Monthly Archives: October 2016

Social Networking Alienation

Kiev, Ukraine - May 20, 2013 - A social media logotype collection of well-known social network brand's placed on modern computer keyboard. Include Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram and more other logos.

Social media is lauded as the one digital channel that truly revolves around the idea of bringing people together. While this is of course true, analysts and users are finding that its popularity can also be connected to a growing trend of alienation and loneliness. The fact that social media can be responsible for loneliness seems bizarre and counterintuitive at first, but a deeper understanding of the medium and the role it is playing in people’s lives makes this fact easier to believe. So, if online social networks are proving to be a negative influence in the lives of some people, how can and should the medium be used by people and brands, if at all?

Social media rising

Claiming that social media is the root cause of alienation experienced by millions of people can be a little misleading. However, there is certainly a trend that indicates that the epidemic of loneliness and the rise of social media correlate in chronological terms. As more and more people became part of ever-expanding social networks, so key elements of human interaction started to drop away. Personal interaction was traded for online, abstract interaction. Verbal communication continues to decrease as more people now communicate with shorter texts or even indirectly. In a way, it appears that the mere awareness of being super-connected to a social network at all times, made constant communication unnecessary. Because you are already aware of what is currently happening in the life of a friend, it seems redundant to contact that person in order to connect and find out more about their life.

Indirect communication and alienation

Social networking may have started out as an idea to connect people to each other, but its evolution has seen it become more of a broadcasting platform where direct interaction with others is not actually required. Instead of using online channels to actively build our social connections by talking to or making contact with people, many users now operate in isolation – merely publishing content and updates that reflect their current situation. While this kind of ‘posting’ often elicits some form of engagement such as a quick comment or the curt ‘like’ – this is meagre social exchange that could be likened to greeting a friend as he or she passes in the street.

Connections lost and gained

While social media alienation is certainly a troubling symptom of the digital age and its impact on human interaction and behaviour, it also boasts many stories that contradict the findings of lonely social media users. Social networking has helped many people connect to more people than they may have otherwise done, while also allowing people maintain contact with friends and family that live far away. All in all, much about the social media experience is what users make it. Those that are susceptible to social anxiety and isolation will probably experience an increase in these feelings through social media usage, while those who are naturally inclined to socialise will find the platform useful as a supplement to their social life.

Social media has changed the way people interact with each other and with brands, and companies that are aware of these subtle changes will fare better than their competitors. Understanding how to use social media as a tool rather than a substitute for human connection is the key to a positive experience that can be enriching, useful and fun.

9 MAJOR Social Media Mistakes That Will KILL Your Business Reputation

144Once upon a time, your resume spoke volumes for your character and experience. One simple piece of paper described exactly what kind of an employee or business owner you would be. Oh my, how times have changed! A BIG THING has been going on in the last 20 years and it’s called, Social Media. You can now type someone’s name into a search engine and find out a multitude of details about them. There are hundreds of networks to register your information with. In fact, 65% of Americans have social media profiles on at least one networking site. 26% are using two platforms and 9% using three or more. Unfortunately, not everyone knows that this compilation of personal and business information can potentially kill their business reputation. Here are 9 Social Media Mistakes that you should avoid if you want to be taken seriously:

1. Incomplete Profiles

Your social media profiles are essentially your business cards. You wouldn’t order business cards without contact information, your name or the name of your business, would you? Your profile (at minimum) should include your real name, contact info and a recent professional photo. People prefer to do business with those they know, like and trust. If your picture is a silhouette, how will any of your new connections recognize you enough to like or trust you? Filling out a profile with as much information about yourself may ensure the people looking for you, your products or services, will find you.

2. Inappropriate Posts

For some, it’s super tempting to post about their bad day, drunken escapade the night before or their dead beat ex. However, it’s just a bad idea on ANY social platform. Vices and dirty laundry have no place in the Professional’s social media assemblage. Particularly because connections may view you as someone lacking professionalism and self-control. Sure, we all have problems and enjoy a night out on the town. But those events are best discussed outside of the Professional’s social media feed.

3. You’re using a screen name that you created in college

“Sexysagittarius85” may have served its purpose your sophomore year of college but you’re not looking to find a date on LinkedIn (at least I hope not). If you haven’t already come up with a professional screen name that represents you or your business, it’s time to sit down and think one up!

4. Social Panhandling

Yes, this is actually a thing. No, you don’t have to be destitute to do it. Social panhandling is when someone initiates connections on social media with the sole intention of selling their products or services. Do I sense a little discomfort coming from some of you? How are you supposed to sell your products or services if you don’t make connections, right? A little etiquette applied to your interactions can make the difference. Rarely would you ever just walk up to someone and say, “Hi, Kevin, my name is Bill. How about investing $250k in my startup?” The best option is to know the person you’re attempting to connect with; or have someone refer or introduce you. You’ll also want to make sure that whatever information you communicate to your prospective connection, it’s valuable and helpful. Potential clients will know what your intentions are. If they’re to help and serve, you are more likely to get a positive reaction.

5. Sending out game requests and other inappropriate invitations

I’ll be honest, I have deleted family members from my friends and connections lists for sending me game requests. That may say something about me. But what it says about the person who sent those pesky task disrupters, is that they aren’t using social media for the same reason I am, for business. I remember back in 2008, I got sucked into Farmville on Facebook. I can’t even imagine how many people I annoyed with all of my requests just so I could plant more strawberries on my fake farm. It wasn’t until I started noticing all the “STOP SENDING ME GAME REQUESTS” posts circulating through the internet that I realized I was irritating others with my “farming” obsession. People are on social media for different reasons, if you connect for business purposes don’t bother them with a time sucking distraction like Candy Crush. Rarely, is it welcome.

6. You don’t compose your posts in a word processing document

Take the time to compose your important message in a word processing document. It will afford you the opportunity to check for spelling and grammatical errors. You may miss them if you compose and post straight from your social media platform. Although careless mistakes are understandable, you want your connections to take you seriously. If your content is regularly riddled with misspelled words or poor grammar, your credibility could be called into question. Plus, if you want to use the material again in another way, you can just cut and paste it from your neatly filed computer folders.

7. You don’t use keywords

Many social media platforms use keywords to help drive traffic to its appropriate destinations. The keywords should describe what your message, product, service or position is. You want to make sure your profile lets potential clients or business connections know that you’re serious about your business and they can easily find you in a simple search.

TIP: If you’re having trouble with #3, you can use keywords to help you decide your new screen name.

8. Your social media profiles aren’t consistent

Let’s be honest, your clients want to know that you’re stable, consistent and authentic. Having a different message on just two networks can make you appear scattered and inexperienced. Your profiles, summaries and descriptions should be similar but not cut and pasted from one site to the other.

9. Posting when you’ve been drinking, are tired, angry, medicated or just plain “out of it”

When emotions are high or energy levels low, just don’t post. Your reputation is always at stake on the internet. You want to have a cool, clear head when you choose to make a statement for the whole world to see.

TIP: If you take the time to do #6 above you may eliminate making comments that may be toxic to your business or your career.

It’s important to have a congruent, polished and professional image on all of your social media profiles. They should reflect the kind of business you practice and the type of business person you are. If you want to be taken seriously, avoid making these 9 MAJOR social media mistakes that will KILL your business reputation.

 

Honing Your Social Media Profiles Effectively

143Many people pay a lot of attention to social media. However, do those same people pay as much attention to their social media profiles? There are many different reasons why people don’t update their social media profiles regularly, such as lack of time or simply forgetting about them. However, honing your social media profiles effectively and regularly will produce positive results.

The information in your social media profiles

If you haven’t updated your social media profiles lately, it is probably time to do it now. It should take you a long time or a great deal of effort. However, once you have accomplished that task, you will see what a difference it makes to your business. When you finally take a good look at your profiles, you will probably find all sorts of outdated information, not to mention missing information and/or information that needs to be eliminated.

It is important for you to be consistent with the information that you have on your social media profiles. That is another really important reason to keep tabs on your profiles regularly. If you are putting off updating your profiles, you may be doing that because you think that it will take you a long time. However, ironically, you can make effective changes in a matter of minutes and those few minutes will make a tremendous difference to your business. In fact, there are several ways that you can affect changes with barely any effort involved.

Make little tweaks

The first thing that you will want to examine is your photo. That is one of the most important elements in your profile(s). What type of photo do you have posted? Is it a professional looking image? Is it a head shot or a full body shot? Is it your face at all? You should make sure that your photo looks professional. You don’t want to use a photo of you partying on St. Patrick’s Day, for example. Your photo should be a headshot and, if you can afford it (unless you know someone who is pretty good with a camera), have it done for you. By no means should you use a selfie as your social media profile photo! Additionally, it is extremely important for you to make sure that your profile photo is optimized. That means that you follow the guidelines on that particular social media channel for photos. That is very important. The guidelines will specify dimensions. Make sure that you follow them. The fact is that your photo may end up in other places, which is all the more reason why it should look professional and appropriate.

Use the same photo for all of your social media channels

This is very sensible. However, with that said, if you don’t really care for your photo on your social media profiles, you should change it. However, remember to change it everywhere. Remember that your photo is part of your brand. People will get used to seeing your photo and they will relate to your face in that photo no matter which social media channel you share. After all, you want other people to see your photo (anywhere that it appears on the Internet) and associate it with you and with your business. That will help them to think of you first when they happen to need what you are selling. Your consistent photo will also give you more of a chance that he or she will start to connect (and interact) with you on other social media channels as well.

The reverse concept

On the other hand, if you happen to be using a photo anywhere on the Internet that is not one that you want to associate with you or your business, you should disassociate with it. You don’t want to be connected to it for exactly the opposite reason. You don’t want people to associate you with something that is any less than positive. It may ultimately hurt your reputation. You want to create the best perception possible, not the worst one. Many people on the Internet tag photos that you are in. You should probably be careful about making sure that those photos are satisfactory to you. Some of the social media channels allow you to review those photos before they are posted and some do not. It is also a good idea to monitor your tagged photos regularly. However, remember that you will probably find that the photos are a valuable source of content for you and your business. You just need to be careful about what appears on the Web.

Use the same name every time

The concept that applies to your photos being consistent also applies to your name. Make sure that you use exactly the same name each time and on every social media channel. Again, it is a part of your brand. If you don’t do that, people will have a much more difficult time finding you online. The bottom line is that you want people to find you so that you can build a relationship with them and so that they will eventually buy what you are selling.

Use keywords and key phrases intelligently

The bottom line is that you want people to search for what you do and you want them to find you. The way to do that is by using the appropriate, most effective keywords and key phrases. Part of your branding is your use of keywords. The right keywords will lead those people right to your business. Not only do you want those people to find you and your business once but you want them to find you over and over again. That is an important part of your brand recognition. You will want to use them in various parts of your social media profile, including your biography, your list of interests, the description of your expertise, etc.

Connect your social media profiles

The changes are pretty good that you will have several (or at least a few) social media profiles. It is very important for you to link them to each other. You want to make it as easy as possible for your online connections to find you on all of your social media channels. This is an effective way to do so. It is very easy to get them to where you want to be with a single click.

Tweak each of your social media profiles individually

In addition to tweaking your profiles generally, you should also tweak each profile in a more specific manner. Each one is a little different and there are some things that may need to be adjusted, which may make a tremendous difference. It is interesting how much people will notice if they are involved with you online. Even little changes can make a big difference.

Conclusion

Once you start to hone your social media profiles, you will probably find that it won’t take a lot of time to do each one but it will make a big difference to your business. If you devote just a few minutes a day until you are done tweaking, you will be finished before you know it. You will want to review the language in each profile and make sure that it is great quality and that it says exactly what you need it to say. In addition to what has already been discussed here, another helpful change is social share buttons on all of your profiles. Giving your visitors options is always a good thing and you may increase traffic.

Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.

His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.

The Social Media Rules of Engagement

141Social media offers a wealth of opportunities for consumer engagement and building brand awareness, but in such an open and dynamic space it’s critical to consider what you’re doing carefully.

Social media is consumer driven, and the very characteristics that make it such an enticing proposition for marketers – the interconnected nature of online consumers, and the staggering speed at which information traverses the network – can just as easily backfire.

The ‘rules’ of social media are really about applying a bit of common sense to what are essentially human relationships. The key thing to remember is that this is social media – people are going online to interact and exchange information and content with similar, like minded people. They’re unlikely to be interested in your latest sales pitch, and they’re certainly not interested in promotional hype. They want interesting, fun, informative, quirky, addictive… whatever turns them on. When it comes to social media, you’re not just sending out a message, your inviting a response, and what you get might not be quite what you’re expecting. You need a plan to engage in social media marketing, but you also need to be flexible and respond to the community.

  • Draw on what you already know: you already have a wealth of knowledge about your customers – who they are, what they like to do, where they hang-out online. Okay, so one of the main reasons you’re getting involved in social media is to get to know them a little better – but the point is you’re not going into this blind. Use that knowledge: apply what you already know about your customers, your business and your brand to your social media strategy. As you learn more, refine what you’re doing accordingly.
  • Don’t jump in unprepared: have a clear plan before you start – know who you’re trying to engage with and what you want to achieve. Define ways to gauge and measure your success, with frequent milestones to help keep you on-track. But remember to be flexible, and modify your plan as necessary in response to community feedback.
  • Look, listen and learn: before you engage in social media marketing spend some time ‘lurking’ (hanging around without contributing). Familiarising yourself with the different types of social media sites that you plan to target. Go and use the sites, read the blogs… immerse yourself in the media. Look, listen and learn. Just like in real life, every online community is different. Familiarise yourself with the various nuances before you dive in.
  • Be open, honest and authentic: nowhere is the term ‘full disclosure’ more appropriate than in social media. Don’t go online pretending to be an independent punter extolling the virtues of your brand. You will get found out, and when you do your company will go ‘viral’ for all the wrong reasons. There are some high profile examples of companies getting this spectacularly wrong, with disastrous results. Never pretend to be someone or something you’re not.
  • Be relevant, interesting and entertaining: everything you do should add value to the community, as well as moving you towards your business goals. Be helpful, be constructive be interesting and entertaining – join the conversation, offer valuable, authoritative and considered advice. Make a real effort to engage with the community on their terms, and you’ll usually find them more than happy to engage with you in return.
  • Don’t push out a spammy message: don’t join social media sites just to submit a tonne of links and push information about your own products, or flood the community with posts on why your company is the best thing since sliced bread. It smacks of spam, and ads nothing to the conversation. At best the community will ignore you… at worst, well, we’re back to the negative viral effect again.
  • Respect ‘rules’: if the site you’re frequenting has policies, guidelines and rules, read them, and abide by them.
  • Respect people: always be respectful to your fellow community members. That doesn’t mean you always have to agree with them; healthy debate is good in any community. When you do disagree, though, always be polite and respect other people. They have as much right to their opinion as you do to yours. Don’t get personal.
  • Respond to feedback: if users give you feedback, that’s invaluable. Let them know that you appreciate it, that you’re interested in what they have to say. Be responsive, and show them how you’ve used that feedback constructively.

Increase Your Social Media Engagement With These Easy Ways

140Social media platforms are a great way to connect to people. However, improving your online presence through these social media channels is a relentless task that you need to carry on to reap benefits.

Creating quality engagement with your customer base-existing and potential is essential to get more out of your social media strategy. Here are simple ways to revolutionize the use of social media channels and increase your social media engagement.

  • Communication is the best way to start talking to people who are in the same industry or are interested in your industry. This way, you can reach out to people with your business and encourage your loyal customers to communicate with you. Focusing on quality conversations and one-to-one chat with your customers is a great way of creating engagement for your posts and build a quality channel.
  • Images and videos make for attractive posts on social media. Not only does the audience emotionally connect with these pieces it remains stuck in their minds for long. Creating a visual element and connecting it to your content is a good way to increase engagement.
  • Following key influencers and key players of your industry is an easy way of establishing authentic relationships that go a long way in business. You can make great friends and boost your credibility when you connect with established people of your field. Share their content and articles along with of your comments and watch them take notice.
  • Post promotions on social media platforms are effective and engaging. This way to can access your targeted audience easily, who have been looking for similar products or services in and around. It will enable you to connect to a larger audience and create greater engagement, thus making the most of your online promotion budget.
  • A community of cross promotion is flourishing to the whole industry as well as your business. However, most of the businesses are busy in self-promotion, thus missing out on the opportunity of real engagement. At least eighty percent of your posts should be socially focussed on industry news, sharing articles that interest you, customer interaction and comments, events that you are attending or interested in, discussing community concerns, cross-promoting with credible people and sharing past posts from your business blog.
  • A call-to-action button is an absolute necessity after every post. It tells readers and visitors what to do next, whether asking for suggestions, questions or comments.
  • Thoughtful proof-reading is essential after crafting every piece of content. Check for grammatical and spelling errors, check the workability of the links included, make photos and videos of good quality, analyze the words and tone, and ensure that everything in the post represents your brand.

Being active on social media channels is not enough. You have to create an engaging environment to build your small yet strong community of followers.