Let’s Bring Social Back to Social Media

Let’s Bring Social Back to Social Media!

There I said it.  I have to admit.  I don’t spend nearly as much time on social media as I used to and the main reason plain and simple is because there’s just too much “noise”.  No matter which social platform you choose, if you view the main feed, it’s like surfing through the channels on the radio or cable tv and not finding anything you like.    Another reason was because it just wasn’t the same as it was back when social media was “new and shiny”.    I remember when I could log into Twitter and be able to tweet “Hi” and at least a dozen people would tweet “Hi” back and it didn’t matter if you were following one another.   People were online,  starting conversations, and getting to know each other because social media was so new, we didn’t think to advertise businesses.  There was no agenda.   Nothing  was automated, the fake “bot” accounts had not been invented.

That’s when I decided to write this post “Let’s Bring Social Back to Social Media” and do even more to change the way I interact on my social platforms. The attempts I made to interact as I did in the past have not had success.

Please do not misunderstand or get me wrong, I’m not saying I have never scheduled tweets or any other social media posts.  There is definitely a need for scheduled posts to make best use of your time. Noone can be online 24/7.   But… and there is a big  BUT.  Every post should not be automated, especially if you are expecting responses of any kind from potential or existing customers.  In my opinion – social media should not be like radio or television.  It is a two-way communication medium.   It is NOT solely for advertising as many people and businesses use it which is in my opinion why there is so much noise.

Sure – you can get around the noise of Twitter and other platforms if you know how.

In my effort of  Let’s Bring Social Back to Social Media I am creating a list on Twitter called “Live Tweets Only”.   The purpose of this list is to add members who will tweet back when I say “Hi” without having to @theirhandle.  I’m hoping by creating this list, it will bring back a little bit of the social interaction that has been replaced by the automated tweets.  Do you think it will help? Do you have any more suggestions to bring social back to social media?

 

Social Media Security – Best Practices

social media security

You may ask yourself why you need to worry about Social Media Security

Let me fill you in on the back story.  A former colleague contacted me and asked me if I personally knew a mutual contact on LinkedIn.  Apparently this mutual contact had scammed her out of some money.  I told her I did not, as I am connected to a few thousand contacts and do not know all of them personally.   Since this is an issue so many have to deal with, I thought this post would be appropriate.  Here is a checklist of best practices you can do to make your social media security more secure.

1) Use a separate e-mail address for your social media accounts:  i.e. linkedin@yourdomain.com  or twitter@yourdomain.com  then have each forwarded to your main account.  If you do not have the luxury of multiple e-mail accounts you can do something along the lines of  yourname_socialmedia@yourdomain.com.  This was beneficial for me about a year ago, in that I received an e-mail from my Linkedin e-mail  account from “PayPal”.  Someone on the other end was trying to get money from me.  I immediately knew this was a scam because my PayPal e-mail is not my LinkedIn e-mail address.  Of course I immediately let PayPal know what was going on and forwarded them the e-mail.

2) Use a secure password: You want a MINIMUM of 8 characters, but I like to use 12 or more.  You also want a combination of letters, numbers and special characters.  You want a different password for every account.  I know this seems impossible, but you can use a naming convention.  Here is an example.  Tw1+2013!!  I spelled the first four letters of Twitter using a combination of letters, numbers and special characters, added the year and ended it with exclamation points.   As you can see, this password combination makes the social media security is pretty good.  If you want to see how your password stacks up – go to this password checker and check it out.  You might be surprised.

3) Change your passwords regularly.  I would say at least every 3 months – but if that’s too often for you, at least once a year MINIMUM.  I change mine every 3-6 months because I used to work in network security and I’m a bit more paranoid.

4) Use a social media management application:  I use HootSuite and Sprout Social, but there are others.  You can also use applications like Gremln or Smarsh.  This is beneficial if you have someone managing your social accounts.  This way, they only have limited access.

5) Take advantage additional authentication method:  Several social platforms will send a text to your cell phone and allow you to enter a code for verification.  If you are concerned about social media security, this is an added step worth taking.

6) Recognized Devices:  How many devices do you have?  How many do you use?  Facebook recognizes and remembers your devices, so it’s good to go into your settings and delete your old devices every few months.  I only have 3 devices, but according to Facebook, I have 17 since May of this year.  The thing is, I log into Facebook from a lot of different networks.

7) What is the URL? Sophisticated computer hackers can duplicate your social media accounts (as well as pretty much any other kind of account).   If you want to be on top of social media security, you definitely want to pay attention to the url.

8) This may seem obvious, but do NOT give your username and password to people you don’t know.  Even if they say they need it to get you more followers or to manage your account.  Have them with you when you are signed in, then let them act as you add them as an administrator, or set up a third party social media management tool like Hoot Suite.

9) No matter how much you WANT to, NEVER EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER did I say NEVER? But NEVER have your browser remember your passwords.  If your computer gets infected with a worm, or virus, or the latest mutation thereof, it could possibly take the passwords from your browser and save them to a server somewhere for someone to use.  Also – NEVER save your passwords to a file on your computer.

10) Keep your computer up to date with the latest patches, upgrades and antivirus software.  Social media security is just as much about maintenance as much as it is about awareness.

Do you have anything you would like to add to this list?  Have you had anything scary happen to you or a friend?  What do you think could have prevented it?

Pros and Cons of Hiring an Intern for Social Media

social media

Let’s face it.  social media is becoming more and more important in marketing your brand whether you are a brick and mortar business, an online business, a celebrity, a non-profit,  or something else altogether.  No matter which category you fall into, social media allows you to reach more of your target market for less marketing dollars than traditional marketing avenues.  If you haven’t started using social media yet, or have but have not been managing your accounts regularly, this post covers the pros and cons of hiring an intern to handle your social media accounts.

What are the pros and cons of hiring an intern for social media?

  1. Pro:  You can get an intern free or almost free.  Most interns are required to do internships as part of their college credit so you won’t have to pay the rate you would have to pay a professional.
  2. Pro:  Interns are usually more technically savvy.  Interns have been using the social platforms you want for years.  They probably have taken classes in many of the management platforms as well.
  3. Pro: Interns are not set in their ways.  Interns are usually younger and are open to new ideas (your way of doing things) whereas professionals usually have their own way of doing things.)

 

  1. Con:  Interns are only with you a short time.  Because interns are doing their internship for a class credit, they are only there a short time (unless you decide to hire them). If you decide not to hire them, you have to go through the process of training another intern.
  2. Con:  Interns may need to be closely monitored.  Although your intern may have years of experience on various social platforms, their experience is purely for personal and social reasons.  Their posts may contain inappropriate language, and represent your business or brand in a questionable or negative manner.  Unless closely monitored, they may spend the day tweeting with their friends instead of the tasks you’ve given them.
  3. Con:  Interns are not dedicated to your brand or company.  You put your blood sweat and tears into your company.  You would never do anything to tarnish your company’s name in any way shape or form.  Does your intern care if there’s a typographical error, or if they accidentally post a photo of them at a party drunk as a skunk to your account that should have been posted to their personal account? Very doubtful.
  4. Con:  Interns don’t know everything about your company.  The person representing your company through social media should know as much as possible about your company and your brand.  People will be asking questions about your products and services.  Exactly how much can you teach an intern in a limited amount of time about your company or your brand?
  5. Con:  Interns won’t monitor your social platforms 24/7.  This goes back to the intern not being dedicated to your company.  They are there for college credit and possibly a job down the road, but 24/7 monitoring is a lot to ask for someone who is probably not getting paid.

I’m sure you can think of more pros and cons of hiring an intern for social media.  Please be sure to share them!  If you haven’t started using social media as part of your marketing strategy start now.  Don’t take my word for it – read this post by Forbes.  If you don’t play, you can’t win.

The Evolution of Follow Friday on Twitter

followfriday

What is Follow Friday?

When I first started using Twitter back in 2007, Follow Friday wasn’t even around.  In fact, it wasn’t until January 2009, a blogger named Michah Baldwin obsessed with the idea that people wouldn’t know who to follow unless he recommended them.

courtesy of #mashable
courtesy of #mashable

The idea of  Follow Friday is genius.  Recommending your followers to follow someone you follow, or are friends with, converse with on Twitter recommending someone else they know and follow.   Back when it was originally started, people would recommend just a few people on that Follow Friday until the next week.  People would actually get followed.

The problem now however, is we have people doing #followfriday recommendations in bulk loading so many names in one tweet there is no room for the actual recommendation.  Sometimes the people being recommended are not actual people at all, but bot accounts!

Twitter bot account

This bot account was relatively easy to spot.  It still had the egg for the avatar, has zero followers and is following zero people and does not have the bio filled out.  Some bot accounts have avatars, followers and bios.  This is why it is so important to tweet back and forth with people BEFORE recommending them on #followfriday or any other day for that matter.

Let’s say you want to would like to participate in Follow Friday, but find individual  recommendations too cumbersome.  You have other options.  Here are a few tips:

  • If you follow people you know and trust who give great Follow Friday shout outs.  You can RT those and favorite to use at a later date.
  • HootSuite has the bulk upload option using Excel.

Hootsuite bulk upload

 

The initial file setup will take some time, but once you have it set up, all you need to do is change the dates.  I recommend spacing your tweets 30 minutes apart.  Each tweet will also need to be unique.  Hootsuite does not allow duplicate posts.  I also like to copy and save several files not just for #followfriday, but also  to use on any day so I can recommend many more people and vary the message.  I always use the #follow hashtag.  Don’t forget to save the file as the .csv file format (comma delimited).

  • Another option is to use a third party application call Bundlepost.  Bundlepost uses this same format, but in a more user-friendly format.  You can check it out with a 30-day free trial.

So, when you see all those #followfriday posts in your stream, don’t go running to Facebook… at least not until you post your own #followfriday tweets for your tweetfriends.

What do you think about #followfriday? Do you follow people when you see someone recommended?

Twitter Shortcuts You Won’t Want to Live Without.

twitter shortcuts by Knikkolette

Do you use Twitter shortcuts?

If you use Twitter’s interface, there are several shortcuts (pressing 2 keys to give the the same action as a series of mouse-clicks) you will wonder why you haven’t been using them before now.  These are especially beneficial if you do some actions more than others, for instance; if you use your “Favorites” (tweets marked as Favorites to be used or referred to at later dates)  a LOT, G + F will take you straight to your Favorites page.  They are also good to know if you can’t remember where some of these menu items are.  For instance, if you can’t remember where Twitter keeps their “lists” feature, all you need to do is type G + L.

Viewing the Twitter shortcut cheat-sheets below, you can see some of them are pretty intuitive while others may take using a few times to get them memorized.  You can refer back to this cheat sheet any time; just favorite this page or download the images.

Twitter shortcuts by your social media mogul

In addition to the twitter shortcuts shown above, you can see a few more available with the image displayed below.

twitter shortcuts  keyboard

There’s one more quick trick I’d like to add that isn’t really a shortcut – but may save you some time.  If you ever share your tweets, and want a Twitter link for a specific post, here’s a very short video to show you exactly how to do that.

Did you find these shortcuts useful?  Do you have any favorite Twitter shortcuts or tips you would like to share? I’d like to know!