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Measuring and Monitoring Online Reputation: What, Why, and How

This guest post is by Rich Gorman of Reputationchanger.com.

In this day and age, there’s really nobody who is exempt from the supreme importance of online reputation. Business owners need a sterling online reputation to ensure that they keep attracting new clients. Job seekers need a good reputation to put their best face forward, in the likely event that a potential employer checks them out on Google.

Bloggers need a good online reputation for any number of reasons; whether you’re seeking to build an audience or sell products, having people know that you’re reputable and authoritative is key.

The problem is, the chances for an online reputation to be utterly derailed are abundant. Things aren’t the way they used to be in the days when protecting your image was basically just a matter of keeping DUI arrests and mug shots out of the local paper! Now, a business rival can post something defamatory about you to the Web, or an old, embarrassing photo from your college days can surface, and the damage can be immense.

What’s your reputation like?

There are ways to monitor and protect your online reputation, which is good news, but there is also much misinformation about the ways in which online reputation is accurately monitored.

There is an increasingly large population of people, particularly bloggers, who are using tools like Klout and FollowerWonk to help them evaluate where they stand, reputation-wise. While these tools are useful in many ways, it’s not quite accurate to say that they offer an assessment of your online reputation.

Take Klout, for example. Klout will tell you many things about your online persona and your “Google footprint.” It will tell you how many people you directly influence, what kind of sway you hold over others within your industry, and more. What it does is effectively measure online influence through the prism of social network import and reach.

This is hardly without value, but it’s not quite the same thing as reputation monitoring. What these tools tell you is how influential you are, but they don’t tell you whether your overall online image is good or bad, or whether there are potentially embarrassing listings out there that could cost you, personally or professionally.

Let’s say, for instance, that the old DUI report or frat party photo surfaces on the Web. A good way to stay alert about these negative listings is to simply search for yourself, on Google and Yahoo and Bing, as often as you can.

A couple of professional reputation monitoring tips are in order here: First, log out of Google before you search for yourself, lest you get “personalized” results that fail to show you the big picture. Second, search for spelling variations on your name, particularly if your name has alternate spellings; if you go by Cammie, for example, there’s a decent chance someone might post about you under the name “Cammy.”

Setting up Google and Yahoo alerts is another important step. This might all seem a little less sophisticated than using something like Klout or FollowerWonk, but for bloggers and professionals seeking up-to-the-minute knowledge about their online listings, this is really the most effective way to go.

Proactively managing your reputation

Of course, merely monitoring your reputation is not always going to be enough. You may wish to proactively shape it, ensuring that when someone searches for you on the Web, the first listings to appear on the page are positive ones. Crafting a positive online reputation is essentially a matter of populating the search engines with flattering content about yourself—but how?

The first thing to think about is your online real estate portfolio. Make sure you are the owner of all the domain names associated with your name; if you go by Jon Lener, try to secure access to jonlener.com, jon-lener.org, jonlener.net, and all the exact-match variations you can get. Do the same with social media accounts: a Twitter account is not going to provide you with Google rankings if it isn’t directly attached to your name.

Remember that your goal in reputation defense is to fill the first page or two of Google with positive listings—that is, listings that you control. Make sure to get a LinkedIn page, then, because LinkedIn ranks better on Google than any other social network! Other social networking suggestions include a WordPress blog, which ranks better than Blogger or Tumblr; a Vimeo account, which, surprisingly, ranks better than a YouTube account; and limited time spent on photo-sharing services, like Flickr, which simply aren’t as useful for obtaining search engine rankings.

Measuring your online influence is ultimately useful, but when it comes to ensuring that your online image is a positive one, there is no substitute for basic reputation monitoring. There is also no replacement for the tried-and-true methods of using exact-match domains and social media accounts to foster an online reputation you can be proud of.

Do you monitor your online reputation? Tell us how in the comments.

Rich Gorman is a recognized thought leader when it comes to online reputation management techniques and a designer of direct response marketing programs for companies large and small. He leads the team at www.reputationchanger.com.

Behind the Scenes of the DPS Pinterest Strategy: Case Study

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked if I wanted to set up and manage the Pinterest account for Digital Photography School. Within a week, we had launched, and Darren explained his take on the process in this case study.

So far, the account has nearly 5000 followers. We have been getting a lot of great feedback and have noticed a lot of people signing up just to follow us. We’ve tapped into something amazing in the DPS community and I believe that a lot of the success is to do with our approach.

In this case study, I’ll be talking about how we went against common advice for bloggers when it comes to setting up a Pinterest account. It may get a bit geeky when it comes to the marketing strategies, but trust me: your blog will be better for it.

Pinterest foundations

I’ve been interning for The Village Agency for some time now, with a strong focus on Pinterest. We noticed two behaviours that were being repeated across various brands:

  • People follow boards, not accounts.
  • People don’t just want pretty images. They want context.

This is because of a concept called the interest graph.

The interest graph

Many bloggers have a presence on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Most people do this because they want to know others on theses networks and socialize with them in some capacity. People follow information based on their interests, but their behaviour is mostly social.

The interest graph shows when people are connected by common interests. The social element takes a backseat at this point—people want to find information that is relevant to their interests.

This is where a lot of bloggers mess it up.

A lot of people hear about the traffic potential of Pinterest and start pinning their content. An example is the Problogging board by David Risley. This board is based around the interest of the blogger, not of the people in the Pinterest ecosystem. This means that David will get traffic from people that visit his account, but the conversation will end there. People are unlikely to repin that content—and the action of repinning is what makes your content go viral on this network.

Note: I have to commend David for actually having a Pinterest account. You can’t learn anything unless you experiment!

What does this mean for bloggers?

This means that people don’t want your Pinterest account to be an extension of your blog. As Darren pointed out with his case study, people are already pinning your content.

If you really want to develop a strong Pinterest presence, you need to curate pinboards based around the interests of your readers. This is especially relevant for those outside of the popular niches on Pinterest.

How we did this

We developed a series of boards based around the common topics on Digital Photography School, such as lighting, portraits, and composition. I went through the archives, and looked at the ebook topics on the resources page, and came up with a rough list of 25 boards. I then set about finding content for those boards.

I started noticing patterns and trends while I was creating the boards. I noticed that other users had created boards based on certain types of lighting or certain technical aspects of photography. I knew that I had to narrow down the focus of certain boards to really tap into the interest graphs for these users.

Sites such as DPS and Problogger are authority sites. They are known for containing a lot of content on a wide range of topics that are important to the fields they cover. This is part of the appeal of these sites.

Most bloggers—and photographers—however, are specialists. They are interested in general trends affecting their community, but are focused on very specific information that affects their niche. This means that people don’t just want information on taking photos of people. They want to know how to take photos of newborns, children, families, and seniors. They want ideas for specific types of lighting or poses. We created specific boards targeted towards these interests and have gained a lot of traction from that effort. We now have twice three times as many boards as we originally planned.

We took this idea one step further

Within hours of launching we had over 1000 followers, but I felt like we were missing something. We were collecting a lot of solid information about digital photography and had been grouping it into categories. This information was great for existing photographers, but … then I realized what we were missing.

Newbie photographers, such as myself, would have been overwhelmed by the myriad of boards. I still use my camera as a point-and-shoot tool. Imagine if my first exposure to the DPS brand was the Pinterest account! I may have been too overwhelmed to check out the site and see the fantastic resources in the Beginners section.

Tweaking the strategy

I might be brilliant at social media but, as I say, I use my DSLR as a glorified point-and-shoot snaps. I´ve had it for four years and only have a vague ideas about what the buttons do. I decided to set up a board covering the basics, but even then, I found the information to be overwhelming.

Photography has a steep learning curve for the newbie. That is where resources like Digital Photography School come in. So what if I structured some of the boards like they were lessons? I could use the description area to create additional context and tell people what board they should visit to get their next “lesson.”

We set up a board called DSLR basics. The next four boards focused on elements of a concept called the “exposure triangle.” The first board focused on why exposure was important. The following boards were dedicated to each part of the triangle. I linked to relevant blog posts in the description.

The first board in the “series” said:

Learning exposure is the first step you should take when it comes to understandind photography. Read our tutorial on the exposure triangle: http://bit.ly/1N3I In the following boards, we talk about the 3 parts of the triangle: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.

The following boards contained a brief line about why that concept was important.

We have only just started experimenting with this technique, so we don’t have much data about whether or not people are responding to this. We are giving away space above the fold to boards that, visually, aren’t as interesting as some others we’ve created. But we’re hoping it pays off.

This is where bloggers can really stand out: give people a reason to visit your Pinterest account other than to check out images. Create a destination. It’s risky and requires a lot of work, but it has the potential to send a massive amount of targeted traffic to your blog.

How can you apply this to your blog?

The first step most people take is to set up their own Pinterest account and start pinning images. If your main goal is to get traffic, you should focus on creating prettier images on your own blog first.

There are a number of ways you can do this:

  • Increase the number of images in blog posts. This gives people multiple pictures to choose from when pinning a post.
  • Hunt for incredible images on Flickr. This post by Skellie gives details about how to do this.
  • Include a portrait-oriented image later in the post. Landscape-oriented images work better to grab attention on a blog post, but the portrait image suits the pinboards better.

I also recommend that bloggers create a Pinterest account for themselves to experiment with before creating one for their blog. You don’t have to do this, but it will give you the chance to understand Pinterest a bit more before making a big commitment.

Creating your own Pinterest account

Many pinterest newbies start by pinning pretty things. That´s what all the “experts” recommend you do. I’ve noticed, though, that having a nice image is just one part of Pinterest success. The second is telling people why they should click through to read the article connected to the pin.

This is incredibly easy and will make you stand out as an authority. Sometimes you will need to read the article to add context, but often the headline will suffice.

Importantly, once an image has been repinned, you lose control over the conversation. It will get shared and, often, the text will get edited. Adding information means that people will have an additional reason to categorize it according to their interests. It also helps people discover your pins via the network’s search tool.

What do I do with the account?

Having a Pinterest account isn’t enough—you also have to give people a reason to click through to check out your boards. Here are some suggestions to tie it your Pinterest account to your blog:

  • Link to relevant boards when discussing issues in your blog posts. This is a great way to give more information without sharing a bunch of links.
  • Create a Pinterest landing page on your blog. This is like a Twitter landing page—it’s where you talk about why your blog is relevant to those who have clicked over from Pinterest. You can see our example for DPS here. I’ve also created one for my marketing client at The Village Agency.

How do I drive traffic to the account?

Some of the comments on Darren’s earlier Pinterest experiment post suggested that we achieved a lot of success because of the strength of the brand name. This was part of it. But interestingly, there was a lot of traction before we publicly launched the account.

Something that, I believe, will really grow the account is the way Darren is involving the community in the growth of the account. Look at the questions Darren asked in the launch post:

  • If there’s a topic you’d like to see us develop a board for, please suggest it in the comments below.
  • If you have a photography board of your own, please let us know about it in the comments below—we’ll be following as many as we can and repinning the best of the best from our community.

Here’s why this step was important.

The fan cycle

I’m a huge fan of word of mouth and how it can help bloggers spread their message.

I discovered this concept called Cycle of a Fan which shows how a person can go from introduction to ownership. This can also apply to Pinterest accounts.

People naturally want to share something that they feel that they are a part of or have contributed to. This step allows us to engage with the DPS readers and, even better, gives us valuable information about how we can improve.

  • have created several new boards based on reader feedback
  • are following many of the boards of people following us
  • are planning new boards once we’ve gotten through this launch period

We can then use the information from these boards to influence the content at the blog.

Over to you

We’ve had an incredibly busy couple of weeks since we launched the DPS Pinterest account. It has been a constant process of refining and tweaking the strategy.

I’d love to hear any feedback you may have—or any questions! What are you biggest problems related to creating a Pinterest presence for your blog?

6 Sweet Tips to Help You Track Social Media Trends

This guest post is by Lior Levin.

Who has the time to stay on top of the latest trends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest while still running a business or marketing department?

Unless you can figure out efficient ways to keep on top of social media, you’ll become overwhelmed. New social media outlets are popping up all the time, and the existing ones are evolving just as quickly.

If you are going to continue to use social media effectively, you have to maintain an awareness of the changes that are happening. Here are six simple ways to stay on top of social media.

1. Read social media news through Flipboard

With Facebook and Twitter at your disposal, you know where to find a lot of trends, but the hard part is efficiently sorting through all of the news. Flipboard adopts a magazine-style interface to make reading your social media news simple.

Kip Bodnar of HubSpot says of Flipboard, “This application and others like Pulse take information from news sources and social networks like Twitter and Facebook and display them in the form of a digital magazine, instead of boring lists of headlines like most RSS readers.”

2. Read leading blogs about social media

Plenty of bloggers out there devote their time and energy to providing their audiences with the most up-to-date information on social media outlets. Why not become part of their audience?

The article I mentioned from HubSpot is just the beginning of their resources on social media. HubSpot’s marketing team regularly blogs about social media trends such as the rise of mobile marketing, and provides additional resources in regularly published ebooks.

Let other folks do the hard work. All you have to do is become a loyal follower.

3. Use social media monitoring tools

You can easily search through social media trends without having to do your own narrow searches on individual sites. Priit Kallas has a helpful list of 48 social media monitoring tools, and section B mentions some of the best tools you can use to keep track of social media trends.

Perhaps the best tool in his list, depending on your needs, is Addictomatic. Kallas writes, “Addictomatic searches the best live sites on the web for the latest news, blog posts, videos and images. It’s a tool to keep up with the hottest topics, perform ego searches and get info on what’s up, what’s now or what other people are feeding on.”

4. Subscribe to newsletters about social media

“Some newsletters are worth signing up for,” writes SS Digital Media. “If you really want to stay in touch with social media, sign up for a daily newspaper such as SmartBrief. If you prefer weekly updates, check out newsletters such as SocialFresh.”

Search the web for social media experts—most of them have free newsletters that will keep you in the loop on changes made by existing social media outlets, as well as some of the new outlets preparing to enter the market. One great place to start is the Social Fresh Newsletter, which sends out seven insights each week. You can also sign up for an industry-leading Twitter blog like TwitTip via email.

5. Get social media training and certification

Maybe you’d like to take more of an official route in staying up-to-date on social media changes. If so, consider taking one of the many social media certification classes available, as recommended by OneIMS.

“Social media is becoming so important and popular among businesses that there are now several training and certification programs you can take to be at top of the social media field. If you are the go-to person at your company for all things social media or even if you are someone who wants to learn everything they can about social media is beneficial to take advantage of the tools and resources that are available for social media training and certification.”

Formal training and/or certification can also open up opportunities for you to share your knowledge with others.

6. Attend social media meetups, conferences, and tweetups

Sometimes the most powerful tool for keeping on top of trends is still word of mouth. You can tap into the wisdom of the social media community by attending meetups, tweetups, and conferences dedicated to social media.

“Whether in person at a meetup or virtually at a tweetup, chatting with like-minded individuals will keep you on your toes, help you predict what’s coming next, and teach you new things about how others are behaving in social media. To find a group of social media fanatics near you check out Meetup.com,” writes Cara Friedman at Mashable.

Taking the time to talk about these topics with other people can be a welcome change from staring at a computer screen or gathering information through a Twitter feed. Not only that, meeting with people in person can help you network in all kinds of different ways.

Pick one or a few of the methods listed above and you’ll stay up-to-date with all the myriad changes in the social media industry. The success of your marketing depends on staying on top of the latest trends, and these tips should make it easy!

This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for a task management tool company, and who also consults for a psd to html conversion company.

Learnings from My Pinterest Experiment

Over the last couple of days I’ve begun to play with Pinterest again. It’s been ages since I first set up an account but when I did I didn’t really really click with it. Interestingly, despite not being active on it, I seemed to gather followers til it got to 1000.

PinterestI also saw some decent traffic from Pinterest to our photographic tutorials on dPS. I guess our articles are just naturally pinnable, as we have a lot of images. Pinterest has been sending us around 40,000 visitors a month, which is nice, although not a massive amount in the scheme of overall traffic. In terms of social media traffic, it comes in behind Facebook, but ahead of StumbleUpon and Twitter.

An experimental strategy

Given than we’ve gained decent traffic from it, I decided to start playing with it this week to see what I could learn. My strategy has been very simple and very primative so far and has centred around a photography board on my personal account. There, I’m simply sharing the following:

  • photos that I love
  • tutorials from other sites that I think are good
  • a few of the better tutorials from dPS.

The links to dPS are in the minority, but over the last few days I must have pinned 20 or so items from the site. I’ve also done a little liking and commenting on a few other photography-related Pinterest boards—but not heaps!

Preliminary results

It hasn’t been long, but in the time I’ve been experimenting, I’ve seen some interesting results.

  1. Follower numbers are up around 450. I did link to it from my Facebook page and Twitter account, but most of that growth has just steadily come in (I’m guessing) mainly as people repin my images.
  2. I’m seeing decent repinning. The numbers aren’t huge, but already I’m seeing some nice traction on some of the pins I’ve put out there. Actually, I’m fascinated to see what is and isn’t getting repinned. Obviously its largely about the image, but  tips-related pins seems to be getting traction. I’ll continue to experiment to see what more I can glean about what’s working over time.
  3. I’ve noticed an increase in Pinterest traffic coming to the site, but given that I’ve only pinned a handful of dPS, stuff I wasn’t expecting much.

    Pinterest's traffic impact
    In fact, a couple of days after my experiment began, we had the biggest Pinterest day of traffic for dPS since May. While we were averaging about 1400 visitors a day over the last couple of weeks, but it increased to around 2100—not a massive boost, but encouraging. Follower numbers at he time of writing had also steadily grown to more than 1600 for that board.

  4. Reader engagement, as shown by the comments on some of my pins, was interesting. Followers were mainly asking questions. On one pin (on a set of images), a follower asked if I knew of any tips for a particular type of photography. I was able to link to a dPS tutorial on that topic in a reply to her comment.

I’m seeing quite a few opportunities here and have committed to take my Pinterest activity to the next level over the coming weeks. I’m not going to reveal what we have planned yet, but you can expect to see dPS on Pinterest in a more formal way in the near future (I’ll share what we do when that happens).

Update: now a week into this experiment I can compare traffic for the last week from Pinterest to the week before.

The blue line is this last week of referred traffic from Pinterest – the orange line is last week’s referred traffic from Pinterest. While it goes up and down from day to day (the last two days have been weekend traffic) you can see we’re up to 7 days of increased traffic on the previous week.

The increase is 38.94% on the previous week with Friday being up by 91% on the previous Friday.

While this isn’t a massive rise in terms of our overall traffic for the site the signs are positive. Even if we just sustain this increase for the next 12 months it is an extra 200,000 visitors to the site over the year (of course I hope we can ramp it up further with some further new strategies that will be implemented this coming week).

Straight to the source!

For those who don’t know, Pinterest has a Source page that shows you the most recent pins made to a site. For example, the dPS source page is at http://pinterest.com/source/digital-photography-school.com/

To find yours, just substitute the dPS URL for your blog’s URL in the link above. If you don’t have much pinning action on your blog, you might not have one yet, but quite a few of the small blogs I tried it on did.

On this page, you can see all the pins that people have made for articles on Digital Photography School. The page doesn’t seem to update minute by minute, but it is relatively up to date.

This, my friends, is what I consider gold information! There are many possibilities for how you can use this:

  1. Share this page with your community: I linked to this page a few months back on the dPS Facebook page with a call to action like, “See what’s hot on dPS right now.” I noticed a rise in traffic to dPS that day (and an increase in pinning action too).
  2. Research what type of posts are pinnable: Watch this page and you’ll quickly see what kind of articles readers find pinnable. Create more of them!
  3. Add Pin buttons to your hot posts: I’m currently getting a redesign of dPS done that will include Pinterest buttons on every page on the site. But while I’m waiting, I’ve manually added them to the pages on dPS that are getting the most pins—this page helps me to find them (so too does digging into your Google Analytics account). By adding this button to the right pages, you make the post more pinnable—so when people arrive from Pinterest they’re more likely to pin it themselves.
  4. Networking opportunities: Another benefit of this page is that you can see who’s pinning your stuff. What a perfect place to watch and thank those who are pinning your work with a quick comment. This is an opportunity to network with your readers, and not just any readers, but those who are evangelists for your blog!

Knowing what content on your site is being shared is great information. How are you using Pinterest to engage, and engage with, readers? Share with us in the comments.

Update: if you’d like a sneak peek at Phase 2.0 of the dPS Pinterest experiment take a look at our brand new dedicated dPS Pinterest account which I’ll write more about in the next week.

5 Fast Tips for Going Multilingual on Twitter

This guest post is by Christian Arno of Lingo24.

With just 140 characters you can reach a global audience. Hardly a newsflash, I know, but think about it. Followers around the world can give your blog the kind of exposure you could only have dreamed about in the past, everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires. People eagerly await your posts on every continent. Tell me that doesn’t sound good!

Of course, going global on Twitter means embracing other languages. The English language only stretches so far. But building a multilingual presence on Twitter doesn’t have to be difficult.

When it comes down to it, whether you are representing a company or going solo, Twitter is a great way to attract a global audience to your blog. Get it right by following a few guidelines.

Target, aim, tweet

Like most things in life, it helps to have a strategy. Don’t be misled by how easy it is to fire off tweets. Sure, you could machine-translate your next message into umpteen languages and hit the Tweet button. If you want to destroy your reputation, that is.

Instead, think back to your overall marketing plan and where the non-English speaking countries fit your blogging strategy. Which markets are key for you? Your stats for other online content can be revealing here. Where do you need to build a presence, and where should you be improving your reach?

After all, why waste time tweeting in Russian if you are aiming to build your blog readership in South America? When you stop aiming for the whole world, it becomes a whole lot easier to be relevant to the people who matter.

Do your Twitter research

Not all countries and languages are represented equally on Twitter. The impact of your multilingual tweets will in part depend on how actively each language is used. For example, Arabic is the fastest-growing Twitter language, according to a Semiocast study. The same statistics show the rapid rise of Spanish and Dutch. When it comes to the most used languages, Japanese and Portuguese lead the pack. Malay and Korean speakers are also sending their share of the millions of tweets sent each day.

Reach out to these markets and your exposure can skyrocket.

Take care with translations

Unless you are tweeting about what you ate for lunch, resist the lure of instant translation tools. Producing accurate foreign language content can be tricky. You need to strike the right tone (not too stuffy, but avoiding offending anyone) as well as choosing just the right words. Add in the restriction of 140 characters (which gives you even less to play with in some languages than in English) and it becomes an art. Native speaker input is invaluable here.

Follow the right people

Your focus shouldn’t only be on who your followers are, but on who you are following. Stay tuned to the tweets of the big influencers in your overseas markets. These can range from celebrities to the leaders and popular bloggers in your own particular field. Re-tweeting the right people can build your own reputation for having your finger on the pulse.

Stay relevant

Finally, keep your tweets relevant. That means different accounts for each language, so that your followers don’t have to sift through unfamiliar languages. (They will probably just unfollow you instead.) And stay culturally aware. Some topics will offend in particular countries, others will simply be of no interest.

What you stand to gain

Fact: Twitter is a big player on the global social media scene. For over a year now, 70% of Twitter traffic has come from outside the US. If you can tap into the non-English speaking sectors of this international traffic, your exposure will increase dramatically.

Those fast-growing languages mentioned earlier give you a chance to get in early on up and coming markets. On the other hand, countries such as Japan lead the field in terms of posting activity, with more accounts actively posting messages than either the US or the UK.

Actively involved users mean a better chance of re-tweets. If you write something people want to share, you can end up with them doing local marketing for you. For free. It doesn’t get much better than that.

You also have a chance to tap into multiple consumer pools around the globe without leaving your seat. Being part of their conversations lets you monitor what they are saying: about your blog as a whole or your latest post, about other bloggers, about wants, desires and frustrations. Think how valuable that can be.

Twitter brings that information and that potential army of followers to you. But you can’t close the deal without being willing to send those 140 character tweets in other languages. Make the effort, and you’ll probably wonder what took you so long.

Christian Arno is the founder of Lingo24, a top translation service in the USA. Launched in 2001, Lingo24 now has over 170 employees spanning three continents and clients in over sixty countries. In the past twelve months, they have translated over forty million words for businesses in every industry sector, including the likes of MTV, World Bank and American Express. Follow Lingo24 on Twitter: @Lingo24.

How to Lose Followers and Alienate People

This guest post is by Lianne Froggatt of Yes Gifts, UK.

Managing an unsuccessful social media profile is a time-consuming task that requires your undivided attention and dedication. Encouraging so much animosity around your profiles takes time, patience and, most of all, an incessant desire to anger every person who ever had the misfortune to hit that Follow button.

So, do you want to make your customers and friends hate your every status update? Look no further!

Lose followers and alienate people on Twitter

  • Tweet in batches of six or seven when 140 characters just isn’t enough.
  • Tweet quotes from philosophers—you can rebrand yourself as a genius! Sophie’s World will do if you don’t know of any actual philosophers.
  • Tell people about your miserable breakup. It shows the world you have a heart.
  • Retweet profound quotes from celebrities. This will make you seem both cool and smart—a double-win.
  • Make sure to reply to anyone who tweets about you or your work with a friendly “Thanks for sharing!”
  • Tweet in different languages. This will show how linguistically diverse you are.
  • Retweet ten things in a row. It will show your followers you really care about what they have to say.
  • Make offensive jokes. You want to appear edgy—this will give you an extra dimension.
  • Use an animated avatar. This totally makes you stand out from the crowd. So 2012!
  • Follow people with “#teamfollowback” in their bio. Another valuable follower guaranteed!
  • Say goodnight to your followers. And good morning. And Happy Tuesday.
  • Name and shame people that unfollow you. Your other followers won’t dare to cross you.
  • Reply to tweets by major celebs. Onlookers will think you are actually friends with them! Sneaky.
  • Tweet your favourite song lyrics. You may attract other fans!

Lose followers and alienate people on Facebook

  • Hook up your Twitter feed to your Facebook account, and every time you tweet, this will be posted as a Facebook status update. This ensures everyone, everywhere constantly know what’s going on in your life.
  • Like every status you post. People will be more inclined to pay attention to your witty nature.
  • Encourage as many likes as possible without considering their relevance to anyone; it’s quantity not quality that matters!
  • Post ambiguous status updates. This will make you seem aloof and intriguing—after all, who can refrain from commenting on a sad face? Attention guaranteed!
  • Never keep your statuses brief and to the point. If people don’t know the whole story how can you possible achieve those all-important likes? (Unless you are posting an elusive ambiguous status—in that case, short is fine.)
  • Post all the time! Remember, if it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen, so everything from you breakfast to your bowel movements must be documented … and quickly.
  • POST IN CAPITAL LETTERS. THIS IS EYE-CATCHING AND IN NO WAY LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE SHOUTING.
  • Tag every horrendous photo you find. Whether this be your friends, or your clients at conferences, everyone loves to have their comedy “ugly” shots broadcast to the world.
  • Show that you care. If a friend changes their relationship status to single, post reassuring comments like, “It’s okay babe, he wasn’t good enough for you anyway.”
  • Don’t use your real name—this way, only people who are in the know can find you on Facebook. To be totally hip and groovy, use a comedic pseudonym.
  • Use plenty of apps that post updates direct to your timeline. They will allow you to show off your achievements to the world in all their glory: how far you ran, how much weight you lost, how many Number 1 singles from the 80s you can name, how many cows you own on FarmVille…
  • Sign up for automated sharing on music websites like Spotify: this way, every song you ever listen to will be shared with the world. Uber-cool.

Lose followers and alienate people on Pinterest

  • Only post pictures of your own products. These are your boards, they should all be about you.
  • Make sure your followers’ boards are filled with your pins by having a half an hour pinning blitz. Every day.
  • Don’t participate in the Pinterest community. People will surely find you due to your fabulous pinning abilities.
  • Only ever repin images from others’ boards. You will be seen as engaged and interesting and it alleviates the bother of having to find unique content yourself. Phew.
  • If you do pin your own content, just get stuff from Google images. It’s easy to find and it doesn’t matter where it came from.
  • Target all your pins at men. It’s a male-dominated platform, right?
  • Pin lots of infographics. Most “normal” people haven’t heard of them yet, so you will definitely be considered cutting-edge by pinning every infographic you have ever seen.
  • Make sure the infographics you pin are very long, enabling you to take up at least half of your followers’ pages as they scroll down in an attempt to get past it. Ultimate exposure!
  • Your Pinterest boards must look full at all times, and that’s about the quantity of images you have up there. Don’t get overly concerned with quality.
  • Never credit anyone for anything that you pin. That’s definitely not an issue on Pinterest.
  • Get involved with every argument you see on pins. This is the time to let your opinion shine, and even if you are the 100th commenter, you can be sure that people are desperate to hear your insightful opinion.

So there you have it, the ultimate way to make your social media marketing a horrifying failure.

I am always looking for new ways to lose friends and/or followers, so if you have any other suggestions, please post them in the comments below.

N.B. Just to reiterate, in no way do I actually advocate this advice. In fact stop. Reverse it. There you go!

Lianne Froggatt is Digital Communications Manager at Yes Gifts, UK promotional products specialist. She would love any feedback, advice or comments, you might have so find her on Twitter @LianneCai, hopefully not following her own advice!

How to Add Your YouTube Videos to Pinterest

This guest post is by Krizia of CreateProfitableVideos.com.

So you’ve started using Pinterest to promote your blog. Congratulations!

When I started using Pinterest to promote my business, at first I was just happy uploading cool-looking photos. But after a few days, I realized that unless I established a clear strategy for my Pinterest activities, I’d be wasting a lot of time and I wouldn’t be able to delegate this social media activity to my assistant.

The reality is that Pinterest is a phenomenal tool for retailers, but if you’re a blogger or content marketer who uses words more than pictures, generating buzz using Pinterest may not be as easy.

From my experience, Pinterest can be a colossal waste of time. I mean it takes time to source all these photos on the Internet, and you also need to write descriptions for each of the photos you upload, and you also need to make sure you optimize everything you do to ensure the traffic comes back to your site.

But once I realized I could promote my YouTube videos on Pinterest, everything changed!

I’ve spent a lot of time, effort and energy building my YouTube channels and I’ve made sure each video we upload is optimized and takes viewers to a page where they can sign up to be added to my blog’s mailing list. Pinterest lets me capitalize on all that work, through a different medium. It’s become one of my favourite social media platforms to share videos from all four of my YouTube channels.

Adding your YouTube videos to Pinterest is quite easy, but if you’ve never done it before, I’ll share a few key points that will take the guess work out of the equation for you! Here are ten quick steps to getting your YouTube videos onto Pinterest.

1. Make sure you have an active YouTube channel

Pinterest is already set up to easily and quickly fetch videos from YouTube, but to use the functionality, you’ll need to have your own YouTube channel to make this work.

2. Make sure your videos are branded

Pinterest users don’t need to leave Pinterest to view YouTube videos. Once you click on any video link, it automatically opens inside the Pinterest platform. This is why branding your videos is so important.

By “branding” I mean that you should always have a branded intro and outro to your videos, and you should also make sure that you add an image watermark or a URL to make it easy for people to work out where the video comes from, and to click through to your blog.

3. Create a Pinterest board specifically for your YouTube channel

When you’re naming your board, make sure you take search engine optimization into consideration. Pinterest can bring you traffic from both inside its own community and from Google. That said, you’ll need to take the time to do a bit of research to find out which are the most appropriate keywords you should use.

4. Grab your YouTube embedded link

To crop your video into Pinterest, you’ll need to fetch your embedded link from YouTube. Right below your YouTube video, you’ll find a Share button. Click on that, and you’ll automatically see a dropdown box that contains a link.

A word of caution: there are two types of YouTube embedded links. There’s a shorter one (which is the first one you see), and a long link (which is hidden). Pinterest will reject the short link because the system sees it as spam. You’ll need to fetch the longer link.

The Share link

5. Upload a new pin

In order to add a new video to Pinterest, you’ll first need to add a new pin, then copy your YouTube embedded link into the Add a pin box, like so:

Uploading a new pin 1

Uploading a new pin 2

6. Select the appropriate board

Remember in point #3 I suggested you create a board specifically for your YouTube videos? Well, once you’ve uploaded your video, you need to select the board you want your video featured on.

7. Add a description

You have 500 characters with which to describe your video. Make sure the copy is inviting, and that it includes a number of keywords related to your blog.

Adding a description

8. Add a link to your blog or squeeze page

You should also add the complete URL for your blog or squeeze page to the description box. This won’t just give your blog a backlink from a trusted source, it’s also a great way to make it easy for people to easily get to your blog or squeeze page.

By making all links active from the description box, Pinterest makes it easy for you to build a strong community of loyal followers!

9. Automatic sharing on Facebook

If you sign into your Pinterest account (the same holds true if you sign in using your Twitter account), all of your updates will automatically be added to your Facebook personal profile. Pinterest has systemized sharing content from their platform to other social media platforms, which, again, makes our lives easier!

10. Rinse and repeat

Now that you’ve added your first YouTube video to Pinterest, make sure you keep up a consistent flow. My assistant ads one new video each week to my Pinterest account.

Here, we’ve talked about uploading YouTube videos to Pinterest, but you can also upload videos from Vimeo and pretty much any other video directory.

There are a few undeniable advantages to adding video to your Pinterest account:

  1. Your YouTube videos get a backlink from a trusted source, which helps increase the ranking of your entire channel.
  2. Your video appears in three different locations on Pinterest: on your board, on the Pinterest homepage where all your followers can immediately see it, and also on the Videos page on Pinterest.
  3. If you log into your Pinterest account via your Facebook or Twitter account, your new uploads are automatically shared on your personal Facebook account or your Twitter account!

Of course the best advantage of them all is the fact that you get to expose your content to new followers easily and simply!

Pinterest is just like any other social media platform: you need to go in with clear objectives, and you need to make sure your messages target the audience you want to attract.

That’s exactly why I love Pinterest’s automatic integration with YouTube—my videos act as a screening process for my business. Allowing potential clients to qualify themselves is a brilliant time-saver for me.

Pinterest users who land on your videos will know very quickly if your message resonates with them and from your YouTube channel they can make their way to your blog, site, or squeeze page.

Are you using video on Pinterest? How’s it working out? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Krizia (aka Miss K), is an Entrepreneur, Video Marketing Strategist, Video Show Host, Video Blogger, Speaker and International Author! Krizia launched http://www.CreateProfitableVideos.com to help entrepreneurs create AMAZING and IMPACTFUL video messages and discover How to Use video to Attract MORE Clients, Sales and Profits!

Traffic Technique 5: Social Media

We all agree that social media networks offer a number of benefits to bloggers. We can build a following on these sites, make new friends and connections, and share, collaborate, and interact in real time.

Social media: a tug of war

Image courtesy stock.xchng tam_oliver

This is great—and there’s no doubting that sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, and SoundCloud offer us a real opportunity to connect.

Yet in terms of traffic, many of us struggle.

Getting traffic through social media might seem like it’s about getting users to share your content. But that challenge in itself raises all kinds of issues:

  • titles, images, calls to action, and presentation
  • targeting
  • how you respond to social network visitors
  • what social search could, to should, mean to you
  • your involvement and presence on these networks.
    • We’ve discussed many of these issues in detail on the blog, so today I’m interested in going a bit deeper with the discussion and looking at social media at a more fundamental level.

      Where will you share?

      We all know about shiny object syndrome, and have felt the temptation to join the latest social network simply because everyone else seems to be getting on board. This is definitely a case of reactionary blogging—simply doing something because we don’t want to be left behind the mainstream. It’s usually not the best way to go.

      Thinking about your audiences—that is, your current audience and your desired audience—and where they hang out online is the best way to choose the social networks where you’ll have a presence. But that’s not the only thing to look at.

      We also need to consider where we can best dedicate our time and how much we can take on. It’s all too easy to be overwhelmed, but I know that the more I focus my efforts, the better off I am.

      So before you launch yourself onto the nest social media platform, consider whether you’ll reach your target audiences in that space. If not, it might be best to hold off until you feel it’s worth your while.

      What will you share?

      This seems like a fairly basic question. What will you share? Well, your content, right?

      That might be fine in most cases, but if you find your audience on a particular network represents a particular subsegment of your desires readership, perhaps you’ll shape your updates—and the content you share—specifically to them.

      The idea of a social network being a mass communication medium through which we update our followers on everything we blog may change as the shape of social networking changes from mass networks to niche networks.

      So perhaps we should be prepared—by experimenting and trialling this for ourselves, starting now—to shape the information you share specifically to your following on a given network.

      This will likely affect the traffic our social media updates generate in and of themselves, as well as the traffic they generate through resharing.

      How will you share it?

      There’s good old, tried and tested, low-budget organic social sharing: creating an update (text, images, and/or video) and sharing it through the social networks of your choice.

      But now we’re seeing a bounty of other sharing options flood onto the market:

      These tactics can of course be used individually, but if you have a strong following and presence on a particular network, you might look at using them together, in a sort of campaign-style approach to gaining traffic.

      In any case, it’s safe to say that you no longer have to slog it out updating your status with lonely links: there are plenty of tools that can help you get more bang for your buck when it comes to sharing—and gain more traffic and, ultimately, build your audience as a result.

      That said, since they began, social networks have been important points of connection—so sharing all the time, rather than balancing those efforts with other forms of engagement (like responding to the work of others, curating broader information for your followers, making genuine connections and helping others out, and so on), is a fast track to failure.

      In this way, social media really does mirror real life. While social networks are great places to share, if your sharing is to be effective, it must be tempered by true engagement and a genuine interest in others.

      How will you manage the traffic?

      So, let’s say your social media efforts have been successful and your latest update is sending masses of traffic to your site. This is great news! If, that is, you’re prepared.

      Momekh recently pointed out the benefits that can be gained by building targeted landing pages for your social network visitors. He did this through the his network bio, but if you target your content—and share it—to certain specific networks (rather than blanketing all networks with the same update), you can take his advice a step further.

      This can be a great way to build upon the engagement you’ve established through your persona on a given network, and use that to make people feel at home on your blog. Why not create an article targeted right at your Pinterest followers—something that speaks to them directly, and includes a call to action for them to join or subscribe to your site? Then, share it on that network, with a targeted, specifically Pinterest-y update, and see what happens.

      The results of this kind of targeted communication might just surprise you.

      Of course, there are other techniques you can try. As you may have seen, sometimes I’ll include hashtags in posts and their titles, to encourage and frame a discussion about them on Twitter. I’ve found this a really great way to help readers to connect off the site, in a different forum.

      If those posts are shared, they can also help people who are new to ProBlogger get a feel for our community in a forum with which they’re familiar and comfortable. And once they start to feel an affinity with my brand, they’re probably more likely to at least follow the ProBlogger Twitter account, if not bookmark the blog or subscribe to the RSS feed.

      Do you track the results of your social media efforts? I’m intrigued to hear how you’re handling the task of generating traffic through social media—and what you do with it once it gets to your blog. Share your expertise with us below.

Turn Twitter Followers into Blog Subscribers in 2 Steps

This guest post is by Momekh of LifeETC.

Too many interesting people out their are not using Twitter effectively. They may be using it to make solid connections, which is great, but they are not using it to directly build their own communities.

I propose a little experiment. It won’t take much of your time, as you’ll see. The benefits, on the other hand, can be significant.

Here are the assumptions:

  • You have your own blog (home base, as Michael Hyatt calls it) and a Twitter account. In all probabilities, your Twitter bio includes the web address of your site.
  • You understand that the purpose of both your blog and your Twitter account is to add to your platform and community. You are “community minded.”

Now for this experiment to work, I suggest that you make the following quick changes as you read them. The steps—two in total—are easy to do. And if you have any difficulties, you can always ask in the comments section.

Ready?

First, a reminder

Following people on Twitter is like voting. It’s almost a nudge, to tell the person that you find him or her interesting and relevant.

So take this idea a step further. Start following people who are following your person of interest.

Find someone interesting in your niche? Start following that person’s followers. These people are your prospects. They are the perfect candidates for your community.

Although there is plenty of great advice available on how to use Twitter, this post will help you convert the traffic coming from Twitter into subscribers for your community.

Now, it is time to make those quick changes we talked about.

Step 1: Update your Twitter bio

You are what you say you are. This is especially true if your bio is the first—and in many cases, the only—thing your prospects see before they come to your blog.

You want your Twitter bio to do two things, in this order:

  1. Make it truthful and relevant: You do not want to make it sound “cool” if what you include is untrue. Being honest has more benefits than the obvious ones. The prospect should be able to tell from your bio exactly what you do.

    Note that there is usually a difference between what you tweet about and what you do. The bio should be about what you do, so the prospect can see what your community and blog are all about. This helps them decide if you are relevant to them.

  2. Now, incorporate a call to action: Rephrase your message. Work on it. Test it out. It will be awesome if you can use it to introduce your website address. For example, see my Twitter bio—I ask users a question in the end, and then give them the website address as the answer to that question.

Step 2: Create a Twitter landing page

So far, your prospect has read your bio and your message resonates with her. The bio is clear, relevant, and even invites her to check out your site.

The prospect clicks … and sees your blog’s front page in all its glory.

That’s just wrong! I tested this out. I first changed just my bio, and sent interested Twitter followers to my blog’s homepage.

I saw an increase in traffic coming from Twitter. But there was no noticeable increase in my blog community (in terms of subscriber figures). I thought, “Well, people come and check out the blog, and don’t find it relevant, so they don’t subscribe.” And I’m cool with that—I don’t want people joining the community for the wrong reasons.

But then I thought that maybe I was looking at it the wrong way. The front page of my blog is, well, like a front page of a blog! It’s generic by design.

But someone coming from Twitter is already in a certain state of mind, a step into the “funnel” we could say. This means I can present the message of my blog to the prospect in a more meaningful way. Landing pages anyone!?

While writing your Twitter landing page, keep the following things in mind:

  • You are addressing your Twitter followers, so be as specific and personal as you can be. I start my page with “Heyya to my Twitter friends.” We already know the frame of reference for the people coming to that page, so use that information to better communicate with them.
  • As you present the central theme of your blog, make a call to action. I invite the prospect to further check out the blog content and to subscribe. There is ample research to show that a clear call to action works, so use it to your advantage.

There are tons of articles out there on how to write a landing page. That’s not necessarily a good thing. I knew I could easily fall prey to information overload, so I quickly wrote a new page, just keeping the two basic ideas above in mind, and deliberately forgetting everything else.

Writing a new page in WordPress is easier than stealing candy from a kid (not that I’d know). I gave it a page slug of “t”, and changed my blog address on my Twitter bio to reflect the change. My new Twitter landing page was live.

Now, that’s not a very elegant technical solution, as the coders amongst us would use a redirect to direct visitors from that link to the landing page. But I am no coder, nor elegant. So I just slapped the page together, put it on my Twitter bio and sat back.

I immediately started seeing an increase in signups.

Do you use any specific mechanisms to convert your Twitter followers into community members? Have any tips of your own that you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments.

Momekh is a “professional adventurer” and wants to help you attain financial freedom. He writes about creative self employment and wholesome living at his blog LifeETC. You can also follow @momekh on Twitter.