23 Outstanding Social PR Guides

July 22, 2014

As noted in several of the posts highlighted below, the PR professional has changed considerably over the past few years. The audiences, topics, tools, and tactics employed in PR have evolved.

The PRiodic Table of Elements

Image credit: PRNews

Foremost among these developments is the shift from communicating primarily to a closely-guarded list of traditional “media’ contacts (editors and paid journalists) to working with an amorphous and expanding pool of influencers in specific industries and specialties: vendors, buyers, brand advocates, bloggers, freelance writer, peers, and others.

This shift has led to today’s emphasis on “social” PR. But it’s not merely about using social media platforms and outreach; as one of five pillars in the web presence optimization framework, PR now impacts SEO, content marketing, website design, and other marketing disciplines.

What role do press releases play in PR today? Are they still important for SEO? Is blogger outreach still an effective PR strategy? What are the best practices for social PR?

Find the answers to these questions and others here in almost two dozen noteworthy social PR articles, posts, and guides from the past 18 months.

Social PR Strategies and Tactics

What Brands Can Learn From @TODAYshow in 2014 by #SocialPR Chat

Lisa BuyerSocial PR expert Lisa Buyer writes about the transition of the TODAY show’s social media presence from awkward to awesome, and offers four related tips, including the importance of inspiring and training your own team first: “Brands of all sizes have the strongest army of brand advocates closer than they might think, with the right direction and structure – employees make the best brand cheerleaders.”

Why the News Release is Alive, and Well, and Thriving in the Wired World by Strategic Objectives

Deb WeinsteinDeborah Weinstein expertly explains how the news release have evolved over time, why news releases serve as a pillar of content marketing (news releases are “a tool we PR pros use to communicate with mainstream and social media journalists who share their stories, AKA “earned media,” with your brand or organization’s key audiences – be they consumers, stakeholders, shareholders, regulatory authorities, and/or, all of the above”), and what opportunities this creates for PR professionals today.

The Soft and Subtle PR Pitch of Content Marketing by Sword and the Script

Frank StrongThe brilliant Frank Strong says he’s “reached a point in my career where my best PR efforts aren’t made with a telephone or email, but rather with useful content that’s made freely available,” and explains six ways content marketing is invaluable for PR, among them “credibility” in the form of social proof as well as how “people, including the influential, look at us as individuals when they weigh a pitch.” Quality content and engagement matter.

Breaking PR: The Essential Elements of PR by PR News

Casysey-WeltonCaysey Welton showcases graphical “PRiodic Table of Elements,” which lays out “several important elements that a PR pro needs to consider on a day-to-day basis,” from the basics of jumaity, logistics, and budgeting through ethics, framing, media relations, and negotiation, in this quick-read post.

Why PR Agencies Should be Great at Social Marketing, But So Few Are by SocialSteve’s Blog

Steve GoldnerSteve Goldner explores why many PR professionals and agencies struggle to get results with social media, despite the fact that “PR companies are very well suited for driving social marketing success because their entire success is based upon relationships (and) relationships are what drive social success.” Among the reasons: PR professionals have traditionally carefully guarded their contact lists, and have historically dealt almost exclusively with professional journalists. The world has changed.

Forrester #CMO REPORT: Embracing Digital and Delivering Brand Experience by #SocialPR Chat

Carah Von FunkCarah Von Funk reveals research findings that “By 2016, Forrester predicts advertisers will spend more than $77 billion on digital marketing, more than they spend on television today and that interactive marketing…will comprise a full 26% of their total spend,” then presents four tips for marketers and social PR professionals to capitalize on these trends, including “CMOs need to take stock of this digital disruption and embrace it by working across departments to assess their digital readiness and identify every area their brand experience can be improved including messaging, actions and product.”

Guides to the Evolution of PR

You Know You Are in PR When… by B2B PR Sense Blog
***** 5 STARS

Wendy MarxThe awesome Wendy Marx provides an entertaining and video-rich look at how the PR industry has changed over the past decade. For example: “You knew you were in PR when you wined and dined a reporter over a 1 1/2-hour lunch with much camaraderie and laughter (while today) You know you are in PR when the reporter you previously worked with is now heading up editorial for a major brand.”

Quick Refresh on Untapped Opportunities for PR by Ishmael’s Corner

Lou HoffmanLou Hoffman offers “three thoughts for pushing out of the comfort zone and generating greater results” with PR, such as using tools like HARO and ProfNet to build lists of freelance journalists, because “As media properties have reinvented themselves to make the economics work, they have greater dependence on freelancers. Yet, many consider freelance journalists as second-class citizens when they deserve the same treatment as staff writers. In fact, one could make an argument for spending more time with freelance journalists since they’re NOT getting crushed with pitches and tend to be more open to input from PR.”

What’s Changed, What Hasn’t in Media Relations by Business2Community
***** 5 STARS

Jon GreerAcknowledging that “the news media has changed enormously in the last 10 years,” Jon Greer astutely details five characteristics of media relations that remain constant (e.g., “There are still hundreds of pitching targets: While the mainstream media sector has shrunk, online-only media and blogs have risen up to fill much of the void”) and five that have clearly changed (i.e., “There are fewer reporters and less space in traditional media outlets…Those that are left are being bombarded with pitches” – so your pitch to one of these individuals had better be exceptional).

Guides to the Intersection of PR and SEO

A Guide to Press Release Optimization by Business Wire

Acknowledging that “inserting targeted keywords with unnatural links is no longer a best practice for your organization’s communications plan,” this guide offers 10 alternative tactics for maximizing the SEO value of news releases, such as that Google’s Hummingbird update rewards good writing: “Focus on writing for humans and creating a good user experience, and Google Hummingbird will take note. Including relevant terms continues to be important, but they need to be in context with your story.”

Enduring Questions on Press Releases and SEO by Sword and the Script

While the days of using marginal-quality, link-filled press releases to game SEO are clearly over, Frank Strong (again)here explains why strategic, newsworthy, well-crafted news releases still do have SEO value, and supplies five tips for getting better search results from press releases, such as “Use multimedia (photos and video)…Multimedia is important for two reasons.  First because search engines return a blend of search results, or ‘blended search’…Second, because visuals draw viewers in…viewers will stay on page (with multimedia) for up to 30 seconds longer.”

7 Ways to Obtain “Unicorn” News Links to Your Site Using PR by iMedia Connection

Allison FreelandNoting that “PR and SEO are becoming converging marketing practices” (yes, within the context of WPO), Allison Freeland walks through “seven ways to obtain juicy links from news organizations to your website,” including press release distribution through the reputable news wire services; producing unique issue / research studies; and producing / distributing infographics (which “still have value”).

Guides to Influencer and Blogger Outreach

How to Find Niche Influencers in Google+, Twitter and the World at Large by Bruce Clay Blog

Chelsea AdamsChelsea Adams details half-a-dozen techniques for identifying influencers in any market segment or topic area, from checking out who speaks frequently at relevant industry conferences to finding authors on Amazon.com (“Are they on Twitter? Are they on Google+? Do they have a lot of followers?”) and using tools like FollowerWonk to analyze the key influencers on your key influencers.

GroupHigh.com – The “Blogger Outreach” Multi-Tool by Justice Mitchell

Justice MitchellJustice Mitchell writes a glowing and detailed review of GroupHigh, a tool that helps identify bloggers for outreach by topic (along with supplemental information about each blogger including location, associated/guest bloggers, Moz rank, and other attributes); analyze competitor blogs; and track and measure outreach campaigns.

The 10 best ways to pitch a blogger by ragan.com

David Meerman ScottAuthor and PR guru David Meerman Scott, who (not surprisingly) receives “several hundred pitches a week from well-meaning PR people,” offers 10 do’s and don’ts for getting the attention of influential bloggers, among them understanding that bloggers can provide coverage in multiple ways (“I might tweet about your product. Maybe you have a story worth adding to a book I’m working on, or including in a speech. Don’t limit yourself”) and not offering guest posts unless the blogger actually accepts them.

Bad Outreach Examples – How Not to Secure a Guest Blogging Spot by SteamFeed

Charlotte VarelaCharlotte Varela shares five examples of awful blogger outreach, explaining why each goes beyond ineffective to the point of offensiveness (e.g., “Rule number one of guest blogging – never talk about or ask about links in the initial outreach email! This clearly demonstrates that you’re after a link and nothing else”), as well as six helpful tips for maximizing your odds of success.

How to Find Key Online Influencers by MyBeak Social Media

Laura-Lee WalkerNoting that “Active web users create about 500 million impressions or data points on products and services per year, yet 80 percent of these user impressions were made by a mere 6 percent of users on social media,” Laura-Lee Walker explains how to use tools like Klout for Business and Traackr to identify and effectively engage key influencers in any realm to “get them sharing stories about your brand.”

Streamlining Blogger Outreach With Inkybee by Soulati-’TUDE!

Jayme SoulatiThe smart and delightful Jayme Soulati explains how to use Inkybee, a platform that helps identify bloggers by topic or niche to facilitate blogger outreach activities. She notes that beyond just building lists, the tool also enables PR professionals to set up, track, and measure results from blogger outreach efforts.

Guest Blogging Guides

How Guest Blogging was Affected by Penguin 2.0 by AudienceBloom

Jayson DeMersIgnore the obnoxious pop-up here and you’ll find a helpful post from Jayson DeMers explaining how changes to Google’s search algorithm have impacted the value and practice of guest blogging, along with four tips for continuing to get value from this practice, such as focusing on content rather than links (“Google will begin to recognize mentions of a company or its website on other sites, even if that site isn’t directly linking to them. This is known as a citation, and is currently thought to play a major role in helping Google understand the buzz or importance of a particular brand”).

5 Tips for Guest Posting on Higher End Blogs by HigherVisibility

Amanda DiSilvestroAs Amanda DiSilvestro points out, techniques that work fine for obtaining guest-posting opportunities on smaller blogs don’t work with the large A-list blogs. She then steps through five tactics that must be approached differently for outreach to larger blogs, among them: “Take your time and form connections, and then use those connections. As with most things in business, who you know will come in handy. Authoritative blogs want to see that you have made connections to other important figures in the industry (or even in their specific company). If you can name drop, I highly recommend it.”

Guides to Creating Social Media Newsrooms

Why (And How) Brands Should Build Newsrooms by Contently

Shane SnowShane Snow publishes wisdom gleaned from his interview with former New York Times editor Neil Chase, regarding the value of buiding a brand newsroom (“Today, a business can create and distribute quality content that engages people…But creating content is a new skill for most companies, so it requires new capabilities and expertise. Building a brand newsroom gives the business control over its messaging and content — and the ability to create and distribute content quickly”), how it should be staffed, common pitfalls to avoid, and more.

The Social Newsroom – How To Make It Happen by MindJumpers

Jonas Klit NielsenJonas Klit Nielsen outlines “the ingredients you need to leverage” in creating an online brand newsroom, from (of course) your news itself (“The key is to catch the specific news that people talk about when standing by the digital water cooler that is the Facebook news feed…Just remember – the conversational topics must be in context with your brand”) and social behavior to understanding the creative skills required and measuring performance.

Brands with online newsrooms still lack SEO, content plans by Brafton

This post reports on research from Newsdesk showing that “98 percent of the world’s largest brands have their own online newsrooms,’ but also spells out how brands are struggling to keep content fresh, use relevant and high-quality images, and capitalize on the SEO potential offered by online newsrooms.

 

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The Future of Digital Marketing According to the Giants

July 15, 2014

Guest post by Clayton Wood.

Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft have been making acquisitions that could change the way digital marketing is done in the near future. What seemed to be objects of science-fiction books and shows are now being developed in the real world, and may be used for marketing. These companies have also made purchases that many people didn’t quite think were obvious, but perfectly made sense in hindsight.

But what do these purchases tell us about the direction digital marketing is going? Let’s have a look.

Digital Marketing will be about Heightened User Experiences

The giants are taking a page out of science fiction books to develop technology that will heighten and improve user experience. Virtual reality seems to be one of the hottest trends: Google has Google Glass, Facebook bought Oculus VR (which makes the virtual reality gaming headset Oculus Rift), and Yahoo! bought, absorbed, and shut down Cloud Party. These purchases forced Sony to announce Project Morpheus, their own take on virtual reality.

How Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Sony are changing the future of digital marketingThough these acquisitions don’t tell us much in terms of what exactly these giants have cooking, the firms have made generic statements about what they want to achieve, and these statements focus on heightened user experience.

We also know that whatever it is they are developing won’t materialize within the year—we need to give it a couple of years. We know one thing for sure: although they purchased VR gaming companies, the technological developments we can expect won’t be limited to gaming. These purchases tell us that real-time information delivery, social interaction, immersive content and improved ecommerce experiences are in store for us in the near future.

Take Mark Zuckerberg’s statement when Facebook purchased Oculus VR earlier this year:

Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home.

This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.

These are just some of the potential uses. By working with developers and partners across the industry, together we can build many more. One day, we believe this kind of immersive, augmented reality will become a part of daily life for billions of people.

Data Tracking becomes a Strong Online Marketing Asset

We know how important data is to any marketing campaign, online or otherwise: without it, you cannot optimize the processes you have in place and improve the overall performance of your business. Google certainly knows this – their Webmaster Tools, Analytics and AdWords platforms belong to the most informative, readily available data tracking technology there is online.

It seems this year, they want to improve their platforms even further. They bought Adometry, a marketing analytics and optimization platform. Google explains that the acquisition “will build on the momentum of our existing measurement and analytics offerings, which include Google Analytics Premium as well as other products,” adding:

Attribution solutions, like Adometry’s, help businesses better understand the influence that different marketing tools — digital, offline, email, and more — have along their customers’ paths to purchase (http://goo.gl/tXTliw). This heightened understanding, in turn, enables businesses to measure marketing impact, allocate their resources more wisely, and provide people with ads and messages that they’re likely to care about.

This shows that digital marketing is likely moving to become more performance-based and accurately measurable. Data is becoming a strong online marketing asset, and marketers will likely devote a lot of effort and resources into analyzing and making the most of consumer data. Companies using performance models for growing channels, such as mobile and video, will soon be a common sight.

Human insights, combined with machine learning and real-time predictive analytics, will pave the way for easier, more data-driven marketing strategies.

Fun and Experience will be the Cornerstones of Most Marketing Strategies

In today’s ever-changing marketing world, it’s not enough to just get the attention of your consumers, you also have to give them something new—an experience. Consumers will be looking for something more than visually entertaining, they’ll want fun and experience.

Groundbreaking marketing creativity and innovation anchored on wearable technology and augmented reality can be expected. This will likely lead to digital marketing without boundaries; one that’s fueled by strategies focusing on fun, immersive experiences.

“Personal” Will Have a Whole New Meaning

Soon, it might not be enough for companies to just know what you want; they will likely also want to know when you’re most likely to want something. At the start of the year, Apple applied for a patent for a technology that would make inferences about the moods of people in real time.

“If an individual is preoccupied or unhappy, the individual may not be as receptive to certain types of content,” Apple explained.

Their solution? Figure out how a person is feeling at any given moment, and use that data to target content—or more accurately, ads—to be delivered at the right place and the right time.

Combining the technology on data tracking and analysis with the innovations in wearable technology, we can expect marketers to combine behavioral indicators—such as the rate of ‘likes’, comments, shares, the applications users open first, and the date, time, location and other specifics of their online interaction—with physical indicators tracked by a smartwatch or some other wearable gadget.

The word “personal” will have a whole new meaning, especially when it concerns digital marketing and online interactions.

Whatever updates and innovations may come, one thing is for sure: the digital marketing of today won’t certainly look the same as tomorrow’s. Companies clearly will be gearing for the future—are you?

How about you? What do you think is the future of digital marketing?

 

About the author: Clayton Wood is passionate about communicating the impact that technology has in online marketing. He is the Marketing Director of SEOReseller.com and managing partner of numerous successful online brands that offer white label SEO and other online marketing services. Clayton can be found on LinkedIn and Google+.

 

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20 Expert LinkedIn Guides

July 7, 2014

LinkedIn has made dramatic changes to its platform over the past 18 months, making what was a rather plain but effective business networking tool into a content-rich, visually dynamic, more interactive professionally-focused social network.

LinkedIn RelationshipsAmong other changes, the addition of showcase pages for businesses, expanded content publishing and media sharing capabilities, and changes to group email updates are all designed to make LinkedIn into a business-oriented version of Facebook. Facebook may be fighting back, but time will tell regarding its true intentions and objectives on that front.

Whether your goal is use LinkedIn to find your next job, market a business product or service, or just expand your professional network, you’ll find helpful guidance below in 20 of the best LinkedIn guides of the past year or so.

7 Guides to Using LinkedIn for Career or Networking

Boost Your Brand’s Visibility With LinkedIn’s New Profile Features by Sprout Social

Jennifer BeeseJennifer Beese reports that recent changes to LinkedIn’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature gives you “more ways to manage your professional identity and increase your visibility across the professional social network,” and serves up three helpful tips for capitalizing on the insights gleaned, such as using visuals to showcase “your talents in a whole new way by adding photos, videos, and slideshows to your profile.”

21 Steps to Create an Awesome LinkedIn Profile by jeffbullas.com

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas writes that answering the question, “So, what do you do?” isn’t as simple as it used to be, because “Today we have careers, businesses and life work that didn’t exist a decade ago.” He continues, “LinkedIn has redefined the online version of a resume and having a well organised LinkedIn profile is now essential,” then shares nearly two dozen tips for creating an “awesome” profile including using a professional photo, writing in the first person, and using keywords in all relevant sections.

Making LinkedIn Work for You by NoddlePlace

Sheree Van VreedeSheree Van Vreede presents an excellent infographic that illustrates LinkedIn best practices across half a dozen key areas, including activity, connection requests, sharing updates, and reaching out (“Prominently display your contact information…(and) clearly state your networking purpose on your profile”).

The LinkedIn Recruiter & Job Seeker Disconnect by Winning Impression

Katrina CollierKatrina Collier shares an infographic loaded with stats and guidance for job seekers on LinkedIn. While some of the numbers she shares are specific to the U.K. (e.g, only one-third of British workers have profiles on LinkedIn, and nearly half of those are incomplete), the guidance and best practices are universal.

Four Smart Strategies to Help You Engage With More of The Right People on LinkedIn by jeffbullas.com

Margaret AdamsGuest author Margaret Adams writes, “Once you who you want to attract you will need a plan to make sure you don’t waste your time and your efforts when you’re using LinkedIn,” then offers four tips to optimize use of the professional social network, such as “Be visual…Upload images, videos and presentations to supplement the text you write. This will help to build your credibility on LinkedIn. You’ll demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about and that you can deliver.”

The Secret Benefit of LinkedIn Endorsements by The Social Media Hat

Mike AltonMike Allton delves into the workings and benefits of the Skills & Expertise function in LinkedIn, how it’s connected to LinkedIn Endorsements, how to optimize your skillset for social SEO, and the right way to grow your endorsements (“sift through your own connections and start endorsing the people you know. They will get a notification and many will reciprocate”).

Want a Job? Here Are 6 LinkedIn Tips by MediaPost

Scott GillumExplaining that, “For recruiters, LinkedIn is the largest and most current database of business professionals in the world. For job seekers, it’s a portal into new opportunities, connections and references,” Scott Gillum offers half a dozen tips for job seekers to make the most of the platform, including keeping your past up to date: “Companies go out of business or are acquired all the time. Make sure your resume reflects or notes that change.”

10 Expert Guides to Corporate Marketing on LinkedIn

The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, an infographic by WordPress Hosting SEO

Berrie PelserBerrie Pelser shares an infographic he calls “a strategic guide full of interviews and tips from marketing thought leaders combined with expert insights from the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions team (designed to help marketers) embrace the vast opportunities that await—increase awareness, influence perception, generate leads, and ultimately drive revenue.” The checklist-style guide enables you to score your brand’s LinkedIn efforts across 14 different areas like sponsored updates, showcase pages, and use of LinkedIn groups.

7 LinkedIn Marketing Tactics Designed To Boost B2B SEO Performance by KoMarketing

Derek EdmondWriting that “LinkedIn has historically been overlooked by SEOs in favor of other social media platforms, primarily due to the fact that links in profiles and discussions aren’t really ‘SEO friendly,’” Derek Edmond explains why recent changes by Google have increased the importance of LinkIn for organic navigation, and present seven tips for making the most of that, such as “In addition to the deeper cross-link into the organization’s website, B2B marketers should incorporate applicable keyword targets with descriptive product and services copy.”

Best LinkedIn Company Pages of 2013 by LinkedIn on SlideShare

This short presentation showcases the top 10 LinkedIn company pages of last year, explains what makes each of these pages stand out, and offers general guidance for creating an optimizing a brand’s presence on LinkedIn.

5 easy ways to master content marketing on LinkedIn by iMedia Connection

roger_katz-2Writing that “brands must creatively combine paid, owned, and earned media to fully realize all potential points of contact with consumers” (i.e., embrace the web presence optimization model), Roger Katz supplies a handful of useful tips to “kick start your brand communications and content marketing strategy on LinkedIn,” like utlizing relevant LinkedIn groups by “asking questions, answering questions, sharing discussions, and measuring your results using tracking tokens and Bit.ly links.”

LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates by Brent Carnduff

Brent CarnduffBrent Carnduff explains what sponsored updates are and why they are worth looking into, then walks through a detailed step-by-step guide to creating sponsored updates, selecting content to promote, targeting your audience (by geographic region, skills, and “more targeting options” such as “schools…LinkedIn Groups, gender, or age”), and measuring results.

A Guide for Optimizing Your LinkedIn Company Page by B2B Inbound

Greg ElwellGreg Elwell provides detailed guidance on how to optimize a LinkedIn company page, but in terms of visuals and text (e.g., use the maximum number of characters allowed; include plenty of white space and bullets; and “Sprinkle keywords throughout your description and write it for the user and what’s in it for them”).

9 Ways to Get LinkedIn Company Page Followers by Green Buzz Agency

Victoria IpriWant more followers for your company page? Victoria Ipri passes along nine helpful tips, like getting your employees involved, sharing your LinkedIn page on other social media sites (“Are you using Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other SM platforms? Share your LinkedIn Company page on these sites to hit as many followers as possible with your request. Ask your employees to do the same”), and adding your LinkedIn page URL to your commpany email signature.

7 Ways to Optimize Your LinkedIn Company Profile for B2B Conversions by Ignite

To make the most of the strengths of LinkedIn as a platform for B2B marketing, Ross Wilson recommends optimizing the “About” section (“Most companies simply copy and paste the “About Us” section from their website onto their LinkedIn profile. However, this strategy is a mistake for those seeking to network on LinkedIn”) and featuring your employees (“People want to see the faces that are behind your brand”) among other tactics.

Top 10 Tips from Best LinkedIn Company Pages [SLIDESHOW] by LinkedIn Official Blog

Lana KhavinsonLana Khavinson shares 10 tips from top company pages (yes, it’s from 2012, but most of the tactics still apply!), among them: creating banners that show the vibrant nature of your business and culture (like Aurecon ) and “post content that interests your followers and less about how great your company is” (like Xactly).

Adding a Linkedin Group to Your Company Page by Social Media Tutorials

Jacob CurtisJacob Curtis writes that adding a group to your company page on LinkedIn shouldlead to “an increase in traffic and engagement between the two,” and steps through the process for adding any type of LinkedIn group that you manage or moderate, including networking or community groups; resource or information-based groups; and employee or training groups.

3 Guides to Optimizing LinkedIn Company Profile Pages

LinkedIn Creates Product Pages In Bid for More Content-Marketing Dollars by AdvertisingAge

Cotton DeloIn this short article, Cotton Delo reports on LinkedIn’s experiments with product pages, and notes that “LinkedIn has already made it clear that urging brands to promote the white papers and links to thought-leadership pieces that they’re currently publishing on their company pages to a wider audience is the way it intends to grow its ad business.”

Linkedin Showcase Pages Create New Points of Discovery by iMedia Connection

Tom EdwardsFollowing up on the post above, Tom Edwards provides more detail on product / showcase pages, delving into what techniques and content work well by using pages from HP, Adobe, and Microsoft as illustrative examples, though he concludes that “This new showcase option will need to be carefully considered though when deploying…(brands will need to determine) which products have enough content to support the audience in addition to further segmenting the brand’s following into subgroups.”

New LinkedIn Company Page Features You Should Be Using by Oktopost

Valerie LevinPointing out that “When conducting online research, B2B prospects will often judge a company’s credibility based on its website and social presence, particularly on LinkedIn,” Valerie Levin explains how to take advantage of four key LinkedIn company page features, including showcase pages, news feeds, and customized link preview images: “We’ve all had the experience of posting an update to LinkedIn that includes a link, only to find that the preview image that appears just isn’t that relevant. Now, LinkedIn enables you to customize this picture.”

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A Stroll Down Out-of-Memory Lane

July 2, 2014

Ah, summer–grilling, campfires, water sports, family trips, watching the World Cup (at least until yesterday)…

It’s easy to get distracted this time of year, and particularly this week, with national holidays in the U.S. and Canada. So in the spirit of taking a midsummer break from work, here’s a completely off-topic post.

We were cleaning out a storage area in our basement helping an older friend clean out his basement recently when we came across a box of old computer parts, cables, and software from my early days in engineering documentation early in his career. These photos may bring back memories for anyone who can recall when the 286 (for those under 30: that’s the Intel chip that preceded the 386, which preceded the 486, which preceded the Pentium, which preceded the Core i7 possibly powering your laptop today) was considered fast.

Back in the day before software was a service, it had to be installed. And installing something significant, such as an operating system upgrade, was a project. Windows 3.1 came on diskettes–14 of them:

Windows 3.1 install diskettes - 14

Diskettes gave way to CDs, which made installation faster and easier. Here’s the CD for Microsoft Office. Not Office 1.5, or 3.0, or 95, or XP, or 2013–just Office.

Microsoft Office - original CD

The great leap from DOS to Windows was that one could use a mouse. The original wasn’t cordless, or IR, or ergonomically correct, but IBM nevertheless sold a zillion of these.

IBM computer mouse

Finally, there’s this: an anti-static wrist strap. When installing circuit boards or memory chips, or doing any other kind of word on the inside of older PCs, one had to wear one of these things clipped to the computer chassis in order to avoid damaging sensitive components with static electricity. These are no longer required.

Anti-static wrist band

Have a great holiday / Canada Day / 4th of July!

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The Worst Social Media Business Blunders

June 26, 2014

Guest post by Larry Alton.

Businesses and celebrities are supposed to be professional, so why are there constantly mistakes being made, sometimes by even the largest of companies? Well, the answer is because there’s a human behind those Facebook post and endless tweets.

social media failsFrom bad grammar to getting visibly frustrated and engaging in flame wars, there are lessons to be learned from the social media faux pas of others. If you were on the fence about hiring a professional social media manager, these might push you over the edge.

1. Justine Sacco, Africa and AIDS

It’s going to take a serious blunder to knock Sacco out of first place probably (hopefully) for many years to come. She was a well-known New York PR Rep, yet for some strange reason felt the urge to tweet (as she boarded a flight to South Africa) “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” Although she vehemently backtracked and apologized, she was fired and hasn’t really been heard from since.

2. Dr. Phil, teenage girls and sex

Poor Dr. Phil, this probably wasn’t really his fault since he was just trying to make do with Twitter’s short character limit. However, when you’re a middle aged man who tweets, “If a girl is drunk, is it OK to have sex with her? Reply yes or no @drphil #teenaccused.” To many, it sounded like he was rather interested in having sex with a drunk teenage girl and wanted to make sure society thought it was okay. Of course, he was really just trying to open a dialogue (and for the record, Dr. Phil has assured everyone it is not okay) and it backfired.

3. Epicurious and the Boston bombing

Trying to drum up social media attention by making use of one of the biggest tragedies on American soil in recent years is never in good taste, especially when a brand has nothing to do with Boston or marathons. The social media post, “In honor of Boston and New England, may we suggest: whole-grain cranberry scones!” Many thought this was insensitive at best.

4. NYU Lecturer, fat people and grad applicants

Geoffrey Miller is a lecturer at NYU who seems to have serious fat phobia. He wrote (out of the blue), “Dear obese PhD applicants: if you didn’t have the willpower to stop eating carbs, you won’t have the willpower to do a dissertation. #truth.” The good news for NYU is that he was a visiting professor. He later apologized, calling himself idiotic and with bad judgment.

5. Home depot, monkeys and racism

Perhaps it was a massive oversight and/or lack of knowledge of racist history and slurs, but Home Depot tweeted a photo of two black men and one man in a monkey mask drumming at a college game day event hosted by Home Depot. The post read, “Which drummer is not like the others?” Apparently somebody clued in the Twitter manager and it was quickly taken down, but screenshots had already been saved. In what was probably the best move, Home Depot chose to keep quiet on the matter.

There are many others, but these top the charts (for now). Here’s to better judgment in social media for the rest of 2014.

Larry Alton—–

About the author: Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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