Hearts, Polls and Shares: An Overview of Twitter’s New Changes

With its switch from stars to hearts, many are left wondering, “Why?” when it comes to Twitter’s recent changes. Does Twitter have on rose-colored glasses? Some users appreciate Twitter’s evolutionary steps, while others may see it as a way for the social media giant to grasp at relevance in a fast changing world.

twitter-logo-ism

The changes the company has made in recent months may not be groundbreaking, but they may affect individual and business operations more than they think. Let’s take a look at these three changes in depth:

Twitter Removes Share Counts

Share counts have served the Twitter community with a benchmark for popularity. It doesn’t necessarily affect peoples’ ability to share information and use Twitter to start trending topics, but it does prevent individuals from seeing the relative impact of their posts. They can see favorited information but not how many times a post was shared.

From a technical standpoint, the company has switched database systems from “Cassandra” to “Manhattan.” Manhattan doesn’t support tweet counts. Twitter’s explanation yields more information about why tweet counts, “…don’t represent accurate performance, only perceived performance…” Tweet counts don’t highlight the overall impact of conversation, including replies, quotes, and URL variants, making them an unhelpful way to measure success.

What This Could Mean for Users

For people and businesses that don’t rely on Twitter to deliver information to a targeted audience, the change may not matter much. For those who heavily use Twitter as a content dissemination tool, however, the change will likely have far-reaching implications. For instance, some businesses use tweet shares to note how well-received content is and prove their worth in social media. It may not offer comprehensive analytics, but it does offer a snapshot of perceived popularity – a valuable commodity in the social world.

twitter-share-count-stopped

Our own Twitter share counter. The new changes left the prior share count visible, however it no longer updates. While this isn’t, by any means, the most important metric of success for a piece of content, it certainly was useful.

Twitter Introduced “Twitter Polls”

People love quizzes, polls, and surveys. It’s a proven way to boost engagement on websites, which may hint at why Twitter has added them to its lineup of offerings. Twitter Polls allow anybody to get public input for any number of questions. Forget the magic 8 ball. Find out what the crowd thinks and prefers with a simple poll posting. Can’t decide on dinner? Make a poll. Want to see what people think right now about the 2016 election? Make a poll. With millions of users on the social media platform daily, you may never have to make a decision on your own again.

While the feature hasn’t been in the marketplace long enough to see real results on its use, Twitter Polls promise a better reception than the removal of share counts. Businesses may find that the technology provides countless new marketing opportunities, from finding out how a product launch went to supporting research and development endeavors. Competition from digitalization may be fierce, but it’s never been easier to find out what your audience wants.

new-twitter-polls-hunter-walk

A charming Twitter Poll from ex-Googler and HomeBrew.co founder – Hunter Walk

The Latest Change – Hearts Are the New “Lucky Charms” of Twitter

Instead of clicking on “stars” to favorite a tweet, users will now click on “hearts” to like them. Favorited stars often help users save content for use later, which could make it difficult when the symbol indicates a “like” for all intents and purposes.

Twitter’s Blog States:

We are changing our star icon for favorites to a heart and we’ll be calling them likes. We want to make Twitter easier and more rewarding to use, and we know that at times the star could be confusing, especially to newcomers. You might like a lot of things, but not everything can be your favorite.

The hearts may take a social media moment for users to adopt, but ultimately don’t present a meaningful change to the platform. Hearts provide a more universal symbol for liking something online.

Look for the hearts on Twitter’s Vine and Periscope, as well. Some people still have mixed reactions of the shift, believing the likes and hearts too closely resemble other social media platforms *cough* Facebook *cough*. If you really want to find out what people think, you could always create a Twitter Poll and find out! Regardless, the change will likely face an easy adoption process overall.

Are You Using Direct Messaging?

The removal of direct messaging limitations is another change that isn’t as recent but has influenced the way users interact on the platform. Users who prefer private Twitter interactions may enjoy the chat-like feature of direct messaging today. Instead of a limited 140 character message, users explore the goings-on of the Twitterverse without limitation. However, if you send direct messages through SMS, the 140 character limitation still applies. So, enjoy the direct message extensions inside the application, but not through texting.

This change has been out since late summer 2015 and may make the platform more flexible for public and private interactions. Some individuals still wonder if an actual messaging extension wouldn’t be better than funneling messages into a private backchannel, but many have accepted the change with open arms. It facilitates communication in the same way as a messaging app, but the asynchronicity allows for a much more flexible dialogue.

The Ongoing Evolution of Social Media Platforms

Twitter has to keep innovating to stay on top of the social media game against its competitors. Facebook seems to continually unveil new features and extensions, slightly shifting the way users interact with the platform.

social-media-changes

“They changed it to a heart?! There are polls now!?”

As users start to become more comfortable with the platforms, changing them slightly over time gives the interface a fresh feel while adding value to the user base. The one thing most platforms probably shouldn’t do is make a lot of significant changes at once. People need change, but they find comfort in familiarity.

Speculation on Twitter’s motivation for these changes?

Some users claim these updates come from Twitter’s need to make more money after going public in 2014 (Check this article out from Search Engine Watch). Others give credence to the notion that all companies are shifting in an effort to make their mobile experience more rewarding.

Whatever Twitter’s end goal is, something positive has come out of each of these changes: it has gotten people talking. The more people post blogs and articles and tweet about Twitter, the better off the company is. It’s all brand awareness and marketing for one of the largest social media companies in the world. What do you think about the recent changes?

Do You Even Lift? Executing A Content Marketing Strategy That Gets Results

Content Marketing StrategyWhat do getting swole and content marketing have in common?

More that you might think.  By applying some of the same principles that work in the gym to your content development and marketing you can get the results you are looking for.

So do you even lift?

Content Marketing Strategy | Start TodayThe first step to getting results is to take action. Do something.  Start somewhere.  You have a boring niche? So… you still have build content. Your industry is too technical? Doesn’t matter… you still have to do it. You don’t like social media… you still have to do it.

If you want the results, you have to put in the work, and the work isn’t easy. Sometimes it feels like a grind to continuously promote content in various verticals, but to be a thought leader or subject matter expert, you have to put in the effort. KISSmetrics has awesome content about maximizing engagement by leveraging available data about the timing of distribution. This post is a great example.

So, how can you get results from your content marketing?

Have a plan before you show up

Wandering around the gym doing a little of this and a little of that isn’t going to work – you need a plan.

Have goals for your content marketing. Knowing why you are developing a particular piece of content keeps the creation process controlled. Content serves various functions – is it sales copy? Educational copy? Industry specific? Linkbait? All these content types require different approaches to get maximum results.  Will Reynolds from SEER has some incredible data on putting a content plan together here.

Don’t skip leg day

Leg day sucks, but it’s important.  You can’t skip the tough parts and expect to meet your goals.

Getting results from your content marketing requires that you have a plan for your content and that you stick to the plan. Know what, when, and where you are going to promote your content before you build it. Put a timeline or schedule in place to maximize your engagement across social media networks. Preparing a distribution schedule, drafting tweets, and selecting pictures and hashtags in advance makes executing easier, and it gives your content marketing efforts a more coherent feel.

No curls in the squat rack

The squat rack is for squats – knowing where to post your content makes you more efficient, and less likely to get the stink eye.

Stop Publishing Low Value ContentKnow where your content belongs and put it there. Cluttering up Facebook with every idea that pops into your head isn’t a content marketing strategy. Evaluate your content and understand what outlets are most applicable for your particular content goals. Does it belong on LinkedIn or Pinterest? Putting your content in front of the most likely audience, respects your audience’s time – and people love that.

You can’t out train a bad diet

You can do crunches until you pass out but if you eat cake for breakfast you won’t realize your goals

Stop with the crappy, low value, content. It’s poison. It’s annoying. It’s not going to help you.

Having a disciplined approach to content creation ensures that you only turn out targeted content. Come up with a lot of ideas, cull the bad ones, flesh out the good ones to see if they will work, and develop only the ones that are new, useful, and feasible.

You gotta track your gains

Knowing your numbers is key to tracking results – if you aren’t keeping track, how do know where to adjust?

Once your content has been developed, refined, scheduled and finally released into the wild, you have to track it.  Your strategy has many assumptions, and paying attention to the life cycle of a piece of content gets you actionable insights for modifying and informing your next piece of content.

So that’s it:

  • Get started
  • Make a complete plan
  • Stick to the plan
  • Be smart with your efforts
  • Track your efficacy

Now that you have your content marketing tips if you want to “learn” more about the gym please check out one of my favorite YouTube channels to see the inspiration for this post.

 

Using #hashtags, Are You Doing it Wrong?

If you’re active on any social media platform, odds are you’re familiar with #hashtags. They are used in advertising campaigns, on television and in discussions online. The thing is, because they’re so widely used online by so many different platforms, and for so many different reasons, some inbound marketers are implementing them without really understanding them.

A little history of the hashtag…

Hashtags are used on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest and even Facebook.

The first time hashtags were used was on Twitter. A little internet search will tell you that hashtags were used to communicate within groups when Twitter initially launched, because replying to Tweets and direct messaging weren’t options at that time. The first documented time it was suggested that hashtags be used for groups was credited to Chris Messina in 2007, with this Tweet. Since then, Twitter has hyperlinked hashtags for easier search and grouping.

Does using hashtags have an effect on SEO?

Not really.  At least not for now:

So why are they important?

They are extremely powerful when you are working to grow your following on many different social media sites, predominantly Twitter and Instagram.

For example, when you post a great blog and want to Tweet it, make sure you use a well known and popular hashtag relevant to your subject. That ensures more of your target audience sees your post and more people will have the opportunity to interact with you.

Like this:

We made sure to use relevant tags so that the right audience would see our post, retweet, actually READ our blog content and possibly follow us online.  The tags are simple…they aren’t confusing or crazy long.  The tags provide insight into the linked content so they add value to the tweet.

Here are 4 ways hashtags are used poorly, and what to do instead

      1. Making Up Hashtags – There are reasons to make up your own hash but if have a small following odds are you should avoid this.  There are sites across the web that monitor hashtags for many social media platforms. With the right tool, such as tagdef.com, you can check up on trending hashtags, learn what certain hashtags mean and what social media site that they are used on. Making up a hashtag becomes totally irrelevant if you’re the only one that has ever used it, or will ever use it.
      2. Spam-Tagging – These users totally understand the value of, and how to use, a hashtag. Now they’re using them to spam with advertising or simply to get more views of their status or post. These users will find a trending tag, and post a tweet using that tag on something totally irrelevant. That’s spam. You should only use hashtags that are directly related to your post. The general consensus is 1-3 tags per tweet or post…more than that and its spammy…like having too many bumper stickers on your car:

        spammy bumper stickers

        Huh? What is going on here?

      3. Using hashes on every word – #kind #of #like #this #yolo. Yes, there are some people that post like that. Not only does it make your hashtags irrelevant, it makes the post or tweet incomprehensible to the average human. There are some people that state hashtags should only be used at the end of tweets or posts. I disagree, as long as you’re posting something relevant it’s fine to hashtag a word in the middle of a tweet – just try to keep it logical.  Those are a precious 140 characters after all.
      4. In conversation – Just stop it.  Seriously.

The bottom line, using hashtags correctly can ensure that your content is visible on social media platforms where there are literally millions of posts each day.  You work hard to develop good and valuable content – spend the time to properly tag your tweets, posts, pins and you as well as your social media following will reap the benefits.

 

Why Your Facebook Strategy isn’t Working

Think of an idea, post it, get likes and shares. It seems so simple doesn’t it? Well, then why isn’t it working for you?

Brace yourself… your clients don’t want you to advertise your products all the time.

A lot of small business owners view social media as “free” advertising. Change your view on that, it might help. Sure, Facebook is a great way to make your product visible, but what happens when everyone stops looking?

Social media isn’t “free advertising”, it’s a way to involve your customers in your business.

How can you get more engagement on Facebook?

Post pictures

Not just sales ads, but photos of your team, your office or your facilities.

Post interesting photos that are relevant to your market or target age group. You can go “outside” the box here, share what you think your clients will be interested in.

Spartan Race

Ask questions

Ask about a trending news story, or new product. It doesn’t have to be about your business, but it can be relevant.

Facebook Questions | ISM

It makes your company personable. Some times it can seem odd to put yourself out there like that, but it can spark conversation!

Pay attention to WHEN you’re posting

Facebook Insights has  some awesome tools that will show you how many of your viewers saw each post, and even when most of your fans are on Facebook. For example, if most of your clients are online from 9 am – 10 am, don’t do all of your posting when you get home at 5pm.

Facebook Insights | Atlanta Social Media Marketing

You can see here that the peak times for this client are between 7 and 9pm

If you find that you don’t have the time during “peak” hours, Facebook also features a handy “scheduling” option for posts.

Scheduling Posts

Repeat after me, “Quality over Quantity”

Do not bombard your fans with 50 posts per day. Not only does this reduce your likelihood of showing up in user’s news feeds, it can also have you blocked by users, which is the opposite of what you’re looking for.

According to recent studies, business that posted less than 3 times per day received more overall engagement than those who posted more.

Slow Down with The Cat Pics...

Slow Down with The Cat Pics…

There is no perfect method of engaging your fans on Facebook. You may find that what works for someone else, will not work for you. It’s trial and error, so take a few days this week to try some of these different posts to see which of them may work better for your small business.

What are Social Signals, and Why do I Need a Good One?

Social signals are becoming a more important factor in search.  [Good] Back links have always been, and still are, of great value in SEO.  However, popular search engines such as Google and Bing don’t believe that a site can have a thousand or more backlinks, with no social signals.

So, how do I enhance my social signal?

It’s simple.  Basically you need to start with really good web content, this includes:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Press Releases
  • Articles

This content needs to be relatable, and informative.  However, it’s more than that.  You also want you’re your content to be engaging enough to be shared by relevant sites (by creating back links to your content), therefor sharing your content with more readers, and by being shared on one or more of the popular social media sites such as:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google +
  • LinkedIn
  • Reddit
  • Youtube
  • Pintrest

Social Signal | Atlanta Social Media Marketing

As of late Google has really been pushing SEO in the direction of better content, instead of keyword density and placement.  This advice needs to be followed everywhere, but especially when it comes to enhancing your social signal.  You want your readers and visitors to find the content that you provide to be useful and knowledgeable.  However, it needs to capture your audience enough to be shared with their friends and readers as well.  This is what creates the social signals that all search engines are looking for.

Google, Bing, and Yahoo have all agreed that the social signal that your site generates is of great importance.  “It’s the new SEO”.  Google has confirmed that they use Facebook’s and Twitter’s links in web search rankings, and the effect that these  links have on rankings has increased since the 2011 Panda and 2012 penguin updates.

So, what is the message here?

You need to create great content that is sharable, relevant, and engaging.  Having multiple back links won’t cut it in the new age of SEO.  Create content that readers will want to share, or recommend to their friends and audience.  Social networking and media is becoming very important in the world of SEO, you want to start generating your social signal strength now, if you haven’t already.

Top 6 Google Updates that Positively Affect SEO

Google has a way of making SEO companies squirm with new updates and changes to their search algorithms.  This year’s updates have really made an impact on the world of SEO.  However, it’s not what you think.  Any good SEO team that creates great content that is relevant to readers will still have great rankings in Google’s search results.

Google PandaHere are six of the 50 changes that Google made in March that are the most important to SEO and marketing:

  • Update Codename: Blackboard will process autocomplete queries that include math symbols. (+, -, %, $, @, etc.)
  • Update Codename: Prof-2 allows for betting indexing of profile pages from more than 200 social network sites.
  • Update Codename: ShieldsUp allows for better handling of local intent and navigational queries, where it looks as if the user is trying to navigate to a specific site, or within a specific site that is near their current location.
  • Update Codename: Curlup is the big one that has some “black hat SEO companies” shaking.  This allows Google to crawl a webpage and rank a website based on quality, and what it brings to the user, instead of ranking for SEO alone.  This is what I mentioned before, using keywords is still best practice.  However, don’t just shove them into sentences and content that don’t fit.
  • Update Codename: Fibyen improves the algorithm that determines dates for blogs, ensuring that the newest and most relevant results are brought to users.
  • Update Codename: Lice updates the signals that Google uses related to the landing page that quality images are located on.  This means that users will find higher quality images, even if the images are on lower quality pages.

Google’s updates always seem to scare everyone on the web. Though Google isn’t setting us up for a SEOpocolypse, and as long as you have great tactics there’s nothing to worry about.  If you own a business that has a website just make sure that you have a great Atlanta SEO and web development team taking care of your web presence.  This will ensure the best rankings in Google and greater traffic overall.

Google + Business Profiles – Not Quite Yet Folks

In typical headless chicken fashion social media minded businesses have rushed to jump on the Google + bandwagon for their companies.  This has led to a rash of business profiles being set up under standard user profiles…something that Google is not thrilled about.  Google has plans to create a robust business side for Google + in the future…it’s just not ready yet.  Google + for business does have a business profile sign up sheet where users can enter their business details.  Information about Google + for Business can be seen here:

So What Now?

In the meantime Google plans on removing business profiles set up using user profiles so don’t waste your time bending the rules…sign up for a Google + business profile and be patient…what else can you do!

Is Google + a Better Facebook?

Earlier this week invites started rolling out for Google + to a small group of users and later in the week to a much larger group…should you care? Did Buzz let you down? Do you need another social media outlet? Maybe…let’s look @ the finer points of Google’s would-be Facebook competitor Google +:

  1. Circles – This feature allows users to “easily” segment their contacts into groups and to share information within these “circles”.  This is much improved version of Facebook groups and is much easier to configure and administer.  Circles makes it easy to keep the pictures of you violating local ordinances out of your mom’s feed and your boss’s feed while still sharing them with your more permissive circle of friends. (note:  posting pictures of you doing crazy stuff on the internet is generally a bad idea…period)
  2. Google +Sparx – Searches centered around an interest generate results that can be aggregated to an interest list and that list will begin to generate a feed of info from across the web that is relevant to your interests
  3. Huddle – Provides group messaging capability across both apple and droid phones and SMS.  This feature allows group chat between members of the circles mentioned above.  Pretty cool…at least we think so
  4. Hangouts – This is group video chat…a new development that could really revolutionize social sharing and communication…imagine a live video chat with all your family members going over your dad’s 800 picture slideshow from their Disneyworld vacation…ok maybe that is not a great example but being able to live chat with multimedia sharing has potential…for sure.
  5. The Black Bar – this is the tie in that may make Google + a winner…you have probably already seen it at the top of Google search results.  With Google+ enabled this bar makes interacting with plus across all Google properties a snap. Of course without widespread adoption of Google + all that ease of interaction is useless J
  6. Mobile App – Google certainly has the wherewithal to develop a killer app…and they have done a pretty good job of that.  All the bells and whistles above are integrated in the app and easy to use.

How does any of this stack up to Facebook?

It’s too early to tell but Google + certainly has some compelling design and functionality features that are too cool to not check out.  Google has made a series of introductory videos to Google + for those that want a video intro the project:

To get your invite go check out the Google + page here and enter your info…it seems a safe bet to say that you shouldn’t have to wait very long!

Google Plus One

Google’s new Plus One (+1) for websites is the next big advancement by the search engine behemoth. They have had several attempts at social media fall flat on their face recently, but this one may just hang around.

Plus One allows users to effectively (to use Facebook terminology) “like” a search result. This allows others from within your Google network to see that you have already liked or “plus oned” something, therefore increasing the odds that they click on the link as well.

How does this affect SEO?

The effects of this could weigh heavily on SEO. Organic traffic is one of the most important factors in determining SE placement, so naturally if your see your friend likes one restaurant over another, more than likely you will click on that restaurant as well, therefore increasing that site’s organic traffic. Also, this is even further continuing Google’s attempt to lower the rankings of content farms. Poor guys never seen it coming.

Is this going to beat Facebook’s “Like” button?

Actually Facebook and Google’s philosophy’s aren’t much different than we think. Both companies consider themselves services and both are trying to give users content that is relevant to what they are interested in. So, with that being said, the short answer is probably no. The longer answer is that it may become a huge competitor because the button would be more generic and therefore used in more situations than a Facebook like. Also, looking back on the old Google vs. Facebook battle, we can assume that +1ing is naturally going to increase SE placement more than liking a page.

Google vs. Facebook

To sum up…

Google’s +1 will not more than likely immediately pose a huge threat to the like button. However, seeing that +1ing will have a “social feel” as well as working in the search engine, it will be more widespread and more relevant overall to the user experience.

Facebook Web Presence

A Facebook web presence is a great way to boost traffic on one’s business website.  Since it began to pick up speed, social networking has been thought to only be a way to keep up with old college buddies and family members.  Many believe that these outlets are only used by kids in the pop culture world of the internet, but nothing could be farther from the truth.  With the best SEO company it will become obvious that with a little professional help a Facebook web presence can quickly become a tool that puts one’s small or large business ahead of the competitors. Facebook Web Presence

Facebook web presence can be used in a number of ways to achieve more contact with old and new customers.  A professional can lay out an attractive page to match a company’s vision. If one doesn’t know exactly what they want, a few ideas can be suggested to reach a broad segment of the internet community. It will stand out from other generic pages and draw customers’ attention for longer, thus increasing the chance of a sale.

A Facebook web presence campaign will be launched to ask people to “Like” or “Friend” the business to generate word of mouth.  Helpful business contacts can be made via a Facebook web presence who also have the vision to get into social networking before everyone else catches on.  It would be a good idea for a company owner to think of those already on this site who have mutual “Friends” to advance public knowledge.

A “Group” will be created by an exceptional SEO company that others can join and become “Fans”.  This will automatically suggest to others within another individual’s group to visit the page to see more details.  Coupons, sales events and other relevant activities related to one’s business can be advertized on this social networking site that sees millions of views every day.A blog account can even be created which informs those who are a part of the group about changes in policy, business hours, products or any number of other activities/developments.  A Facebook web presence is a great way to use an avenue of advertising not many others have even considered.  There’s no time to wait when every minute counts in the fast-paced world of business.  The best idea is to hire an excellent SEO company to create and maintain a Facebook web presence as well as all other aspects of internet marketing.