social networking

New Era of Social Media-Inspired Body Modification

Courtesy Brides.com

Courtesy Brides.com

You are now entering the selfie twilight zone.

Not too long ago, we posted a story on this blog as well as a feature on Social Media Today about the narcissism that comes along with the selfie craze on social networking sites. Like previously mentioned, selfies have played an active role in teen suicide attempts, depression and cyber-bullying.  In the past few years, stories have surfaced about social media users wanting plastic surgery to look better in their selfies. The newest craze is just as ridiculous.

According to an Elle article posted this week, women are opting for “hand-lifts” before taking the perfect engagement ring selfie. One New York City area doctor says the fad has increased 40 percent since the world was introduced to the social selfie.

“As we age, the skin on the hands can lose fat, becoming more thin and bony with prominent veins and wrinkles,”  dermatologist Dr. Ariel Ostad told Elle. “Social media has certainly led people to be more concerned about their appearance and how they present themselves, so if women can receive a quick procedure to make themselves feel better and younger, it’s something that they are willing to do.”

The 10-minute procedure consists of an injection of Juvederm into the hands with instant results. The article says the procedure costs around $1,200 and is expected to last up to nine months.

So, here’s the question: would YOU ever consider getting a hand-lift before taking an engagement selfie? Why or why not? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

Foursquare announces new spin-off app

 

swarm logo newwww

The digital horizon looks bright for Foursquare.

The app-based social network announced May 1 that it would be splitting its product into two separate entities: Foursquare and Swarm. While Foursquare will continue to offer users a location-based discovery experience, Swarm will primarily focus on personal connections through proximity.

What does that mean?

It means that Foursquare is on its way to reinventing itself to take out the creep factor and add in the friend element. The main goal of Swarm is to show you which of your friends are in your general area and who is available to make plans with.

We built Swarm because you’ve told us how often you still have to text your friends: “where are you?” and “what are you up to later?” We wanted to build a quick way for you to know these two things for all of your friends,” Foursquare wrote in their official blog. “With Swarm, you can easily see which of your friends are out nearby, figure out who is up for grabbing a drink later, and share what you’re up to (faster and more easily than you can in Foursquare today).”

Here’s a sneak preview, as originally posted on The Verge:

swarm_group

The app will be available for iOS and Android technology toward the end of May. If you want to be notified when the app is ready to download, check out Swarm’s website.

As for Foursquare, the company says it is going through a great transformation:

In the near future, the Foursquare app is also going to go through a metamorphosis. Local search today is like the digital version of browsing through the Yellow Pages (remember those?). We believe local search should be personalized to your tastes and informed by the people you trust. The opinions of actual experts should matter, not just strangers. An app should be able answer questions like ‘give me a great date dinner spot’ and not just ‘tell me the nearest gas station.’ We’re right now putting the final touches on this new, discovery-focused version of Foursquare. It’ll be polished and ready for you later this summer.”

Are you planning on using the Swarm app? Leave us a line in the comments and we may just publish them in a future blog! 

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Social Networking

We live in a world saturated in social media, so it’s easy to assume expertise in that realm. However, it’s probably safe to say you’re not familiar with these 10 facts about the world of social networking. (And if you do, you are truly awesome. Let’s be Facebook friends.)

Social Media Inspiration: Sioux Falls Edition

canstockphoto13893485

If you’re one of those creative types, you know how difficult it can be at times to get a solid idea rolling, especially when it comes to an engaging social media post or blog entry. No matter how deep you reach into your creativity vault, nothing seems to stand out when translated from brain to computer screen. Don’t let  frustration or lack of motivation stop you from posting on your company’s social pages or blogs.  If you go too long without communication, your fans and followers might start to wonder why you’ve abandoned your online platforms.

Today, we want to share several businesses in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota area that utilize social media in an awesome way.  Take these examples as inspiration for your next online post:

1. Avera McKennan

avera

Courtesy: Avera Health YouTube

Avera’s latest marketing campaign, “My Avera Story” adds a human element to their social media. The health care organization uses amazing, personal stories that tug at the heartstrings to increase brand awareness and engagement on their Facebook and Youtube pages. Consumers want businesses that will listen to them and Avera is effectively tapping into this need through this social campaign.

2. All City Pet Care West

all city 3

Courtesy: All City Pet Care West Facebook

What’s better than a Facebook news feed full of fuzzy, cute faces? Using real photos of what’s happening around the veterinary office is a great way to connect with pet owners and show what they have to offer. It also increases their chance of having their posts shared by fans and followers. In addition to promoting services, All City Pet Care provides snapshots of adoptable animals looking for a new family. Posts are short, to the point and most importantly, visual.

 

3. AMaVo

amavo

Courtesy: AMaVo Facebook

Local clothing retailer AMaVo does a fantastic job of providing original, eye-catching content across their social sites. They also cross-promote their social networks, advertising on Facebook that they have a presence on Pinterest and featuring blog posts on their Facebook page, and so on. The above post is a great call-to-action, encouraging their followers to check them out on other social networks.

4. Karmazin Family Dentistry

karmazin

Courtesy: Karmazin Family Dentistry Facebook

No matter where you work, your social media audience loves to see company employees in action. The above post from Karmazin Family Dentistry gives a sneak peak into a recent dental conference. If your company has representatives going to special events or seminars, let your followers in on the action, like Karmazin does.

5. Pomegranate Market

pomegranate

Courtesy: Pomegranate Market Facebook

Pomegranate Market appeals well to its niche by posting timely, informative entries. In addition to photos of store displays, Pomegranate shares interesting articles from the natural food industry, promotes events and educational sessions, and highlights new product offerings. Sharing information relevant to your target audience improves social media engagement, which is why Pomegranate has a following of over 4,200 people. (Not to mention, Pomegranate employees take time to respond to questions on their Facebook wall. This is a must when it comes to businesses on social media.)

Do you know a company that’s doing well on social media? What do they do differently than their competition? Leave your answers in the comments.

Social Media Boot Camp: Deciding which account needs help

socialmediabootcamp new

All right, social media users, it’s time to get down to business. Welcome to tCloud Social Media Boot Camp, where inadequate social accounts are whipped into shape by our experts and molded into the best possible platform for your business.

In our first installment of the tCloud Social Media Boot Camp blog series, we’ll show you how to determine which of your social media sites need to shape up. After all, your social networks are meant to extend the voice of your brand to consumers and if your pages don’t even show up in search results, something needs to change.

So, how does one know which social network is under-performing? The answer lies within Google’s search algorithms.

According to HootSuite, one of the easiest ways to figure out which of your platforms isn’t up to snuff is by typing your name or business’ name into Google and taking note of where your social platforms rank.

Taking that into account, we did a Google search for tCloud Solutions, and this is what appeared on the first page:

google search resultsSo, using these listings as a basis for how our social sites are performing, we see that:

  1. Our LinkedIn profile has the highest search ranking, followed by our Twitter page, FourSquare and Facebook.
  2. We also have a Google + and YouTube account, but our Google profile isn’t shown until the second page (if you disregard the link under our main website entry) and our YouTube account is buried in the search results.
  3. This blog is also on the second page of Google search results.

What does this really mean?

While the exact algorithm is somewhat of a secret, we do know Google ranks search listings by a variety of criteria, the most common being:

  • Recently updated content
  • Keyword location on the site (SEO)
  • Hyperlinks to and from your website
  • How long the site has been in operation

Theoretically, social media sites that take these aspects into consideration will have a higher ranking. From our previous Google search, it’s safe to say our LinkedIn page and Twitter account are doing well. We post content on those sites nearly every day and make sure they have links to our main site as well as other social media sites. On the other end of the spectrum, our YouTube page is lost in the mix partly because we just created the account and don’t have any videos up just yet. It also has the lowest amount of traffic and no referral traffic to our main webpage, because we haven’t started publicizing it. Therefore, the account we’re checking into Boot Camp is YouTube.

Which one of your social media accounts is last on Google search? That site is boot camp material. Go ahead, take ’em to Boot Camp by leaving the URL in the comments.

Be sure to follow our weekly web series for tips on how to improve your Boot Camp social site so it moves on up in the digital world.

Navigating the Vast Social Media Galaxy

Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphere

Courtesy Google Images

Like our own universe, the social media universe can seem never-ending and just as mind-boggling.  It’s easy to become flustered when using the different channels for your company’s online marketing strategy, especially when the rules of social media are constantly changing. Think of it this way: just as scientists are discovering more about the galaxy we live in, social media marketing gurus are always learning more about how to effectively capture the attention of your target audience through these channels.

Thankfully, our astronauts have navigated this territory before. Here are a few tips on what to look for in some of the most popular social networking accounts and which ones can be best utilized for your business:

  • Facebook: Facebook is the king of social media. With 1.31 billion users, it has the most reach for potential customers to see your brand. No matter what industry you’re in (whether it’s food service, cosmetics, manufacturing, etc.), having a presence on Facebook is a necessary addition to your company’s website. Not only that, but it is the perfect outlet for updates, a place to share articles and visual material, hold contests, and engage your customers in meaningful conversation.
  • TwitterWhile Twitter currently comes in second for amount of users, it’s probably the most misused social media network out there. Sure, it’s a challenge to fit everything in a 140-character description, but that’s the beauty of it. The equation for Twitter is simple: one- to two-line creative teaser + a link + #hashtag = engagement. Twitter works best for news organizations and/or companies who use it as a public relations “news feed”, because that is essentially what Twitter is: a stream of intriguing updates. Many Twitter users utilize the site as the source of their daily news consumption. It’s not a blog and it’s not a place for wordy ranting. However, Twitter is apparently effective for fighting over customers, as dueling dining chains Applebees and Outback Steakhouse recently found out.
  • LinkedInThis growing social network is important to any company’s digital strategy, especially for the human resources side of things. Polish your online presence by creating a sleek LinkedIn profile with information about your company, photos and service or product offerings. Frequently post your blog links on LinkedIn to establish your voice of authority to potential customers, employees and network connections.  This network is also a great way to advertise job openings and get the most out of recruiting.
  • YouTubeYouTube is one of the most important social networks to help your SEO strategy as well as connecting to the 18-34-year-old audience. Check out what we have to say about YouTube here.
  • PinterestIf your marketing strategy has a lot to say via photos, Pinterest is a perfect network for your company. Whether you’re in the business of baking, interior design, photography, or basically anything that sparks inspiration, taking advantage of this social network is ideal. Pinterest is also a great platform on which to host contests. (PS. we can help you with your next “Pin-to-Win” contest) It’s also a great way to connect to women, as the majority of Pinterest users are female.
  • FourSquare: Interact with local customers by taking advantage of FourSquare. This network is most often used in its mobile app form, as users “check-in” via FourSquare to various restaurants, shops, and other points of interest. The network gives points for visiting different types of businesses and also provides users the ability to take photos and leave tips for future visitors. FourSquare is also unique in that it uses GPS signals to detect when a user is in your store, which gives you the perfect opportunity to talk about daily specials or other events.
  • Instagram: Like Pinterest, Instagram is a way to share your message through photos and visual material. Unlike other networks that encourage broadcasting a message, Instagram is a great method to open up that two-way conversation by engaging your followers and encouraging them to share photos. Instagram is perfect for clothing companies like H&M and Aeropostale, both of which encourage their brand’s wearers to post photos of themselves while wearing or even trying on the company’s clothing in stores.

Bottom line: You do not need to sign up for every social networking site that exists. That’s like posting a flag with your business’ logo on every planet you land on but not spending enough time to build an outpost to attract the locals’ interest.  Instead, pick three channels that magnify your company’s marketing goals the most and build these networks before expanding your reach with other social media sites.

Need further advice on deciding which channels can promote your message the strongest? Let us help.

How YouTube is Taking Over the World

youtube logo

YouTube: it’s a treasure trove of searchable and sharable content and the gold mine for search engine optimization specialists everywhere.  The social networking site brings in more than 1 billion unique users each month, has millions of subscribers each day and is now very close to surpassing it’s own parent company, Google, in search queries.

Say what?

While this isn’t necessarily new news, the fact that social networking sites are now driving more traffic to source websites than traditional search engines is a unique situation.  It means video content is powerful when it comes to brand awareness. It means marketing strategies are dead without social networking, particularly YouTube, in the mix. It means connecting to the coveted and hard-to-reach 18- to 34-year-olds is now easier with a YouTube presence.

YouTube is critical to any’s business’ outreach plan. According to OfficingToday.com, social search (searching terms on a social networking site) is increasing at a steady rate. Ultimately, not being a part of social media could actually hurt your company, because if people aren’t finding you on social networking, they’re probably not finding your website in the thousands of search results on Google.

So, how does one start and effectively maintain a presence on YouTube? Here’s just a few recommendations to get you started:

  • Develop a content strategy: What will you be making videos about? How will you use those videos to promote new services or products? For instance, home-improvement chains are already finding success with Do-It-Yourself how-to videos and cosmetic companies are getting attention from their makeup tutorials. Target your niche audience by coming up with videos that would intrigue them and convince them that what they’re watching is sharable material.
  • Come up with a workable posting schedule: Videos should be posted often but not so frequently that they clog up your viewers’ subscription boxes. A rule of thumb is to post at least one video per week.
  • Keep videos short: You’re not in the business of creating epics, just short, information-filled, entertaining pieces. Viewers may not have a lot of spare time on their hands, and they’ll lose interest if your video is five minutes or more. Keep your videos to around three minutes or less.
  • Link back to your website: Make sure your viewers know where to find you. Put your website link in the video description box, create an internal link in the video or have your subject actually mention how to find you online. After all, the whole reason you’re creating videos is to get the word out about you and your product/services.

YouTube is literally taking over the world of user searches and SEO. It’s a social media powerhouse that can get your company into the public eye and people who matter most: your customers. Trust us, it’s worth investing in. If you need more in-depth strategy and insight into YouTube, we’d love to bounce some ideas off you.