The psychology of influence

When it comes to social media, the thrust of any strategy is aligning your core message with your audience’s needs. But there is a reason it’s called “social” media. How does what people you know and “like” affect how a message influences you?

A key strategy for success in using Facebook and another social media sites for brands is to make use of the influence of “friends” and expand on an individual’s social networks to enter their sphere of consideration. If your friend (or colleague) recommends something, “likes” it or “shares” it with you, you’re more likely to pay attention than if the message comes from a random unknown brand.

So how does the psychology of influence work? This infographic from Pardot does a good job of summarizing it.

What do you think?

Infographic pyschology of conversions
Infographic on Psychology of Conversions by Pardot.com

The new Linked In Company Pages

What you need to know

Last week LinkedIn announced some changes to the overall look and feel of its Company Pages. This is good news for marketers, but also means you need to rethink how you present your Company on LinkedIn (and plan to update it if you have an existing Company Page.)

Think of Company Pages as place to showcase for your company on LinkedIn. With a few weekly updates, you can keep millions of LinkedIn members in the loop on your company news, products and services, business opportunities, and job openings.  (Find out more info about Company Pages here.)

New Layout Option

The biggest change you’ll notice about the new LinkedIn Company Pages is that the layout is much more graphic-oriented.  Similar to the change Facebook made earlier in the year, a Cover photo will now be prominently featured at the top of all Company Pages. (However, this new option will be rolled out gradually so not all companies will have access to it until later in the year). This is a great chance to showcase your company’s branding front and center with a featured image. Likewise, company information (or summary) is now at the bottom of the page, and no longer the first thing people see when they come to your page.  Here is an example of the new page:

Linked IN Company Page Example

The Overview tab is still the first area that people see when they search for your company on LinkedIn. It includes a summary section and your company updates, job postings, and new hires. This feed is your company’s way of communicating important messages to your audience. You can also use this feed to automatically post updates to Facebook and Twitter. Use it to post information on your company’s services, offerings, and news to keep the page looking fresh and updated. The new layout will also make it easier to target your update to specific audiences (by demographics, region, employees, etc).

With the new layout, the Services/Products tab is more prominently featured. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of this feature of a LinkedIn page, you’re missing out on a great (FREE) way to advertise your company’s core offerings. There is a space to highlight each of your products or services, as well as an image area to place up to three (640×220 pixels) banner-ad type of images with clickable links to URLs.  You can create multiple versions of this page to be served to different audiences based on their profile content.

Another change is that Career opportunities or job openings for your company is now featured at the top of your company page. However, you need a Careers page subscription to access all of these features, including the clickable cover image that can be used as a call to action. You can use the image to highlight a specific job, a list of jobs, or opportunities located on your website, or provide examples of your company’s work culture.

Example:

Linked In Services Page UP There Everywhere

Insights

A major benefit of using LinkedIn is the ability to gain insights about the demographics and people who are interested in your company. The Insights tab on your Company Page gives you information about user engagement, follower demographics, total impressions, as well as recent users, new followers, and member growth.

Follow Companies

You can find and follow companies by going to the Linked in Companies tab. You’ll see updates from companies you follow similar to on Twitter.

How to set up Company Pages

LinkedIn offers an online guide and videos with help for setting up your Company Pages. Visit LinkedIn here.

Or watch this video:

In addition, Hubspot has put together a great free guide on using the new LinkedIn Company pages as well. Download it here

Twitter launches Certified Products Program

You may have noticed that there is a thriving ecosystem of Twitter developers building products and services to help businesses user Twitter more effectively (and to measure/analyze their success).  But how do you know which tools to choose? Which ones really do what they are supposed to? And which ones will leave your data flapping in cyberspace?

To make it easier for businesses to choose the right tools, Twitter is launching a new Twitter Certified Products Program. This stamp of approval from Twitter offers some assurance the the products have met certain standards. The program will help businesses choose the best third-party applications in three categories:

  1. Engagement – increasing customer interaction
  2. Analytics – measuring the success of program efforts
  3. Data Reseller – to find the target audiences you need

Twitter Certified Products Program

The first cut

Twelve companies have made the initial cut of Certified Products:

Social media management — some tools to help you

Social media is the current marketing darling, but it’s not a magic bullet, and contrary to what you might think, it’s not “free.” Running a proper social media campaign (one that gets results) requires time, strategy, planning, resources, tools and commitment. And as we all know, time is money. And some tools are as well.

To get started, you need social media accounts set up on a variety of channels. But more importantly, you need CONTENT worthy of posting there. Think video, images, infographics, case studies, e-magazines, white papers…you get the picture.

Social Management Tools

For a well-planned social media effort, monitoring, analysis and user engagement tools are needed. A few content generation tools are helpful too. Here are a few that I find useful:

  • Hootsuite – this is a social media monitoring and posting tool. It allows you to monitor multiple accounts at once as well as monitor Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Linked IN, etc. all from one dashboard. You can assign other members in your account to respond to posts, schedule posts for days in the future, and track links and shares of the posts. You can also set up (at additional cost) regular reports that get mailed to clients and yourself with stats on the accounts.
  • Pictochart (an infographic pictograph production tool). It offers templates that make it easy to turn information into cool infographic. Infographics are a big trend in social media and can help you help get more Tweets and Facebook shares).
  • Shortstack. This nifty app creates custom tabs for landing pages, surveys, contests, etc, within a brand’s Facebook Page.
  • TweetDeck – Meant for posting, this free tool lets you manage multiple social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Google Buzz)  in one dashboard. You can update all or just a few with the same status at one time.

For monitoring social media reach

These tools let you manage mentions and monitor streams across multiple platforms.

  • Addictomatic – a multi-platform buzz dashboard
  • Social Mention – a slightly more sophisticated multi-platform buzz dashboard
  • Samepoint – another dashboard that includes some additional platforms the others don’t offer
  • Twazzup – a real-time news dashboard (with a bias towards Twitter)
  • Google alerts (weekly + in date order) – Use quotes around search terms, click “more search tools” on left menu, search by date range options (including blogs)

 What are your favorites?

Do you have any social media tools to share?

Facebook Pages have new targeting options

Facebook has begun rolling out a new feature they’re calling “Page Post Targeting Enhanced,” which allows Pages to target posts to sub-segments of their fans based on gender, age, Likes, and other characteristics. This will allow businesses to tailor marketing messages to specific audiences. For example, a business could tell teens, “We’ve got swag”, while telling adults “We’re reputable.”

Until now, Facebook Pages could only target posts to fans of certain locations and languages. The tool could make Pages even more useful to marketers and convince them to pay for ads to grow their fan base.

The criteria apply only to the news feed, and all posts will remain visible on timeline, according to Inside Facebook, which posted the list of criteria:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interested in
  • Relationship status
  • Language
  • Education
  • Workplace
  • Location (country, state, city)

Facebook Pages Post targetting feature

10 Hot Social Media Sites for Marketers

If your knowledge of social media sites is limited to Facebook and Twitter…you’re missing the hashtag. Take a look at some of these goodies that will boost your social savvy beyond the Twittersphere:

1. Pinterest. Pinterest is an online pinboard for sharing photos of everything from food to hairstyles. The reason I included it on this list is because of the site’s “request an invitation” feature and implication that there’s a waiting list to join. I think that’s a bit of marketing genius in itself. There’s nothing like telling people they can’t join a club to get them to want to join it!

2. Gentlemint.com. To give the guys a fair shake, Gentlemint.com is a newly launched site billing itself as the “Pinterest for men.” It follows the same kind of invitation-only model but lets guys share content with a decidedly more male focus.

3. LocaFollow.com. This handy tool may just become an essential part of your PR toolkit for social media outreach by city. It helps you locate people to follow based on their location and bio.

4. Friend or Follow. Here’s another Twitter-focused service that lets you manage and filter your Twitter followers. It tells you things such as who has stopped following you and who you’re not following back. It’s a great way to boost your Twitter marketing.

5. ClickDummy. ClickDummy turns your design mockups (for web sites, mobile and software applications) into clickable prototypes to get feedback from the cloud – fast.

6. ZoomSphere.com. Similar to FameCount.com and SocialBakers.com, this free service lets you analyze your global social media stats and monitor keywords. You can also see which topics are most popular by country and check their social media trending.

7. Kurrently.  This free, easy-to-use search engine lets you find out what’s being shared on Twitter and Facebook in real-time so you can join the conversation. Use it to write posts that focus on trending topics.

8. Klout. Here’s a great tool to measure the influence of your brand evangelists. Seek out key opinion leaders with social media Klout on Twitter, Facebook and Google +.

9. Skitch. Skitch is your online camera and pen. You can screen grab anything, add a note and share it quickly. The company was recently acquired by Evernote (wonder how long it will continue to be free?) It also offers Mac and Android apps.

10. Ning. What could be better than building a community around your own brand? Ning makes it possible by integrating Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Constant Contact and other services into a single online community. It’s a fee-based service but with an Alexa rank of 339, it’s the 11th most popular social media site online today (according to eBizMBA Rank) .

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The timing of Twitter and other social media posts

My E3 blog post from 20 March 2011

X-Cultural Marketing | E3 Agency Network | Global Insights

Hubspot, an inbound marketing software company based in Boston, presented a good webinar yesterday called “The Science of Timing” about when to post blogs, tweet, send emails and update Facebook fan pages. It was presented by Dan Zarrella, who calls himself “The Social Media and Viral Marketing Scientist.”

Zarrella presented research  with real numbers showing the best times of the day to post your updates based on your audience and your goals, whether that is to create a following (and get comments) or to get links back to your site or blog (which helps with SEO).

Key takeaways

The webinar highlighted several interesting takeaways including:

1. Tweeting late in the day and on weekends yields the most retweets. Zarrella attributed this to what he called “Contra-competitive” timing, meaning there is less competition for attention at those times.

2. Blogging on weekends yields the most comments, but publishing early in the morning on weekdays (before…

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