Friday, November 2, 2012

WHY ! ? ...Why?

Does a bear tweet in the woods?

So last night I saw this pic on a favorite time killing website/app I go to when I need a good laugh or need to kill some time between commercials. 

The bear is right people... don't push Twitter to Facebook, as a matter of fact don't push anything to anywhere, keep it on the platform that it belongs to! If you don't know why then this is the blog post for you, if you do know why then you must be a follower of ours at Talking Finger.

So here is why and its really simple. 
Twitter is different from Facebook, Facebook is different from Linked In, Pinterest is different from YouTube, Blogs are different from...well you get where I am going here. Each social media platform has its target market segment. You wouldn't advertise a Justin Beiber concert on the 6 pm news you would advertise on MTV. (Yes we actually mentioned that name...sorry I had to get tough on you.) Each message you have is intended to do a specific thing to the person who reads it.
Here is an example:
Blogs tell a story - To much to post on FB. 
Twitter tells the audience what is happening NOW, right now.
Pinterest is where you post images to the mostly female audience. 
Facebook is where you inform the largest concentration of people what is happening. 
YouTube is where you show anything that can be spun into a video.
Linked In is where you wear your suit and be professional. 

Here is your breakdown........based on a night out for sushi...At one of my favorites Nobu.

Blog: Sushi...Blah Blah Blah...Sushi...etc (Tell a story about it)

Twitter: OMG this is the best sushi place ever! I love @Nobu #RockShrimp 

Pinterest: Here are the pics of them making my dish! (insert 5 photos here)

Facebook: (Question Post) What's your favorite sushi? 

YouTube: Take a look at the sushi chef making our rolls and all the people in here!

Linked In: Update status. Let your connections that Nobu is a great hip place to have a client lunch or dinner.

See how every message is different yet they all talk about the same thing. Why, why, why would you post the same thing on every platform??? It makes no sense. The audience is different! 
This is what happens when you say the same thing on all channels. 
By posting the same thing everywhere you are like Stewie. Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy....after a few times your audience hears the same thing on different platforms...they unfollow/unlike, aka they leave you.

So, while you may feel that you are saving time and money you are actually doing harm to your brand.  You are telling your audience that you just want to force feed them information, and you don't care about them, you only care about your agenda. Each platform has a unique demographic that uses it and yes they may follow you on all your channels but they DON'T want to hear the same thing on them. Give them a reason to follow you on different channels, change it up to cater to them. 
These are your customers! 
They are your brand advocates!
They are the conduit to the people WHO DO NOT KNOW about you yet! 

So respect the audience, speak to them properly on the platform you are posting to. 

And bears do not tweet. I googled it. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Talking Finger Video Testimonial

We love when we get testimonials, and we do get quite a bit. But when someone takes the time to actually sit and make an unsolicited video testimonial, what can you say? A huge thanks to Lance Lubin of St. Petersburg Real Estate for such a great video!

You can find out more about Lance and his real estate company on his Facebook Page.

Thanks again, Lance.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Doing some research on "The Competition"

All images have been "modified" slightly to protect the guilty.

Its been a long time since I went off on a rant but I have the need to explode after seeing this last Facebook page of a company that claims to do Social Media Marketing...sorry but here I go........

So I land on the page and I immediately start to see good and bad things everywhere...things that a person who "knows" Facebook should know better NOT TO DO. Without giving away all the details, I am seeing posts that are ineffective/there is a way better way to make them. I am also reading their posts about what to do and not to do on Social Media and they are COMPLETELY IGNORING their own statements!!! This is the equivalent of calling your dog "Stay".
So what really got me originally was when I clicked on the tabs that appear under the Cover Photo and it was an immediate...

Yes...the Face-Palm.

I loathe companies that think they know whats going on, they tell people the wrong information because that's what they learned and never looked to see if it was accurate. I hate the word Expert...for this reason.
          A person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field. 
We at TF feel more like doctors...why...because doctors continually practice to be better, they want to be like a sponge and absorb as much information that they can so they can share that information and improve the lives of others. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW WE FEEL. (Rant 1, there may be more...keep reading to find out)

So back on track...sorry....the tabs I was talking about...Check this out. 

THERE ARE 3 WELCOME TABS HERE ALONE! AND...when you click on the first one in the list, this happens. 

Are you kidding me???????????????? And just to be fair I tried it in Chrome, IE and Firefox and got the same result. (Yes I use a PC...but I own Apple stock so leave my computer choice alone!)

So what happens when you click on the other one???? O its just as juicy....Ready....

I didn't forget about the FBML tabs that are there...That one was like this to me when I saw it.
FBML was RETIRED on June 1st of this year but its been a dead product since FB told the world in September of 2011 that they were getting rid of it. iFrames is where its at people, iFrames!

So you may be thinking to yourself..."What is the big deal if this page has some outdated tabs and non-working features." If you are thinking this, please open the DOS prompt, type in C:\format and hit enter.

NOW, for the rest of you who are still here, this is the answer.

(Yes I know there is a spelling error...I make these all the time and when I saw the pic I had to use it because, I can admit when I am wrong.) 

If you are going to choose a social media marketing company to help you navigate have to VET them. Yes do your to your friends, family, cat, dog...whatever, just do your research. To a trained eye like mine I can pick apart a strategy or page in no time and quickly identify the positives and negatives....others can't and that's fine...just do some dang on the tabs, if they don't go anywhere...THAT'S AN ISSUE....if you read their page or tweets or blog and you see them doing things that are just not "right"...THAT'S AN ISSUE...Are they a newer company and they already have way to many "likes"... THAT'S AN ISSUE (Because they probably bought them...those likes are not always the people who will want or need your service. This could be a rant but dinner is almost ready.)

So to wrap this up so I can eat something today here it is in a...
Yes..a Nutshell...

If your doctor told you to quit smoking while he was having a cigarette what would you think?

If I told you its OK to post on Facebook 15 times a day and then I tell your competition to only post 2 times a day maximum you would ask me "WHY are you saying 2 different things?"

Its simple people, vet them, review what they do. You have no idea the amount of phone calls we get from people who tell us horror stories...and trust me the stuff I spoke about above is a mosquito bite compared to some of the stuff we hear. 

If they are not practicing what they preach....then...


Monday, June 18, 2012

The BEAUTY of Social Media

For those of you who don’t know, my name is Cheri and I’m the Summer Intern at Talking Finger. I’m currently a student at The University of Connecticut and someday hope to work in the corporate side of the beauty industry. Some of you may wonder why I’m interning at a Social Media Marketing Company instead of a place like Vogue or Covergirl… WELL, beauty and social media are two of my big passions and I’m determined to intertwine the two into a career!

It all started a few years ago with a search of “smokey eye make up tutorials” on YouTube and discovering this new phenomenon of “Beauty Gurus.” Below is a short news clip about “Beauty Gurus” to get a better sense of what I’m talking about.

Sisters, Blair and Elle Fowler, started off as making video’s on YouTube about fashion and makeup as a hobby, with all of the subscribers they gained they both applied to become a YouTube partner, which basically means that they’re getting paid for making these videos.

The astounding amount of views and subscribers lead them to be contacted by many different cosmetic companies for reviews, casting for modeling jobs, their own website, cell phone case line through Celaris, spreads in Seventeen, hosting their own YouTube reality show sitcom, a novel, and now their own cosmetic line.

… this doesn’t stop with YouTube! These beauty gurus’ follow up with connecting with their viewers through all different platforms including: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Blogspot. Talk about the power of social media!
Cosmetic companies all jumped at the opportunity at working with these girls by providing them with sponsorships to mention them in their “Monthly Favorites” videos or free products to use in an upcoming make up tutorial. 

Most companies rely on word of mouth, and these girls were a direct connection to millions of their target audience. An issue of whether or not the beauty guru was being deceiving in their reviews came into play, which caused the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) Law. Under the FTC Law, all YouTuber’s must state in their Drop Down Info Bar whether or not they are being paid, sponsored, are affiliated, or if they received free products by the company.

What I think is remarkable is how most of these “gurus” have little to no experience. They are not even official make up artists or have gone through any schooling for beauty/fashion, yet so many people turn to hear about their review of new products by MAC Cosmetics, L’Oreal, etc.

Though I’m not going to lie, I’m so jealous of the lifestyle of these girls and being a “Beauty Guru” would be my absolute DREAM… the reality is, however, that their time is limited and I want to incorporate my love for beauty in my career for the rest of my life (not just my teenage years.) I do have my own beauty blog, if any of you are interested on reading it.

There are many other social media sites that have a large focus on fashion/beauty such as” Polyvore, Pinterest, Lockerz, Lookbook, Pose, etc.

Many of you probably aren’t as interested as I am in the social media fashion world, but I think it’s something all businesses can grow from. YouTube can be used for more than just looking up that funny SuperBowl commercial… It is an awesome place for businesses to reach their target audience. Whether it is a review, tutorial, demo, or informational video, YouTube provides a great opportunity to market and increase sales!

Talking Finger is on the YouTube Bandwagon, are you?

 -Cheri, The Intern

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why Your Website Will Not be Enough

  I'll drop a bomb.

    Your website is becoming less important every year. What was once considered the holy grail of your online presence is diminishing in its importance year by year. I will go out on the proverbial limb and say that in five years, it will be an ancillary piece that will have only specific core functions. I would never say that it will disappear completely as there are still a few things you will always need it for. Let's dig into the reasons you will always need a great website first.

    It is the only place on the web you actually own. Facebook, YouTube, Google+...all of these online platforms are owned by someone else. Their playground, their rules. Changes are made at their discretion. Your website on the other hand is an online entity that is branded specifically to your business. It is set up and functions exactly how you want it and remains so until you decide to change it.

     I also believe e-commerce will remain on your website for many years to come. With privacy and security an issue on social platforms, people simply don't trust most purchases via a social shopping cart. We should know. Out of the many shopping carts we have installed on Facebook, not one has garnered many transactions. In fact, compared to a websites shopping cart, the social shopping cart produces less than 1% of what a website based shopping cart does.

    Your website will also remain the place for facts and figures that would be a hindrance on a social platform. For example, while Ford motor company has a great social presence, nowhere on YouTube can I get the miles per gallon or other specifications about a car that I need.  That would bog down user experience.

    I also believe it will also remain important to have a professionally designed and optimized website. Since it is the only place branded for your business, hiring a professional who can give you the best face is well worth it. SEO in my opinion is going away, but most good web designers have stayed with the times and understand the newer algorithms to get you found for when people make that search. There will always be a segment of society that will never participate on a social network. 

    So why do I say websites are becoming ancillary?  People spend so much time on social platforms in discovery mode. Think about the trends: The news finds us. Our friends recommend products and services which appear in our home feeds. We hear about a restaurant in almost real time when someone posts up on their social profile. Foursquare tells you where your friends are. Pictures are posted up everywhere and tagged for a location. Information has shifted from people actively searching to information finding us. Even television commercials have shifted to include their Facebook, Twitter or YouTube assets in place of websites.

    While Facebook search currently lacks the robust algorithms to pinpoint a businesses page, the rumor has it that this is a product they will be diligently improving over the next year. When this happens, you will see an even more drastic shift in consumer search.

    Word of mouth is always going to be the most powerful form of advertising and marketing. Social platforms are becoming the go to place for this online. It is word of mouth on steroids. Smart marketers monitor the social platforms for the keywords and phrases that relate to their business to see what people say. And while discussion boards are a great place to monitor, often times these are "planned" posts by consumers. On social platforms they are typically in conversational mode and post off the cuff in real time. Social platforms will become the place where a buying decision is made. What  friend says about a product or service far outweighs what a company says about themselves. This happens continually, every second on the social platforms. 

    We look to the youth often times to seek out and discover fundamental shifts in the next generation's use of technology and communication which invariably leads to creating ways in which to market to this new generation of consumers.  When I see my teens and their friends and the way the seek information out, it relies heavily on the seemingly minutia of simple posts to Facebook, or a late night tweet. What their friends say about a new pair of jeans on Facebook resonates throughout their tremendous number of friends. While the average Facebook user has 230 friends or so, when broken down demographically, the youth under 25 typically average closer to 750 friends. Whether you think these are actual friends or not, they still hold mass audiences at their disposal. What Alyssa or Allison say about your product can reach thousands viral. In minutes.

    They are also relying less and less on searching Google for a website. I continually see Generation Y search Google, but they will use the word "Facebook" or "YouTube" as one of the keywords when searching. While they used to search "Gap jeans" they now search "Facebook Gap jeans".

    Your website will always have a place. However, if you continue to rely on this for your online presence without adding the social networks to support it, be prepared to lose market share.

   What are your thoughts? Post them up on our Facebook Wall now!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

How much time do you spend on social media?

I was thinking about how much I had to do today, and how little I had already gotten done. Wondering why (besides the fact that I am a huge procrastinator) I decided to go back and think about what I did all day

I woke up, made coffee, checked Facebook. 
Got ready, walked the dog, checked Instagram.
Got to work, checked Facebook and Twitter, checked in with Foursquare.
Worked, made a post on Facebook, and went to the gym.
Checked in on Foursquare at the gym, walked on the treadmill, checked Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and my emails.

Although this was only part of my day, I noticed that I was constantly on social media. Even more, I noticed, I hadn’t even been at a computer yet.  All of this today was done through the applications on my phone, making it relatively easy to access any social network at virtually any time. 

Checking social media has become such a habit for me, that it is just as much a part of my daily schedule as eating and sleeping is. I don’t think there has been a day in the past…. four years or so that I have not checked at least one social media outlet during the day. 

That’s kind of crazy. 

I decided to do some research on how often people spend on social media, and the results aren't very surprising after looking at my own life..
  • 44% of people check their social networking websites on their mobile device while watching a television program
  • Facebook captures 14.6% of a user's total internet time
  • Tumblr and Pinterest are the only second tier sites to capture a user's attention for more than 60 minutes each month.
  • 38.5% of females check their social networks through their mobile phone
  • 34.4% of males check their social networks through their mobile phone 
  • Source
 This just proves the fact how important social media is to marketing. People are constantly checking their Facebooks, Twitters, Youtubes, etc. If you aren't reaching out to them through these platforms, you're definitely missing out on a big opportunity!

Friday, April 6, 2012

I was in my English Class the other day and we were discussing social media. My professor told our class that we would be having a group paper for our next project. One group would be against Social Media and one group would be for Social Media. Obviously I chose to be for Social Media. I brought up the fact that Social Media is stimulating for our economy by creating more buzz for small and larger businesses. A lot of the students in my class had never really thought about that. I informed them that most Social Media Platforms are more business friendly today.

One student complained that he didn't like the new Timeline Profiles for Facebook. He said that he did not opt into anything that allowed his Facebook to be changed. I jumped in and told him that Facebook rolled out Timeline on March 30, 2012 for all personal and business pages. I told my class not to worry because Timeline is a cool new way to show everyone who you are and what you are all about because of the new Cover Photo feature.

My professor eventually said, "how do you know all this stuff?" I replied by mentioning that I work for a Social Media Marketing Company called Talking Finger. Then my group members got excited to have me on board. It felt good to teach the class something I was well educated in by working here. And as always I told them to LIKE us on Facebook and check out our post on Timeline Help and Support!

By the way, here is a graphic template and infographic to help you get the best out of your Timeline profile that I created.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Instagram Introduction!

If you’ve gotten a new smart phone in the past year or so, you have probably realized that the camera on it is better than that old digital one you have lying around from 2008. The camera quality on these phones has opened up the door for many new picture-oriented applications, some of which are both fun and useful. 

Lately, I have been really into an application called Instagram. It is basically a phone-only application; there is not an actual website that can be accessed. Instagram allows users to share and edit photos they have taken or created. Users simply need to download the free application from the app store on their phone and create an account. Once created, the user can decide whether they want their profile (and therefore photos) to be public or private. After they have decided this, they can begin to post their own pictures and even share them on other social media outlets. 

(Picture taken on my phone, of my phone, and edited with the Instagram app)

 Users can then search for friends or pictures they want to see. Instagram is different from other applications as a person can only “like” a picture; they cannot reblog, repost, or republish them. The application does allow a user to comment on photos directly though. Photos can also be hashtagged, like Twitter, and it allows photos to be easily found. I, for example, searched for pictures tagged with #EDCNY, which is a music festival I will be attending this year. I was able to see everyone else who had tagged their photos with that, and essentially saw who was going to be there from the Instagram community. 

If you are a business, it may help you find new clients. I had tagged a photo of one of my necklaces, and the next day, I had several new followers, all of which were small jewelry stores that sold similar pieces and styles to my own necklace. Some of them actually intrigued me, so I followed back, and with one of them, I will be making a purchase shortly! By simply searching around some hashtags, companies were able to define me as a target customer and catch my attention.

Although you may be thinking, “great, another social media outlet to pay attention to”, Instagram is one that is more for fun than anything! Make an account and play around on it one day when you have some free time. You just may be pleasantly surprised by what photos (or who's photos) you can find!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Timeline Design Through the Eyes of a Graphic Designer

I personally think the new cover photos for Facebook Business Pages are a good idea. Graphically to me it is a billboard in a sense. Another good place to show some new photos of your business or maybe some events you are doing to keep people interested and updated with what is going on. Changing the cover photo is as easy as a simple photo upload, no coding needed. One must know the correct dimensions of the cover photo canvas in order for it to function properly and get your image across to anyone who checks out your page. I like the idea of the new profile pictures layered over a portion of the cover photo. It creates a sense of dimension which is important in design. It may even be a good idea to match the colors in your profile picture to the cover photo so that it blends well and they brand off each other. If created by the right designer a cover photo can say many things, what you do, who you are, where you are, and what your future plans may be. For example I split the design up for my cover photo for my personal Facebook into 3 sections. One section would be somewhere on the cover photo that I am a graphic designer, another with a picture of me playing drums so people would know that is one of my main interests and another section I have a picture of me in a suit looking professional. So I created a look that told people what I am most passionate about and that I can be a rocker and be professional as well and people see that as something fun. If you can show more than just a business face and that your a human who has some fun and personality and you will be on the same page with the viewers.

Here is good example of one of my favorite bands using the Facebook Cover Photo correctly advertising that they have a new song out:


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Oh No!!! Facebook Killed the Landing Page! Well, Not Really...It's Just Different

Dear Facebook,

You drive me crazy, but I still love you.

Bill DeRosa
That's the short succinct letter I would send to Mark Zuckerberg if I had to put it into less than ten words. The latest changes on Facebook are not a simple new button or sorting tab...its a major interface update called Timeline. In addition, Facebook has or is in the process of releasing a ton of new tools or advertising programs to help pages get more visibility and better targeting for their content and ads. I like Timeline a lot and the direction Facebook is going. It would seem, on the surface at least, they are trying to make their platform more valuable for Page owners, and a better experience for the users.

The tough part for many page owners was the loss of a Landing page/Welcome tab. This was a fantastic place to tell people: who you are, what you do, "benefits" of why they would like your page, and a call to action ("Like" us...). It also had a pre-qualification component built in to let people decide based on your page description whether they really want to hit that Like button or not. And if you know about Edgerank, qualified engaged Likes are far more valuable than the Like itself. As well, it is a branded component of your page to really separate you from the pack. Finally, without a Landing page, people are typically just dumped into conversations on the Wall, and may not really know what your Page is all about.

The Timeline Cover Photo, while perfect for branding has a lot of restrictions, so this cannot make up for a properly built Landing page. Here are the rules for your cover photo:

So are the Landing pages/Welcome tabs gone? Nope…big misconception. How they work is a bit different, however.

Let's dig in.

What you see above are our metrics for external referrers to our facebook page from 1/31 - 2/2712. This shows how people outside of facebook found our page. In the past, they would have landed on our Landing page/Welcome Tab. Now they can't...or can they?

Click the link below:

Talking Finger On Facebook

Did you land on our Wall? Or our Landing page? Unless someone came in and edited my blog to mess with my head, it was the latter.

Every Landing page and most apps have a specific URL associated with them. Having people from anywhere outside of Facebook land on your Landing page/Welcome tab is actually quite easy!

1. Go to the Landing page
2. Copy the complete URL address
3. Paste it wherever you are creating a link

I already went around to all of our platforms (Google+, YouTube, Twitter, website, even my LinkedIn and email signatures) to change the URL's to point to the landing page. It didn't take too long, and now everyone will still go where I want them to on our Page. Walla.

As well, any Facebook ads you run can be pointed to that Landing Page. Just simply copy and paste the URL into the destination field. So any ads you run, drive them there!

While that covers all external referrers, internal to Facebook it isn't going to help (if anyone figures out how to do it within Facebook, please let us know!) but what you CAN do is make your Landing page/Welcome tab the second tab in. Such as we have on ours:

Note the "Welcome to TF" tab. Now while people within Facebook may not land on this anymore by default, it is still available and still useful within the platform. As people get used to the new interface, I guarantee they will start looking for the apps and tabs in this area. If you title it well (Im actually iffy now on "Welcome to TF" and may change description to "Learn More About TF" or something clever- suggestions welcome!) people will be curious.

While you may lose a small portion of people within Facebook actually landing on your Landing page, I hope we have shown you some ways in which these will still be valuable assets for your marketing. So if you have one, don't fret! Just change what you are doing. If you are in the process of making one, go for it!

One final note, once someone hits the "Like" button, the page will not flip as before to the Wall. So in your description, or your call to action, you may want to instruct them a bit. " 'Like' us, then click here to go to our Wall".

We are currently redoing our landing page to accommodate the new call to action, but we really wanted to get this info out to you asap! So check back in a day or two to see the updated, full size and rocking landing page we are working on.

And if you send a letter to Zuckerberg, tell him Talking Finger says hello.