Social Media

  • Is social media making us a nation of moaners?

    This week, while browsing Facebook pages for work, I noticed one particular big brand offering a special deal in their shops. The deal was a generous one, but restricted to a certain time frame during the day. It didn’t get quite the positive reaction they probably hoped for.

    While there were some justified complaints about the deal, a lot of the complaints revolved around it being ‘unfair’ that the deal is on while they’re at work, or ‘unfair’ because they don’t have a store near them.

    This is bizarre, no? A business isn’t required to do a special offer, and it certainly doesn’t owe its customers that. Additionally, deals rarely cater for every type of customer (often they’re used to boost custom at a time that’s usually quiet). ‘Unfair’ would be if it was restricted to blondes, or people called George.

    I’ve had experience of this myself with a page I deal with that does a local sale twice a year. Every time we do it, we get complaints that a) the sale isn’t online too b) an item has run out of stock or c) the item they want isn’t in the sale.

    Would those same people go into Topshop and complain that their favourite dress isn’t in the sale? Or it’s sold out? Unlikely.

    I don’t have a problem in general with complaints on social media. We all do it. If it’s constructive, it’s worth mentioning.

    Social media is a wonderful way to promote a business and provide consumers with a way to get directly in contact with that brand. But perhaps it’s also given consumers a feeling of entitlement. And a lack of manners. I suspect a lot of the comments made on Facebook would never be made face-to-face. I also suspect a lot of those comments come from ignorance. Businesses aren’t perfect, and maybe we need to give them a little more slack when they make the odd mistake.

    Or could it be that Facebook finally gives us a forum to tell brands what we really think – which could help their strategy long-term?

    What do you think? Are consumers developing a sense of entitlement, or are they just voicing their opinions?

    (And yes, I see the irony in moaning about others moaning… )

  • Five ways to get a social media-savvy CV

    social media CVI wrote a piece earlier this year for my other job, working at a Students’ Union, all about CVs and how to make them stand out using social media and online tools. Having spoken to a few people recently who are looking for jobs in social and digital media, I thought it might be useful to share it over on this blog too.

    We’re in one of the hardest job markets in a long time, and the number of people going for jobs in social media and publishing is phenomenal.  So, how do you stand out? These days, a simple paper CV doesn’t cut the mustard. With so many resources available to you, from Facebook to YouTube and online design packages, there’s no reason you can’t be creative and make your CV something that potential employers want to see.

     

    Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:

    Match your CV to your industry

    First things first, what industry are you hoping to go into? If you’re looking to go into a creative industry, like advertising, social media, design or film, incorporating some of the skills you have into your CV would be wise.

    For example:

    • If you want a job in print media, consider making your CV look like a newspaper front cover – highlighting your best points in the headlines.
    • Want a job in visual media? Consider turning your CV into a video. Have a look below for some ideas of how you can do that.
    • Considering a job with a management basis? Consider turning your CV into a report, demonstrating how you can help the company with your skills. Additional case studies, on a separate document, may also work in your favour.

    Essentially, you need to think about what skills you want to showcase, then work out how to use them to create your CV.

    Use your Design skills

    If you’re into graphic design, or know someone else who is, considering giving your CV a real design makeover to stand out. Check out some of the suggestions on Mashable, which range from an interactive Facebook page to the infographic below. You can also use Visualize.me to create a CV infographic (although you can only link to it, like I have in my sidebar on the right, not download it at the moment). The image at the top of this page is a screen grab from my Visualize CV.

     

    Make your CV Social Media savvy

    One of the smartest things to do with your CV, is to make it so engaging that it’s shared across social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon and YouTube. Graeme Anthony created an interactive video CV – and it went viral. His video spread like wildfire through social media, and he apparently landed a job within a few days.

    You might also want to look at creating a Facebook page for your CV, or sum up your CV in 130 characters on Twitter (giving others room for a retweet).

    QR Codes, Business Cards and Websites

    If you’re willing to invest a little time in creating a CV online (try LinkedIn, or Innovate CV), you could try a little guerrilla marketing. Try going to a business card provider like Moo.com, and getting a QR Code printed on them which links to your website. Then leave your business cards in places that potential employers might visit. For example, you might want to leave some of them on the table of a business park coffee shop, on the seat of a rush hour train or ask a friend who works in a company you want to work for to pop them into the pigeon-hole of their employer.

    Spelling and grammar checks

    So, you’ve developed your CV idea and created your work of art…now what? Check your grammar and spelling. Then ask someone else to check your grammar and spelling. Then ask someone ELSE to check it for you. Especially if you’re after a writing job.

    Don’t underestimate the importance of good grammar and spelling. It could give you the edge over those who don’t know the difference between their, there and they’re.

    Does your CV stand out? Let me know if you know of any other unusual approaches to creating a CV. 

    p.s Why not pin this for later?

  • Aurasma: The next step on from QR codes

    QR codes are finally breaking into the mainstream media after several years quietly bubbling away in the background. I noticed that they’ve been used on several pages of Essential magazine this month, so readers can bridge the gap between print and online media (and see some nifty backstage video footage). I’ve also seen a number of ad campaigns using them, and an increase in the number used on business cards recently.

    I’ve written several pieces over on It’s Open about QR codes, including a round-up of clever ways to use QR codes, and a QR code service for gravestones (for realz). I’m a big fan of the technology, and I’m helping Chocoholics to use it in their catalogue and for promotions, so customers can click straight from a paper catalogue to the online store without having to type in a long URL.

    This all said, QR codes have their downsides. Firstly, they’re not the most attractive things.  Even if you jazz them up with a colour, which you can do on QRStuff.com, they’re still a little…ugly.

    Secondly, while the use of QR codes are on the rise, the general public are still fairly oblivious to the technology. Those with smartphones are more likely to have seen, and used, QR codes but there are still many people out there that just assume they’re quirky little barcodes.

    Now though, there’s an alternative to QR codes. Aurasma is a augmented reality scanning app that lets you scan logos, adverts and images. A video or animation will then play over the content you’re scanning. Basically, it makes whatever you’re reading come to life. You can scan an Evian logo to see their latest app, or scan a magazine ad to see a video from behind the scenes on a shoot.

    Here’s a couple of examples:

    GQ magazine

    Various magazines and papers

    It’s not as quick to load as the videos would suggest, but it’s still a very exciting technology. Content built into logos, adverts and content you’d print anyway? This could radically change how we read going forward. In fact, I can see high street shops like PC World using it to give a little introduction about the products, and supermarkets embedding video recipes into the label of a product. It would certainly cut the need for so much packaging.

    The app itself lists all the ‘Super Anywhere’, logos and images that are scannable anywhere, so it’s very easy to waste lots of time  investigate the options. You can then reproduce your own, or scan the map for local ‘Happenings’.

    Obviously, it does have some of the same downsides as QR codes. The technology is still new, people won’t immediately have the apps and when we do get the apps, we’ll start walking around in a confused daze, trying to scan anything and everything in the hope we’ll get an extra freebie.

    But all in all, it’s a little bit like something from Back To The Future, which is no bad thing (much like the auto-lacing sneakers Nike are rumoured to be releasing soon). Now, where’s my hoverboard?

    If you fancy trying it out, you can download the Aurasma app here for free.

  • How many social media networks are you on?

    Google+ is the current darling of the social media world, with ‘experts’ claiming it’ll replace Facebook in no time.

    They said the same about Twitter.

    The thing is, each of the social networks appeal to a different group of people. Which is why some people have a dozen social networks, and others stick to one.

    Facebook is the personal network, where you can update your relationship status, comment on other updates and share (sometimes a little too much) your thoughts on the day.

    Twitter is mainly made up of media types, who care about grammar and don’t really care for passive aggressive statuses (that’s not to say they’re not still on Facebook, doing just that). It’s also where people test out their wittiest remarks.

    Google+…at the moment, Google+ seems more like an extended version of Twitter. Plenty of business and social media chat, but with extended profiles and the ability to comment and share directly on updates.

    So perhaps there’s space for them all. Which got me thinking about how many social media networks I regularly use.

    • Facebook: For work accounts and keeping up with birthdays.
    • Twitter: The one I use most, for personal and professional means.
    • LinkedIn: I don’t use LinkedIn as much as I should, but I’m trying to get involved in more group discussions. Additionally, I add a LinkedIn recommendation request to the invoices of clients I’ve just finished working with.
    • Google+: At the moment, I use it mainly for sharing content and keeping up with Google+ trends and social media trends in general. However, as more people join from outside the ‘social media experts’ arena, the content should hopefully evolve into something more varied.
    • Fancy: To source new products and save them in an online scrapbook. Also, superb for finding devilish dessert recipes.
    • Tumblr: For all the pretty things and Instagram shots I take, that don’t fit in elsewhere.
    • Instagram: Mainly use it to take photos of my dinner. Or fancy cakes. Or my dog. All my Instagram photos end up on my Tumblr.
    • Qype: Addicted to reviewing places, and Qype gives me the opportunity to do that while earning badges and getting the opportunity to go to free events.
    • Quora: The initial hype for this Q&A site is over, but I still like to use it to crowdsource for answers when Twitter can’t help.
    • Stumbleupon: My first stop for social bookmarking. The sexy new iPad app makes it a lot more user-friendly too. I also occasionally use Delicious and Diggit.
    • Flickr and YouTube: I’m a lurker on these two, viewing (and using for work) but rarely contributing.

    So, how many do you use? And what do you use them for? Let me know in the comments!

  • The beginners guide to Google+

    Do you ‘get’ Google+? A lot of people I’ve spoken to really don’t. And don’t get why they have to be on there. We have enough social profiles already, right? If you’ve read Grace Dent’s brilliant How to Leave Twitter, you’ll notice that people are going through the same stages with Google+ as they did with Twitter. Denial, curiosity, envy (all their friends are now on there) and then acceptance. Possibly followed by obsession.

    Let’s be honest, starting on a new social network is a confusing time. “Oooh it’s shiny! Look at that new feature! Erm, what’s that? I don’t understand that! Why is no one +1ing my status? WHAT AM I DOING HERE?”

    The thing is, we don’t get the instant gratification of Facebook, where you can find friends and family pretty much instantly. But Google+, like Twitter, is about creating a community. It requires you to put a certain amount of effort in, both in making contacts and sharing content, to get the most out of it.

    If you’re new to Google+ and don’t really know why you’ve signed up, here are some of the benefits;

    • Circles: You can put people into circles on Google+, which means you can put your family in one circle, real-life friends in another, group together your Twitter friends and put all those random people in the ‘acquaintances’ circle. So if you want to share those photos from Friday night’s cocktail crawl with your friends, you can do so by using that circle, without the fear of an elderly aunt leaving a comment.
    • Hangout: Got family or friends all over the country, or even the world, and want to video chat with a bunch of them at once? Hangout allows you to do just that. Great for organising events, catching up with family or speaking to all your flatmates without ever leaving your room. Hermitville, here we come.
    • Huddle: A text-based hangout where you can talk to multiple people in your Circles on your mobile. Handy if you want to chat to everyone, but don’t fancy doing your hair for video.
    • +1: A lot of sites have a +1 button, next to the Tweet and Facebook like buttons. This button adds the page or link you’ve chosen to your +1 column in your Google+ profile. So it’s basically like a recommendations/public bookmarking section. I do wish they’d show this in the main stream though, as I suspect most of these recommendations will go unseen. However, it’s worth noting that Google Analytics now tracks +1, so it’ll let you know if someone has +1’d one of your links.
    • Photos/Videos: Like Facebook, you can add your favourite photos and videos to your profile. At the moment, the media being uploaded is more about business, food and fashion, and less about last night’s boozy night out in Walkabout.
    So it’s basically a mix of Facebook (profiles, photos and chat), Twitter (Regular updates, finger on the pulse of latest news) and LinkedIn (a large amount of the current discussions are business/social media-related at the moment).
    If you’re not sure what to do on Google+, here are some suggestions:
    • Fill in your profile. It’s public so you may as well take advantage of that. Fill it with your business details, website links and bragging rights.
    • Connect your email accounts so you can find people you know. Then pop them into Circles
    • Try out the Circles function, by sending something you know only some of your Circles will like. For example, send a video of Slow Loris to the ‘We Heart Cute Stuff’ Circle, or a link to your latest blog post to your ‘Blogger’ Circle.
    • Organise your next night out over Huddle, or if everyone has video cams, Hangout.
    • Share blog post links, funny videos, clever infographics and anything you can imagine other people giving a +1 to or sharing in their own stream.
    • Download the Google Desktop Client, iPhone app or Android App.
    • +1 stuff. Share stuff. Get involved with discussions.
    • If you’ve got a blog, add the Google+ widget/plugin.
    Are you on Google+? How are you using it?

  • Do you need a social media detox?

    I know, I know, another infographic! But this one is a brilliant example of what can happen when you overdo the social media.

    Incidentally, I have experienced the situation when someone used ‘LOL’ in a conversation. With an entirely straight face. It was somewhat unnerving.

    Also, I suspect I might suffer from symptom 1) Tweek Speak.

    Click on the image above to see the full version.

    Are you in need of a social media detox?

  • Create your own infographic

    I love a good infographic. It’s such an easy way to view a whole lot of information in one glance. And if you have the skills and knowledge to create your own infographic, it can be a wonderful way to get lots of traffic and awareness of your brand out there (especially if you get featured on sites like Mashable or Social Media Today).

    I don’t have the design skills to create my own, but a new site – http://visual.ly – hopes to give everyone a chance to create their own infographic.

    They’ve got a section where you can enter your own Twitter name to create an infographic (which can also pitch you against another Twitter user). It looks like we’ll be able to make our own infographics based on other topics too soon.

    Here’s mine:

    If you’re more of a work geek, you might prefer Wordle. Add your favourite words, URL or Delicious username and it’ll create a fabulous word jumble like the below (based on my blog url).

    Wordle

    Do you know of any other tools for creating infographics?

  • The Alternion Review: The Best Way To Organise Your Online Life?

    The average online user is probably signed up to half a dozen different social media services. Personally, I’m signed up to an embarrassingly large number of social networks and service, and it’s hard to keep them organised.

    There are a number of solutions around for dealing with multiple accounts. Tweetdeck and Hootsuite are popular for dealing with both Facebook and Twitter, and Threadsy is great for viewing your emails and social media sites at once.

    At the moment, I’m using a mixture of Threadsy and Hootsuite. Threadsy lets me keep on top of several email accounts while I’m at work, and Hootsuite lets me schedule and read all my tweets and Facebook page posts.

    The problem is, Threadsy tends to slow down my browser, and Hootsuite lacks the email capabilities. So I was intrigued when a new service, Alternion, began to follow me on Twitter. Could this be the answer to my online life organisational issues?

    I really hope so.

    Alternion: A social media and email aggregator?

    Alternion lets you “combine and manage all your social accounts and emails, and stay in touch with your friends from other networks.” It’s a web-based tool with access to over 220+ different services. You can add your email accounts, social networking sites, photo, video and music sites and various other services.

    Alternion Social Media Services

    Essentially, it’s a one-stop-shop for your online life.

    While Threadsy offers your social media steam as a column on the right next to your emails, Alternion has tabs for your emails and social services. You can also use the Contacts tab to search for your friends, across all the social networks. Click on their name and you can check out their profile.

    Pros and Cons

    Here’s a quick overview of the service.

    Pros

    • Access to hundreds of services.
    • Email and social media integration
    • Personalised theme.
    • Social Address book

    Cons

    • Occasionally slow to update social media streams and emails.
    • No Facebook Pages support yet (though the help pages would suggest this is coming, along with mobile and iPad apps)
    • Some services are currently only one-way, meaning you can only view your activities, and not the ones of your friends.

    It’s in beta at the moment, but I love what they’ve done so far, so hopefully these are things that can be fixed afterwards. You can sign up to the beta list.

    How do you keep on top of all your online profiles?