What do you love best about Twitter, Facebook, Linke….

What do you love most about the platforms you use?  It’s great to find out how other people use Social Media.   Often it shows us a new perspective, an insight or even a great tip we can use.

Here’s what I love most about the platforms I use most:

Twitter is by far my favourite because it’s full of conversations, quirkiness, news and information. It’s not limited like some of the others in that it’s reach is far and wide because anyone can ReTweet your message and one of their followers can ReTweet it again and so it goes on.   As much as it’s extensive, it can also be very localised, if you want it to be, by chatting with locals and using local searches.  You don’t have to be following someone or them you to be able to interact or share information with you, so the reach of your message is almost infinite. There’s always something interesting happening there too.    See more on this on my own blog How Twitter Changed My Life.

Facebook is where my friends are, well most of them, still.  It is where we catch-up, chat, share photos & organise things in groups from days outs to events and parties.  That’s what I do personally on Facebook.   In some business groups and on Pages I share relevant and useful content and find some very useful information, mostly from pages I’ve liked and am interested in.

LinkedIn really is for business and where I mostly find out most about my networking contacts, their background, their business, expertise and experience, if they’ve completed it! I also use the search facilities on there quite a bit and post in local groups, contact people through their message system who I haven’t got or stored their contact details.  You can also get quite hooked on ‘Answers’, where you can pose or answer questions on specific topics.

For photos I love Flickr for displaying, grouping, sharing and more and I’m beginning to see the excitement of Pinterest now.  I never got into Instagram and don’t see the point of re-duplicating uploading my photos again and I really don’t want to click through to them from Twitter either!

YouTube searches are phenominal now, and I am often looking up How tos and more on there.  With AdBlocker on Chrome it’s even slicker to use now too.  I’ve also blogged about whether it’s a good or bad thing to block online advertising. It’s not often convenient for me to watch video, which is why I still read much more information than listen to or watch online myself.

Google Plus still feels like a new playing field to me, with most people I see posting being ones I recognise from one of the above platforms.  Circles and Communities, to me, are just a replica of groups on Facebook or LinkedIn.  I know some people who say they absolutely love G+ but, as a friend & Tweeter recently said, “What gap does it fill?”.

So, what do you do on/with the platforms you use?  

What’s your favourite and why?

10 tips on using Hashtags

 

The basics: A hashtag is a great way of grouping information together.   Just use # directly before a relevant work or phrase (with no spaces).  On Twitter it helps show up those words more easily in Twitter Search & you can also follow them on Facebook and Google+.  If you click on a hashtagged word in a message, it will show you all other messages with that hashtagged word.

For the basics, read this simple explanation by the Twitter Help Centre.

Our Tips:

1. Use a hashtag yourself where it makes sense, like current trends and topics.

2. Use the correct hashtag when joining a discussion or following a particular event/show/conference.

3.  Use hashtags to make recommendations like #GreatRead #NowPlaying 

4.  Use a hashtag to add context or irony to a message, like #fail and #justsaying or make one up to be quirky e.g. #funnythingsoverheardonatrain 

5.  On a Friday, use #followfriday or #ff to Tweet a message of support to people who you like to follow but PLEASE say why.  e.g. “#ff @DotSocialise team,  for great blogs on social media” – because it gives people the reason to follow them. 

6.  Set up your own hashtags, for events or for specific discussions create a Twitter Chat

7.  Try not to use more than 2 hashtags in one Tweet or it looks like spam and makes the Tweet difficult to read.

8.  It’s not imperative (hashtags aren’t case sensitive) but for ease of reading add capital letters e.g. #PurleyBreakfastClub (refer back to No 4!)

9. If there’s a trending topic relevant to your business/brand use the hashtag in your relevant Tweets to join in.

10. Read up on hashtag fails so you don’t get caught out.

 

For further reading for getting technical with Hashtags have a look on  Hashtags.org 

Coming soon: Online lie detector to test social media rumours

From the royal wedding announcement on Twitter, to the rumour of Rwandan President, Paul Kagame’s death, these days lots of news stories break and rumours originate from Social Media.  So, is it any wonder that a lie detector is currently being developed to help organisations including emergency services effectively respond to Social Media by verifying online rumours.

The project, called Pheme after the Pheme of Greek mythology,  is being funded by the EU and worked on by five Universities and four businesses including  Sheffield, Warwick and King’s College London.

They claim that the system could have helped verify online rumours during the London riots

Dr Kalina Bontcheva, Lead researcher from the Department of Computer Science at Sheffield University says:

“There was a suggestion after the 2011 riots that social networks should have been shut down, to prevent the rioters using them to organise. But social networks also provide useful information – the problem is that it all happens so fast and we can’t quickly sort truth from lies. This makes it difficult to respond to rumours, for example, for the emergency services to quash a lie in order to keep a situation calm. Our system aims to help with that, by tracking and verifying information in real time.”

The system is set to analyse the text of posts on Twitter and Facebook to get to the truth and route out accounts set up to share false commentary.

The project is set to last for three years and the hope is that from it a specialist tool will be produced for journalists.

It will be very interesting to see what comes of it – watch this space..

 

Related stories

EU project to build lie detector for social media

9 Breaking News Tweets That Changed Twitter Forever

Facebook buys WhatsApp, so what?!

If you’re not a user of WhatsApp, then this is not really news for you.  

WhatsApp lets you text with other users regardless of the platform for FREE, even internationally.   It has great group chat features and some other additional features.   

However, if like the Dot Social team (Wendy, Ania & Stephanie) you are a regular user, you may have heard or be interested to know that Facebook has bought WhatsApp.    The first I heard of it was a post by Mark  Zuckerberg on Facebook himself yesterday – ‘We’ve agreed to acquire WhatsApp and that their entire team will be joining us at Facebook…”.

While at the moment the impression given is that WhatsApp will remain unchanged, there are the sceptics out there who are discussing and will be watching and waiting to see if there will be new charges and/or if it gets integrated into/swallowed up by Facebook.

For now WhatsApp say – Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing.

Only time will tell in the end I suppose.

Blocking Online Adverts – Is this good or bad?

Ever since installing AdBlock Plus to Chrome, and enjoying being able to happily watch WHAT I WANT on YouTube without being forced to watch adverts first, I’ve been wondering what effect this will have on the future of online advertising.   According to this Forbes post, Use of Ad-blocking is on the rise, the use of ad blocking is growing at a rate of 43% per year.

 

 

So, I’ve done a little research here’s what I found.

Where initially Adblock Plus would block all advertising, it now apparently has a whitelist of selected sites and services whose ads are allowed through the filter.  These do seem reasonable to me if you read about what they class as non-intrusive ‘acceptable ads‘.  

Obviously, it is controversial, as detailed by Dave Lee, BBC Technology News – Is it ethical to block adverts online? 

I had a look through the The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB)*, report mentioned (OK, so I didn’t read it all in depth – it’s extremely lengthy!) and found the following points make their case fairly clear. 

Below are extracts from the White Paper: Consumers driving the digital uptake – The economic value of online advertising-based services for consumers.

 P13 Point 4. Primary Research:  “…current ad-financed services generate significant value for the average Internet user, being an order of magnitude higher than what the same user would be willing to pay for eliminating the related disturbance of advertising and privacy issues.”

 P 14 Point 4.2: “Free ad-funded services generate the bulk of this consumer services surplus, highlighting the significant value of the ad-based revenue model for consumers.”

 P24 Point 5 : “the value obtained from using Web services remains six times larger than what users are willing to spend to avoid such disturbance. This means that the current ecosystem works quite well and that caution must be exercised in challenging the current system because of the risk of creating other imbalances.”

What this report seems to suggest/confirm is that Advertising basically helps pay for all the free stuff we get while using the internet, and the detriment is far, far, way out-weighed by the benefits.

So now I’m all for acceptable and non-intrusive ads, in order to keep a lot of what we use on the internet free.  

What do you think about blocking adverts and the future of online advertising? Comment below:

 

 *FYI The IAB is a UK-based trade association for online and mobile advertisers.

Facebook Updates – Tips from them!

In the ever-changing world of Facebook it’s hard to keep up with what might make your posts seen or not, and even the most supportive and fanatical Facebook marketeers don’t really know, and must find it hard to keep up!  

The best way to be sure has got to be to check with Facebook themselves. Below is an extract from their Newsroom from  21st Jan 2014 on creating content for your Facebook Page.

“Many Page owners often ask what kind of content they should post. This is difficult to answer, as it depends on who your audience is and what they want to see”…

“The best way to share a link after this update will be to use a link-share, so it looks like the one below. We’ve found that, as compared to sharing links by embedding in status updates, these posts get more engagement (more likes, comments, shares and clicks) and they provide a more visual and compelling experience for people seeing them in their feeds.”  

You can read the full Facebook post from their very own Newsroom here.   I hope this helps you. 

For more information from us, find us on Facebook!

Wendy Ager, for Dot Social

Croydonites Unite – Croydon, the next Tech City

Two of the Dot Social team took front row seats at the Croydon Tech City event and 2014 launch on Thurs 23rd January at Matthews Yard in Croydon.  
 
Croydon Tech City Jan 2014 Launch

Audience at Croydon Tech City Jan 2014

 
Croydon Tech City is a movement to encourage digital companies and start-ups to come into and/or work from Croydon.  The founder, Jonny Rose, outlines reasons why Croydon is well-positioned to become the ‘Second Tech City’ in his blog and on Croydon Tech City.
 
What it needed from when it was launched originally, I feel, was people, action and momentum, and boy have we got it.  Working together with Nigel Dias and Sarah Luxford, Jonny increased the numbers at their inaugural event of about 20 unsure but intrigued people to (I estimate) over 100 keen and enthused digitally-interested people, wanting and willing to work to make this become a reality.   There was a real buzz from the moment we arrived at Matthews Yard and still going when we left.  It was the sound of positivity and connections and relationships being built. 
 
We are avid supporters of this idea, of course, and want to help and build a stronger and connected Croydon that involves interesting and thriving businesses.  This will inevitably be followed by the inflow of money that supports all the other great developments coming along in and around Croydon.  
 
This was highlighted by Matt McMillan from Croydon Council with some great infographics of the talent in Croydon and the regeneration and plans to improve all kinds of spaces from leisure to business and infrastructure.  There’s more on the Westfield and Hammerson regeneration of the Whitgift Centre, transport improvements, homes, new leisure facilities and more here Croydon Partnership Masterplan too.
 
With the stories of others who have grown substantial Tech businesses from Croydon highlighted by Jonny, and talk by Simon Bird of Dot Mailer on their story, from bedroom idea to 150 employees and PLC status, it was easy to be enthused to want to support this idea of Croydon as the Second Tech City.   
 
Simon Bird, Dot Mailer talking at Croydon Tech City Jan 2014
 
Come on Croydonites, lets make it so.  Please go and follow the movement on Twitter, Facebook and visit the Croydon Tech City website.
 
Wendy Ager, for Dot Social

Social Predictions for 2014

We are all aware now that the Social Media revolution is a reality, plenty of us have seen the light and are using the powers of Social Media for the greater good. We at Dot Social think the only way is up and in 2014 things will just get more interesting. Here are some of the things I think we are going to see happening..

1. Social media is compulsory

Up until now opting out of social has been an option for some businesses, especially those longer standing ones who can’t get their head around it. I predict that in 2014, social will no longer be an option, that business MUST include Social Media as part of their marketing strategy to stay in the game

2. Questions asked on Social Media require an immediate response

In the past it was OK for businesses to take 12, 24, 72 hours to get back to people, but as the new digital disciples step into the consumer arena, they’ll be wanting answers on Facebook, Twitter etc straight away. Be prepared, 2014 is all about immediacy.

3. Everybody’s Mobile

YOU MUST make sure you’re marketing to mobile. According to Forbes: 87% Of Connected Devices Sales By 2017 Will Be Tablets And Smartphones so if your site isn’t mobile friendly you’re going to be missing out on potentially A LOT of business!

4. Instant e-commerce

We know that Pinterest can drive sales,  and we know they allow partners to use real-time Pinterest data to generate lists of the most-pinned items in their online stores.  Now imagine if you could click and purchase on Pinterest or Facebook without going anywhere else.. It’s just a matter of time..

5. Staff buy in

2014 and beyond will see the big brands extending their Social Media reach and incentivising their staff  to activate their personal communities and spread the word of the brand.

6. Images

‘A picture paints a thousand words’ and across the Social Media platforms every second memes, infograpics, selfies etc, etc are popping up.   Instagram and Pinterest really kicked off in a big way over the last couple of years and there are all manner of editing apps you can get for your smartphone – 2014 will see much more of the same. 

7. Podcasts

My last prediction is the rise of the podcast.   The YouTubers have put in their bid for world domination, Vimeo and Vine have created some noise over the last couple of years but I think that this year is all about absorbing information while your moving around, commuting, doing the housework etc, etc.. 2014 is the year of the podcast

by @StephanieDarkes

 

Are you a Google Ad? – Protect your privacy and make sure you opt out

In case you missed it, last November Google updated its terms of service, allowing the company to use your profile information in ads. Meaning that your name, picture and personal details are being spread throughout your network (unless you have already opted out).  

Facebook learnt the hard way that  there are lots of people who don’t like their face and name to show up in ads, and paid out a few Quid to some disgruntled users that took them to court.  

Google have tried to make the move by being more communicative, but if you did miss it – don’t panic! You can opt out right here all you have to do is scroll to the bottom of the page and uncheck the box. 

For more information on how the shared endorsements work go here

Use the correct size images for your Facebook posts

Whatever you are promoting on Facebook, make the most of the space you have and use the correct dimensions on your pages:

Cover Image

Your cover image is a great space to show off your business so it’s important that you set the correct size – if you use an image that is too small it will be stretched , if you use one that is too large you will loose some of the image.  

Cover photos are 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall and must be at least 399 pixels wide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlights

Share with your fans key points and milestone in your journey

Milestone and highlighted images are 843 pixels wide x 403 pixels tall.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shared Images

Shared images / pinned posts are square images that fit perfectly within the timeline, if these images are not the optimal size, Facebook will only show part of the image.  

Shared images are 403 pixels wide x 403 pixels tall.