Author Archives: Josh Davis

About Josh Davis

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Who is a good plumber? – How Facebook is bringing back the power of a Like.

Trying to piece together Facebook’s announcement today from live blogs had me frustrated. Why would I care which of my friends like both Star Wars and Harry Potter (that is all of them). ūüėČ

But after thinking about the new Open Graph Search system today, and then reading Erin Griffith’s piece on marketing potential, I can see some uses, and the biggest one I see as a marketer and business owner is that Facebook is going to become a powerhouse for lead generation.

I wrote last year about how Facebook was decreasing the value of a Like. Other writers questioned that notion, but as I talk to small business owners and Page Admins, they consistently talk about how their reach and engagement decreased in August and September of this year.

It felt like Facebook had tricked many of into putting effort into the system, only to then pull the rug out from under us. While I still don’t think ¬†a third party service, including Facebook, should be a place to focus marketing and advertising budgets, the Open Search Graph is certainly going to bring back the power of the Like.

How Facebook Open Graph Search will change the value of a Like.

Let’s use the example of looking for a plumber. In the past you would likely do a Google search or ask for recommendations on a social network. With Facebook Open Graph Search you just type your search into Facebook.

“Who is a good plumber?”

Facebook already has an extensive social graph just for you, and it seems they have figured out some natual language search.

If not from the start,  then eventually you will likely be served up with a list of plumbers in your area that have the most likes from your friends.

This is a simplistic example of what Facebook could do. It is more likely that they will eventually weight your whole social graph into the results. You are more connected to some people? Then their liking a plumber will be more important. Your friend took the time to engage with said plumber (I know, get a life ūüėČ ), then that like will be weighted more.

Even with those qualifications, the Facebook Search return a list of plumbers with your friends images associated with the plumber. 

You might look at a couple of the page or maybe then Google the same inquiry, but none-the-less, Facebook becomes an essential place you look when you are searching for a service. 

That is lead generation, and that has been where the money has always been and likely will continue to be in the future.

Google dominates internet advertising because they understand intent. Facebook just took a significant step to figure it out too.

Why you still shouldn’t put all your “Likes” in Facebook’s Basket

We shouldn’t fool ourselves into thinking that the results will stay purely based on the open graph data. If Facebook is successful at generating leads this way, the next step will be to allow businesses to get priority listings based on sponsored results.

Just as Google gives additiional placement to companies who pay for placement, so too will Facebook when they have a system figured out.

Those who have worked in any lead generating system understand that the game is always changing. The same type of dynamic nature that we have seen with Facebook Edge Rank and Google search algorithms will occur in Facebook search.

If you put a considerable amount of time into Facebook, the Open Graph Search should be viewed as a positive development. If you haven’t put time into Facebook, keep an eye out for opportunites as this new search features plays out.

Two ways that Pinterest changed the Internet in 2012

 

Pinterest had a banner year in 2012. While Pinterest made dozens of substantial changes on their own platform, two key elements of Pinterest had a significant impact on the Internet as a whole.

 

Pinterest used automatic attribution to tame the Internet’s wild west attitude toward giving credit for creative content.

After being maligned early in 2012 as one of the biggest image misappropriaters,  Pinterest has made major strides to accurately attribute the content of the Internet back to its source.

Attribution could end up being Pinterest’s greatest legacy. When I talked to Ben Silbermann in February of 2012, attribution was on his mind. He hadn’t implemented automatic attribution tags on Pinterest yet, but he was already talking about the possablity of these types of tags being used across the entire Internet. Since then, Pinterest has worked with some of the largest social network and creative content hosting platforms to implement automatic attribution links with all pins that have content¬†originating¬†from these sites. The system uses an API and so far ¬†the following sites are using this feature:

  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • Behance
  • Vimeo
  • Etsy
  • Kickstarter
  • Slideshare
  • SoundCloud
  • 500px
  • Dreamstime

Some discussion of this topic from earlier this year. 

Pinterest’s ability to work with some of the most popular services on the web to better provide attribution for creators is one of the biggest long term change to come from Pinterest this year. Whether these attribution tags can be eventually extended out to other parts of the web remains a big question, but Pinterest making these tags a core part of there service paves the way for other services to consider including them.

More reading:

http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/13/pinterests-attribution-program-grows-dreamstime-joins-to-help-end-battle-over-watermarked-copyrighted-images/

http://llsocial.com/2012/06/pinterest-attribution-put-etsy-center-ecommerce-universe/

 

Every site on the Internet (ok, only most of them) incorporated some “Pinterest like” design.

Staggered chunks of content, whether images or anything else, became a design theme in 2012, and Pinterest deservidely got much of the credit. While other sites had previous used masonery design (thinking of many Tumblr themes), Pinterest’s success with a almost never ending page of staggered images got everyone chasing the benefits of masonry¬†design. ¬†eBay,¬†Facebook¬† and The Huffington Post all did “Pinterest like” designs, as did thousands of other sites around the Internet.

Whether this staggered approach works well for other sites and types of content has yet to be fully determined, but if you talked about website design in 2012 you likely used the phrase “Pinterest like” a number of times.

 

Can Pinterest bring any big changes for 2013? I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

A Year’s Worth of Actionable Blogging Tips

This is part of my year in review series.

While I blogged about a number of these tools and tips previously, this post highlights my favorites and includes additional information.

Organize your projects, blog posts or anything else, with Trello.

Trello Free Organization Tool - Easy to UseMy best tip for this year is to try Trello. I blogged about my use of this service in March and have used it more and more throughout the year. The bottom line is it uses a digital notecard format to organize anything.

If you already use Trello here are my Bonus Tips:

Shortcuts for common Trello functions

Also check out their blog to keep up on new features and use cases

Quickly research the social sharing of any page with SharedCount

SharedCount is basic analytics and research tool. It tells you how often an individual page has been shared across social networks. You aren’t going to be making indepth reports with this tool, but it is good for quick research.

Never make a blog post without an image.

People like images. Perhaps more importantly, social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn pull images from your blog whenever a post is shared. Don’t give up that space. You can create a text based images in minutes to take advantage of this with Recite This.

Fill in the blogging gaps by getting personalized news to inform your curation.

As much as I would like to blog about everything that peaked my interest, there isn’t enough time in the day. I am so inquisitive, I would need a couple extra days a week. ūüėź Much of the gaps are filled by being active on different social media channels. For me that is Twitter. If you are going to find things to post about it, it helps to keep up on industry news. This blog post goes through some of the the best personalized news services.

Compose anywhere. Have access everywhere with Evernote.

Evernote for blog organization and compositionI have found this year that Evernote ends up being where I put anything that isn’t in my email program or saved to Dropbox. My normal compisition pattern is to start in Trello to organize ideas, and then I craft longer posts and reports in Evernote. Read more about how I used Evernote to blog.

When in doubt take the next step.

I feel like this personal blog post on working on difficult projects might be my best advice for 2012. If you ever have trouble getting something done, give it a read.

 

 

7 Tips For Video Screencasting and Online Interviews

Video Screencasting and online video tips.png

This past year I started doing videos and ended up recording over 40 of them. The majority of them were with Lauren Orsini as part of a series on Pinterest. There were also interviews, standalone videos and videos to supplement blog posts. This post outlines some of what I have learned. I hope you find it helpful.

Prepare for difficulties (or go with Google)

If you are recording interviews over the Internet, understand that you may lose all or some part of a recording. You are relying on the¬†quality¬†of of the Internet connection for all¬†participants¬†as well as the processing power of your computer. With so many factors, you should prepare that you will¬†occasionally¬†lose recordings. If you are looking for the easiest solution possible, consider Google Hangouts. By doing the recording in the cloud, you are losing some degree of control, but you are also “outsourcing” most of the hassle to Google. When I do my next interview, I will likely use Hangouts just for the ease of use.

Break up your online interview recordings into smaller chunks

I found particuarly when recording via Skype on Windows, that the audio frequently got out of synch or was lost altogether. I tried and paid for three different software programs to record on Skype and found all of them had issues. The shorter the recording the better the quality. If you have a Mac, I found that eCamm software worked the best for Skype interviews (see the tools I used at the end).

Edit down your content and then edit again

If you have a two seconds of dead air, just edit it out. People don’t mind jumps in video, and you are more likely to keep people engaged. When recording conversation (assuming you have permission as the editor) edit out some of the content. I am not saying to remove the personality in your videos, but if you end up running long on a point or repeating yourself, just edit it down.

Just be who you are

If you try to get all geared up to be on video, it comes through as over the top and fake. If you are excited and knowledgable about the subject, you just need to convey that information like you were talking to a friend.

Protect your computer resources when editing or recording video

When you are editing video, close all the other programs that you might have open (especially browers). Video editing software takes tremedous resources, and you will get done faster if you just have your editing software open. If you get bored while a video is rendering, pull out your phone for entertainment so you keep computer resources focused on video. If you are doing an interview, try to keep your notes in “small-footprint” text editing program. If you need to have browser windows open, keep them to a minimum.

It helps to be first to cover a topic.

Some of my more popular videos were essentially tours on online services I liked. The demand for video is high, but so is the amount of video being created. In order to stand out, show people how a new product works via screencasts. If it is a product that you think is good, other people will be interested and search out videos about that product. My RebelMouse walkthrough video was one of the first to give an overview of the product and ended up being one of my most popular videos.

Recommended Basic Video Tools

ecamm Call Recorder

This is what I ended up using to record most of the Pin The News series. I only had it fail to record once, and that might have been user error on my part. If you want to record a Skype interview on a Mac, this is the one to go with. It costs $19.95.
http://www.ecamm.com/mac/callrecorder/

Snagit

Snagit is my go-to software for doing static screen captures, and I also used it for screen casting. I found that if I recorded more than 5 mintues the audio would degrade, so I kept the videos short. Snagit claims that recent updates have eliminated this issue, but I would do some test before you try to record a full video.

Sony Vegas Pro

I started my video editing using this software. While it worked for me, it was likely more options then I needed so the learning curve was pretty steep.

iMovie

When I switched to a Mac, I really appreciated the¬†intuitiveness¬†of iMovie. Like most editing programs, it is resource intense. It also is light on features, but if video isn’t your primary venue for creating content, this software is likely enough to get the job done.
Have you created videos? If you have any tips, please feel free to share them in the comments.

2012 Personal Year in Review: Blogging, News, Videos, Local and Social Media

2012 Social Media Blog Year in Review.jpgLast year I wrote my first end of year blog post. I view these type of posts as a good chance to look back over the year and see what I accomplish, but also what I had difficulty with.

Some people reflect too much and that prevents action. I am on the other extreme. Thus, I try to fight against my natural impulse to just barrel ahead with posts like this.

To keep this from being totally self indulgent experience, I will be publishing additional blog posts in the coming weeks that talk about what I learned this year, including tips and tricks, in four different areas.

Here is my year in review…

Blog Post Types and Frequency

One of my focuses this year was to blog more consistently. While I didn’t achieve my goal of blogging once a week, I did do 80 blog posts over the last year. While most of my posts were text focused, I feel like I better incorporated video and images this year into my blogging. I am not a professional graphic artist or videographer, but I do feel that like writing, the ability to use these mediums is an increasingly important part of being able to express ideas and reach people.

Blogging as News

This year LLsocial became a venue to publish actual news. I am grateful to have worked with many friends who are reporters. They were instrumental in helping me navigate this field.

My final point on last year’s year in review post proved to forshadow the year to come.

Joined Pinterest and found my collecting impulse reignited.

My February story on Pinterest using Skimlinks to monetize links was picked up by the New York Times and then pretty much the rest of Internet. This blog got 30,000 unique visitors in one day, and it was great to see the site actually stayed up. My other reporting on Pinterest continues to get picked up by leading online publications across the web.

The most extensively research piece I ever published, Search Secrets, may have led to Google taking action to temporarily remove an entire SEO agency’s website from Google. The story was featured as a “Must Read” by AllThingsD as well as getting extensive coverage and debate in the SEO community.

It resulted in me being the target of threats and ad hominem attacks, but also led me to better research the SEO space. The research for the Search Secrets piece and subsequent observation of the SEO industry has made me better consider how my social and content work figures into the SEO space, and for that I am grateful. A variety of SEO tools have been added to my daily use, and I plan to blog about some of them in the coming year.

I also produced news stories that where picked up by other publications around Kickstarter, Twitter, Facebook and many around Pinterest.

Video

My friend Patrick Conroy helped me learn some of the basics of creating videos. It is always helpful to be able to learn from someone who already is using a medium, so I am very grateful.

I did some screen-casting to supplement blog posts, interviewed the Clipboard CEO as well as a doing Pinterest video series with Lauren Orsini. Lauren and I created 30 videos over five episodes, but we stopped doing our show due to other commitments. Video takes some getting used to, but I am glad to have the experience and knowledge in my “tool box”.

Infographics

Pinterest infographicI created three infographics in 2012. All of them revolved around Pinterest. In all cases I used Piktochart to create them. This is a very intuitive tool that can help you create high quality infographics with your data. It is template based, but if you have design skills you can supplement their existing image options.

My Pinterest image size infographic has over 2000 Pins/Repins and generated half a dozen high quality links back to the site. Beyond that, I think it was plain useful. Ironically, this first infographic was likely my best one. The two subsequent ones where a bit of a stretch in terms of how useful they were, but they still got a good reception and took much less time to create than the first one.

@free

While @free was a top focus in 2011, it suffered a bit in 2012. Last year I regretted creating a custom text marketing service, and this year I continued to let the text service flounder. @free is still doing sponsorships, but the number of sponsorships didn’t keep pace with last year.

I have learned that reach alone is not a business model. Ad based revenue is not enough unless you reach a scale that is fairly substantial or is very specific to a niche. I have learned a considerable amount running @free, but most important was trying various business models. When you start with the premise that everything is free, it can be difficult to monetize.

I am still committed to sharing free offers, but it doesn’t appear that @free will be my sole focus and or my primary income. It is hard to say, but I believe it to be a realistic side project/hobby that generates respectable income.

That said, there were a number of small successes. @free took off on Pinterest with close to 10,000 followers in less than a year. We maintained our reach on Twitter and expanded our highlighting of free iOS apps.

Perhaps our biggest success came with our new site¬†BdayFreeDay which shares free birthday offers. The site was developed by Philsquare, and achieved a half million unique visitors in its first year. Keep an eye out for a blog post in the couple weeks that covers the details of this site’s success, and how you can leverage what I learned.

Social Media Club of Lawrence

June was the second anniversary of the Social Media Club of Lawrence. I was the Program Chair this year. I organized and came up with unique topics for over 40+ weekly, in-person meetings. I had some ambitious ideas for the club, and I think we did make some improvements, but I found that most of our members were happy with weekly Wednesday meetings. I plan to continue to part of the group, and will be interested to see where the club is at in June and a year from now.

Client Work

Most of my client work is done in the Enterprise B2B space. As much I would like to talk about our successes (and yes, provide clients with some high quality links from my blog for SEO purposes ūüėČ ), the nature of these industries is that agencies don’t really talk about clients’ work publicly.

I will say that I have got to work with some great companies, and I am excited about not only working with companies who are looking to get started on thought leadership and social media , but also companies who already have of history of success in this area. Working with companies that already produce high-quality, consistent content, has allowed me to do more specialized and detailed work.

The amount of client work in the second half of 2012 has resulted in fewer blog posts, but I am hopeful that some of this experience can transfer to meaningful blog posts in 2013.

Thanks so much for reading the blog this year. If you have any topics you want covered in 2013 or have any questions related to your own projects, please feel free to post a comment here or contact me.