Your company finally approved social media!…NOW WHAT?

Good job, you showed your boss the stats for why your company should use social media. And even better, they took your advice! Now what?

  • Facebook. Get a corporate/fan page to discuss events and conferences coming up; mention white-papers; highlight industry news. Facebook is more about spending lots of time, so make it something to really engage your followers.
  • Twitter. Same as above, but keep it short. Followers are looking for small bits of information and want to consume it all at once. If you can keep your tweet under 10 words, you’re golden.  There’s not a lot of room for your own advertising, so check out this article of how to brand your Twitter page.
  • LinkedIn. If there’s any social networking site meant for the business world, it’s LinkedIn. Just look at your profile, it’s your resume. You can create a company page discussing your events and publications. You can also join industry-related groups to discuss the latest trends. Or even better, you can start a group and position yourself as an industry leader!
  • YouTube. How-to videos are one of the most common themes people look for on YouTube. I learned how to design Android apps and play the guitar on YouTube. My mom learned needlepoint stitches on YouTube. Create “how-to” or information videos for your industry, and surely you will be seen as a leader.

Your options are endless. Just make sure you keep up with it so you don’t leave your followers hanging!

So your CEO and board still won’t allow social media…

You hear the same thing every day. “The board is afraid of what social media can lead to…” “the CEO thinks nobody in the industry uses social media.” How do you show them the light? Just show them the numbers.

  1. Seventeen percent of consumers’ PC time is spent on Facebook
  2. Time spent on social app (mobile) usage is up 76% over last year
  3. While 18-24 year olds spend the most time using social networks (11+ hours/month), 55-64 your olds still spend more than half that amount
  4. More than half of people aged 25-34 use social networking in the office
  5. Sixty-five percent of social activities is to learn more about brands/products/services
  6. If that doesn’t work, point out that almost every new person in the industry is younger than your CEO or board, and most likely even younger than you. Therefore, the industry is using social media.

(stats 1-5 are from the Nielsen Social Media Report, 2012)

Next step:Your company finally approved social media!…NOW WHAT?

Tuesday Tech Tip: Tailoring Your Webpage For Social Media

A good social media strategy is more than how to use Twitter and Facebook; a good social media strategy involves integration. And having the little F logo on your webpage linking to your Facebook page isn’t enough, either. You need to code your page for social media.

Think of images that Facebook chooses when you post a link. Sometimes the image you want to display appears automatically; sometimes you have to flip through a few options; and sometimes there’s nothing to choose from. But you can control all this!

What do I mean? First, take a look at the Facebook debugger http://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug.

Using this page as an example (which is managed through WordPress), I entered newmedianook.wordpress.com

Facebook Debugger gave me the following:

fb:app_id:

249643311490

og:url:

http://newmedianook.wordpress.com/

og:type:

article

og:title:

New Media Nook

og:image:

Description: http://external.ak.fbcdn.net/safe_image.php?d=AQBb6Ocl1aqN6690&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnewmedianook.files.wordpress.com%2F2012%2F09%2Fkeyboard.jpg

og:description:

A fine WordPress.com site

og:site_name:

New Media Nook

og:updated_time:

1359520388

As you can see, Facebook knows that this is a blog, WordPress gave the description “A fine WordPress.com site,” and Facebook knows which image to use as well.

So how does Facebook know all this? It’s in the code!

<meta property="og:type" content="blog" />
<meta property="og:title" content="New Media Nook" />
<meta property="og:description" content="A fine WordPress.com site" />
<meta property="og:url" content="http://newmedianook.wordpress.com/" />
<meta property="og:site_name" content="New Media Nook" />
<meta property="og:image" content="http://sample.com/my.jpg" />

An alternative for the meta code for the image is to just link it like so:

<link rel="image_src" href="http://www.newmedianook.com/MyImage.jpg"/>

And voilà! Now when people post your link, all your information will automatically populate.

6 Tips For Powerful Social Media Writing

Let’s get real, each medium you write for has its own needs, benefits, and downfalls. Therefore, you must cater to each medium, not just in text, but also in display.

Craft different messages for each social media medium
Most companies use multiple social media mediums.. But Twitter maxes out at 140 characters…minus 20 if you include a link…minus another 15 or so if you want someone to include RT @NewMediaNook. Facebook, on the other hand, has no maximum (of if it does, I’ve certainly never met it). Therefore, do not use the same message Facebook as you would in Twitter.  In addition to the length issue, your call to action is different: on Facebook, you ask your followers to “share” or “like,” yet with Twitter, you ask your followers to “retweet.” I know it’s easier to craft only one message, but believe me, your posts will improve if you treat each message for each medium.

Break up blog content with sub-headlines
If this page was just 20 paragraphs of content, you wouldn’t even want to start reading. Sub-headlines allow the reader to get a quick idea of what that paragraph is about, and decide within a split-second whether or not they want to read it. Furthermore, if the headline is good enough, they can get the entire message by just reading the headline, and completely ignoring the rest of the text.

Use bullets and numbered lists
If you’ve ever read High Fidelity, you will appreciate this part. The brain understands lists better than anything. Top Science Image Galleries of 2010 (Wired);  Six gadget trends to look for at CES (CNN); Super Bowl Greatness: Top 10 Big Game Moments (bleacherreport). If you are looking up how to lose weight, would you rather read an article titles How to Lose Weight, or Top-5 Ways to Lose Weight. Just don’t overdo it; using 50 bullets or points defeats the purpose!

Use images (and infographics)
Images draw people in. They want to read what the image is about, and they want to share the images. Especially infographics, which spread like wildfire.

Cut it down
People don’t have the time (nor the desire) to read your innermost deepest thoughts. Get to the point and move on.

Provide relevant links
Examples can bring your point to full-circle. Don’t link every single word, but if it supports your argument, be sure to include it!

Top-7 Ways Companies Can Use Social Media

So the VP of communications finally wants to get on the social media bus. Or maybe there’s a new intern who wants to push this social-thingiemajig. No matter what the case, small business or large, big budget or no budget, social media can work. And here are just a few ways to get started:

  1. Use the medium creatively. Create polls, contests, games…anything to keep people coming back to your page.
  2. Make your customers do all the work. Seriously. Give them a little bait, and let them tweet away about your new product, paper, conference, etc. People are more likely to listen to their friends than a company anyways, so you might as well encourage your followers to write on behalf of you.
  3. Do something that will go viral. OK, it’s hard to create a meme — not everyone can create the next LOLZ Cats or TextsFromHillary — but if you know your customers, it shouldn’t be too difficult. Start with a video, picture, or infographic, and let your followers take it from there.
  4. Toot your own horn. You’re great, and you want to make sure your followers know why you are so much better than everyone else.
  5. Integrate your marketing. Add your handles to your email and print pieces.
  6. Get your CEO involved. Customers enjoy feeling like they have access to powerful people, and your CEO tweeting is just one way to help.
  7. Just ask for “likes.” Mention it on your webpage or email; add a sign if you have a store; put it in a print piece. Besides, how will people know if you don’t tell them?

Optimizing Your Website

How many websites exist in the same category as yours? How many stores are similar to yours? How many businesses are the same as yours?

My guess is a lot. And you want to stand out. Optimizing your website is a great way to do that. You can hire a company, paying thousands of dollars. Or you can get started on doing it yourself with these tips.

  • Have a blog. A blog is perhaps the best way to reach out to your audience. A blog regularly updates, and indicates to your audience that you are knowledgeable in the arena. If you think your business has nothing to blog about, you are wrong! A packing and shipping company can blog about deadlines and warnings for shipping to other countries. A doctor can blog about new laws effecting health care, prescriptions, or general health. And all industries can blog general tips
  • Share blog posts over Twitter. According to HubSpot, blogs that are shared on Twitter have 113% more inbound links than blogs that are not shared.
  • Keep blog titles shorter than 75 characters. People are less likely to read a long title. Plus, anything you put up on Twitter, you want to leave room for a link (20 characters) and your twitter handle if retweeted.
  • Blog often. Companies blogging 20 times a month have 5 times the traffic as less-frequent blogs (I obviously have to catch up on this one!)
  • Have an easily located RSS feed. An RSS feed provides another way for folks to easily access your information.
  • Make your blog sharable. Seriously, the point of a blog is to get the word out there. So why not add social-share buttons to help spread your word!
  • Index your pages. Search engines look for searchable pages. If they can’t find your pages, they won’t post them!
  • Have redirect (301) messages. “yoursite.com” and http://www.yoursite.com are not the same. With redirect messages, your site will get credit for everything accessed.
  • Give “alt” tags to your images. Images are invisible to search engines, but “alt” tags are fairly easy to find. You tag the image, Google and Bing will find your tags.
  • Give page descriptions to every one of your pages. This makes your pages unique and more searchable.
  • Get others to link to you. I know. Not as easy as it seems. They should also be reputable. But the more others link to your page, the higher your page will rank.
  • Have a mobile version of your website.And remember, don’t shrink it; rethink it. Simply shrinking your website isn’t good enough. People who access a webpage on a mobile device are looking for something different than those using a desktop.
  • Add meta viewport tags to the mobile web version. Viewport tags basically tell the mobile browser to read the webpage differently and enhance viewing.
  • Have Apple/Android icons. With icons, users can bookmark your site with your icon (and come on, don’t you want your icon on everyone’s screen?)

There is so much more, but this is a good start. Good luck!

Converting a Print Magazine Into an App

My company has a magazine that comes out 6 times a year. It is available in print and online, but we would like to branch out to tablet. We want this to get away from print-costs, and to widen our reach. However, we are a small organization, with a database of roughly 30,000 individuals, about half of whom are members.

An app is appealing for the following reasons:

  • It puts us in the App store (Apple or Google-play), reaching out to more folks
  • People who don’t want to carry around magazines might download the magazine for reading on the train (our base is DC/NY/Chicago)
  • An app would make us seem more “with the times”
  • We might get a sponsor for the entire magazine-app
  • An app on the user’s screen is constant advertising for us
  • An app, as opposed to using the website, frees the user from needing an internet connection

I know how to program, however, dealing with Apple makes me want to drink. It takes up to 6 weeks to get an app approved; they change code every year; they are picky about what actually gets approved; if I need to edit something, I might have to wait yet another 6 weeks…it never ends.

So I have compared various platforms for putting a print magazine on tablets.

The overall number product is Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. It is widely used; there are ample resources; reputable brands use it. The main con is the price.

If you are not a publishing house and do not have the volume of Condé Nast, Mag+ is probably the next best option. They use many of the same features of Adobe DPS, reputable brands use them, but it is not as expensive.

While I am still filling this in, below is a guide of multiple options.

Product Pros Cons Used By Cost
Adobe Digital Publishing Suite
  • Easy conversion from InDesign to mobile device
  • Can go on iOS, Android, BB
  • Widely used and supported
  • App-store
  • Newsstand (Apple)
  • In-app library of previous subscriptions
  • Stays on the device (don’t need to keep an internet connection)
  • Based off InDesign
  • Learning curve
  • Have to reflow the InDesign files
  • Condé Nast
  • $5,940 annually
  • $5,400 training (1-time)
  • $6,600 annual support (or $300 an hour)
  • $ 17 ,940 TOTAL 1st year
  • $12,540 following
Mag+
  • App-store
  • In-app library of previous subscriptions
  • Stays on the device
  • Based off InDesign
  • HQ in Sweden
  • Mad Magazine
  • Bloomberg Markets+
  • Macworld
  • $399/month ONE device
  • +$99/month for ONE ADDITIONAL device
  • +$199/month for ALL devices
TapEdition.com
  • App-store
  • In-app library of previous subscriptions
  • Newsstand
  • No real reputable brand using it
  • Grapevine Digital
  • Hagerstown
  • Skidmark
  • $3,000 per platform (up to 4 issues a year)
  • $7,000 per platform (up to 12 issues a year)
Basic Apple app
  • In the app-store
  • No more research, I know how to do it
  • Stays on the device
  • No Newsstand
  • Takes as long as 6 weeks for approval
  • And modifications take up to 6 weeks
  • Apple only / no Android
  • Time-consuming
Nothing extra (but the time to develop it). I would do 100% of it.
AquaFadas.com
  • Multi-platform
  • HQ in France
  • They provide NO contact number
Price includes 2-days of training and 5 support tickets, but they do not mention what the actual price is!
PressRun.com
  • Seems to be PDF-based
Good Food
Prss.com
  • In Newsstand
  • iPad ONLY
  • Not much support
  • Not widely used
  • Bad reviews
Free
NxtBookMedia
  • Integrates with database
  • PDF based (like texterity)
  • No reflow of text
  • AAA Living
  • AOPA (Aviation from Berliand)
  • Uptime
  • North Carolina Travel
$15,000-ish setup

$250-500/issue

(based off AOPA costs)

OTHERS:
http://www.magappzine.com/
http://www.epublish4me.com/
http://www.zmags.com/
http://www.issuu.com/
http://www.oppolis.com/
http://www.emagcreator.com/
http://www.superiormediasolutions.net/products/mobile-apps/
http://woodwing.com/
http://twixlmedia.com/

ARTICLES:
http://pandodaily.com/2012/08/13/magazines-dont-have-a-digital-problem-they-have-a-bundling-problem/
http://www.businessinsider.com/this-startup-run-by-ex-apple-designers-is-about-to-change-the-entire-publishing-industry-2012-7
http://indesignsecrets.com/turning-indesign-files-to-ipad-apps.php

*NOTE: While I state that foreign companies are a con, I am not against other countries. However, I have a responsibility to my members, and require immediate attention. If I cannot easily get a hold of the vendor, there will be problems.