy, and there have always been bizarre crimes, but now more people want to read about it. And in turn, more people want to talk about it and fuel the frenzy with outrageous conclusions.

The Internet allows anyone to publish anything. Enter: The School Yard Game, Telephone. One story pops up about a man eating another man’s face. The next person adds to that the inevitable conclusion that this must mean a Zombie apocalypse. And just like that, the social media fire is ignited.

Have you checked out iCopywriter lately?

Photocredit: Chrisharvey

FreakyFriday: Weird of the Day – The Good, The Bad, and The Dangerous of Living a Public Life

By: iCopywriter Blogger, Kimberly Crossland

In less than a decade our worlds have changed dramatically. Now, old flames are being reunited and marriages are being dissolved over the use of Facebook – a service that was in its youth only 8 years ago. The way people interact with each other has shifted to socializing online instead of in person. People are kept up to date on what is happening in a distant friend’s life on social networks instead of on the phone. And while this is a great way to keep people close, it can also expose your world to people you may not have intended.

The following are a few examples of just how public our lives have become with the increased use of social media to interact.

  • Location-based services – With services such as Foursquare that encourage check-ins at local restaurants, shops, or businesses, people are broadcasting where they are for the world to see. While it may be fun to strive to be a mayor on Foursquare, opening up your location to be seen by your friends can be a risk. Imagine letting everyone know that you were at a local bar, only to have your ex-boyfriend show up for an impromptu greeting. There are fun sides to these apps, undoubtedly, but it is important to be aware of who will be seeing your location when you shout it from the social media rooftops.
  • Status updates – Even if you are not using a location-based service, status updates can also provide a wealth of information that divulges sensitive information (think: exposing your new-job search to your current boss), or brings to light that you are on vacation, opening up the possibility of thieves seeing your status and breaking into your home when you are gone. While these are extreme circumstances, they are meant to show that it is important to be mindful of what you are posting and how public your posts actually are.
  • Websites that watch – Today is the last day in a privacy policy poll that Facebook put out to its users on giving a little more leeway on the information they can share about their users. But it’s not only Facebook that is delivering tidbits of information to their users. Google and other websites gather information on where you visit, and what you search for. Your privacy is eliminated as soon as you type in a search query. Don’t believe us? Look at the ads that are being displayed in your direction. They, without a doubt, have something to do with a website you have searched before, or the subject of an e-mail you received.

Exposure is not always a bad thing. However, it is important to be aware of just how public your data is each and every time you hit your keyboard or send an update from your smartphone.

You tell us – Do you worry about your life being overly exposed online? And if so, what privacy measures do you put in place to help stop it?

Have you checked out iCopywriter lately?

Photo credit: Stan020