Today eContent Marketing Magazine announced their Content Marketing 50 for July 2013. I was so happy to be included with such long standing content innovators as Ann Handley and Joe Chernov on this list of content marketers worth watching.
That list is packed full of people who excel in the content marketing arena. You absolutely can’t go wrong checking out what they have to say on everything from ebooks and white papers, to blog posts, infographics and more.
Read the entire Content Marketing 50 list (and find out where to follow all 50 of the content marketers on Twitter) at the eContent Marketing site.
Starting today, you have a month to win one of 10 signed copies of my book, Social Media Metrics for Dummies, over on GoodReads. Good luck!
If you aren’t yet a GoodReads user, sign up and connect with me on my Leslie Poston author page for Social Media Metrics for Dummies, Twitter for Dummies and other upcoming books.
Social Media Metrics for Dummies is designed to give you a great start in using metrics for your brand or business. It is appropriate for both beginners and intermediate analytics users. Have you read it? I love it when happy readers leave reviews on GoodReads and on Amazon!
I spent the last few days at the book lover’s Mecca: Book Expo America 2013. I noticed several things this year that made it stand out in contrast to my past pilgrimages to BEA (I’ve attended as an author, speaker, buyer, retailer and marketer). The most glaring things centered on the overall atmosphere and a sense that the publishing industry is still struggling to keep up with rapid changes in technology and how readers consume and buy books.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m an avid lover of the printed page. I much prefer to hold a real book in my hands, and only reluctantly use Kindle for iPad or iBooks. That said – the times, they are a changin’. I think BEA could have used the Expo to set a great example for publishers, buyers and consumers, with a few simple tweaks to the conference.
If you walked the Exhibit hall, you may have noticed a larger area devoted to the self publishing industry, the digital publishing industry, digital publishing tools, and e-readers. You may have noticed a slight increase in speakers dealing with the growth of digital and multimedia reading experiences. In my opinion – it wasn’t quite enough of a push. This series of trends in how people consume “content” has been growing, whether traditional publishers like it or not, for several years.
What I Liked
I liked the floor space given to the new, easy tools authors have at their disposal to empower them with easy publishing in a new digital age. There was no shortage of booths for companies that help authors create multimedia, enhanced, books-as-portable-masterpieces that allow readers to go deeper into the story through music, videos, 3D graphics, maps, illustrations, games, animations, and more (and in some cases that may make authors and publishers uncomfortable: manipulate and “mix” an existing digital story into something new).
I liked the healthy number of talks centered around digital media and publishing for portable readers, tablets and a newly responsive and multimedia-driven web space. I’m glad that there is more education being offered at events like this one to help authors and publishers learn to better navigate the digital reading environment, and that many of the talks centered around how to make your digital publications more compelling and take them beyond just a simple PDF or basic ebook.
I liked that they continued to have an app for phone and tablet to help navigate the conference, though I felt it was a bit incomplete. It did help not to have to carry around magazines and maps when you already carry around big swag bags full of heavy books and booth trinkets.
I liked that the app included a way to scan fellow attendees nametags for inclusion in your contacts and for ease of mailing ordered books. They have offered this in years past, but this year the technology worked fairly seamlessly – an improvement.
What Was Missing
There were a few things I thought were missing from the Expo. Many of them I hope to see next year.
I thought the app had a few missed opportunities, mostly in the area of digital publications. I noticed a marked decrease in the number of available galley copies to take home and evaluate this year, but there was no equivalent uptick in electronic books. Why wasn’t the app set up to ping you when you passed a publisher booth to offer you a free download for your Kindle, Nook, or iBooks apps? I realize this would take massive coordination with the publishers to accomplish, but in an age where publishing is becoming digital, this is a huge miss in my opinion. In fact, I’d have even been pleased to see signs on publisher booths offering one of the dreaded QR codes that led to a download page while at BEA. Only a handful of booths tried to include technology driven downloads.
On the publisher side, there were several who were still reluctant to include social media and email in their marketing and in their communications with fans. Most of the major publishing houses had social fan outreach in place, but the smaller publishers did not. This was an especially glaring miss in the comic and graphic novel publishing section of the Expo. There are few fans more rabid than comic book lovers, and the publishers seem to be content to let them subsist in the dark with only minimal official engagement online. For example, did you know they are rebooting “Elfquest” soon? Neither did I, until I had a side conversation with a booth rep about favorite graphic novels. A rabid comic fan might have picked this up via forum or blog scuttlebutt and rumor, but for folks like me who love comics but don’t get into the fan world? There has to be a better way to find out information about what’s coming next.
I also noticed a lot of companies offering DRM solutions and ways for authors to protect their work in various ways. I think there needs to be an equal number of ways for people to share their digital reading material. The thing that is lacking in digital editions of books is the ability to easily hand it to a friend and say “Wow, this is awesome – you have to read this.” The more a book is isolated by DRM, or fixed to a certain ereader or software, the less the idea behind the book can travel, and I think that does all of us a disservice.
I also felt a sea change in the overall atmosphere of the conference. There was a buzz from previous years that seemed largely missing this time around. In fact, instead of feeling like I was walking through a bustling hive of book lovers, it felt more like I was walking through the world’s largest homogenous Barnes & Noble Superstore. This is, I’m sure, strictly a matter of perception, but I think that bustling indie feel will return to the Expo once the industry embraces the new, more accessible, ways of publishing and reading books.
Did you attend this year? What were your takeaways from the Expo?
If you are one of the many people out there who hate it each time Facebook makes a change to how you view it, each time it violates your privacy or tweaks your settings – brace yourself. Facebook is about to change things up again in a big way with two new iterations of the way you use their service. In a blatant bid to compete with Twitter, Google+ and Google Search, Facebook is introducing changes to the News Feed and adding something called Facebook Graph Search.
Facebook users are already freaking out about the potential privacy issues both changes will bring, and with Facebook’s past history of being cavalier with our privacy I think a healthy dose of pre-emptive adjustment to your settings is completely warranted before each new thing rolls out. Before I dip into settings and privacy issues, however, let’s take a look at how this will change how you see the people and pages (and ads) on Facebook.
Gizmodo did a great write up of the basic changes in the news feed, so I’ll just do a quick recap here. You can read the complete article on Gizmodo. I noticed that their post seems to view the changes in a largely positive light. Each person (and business) uses Facebook in a different way, however. Personally, I’m not looking forward to the categories being split. I prefer to get my updates in one lump feed. Frankly, I’d have been happy if they’d have just let me set my feed to “Most Recent” consistently and called it a day. However, if you are a a visual person you’ll love the huge emphasis on images and videos in each category. If you go to Facebook for music discovery or memes, or to bombard Facebook with baby and vacation photos and not to talk with friends, for example, that change will appeal to you as well; you’ll now be able to simply look at one of the four categories at a time. For the rest of us, having to switch back and forth will create extra clicks – an intentional way to force people to spend more time on Facebook, which in turn will pave the way for an increase in the number of ads you will see in your News Feed.
The biggest shift for people who hate Google+ is going to be how much they copied Google’s 2012 release of a new Google+ interface. Facebook has definitely taken a page from Google’s design book with the new News Feed. If you balk at Twitter, the speed of the News Feed they are introducing will feel quite a bit Twitter-esque to you, and may take some getting used to. If you are one of those people who don’t like sites they view in their browser to work (and look) like an app on their phone or tablet, you may struggle with the new unification in appearance and functionality of Facebook’s Mobile Apps and their web interface. Other than getting used to a new way to find your friends and family and learning where things are in the new categories, in the end the new News Feed is simply a user interface (UI) change designed to make Facebook a more visual and ad-friendly experience. In short, the UI is something you can get used to in time like all of their other many changes.
Privacy and the New News Feed
Privacy on Facebook changes so often I check my privacy settings weekly. Sometimes when Facebook flips a UI switch it changes some of your existing settings – that’s just how Facebook works. It has a long-standing cavalier attitude toward it’s users’ best interests. I recommend going into your privacy settings now if you don’t have the new News Feed yet and locking them down, then doing the same for pictures (yes – photo privacy is in a slightly different place). I also recommend reviewing all of the applications, games and third party services that have access to your account and permission to post on your Timeline and locking those down as well. Then I recommend taking time over the next fews days to adjust the granular settings of your friend’s posts as they scroll by in your existing news feed (you do know you can mute what you see from each individual friend, right? You don’t have to see their game notifications, likes or comments – but that control is up to you, not them). I discussed how to do this ina video here in August 2012, and that advice should be current until the new News Feed is rolled out to all. I’ll make a new video on settings for privacy then.
Let’s Talk About Graph Search
From a real-use standpoint, Facebook’s new Graph Search is underwhelming. Facebook is trying to bring some competition to Google Search, but if you are like me, you search for new things on Google Search, and not things that are connected to your social graph. However, the new Graph Search does make things you find on Facebook more comprehensive. More importantly, Facebook has not abandoned their partnership with Bing. This means that if the location, interest, business, place, photo or whatever you are searching for isn’t on Facebook and a shared interest with someone in (or connected to) your network, you’ll still get the Bing suggested search results popping up.
Graph Search is still in a slow-to-roll-out beta stage. Unlike the change to the News Feed, which will happen rapidly (and soon) for everyone, Graph Search may not flip on for you for a while. Even so, you need to prepare (especially if you are a business). If you upload photos, check their privacy. If you are a business, upload more photos and make them larger and more interesting. If you haven’t added location information to your business page – do so. If you are an individual user, make sure you have your location settings turned off on Facebook browser and mobile interfaces if you want that kept private when you post an update.
Facebook will now allow you to find new people outside of your existing network who share an interest in things you search for, in locations you search for, and will deliver photos as results drawn from your network on topics you search for among other things. One example: you can search for people who have their relationship status set to single in your area and find new people to connect with via Graph Search. This is going to have an interesting impact on how much people share, and could serve to quiet some of the more obnoxious noise from people (and businesses) as users notice how far-reaching their social graph is. If your friends haven’t locked their profiles down as much as you have then how they share, like, and tag information pertinent to you matters more now than ever before. Much of the “creeping” that occurs on Facebook occurs through leaks in profiles that are not connected to you. This means educating the less tech-savvy in your circles about privacy settings (see above).
What About Graph Search and Privacy?
Because Graph Search is designed to unearth shared interests and connect you to like-minded people it will, by its very nature, infringe on privacy a bit. How much is yet to be discovered because it isn’t fully available to the entire user base. I recommend viewing the video above, which tells you how to set some of the more granular controls like how you can (or can’t) be tagged, and turning off the settings for “what your friends can see about you on Facebook” as well as turn off being found in search. There are some potential benefits to people who want to build a larger network of like-minded people, but the main benefit of Graph Search lies in what it can do for businesses.
Businesses should begin prepping their pages now to be more interesting and more shareable to ensure they are showing to all potential connections in the networks of the people who “like” your page. If you don’t want to reveal your love of Glee, bad karaoke, troll pages, political rant pages, vats of wine, or any other information that you felt was heretofore more private to a larger network, comb through your “liked” pages and interests and consider adjusting what you have liked and how much can be shared with friends. Keep in mind – to make all of these adjustments now, before you the News Feed and Graph Search is activated for you, will take the better part of an afternoon. Facebook did away with simple universal privacy settings long ago.
One interesting benefit to businesses about Graph Search for Pages will be their push for better page ranking and more transparent metrics on the ranking of your pages. Double check a few things to improve your rank. First, check your page name and make sure it is not keyword heavy. Next, get a custom Facebook URL. It pains me every time I see a Page that hasn’t bothered to do this simple step. You can do this here. Make sure that all of the sections that allow you to give more information about your Page are filled out. This seems like a no-brainer, but so many businesses don’t bother to fill out their hours of operation, location or even provide a full About section, for example. Take the time – it will help you.
I can’t stress enough to be interesting if you are a business on Facebook. It matters now more than ever to create updates that compel your fans to engage with, and share, what you say. If your Facebook Page is a wall of announcements, heavy-handed sales pitches and general billboarding, the new Graph Search will start to mute how often people see you. It rewards Pages with high user activity and variety of content.
What If You Aren’t Afraid To Play?
If you are one of the early adopter types who just wants to play with all of this yourself, you can request early access to both new features. To request access to the News Feed early you can add your name to this list. If you want early access to Graph Search you can find that waiting list here (Note: that one has a longer wait for many people).
Social Media War Games
The simple fact of Facebook remains: much like War Games, “the only way to win is not to play”, especially if you are a user who wants to maintain a small social footprint behind a curtain of privacy. For many, leaving is not (yet) an option. They are either on Facebook for friends and family they can’t find elsewhere, have a business that needs a Facebook Page to reach new customers, or perhaps work in a field that requires a social presence (the fact that much of life requires a social presence now is worth a post of its own). Revisiting your privacy settings on Facebook (and elsewhere) should become a habit if you plan to stay on the service. In the meantime, explore these two new options and enjoy them – they both have benefits. It’s just a matter of getting used to something new and adjusting to change fluidly.
Telecommuting is here to stay – and should be considered the norm wherever possible. Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, made waves with the telecommuting community this week when she decreed that all remote workers would now have to work in an office – or quit. This makes her the poster child of corporate resistance to the idea of telecommuting.
It’s not uncommon for companies to resist allowing workers to telecommute, even a few days a week. The corporation has valid, but addressable, concerns about time management, productivity, corporate intelligence leaks, and quality and quantity of work delivered on company time. In some cases, corporations balk at the idea of remote workers from a company culture standpoint – without the traditional water cooler moments, endless meetings and plenty of face time, remote workers can never truly feel like part of the company they work for, they argue. Setting aside the real possibility that Yahoo is using this as a cost reduction move (stealth terminations – it’s easier to have people quit than to hand out severance and go through the usual legal ramifications of firing someone) because that, in my opinion, is a whole other topic entirely, let’s take a moment to examine the idea of remote work.
I see clear benefits to a remote workforce. Less traffic, less impact on the environment, and lower corporate costs (no need for the office, utilities or the equipment in the office) all come to mind immediately. Happier workers allowed to work with more flexibility are more loyal to the companies they work for that allow them that freedom, trust and flexibility. Remote workers allow a company to have a presence in a new city without the cost of a new office. Remote workers with children are able to be more involved in their children’s lives and schoolwork and avoid high cost of child care in many cases. In fact, some have posited that Mayer’s move at Yahoo is a direct slap in the face to working parents at the company, and mentioned the bad example it sets for her corporate culture, especially in light of the bar potentially set by her short maternity leave.
Even in the face of incredible benefit to the remote worker and the company, a company may wonder how to keep remote workers not only on task, but feeling a part of the team. The advent of social tools and “cloud” computing tools, from Salesforce with Chatter and programs like gTalk and Hipchat all the way to collaborative tools like gDocs and others makes this easy. Virtual meetings using Google Hangouts, Skype or Go to Meeting with HD video all provide much needed face time, with a side benefit of encouraging brevity in meetings. Employees can even be flown out to the corporate office for real face time once a month with no loss in savings to the company over all.
With all of the benefits associated with a productive and loyal remote work force, it’s difficult to see why some companies still balk at the concept. Certainly not every job can be remote, but such a vast number can be that it makes no sense in this changing age of work to insist on an employee being a cubicle jockey during a set time period each day.
Do you have remote workers? Has it increased productivity? How is it working for you? What are some of the tips you have for others who want to move into the future of work and start allowing employees to work remotely some or all of the time?
After four years of SMBNH, I’m so pleased to announce our new partnership with New Hampshire Public Radio. They will be hosting us in Studio D each month throughout 2013. We feel that this partnership brings the educational basis of SMBNH to the forefront, and look forward to the next year!
We’ll be sending out an event link for this event and the rest of the year tomorrow. The firm schedule of events for 2013, hosted by NHPR, is as follows:
We’re also putting out a call for speakers.
UDATE: As many of you know – Magnitude Media relocated in 2013. We have turned the keys of this wonderful thing we started over to some smart, capable folks at Seacoast Social Media. They are now running the existing @SMBNH Twitter and the SMBNH Facebook group, and are continuing the partnership with NHPR. Look forward to quality content and networking from them at this event and their other events!
I contributed to this ebook/white paper on content marketing called How To Kick-Start Your Content Marketing, A Seven Step Approach to Delivering Success, created after a webinar I did with Mike Lewis of Awareness, Taulbee Jackson of Raidious and Paul Gillin. Enjoy, and thanks to Skyword for gathering our thoughts together for the book!
At the request of many friends and family members, as well as folks on social networks I see struggling as Timeline on Facebook is rolled out to everyone, I made this quick video tutorial.
In under ten minutes it will help you regain control of your Facebook privacy, tame your news feed and silence noisy updates and ads. In the next video, we’ll cover even more in depth ways to be private on Facebook when not using Facebook at all isn’t an option for you.
Yesterday I was on Breakthrough Business Radio.
If you missed it, here is the audio:
Michelle Price and Leslie Poston talk about Social Media Metrics
This week I did a webinar with Demand Metric on tips and tricks for advancing your metrics knowledge.
The entire video is embedded below.
Thanks so much to Jerry Rackley and team for having me. You had a great group with great questions!
Getting from Novice to Expert
Marketers that understand the value of social media are nevertheless often unsure the best approach to monitoring and measuring their social media efforts. This free webinar, presented by Leslie Poston, author of “Social Media Metrics for Dummies” will help you sift through all the information available about social media monitoring and metrics so that you can know what’s being said and measure the effectiveness of your social media efforts.
Using principles from her book, Leslie will teach attendees of this webinar:
How you can feel like your efforts online are measurable and full of purpose and direction.
How applying metrics to the whole organization for a true social business model will help you drive sales and grow your brand.
How metrics should lead to more than one goal: marketing and brand awareness, sales, competitive intelligence, human resources, content marketing plans and more.