Category Archives: Blogging

This week’s Social Media Matters column (originally published April 8, 2011)

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, April 8, 2011
Metro section

SlideShare a great online tool

Have you discovered SlideShare? SlideShare is one of those great services that sometimes go unnoticed, but it’s a great source for getting exposure for your PowerPoint presentations (and other documents) and for finding some expert advice on a variety of subjects.

I was honoured to be asked again this year to present at the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce’s Social Media Day event held at the community college in Dieppe on Tuesday. After the presentation, some people requested copies of the PowerPoint, so I decided to post it to SlideShare (www.slideshare.net). According to its website, “SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. With 50 million monthly visitors and 90 million pageviews, it is amongst the most visited 250 websites in the world. Besides presentations, SlideShare also supports documents, PDFs, videos and webinars.”

Sharing PDFs is often one of the more difficult items to share online for a regular non-savvy user, so SlideShare can really be help on that front, too. It would be particularly useful for sharing free e-books that you may want to provide to potential customers or anyone else who may be interested in your services, website or cause.

SlideShare is free for basic users who just want to upload presentations, but there is a three-level paid plan for those who want more: Silver ($19 USD per month); Gold ($49 USD); and Platinum ($249 USD).

The simple upgrade to Silver gives you the following: private uploads, analytics, buzz tracking, no ads on your content, 30 leads per month, LinkedIn extras, 10 videos, Zipcast meetings. The upgrade to Gold gives you a custom channel in addition to everything in the silver package, while opting for Platinum provides full branding and the ability to control commenting.

My “Blogging 101” presentation got more than 100 views in just a few hours, so it’s a great source for exposure. Also, your presentation shows up in Google searches, of course, which helps in your personal or company branding.

Check out SlideShare and do some searches of its content. I’m sure you’ll be surprised by some of the treasures you’ll find – especially if you’re tasked with doing a presentation on a certain project.

Whose fans are most engaged on Facebook?

While the number of likes you have on Facebook is important, what is even more important is how engaged your fans are. In other words… if you speak, do they listen?

The Manchester United soccer team out of the U.K. has the most rabid… oops… I mean “active”… fans on Facebook. According to a recent survey done by FanGager, a New York-based firm that measures brand engagement on social networking websites, 2.6 per cent of its 9,915,504 fans (at the time of the study) were active on the team’s Facebook page. Fans had left 42,700 posts, 363,162 comments and clicked “Like” a total of 1,938,698 times.

Coming in second place was Canadian teenage pop sensation Justin Bieber at 1.8 per cent, followed by the TV show Glee at 1.7 per cent and Real Madrid C.F. (soccer team) and the TV show Jersey Shore, who were both at 1.6 per cent.

In pure numbers of active fans, Justin Bieber was number one with 20,270,964 fans and 359,116 actively posting, followed by the most popular Facebook page in the world – Texas Hold’em Poker, which has 38,104,788 fans and “only” 337,598 posting regularly.

Were there surprises on who has a very active and enthusiastic fan base on Facebook? No surprise: Britney Spears, PlayStation, Victoria’s Secret and the TV shows NCIS and How I Met Your Mother. Surprise: Mr. Bean! Yes… Mr. Bean. The comedic character played by actor Rowan Atkinson has nearly 9 million fans, 1.1 per cent of whom are posting actively.

Twitter considering branded pages

Apparently, Twitter is considering allowing companies to brand their own pages similar to Facebook.

It’s not clear on exactly how this will work because companies can brand their own pages now up to a certain extent but have no extra abilities that any other regular user doesn’t have either. The move is expected to increase Twitter’s value if the service is able to cater more to business.

Keep the boss off Facebook friends list

According to the Stuff.co.nz website, a survey by recruitment firm Robert Half found that 43 per cent of those who responded felt uncomfortable having their boss as a Facebook friend. According to the report, “The prevalence of social media in the workplace blurs the line between personal and professional relationships.”

This week’s Social Media Matters column (originally published April 1, 2011)

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, April 1, 2011
Metro section

Sharing is essential on Twitter

There’s a well-known and extremely successful local charity that has started to become quite active on Twitter. First, that’s a great thing! Their efforts to reach out in the area of social media should help them create better relationships with donors, potential donors and other supporters.

There’s one little snag in their strategy, though. I’m not sure if they do this for everyone, but after I followed them, they sent me a message thanking me for following them (very good), asking me to help promote them (not a problem – they’re a great cause), but then when I checked to see if they were following me back, they weren’t (not good).

There’s nothing at all wrong for local organizations to ask local, active Twitter users to help promote them. This is a good organization that it would be difficult for anyone to oppose. In fact, regardless of religious or political beliefs, race or any other differences we have with others, the organization’s popularity crosses all lines and is very well respected. That’s all good.

But… it’s not really a good idea to ask someone to help promote you on Twitter if you don’t bother to even follow them back. It’s just common courtesy. No one expects payment for helping to promote a charity’s Twitter account, but the least the charity can do is follow those from whom they are requesting help.

If I were running the charity’s account, I would follow as many local people as possible, i.e. everyone in their charity’s catchment area, for possible donations. Also, I would most especially follow the Twitter users from whom I’m asking for support. It’s just the polite thing to do on Twitter, where sharing and co-operation rule the day.

Hitwise statistics

If you aren’t familiar with Hitwise, the company keeps weekly track of the most popular websites, search terms and visits among website niche markets.

The most recent list available is for the week ending March 26. Some of the findings are quite interesting. I’m always surprised at how popular some sites still are even though you don’t hear much about them anymore, i.e. Yahoo! I don’t know anyone who uses Yahoo! for searching, but obviously people still do.

The top 20 websites for the week in Canada were: 1) Facebook (11.83 per cent of all Internet visits); 2) Google Canada (9.17 per cent), 3) Windows Live Mail (4.67 per cent) 4) YouTube (3.73 per cent); 5) MSN Canada (2.12 per cent); 6) Google (1.78 per cent); 7) Yahoo! Canada (1.58 per cent); 8 ) Yahoo! Mail Canada (1.37 per cent); 9) Bing (1.26 per cent); 10) MSN Sympatico (0.95 per cent).

Rounding out the list were 11) Gmail (0.94 per cent); 12) Wikipedia (0.48 per cent); 13) Yahoo! Canada Search (0.45 per cent); 14) TD Canada Trust Online Banking (0.44 per cent); 15) Ask (0.42 per cent); 16) Royal Bank of Canada Online Banking (0.41 per cent); 17) The Weather Network (0.35 per cent); 18) Yahoo! News Canada (0.35 per cent); 19) Plentyoffish.com (0.32 per cent); 20) Google Maps Canada (0.31 per cent).

When it comes specifically to search engines, Google Canada and Google together pummel the competition with 77.62 per cent of all visits. Bing is in third place.

As for social networking, it should come as no surprise that the Facebook behemoth crushes here, too, with 65.41 per cent of all visits, followed by YouTube at 20.62 per cent and Twitter at a relatively measly 0.89 per cent in third place.

In the world of Canadian banking, TD Canada Trust Online Banking rules with 13.01 per cent of all banking site visits, followed closely by RBC Online Banking at 12.02 per cent. The next three are relatively close in percentages with Desjardins (7.53 per cent), TD Canada Trust (general website) (7.38 per cent) and RBC (general website) (6.9 per cent).

In the real estate field, Realtor Canada (MLS) was tops with a commanding 25.41 per cent of all visits. Moncton’s own Property Guys was in 12th place with 1.34 per cent.

In search terms, Facebook once again dominated with four related terms in the top 10: 1) facebook (3.56 per cent of all search terms in Canada); 3) facebook login (1.19 per cent); 5) www.facebook.com (0.21 per cent); and 6) facebook.com (0.19 per cent). YouTube ended up with two search terms in the top 10: 2) youtube (1.32 per cent) and 7) you tube (0.18 per cent). So, two websites made up six of the top 10 search terms. Also placing on the list were “kijiji,” “plenty of fish,” “yahoo” and “msn.”

If you’re married or not looking, you may be wondering what Plentyoffish.com is. For those who don’t know, it’s the world’s most popular free online dating site with 145 million monthly visitors. Chances are, if you met someone online in Canada, it was probably through Plentyoffish.com! When I visited the site (purely for research, of course… purely for research…), there were nearly 215,000 people online at that moment.

In entertainment websites, People Magazine tops the list with 12.02 per cent of all visits, followed by TMZ.com, CelebEdge – Canada and PerezHilton.com

Apple dumps “gay cure” app:

After complaints and a petition that received 146,000 signatures, Apple has removed an app from its iTunes store that claimed to cure homosexuality. The app was developed by Exodus International, which calls itself “the world’s largest ministry to individuals and families impacted by homosexuality.”

This week’s Social Media Matters column (originally published January 28, 2011)

Social Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, January 28, 2011
Metro section

Moncton company featured on Mashable.com

Getting your company profiled in a positive light on Mashable.com is like winning an Academy Award. If businesses could win Oscars, getting a good story about you written on Mashable would be the trophy.

I’m sure the good folks over at Lymbix, based here in Moncton, were thrilled to see coverage of their company posted on Jan. 20 in an article entitled “How a Sentiment Analysis Startup Profits by Checking Emotion in E-mail.” Lymbix has developed a system that checks the tone of corporate e-mails – kind of like spellcheck, but related to tone instead of spelling. After all, choosing the wrong words could turn off your customers… or for politicians, your voters!

To read the article online, go to www.mashable.com and enter “Lymbix” in the search box. I was also pleased to see the company responding quickly to critical comments rather than just leaving them unanswered. It proves someone is actually doing their job at keeping track of what is being said about Lymbix online!

Latest Facebook scam feeds on users’ egos

The latest Facebook scam that has taken hold is spreading like wildfire. I’d say that a good 25 per cent of my Facebook friends have been taken in by the application that purports to tell you how many profile views you’ve had. These numbers are not accurate. Many people report getting the exact same numbers as their friends.

Why? Because the applications are only fronts to get your personal information! When you sign up for the application, you must agree to share all the personal information you have on Facebook. Facebook, meanwhile, is urging users not to be taken in by these applications.

And another Facebook scam

Facebook users will have surely seen the application that supposedly goes back and searches for your first status update, adding an update to your page something like, “My First Status Update Was: Helllooooo…” or something similar. Again, stay away from these things.

Twitter fading?

According to a Jan. 25 item written by Douglas A. MacIntyre posted to 24/7 Wall St. (www.247wallst.com), there are some potentially worrisome numbers for Twitter.

In November 2010, the number of adult visitors to Twitter was down 14 per cent from November 2009. While the number of subscribers continues to grow, the fact that less people are visiting the website to actually use the service can only be causing a few people to start shaking in their boots. Here’s an excerpt:

“The average total amount of time people spent on Twitter rose to 2 hours and 12 minutes in November 2010 from 1 hour and 51 minutes in the same month last year.

“The most important statistic among these is that fewer people visit Twitter now than they did a year ago. The fact that those who do visit do so more often may be useful to advertisers who want repeat exposure. But, the draw of Twitter to any marketer is that its overall growth is fantastic the way that it is for Facebook or Groupon. Twitter has started to move rapidly in the wrong direction if monthly visits and visit duration are down.

“The data shows that Twitter may well be no more than a fad. Its ‘subscriber’ count may continue to rise, but that is not terribly important when the subscribers don’t use the service.”

I’m not so sure that Twitter will fade into the sunset. It’s become an excellent way to get quick updates and market links and information to targeted groups of people. I think many Facebook users, for example, may have signed up for Twitter accounts to try it out but eventually decided it’s just not for them. Many of the current accounts may be dead accounts, but I think the core group of users is strong, proven by the longer amount of time users spend on Twitter when they sign in. I think it’s just a consolidation of users.

Twitter isn’t Facebook. A lot of people window shopped and may have decided it’s not their cup of tea, but the immediacy of Twitter’s data, the vast amount of information that can be gathered just by watching trending topics, and the speed and simplicity of the service should keep it on solid ground. While visits may be down, those who are showing up on a regular basis are increasing their use. This is certainly a silver lining in what some would consider to be bad news.

New York City hires digital director

In an effort to make its website more user-friendly and to capitalize on social media, New York City has hired Rachel Sterne as its first digital director. According to a Jan. 25 report posted to PCMag.com, Sterne will be paid $115,000 USD per year. Sterne could have a difficult time in the position. According to the article, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has publicly stated that Facebook and Twitter are “wastes of time.”

Time will only tell whether New York City’s investment in social media will pay off. If it does, you can expect other municipalities to follow suit, especially the larger ones which compete with the Big Apple for conventions, major events and tourism.

Beware of anonymous Facebook profiles wanting to friend you

I noticed many Facebook friends accepting a friend request from “Armchair Politician” recently. Just be careful when friending anonymous users. Better to be safe than sorry.

How to create headlines that get retweeted

According to Tim Ferriss, author of the 4-Hour Workweek, “There is an art and science to getting blog posts to travel like wildfire.” He recently posted an article entitled “Blogging by Numbers: How to Create Headlines That Get Retweeted”. His 281 blog posts have received 39,000+ comments and almost two million click-throughs via his Twitter profile and Facebook page in the last six months. Click here to read the article