If you have ever wondered if there is a science behind running an engaging blog, then you will want to read this recap of yesterday’s #ConnectChat. Clarissa Silva is a behavioral scientist, clinician, and blogger of “You’re Just a Dumbass.” During the chat, she explained how other bloggers can structure their blog to receive more shares, likes, comments, etc. In addition, Silva provided do's and don’ts on engaging readers. You can read the recap of the chat here:
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a behavioral scientist and clinician with 16 years of experience in mental health, behavioral science, and public health. I created "You're Just a Dumbass", as a very tongue-in-cheek relationship wellness blog to help people select and maintain healthy relationships and avoid some of the difficult life lessons that one encounters in suboptimal relationships. On the blog, I share techniques that I developed to help clients with creating relationship wellness in their lives from 16 years of practice.
When did you start your blog, and what made you start it?
1.5 years ago I started the blog as a conversation with myself about my experiences and as a behavior modification model for anyone looking to establish healthy relationships. I wanted to create a place where people can go to affirm their experience or seek information to change a suboptimal situation they are in. I wanted to remove clinical barriers and provide any reader with public science.
Can you tell us more about how you're using your background as a behavioral scientist to run your blog?
My blog is structured sequentially with two purposes: testing a book series and a therapeutic model that I re-engineered. Each post is a book chapter that is building on enhancing self-esteem and relationship decision-making for the reader. It's also a clinical model that reverses the therapeutic model. The solution is upfront & the reader works backwards to identify the core issue. Behind the blog I created an algorithm to guide content & the clinical model.
Can you tell us how you came up with this algorithm?
Week one I introduced the concepts I was going to talk about for the rest of the blog, Week two I began running the algorithm. By week three, my keyword searches were from week one’s posts and the blog became #1 across all of the search engines. Here is a tip: Use edgy titles on your posts. For months, the key search phrase came from week one.
What steps can a blogger take to structure their blog?
1) Create the conditions in each environment and measure the reaction. You can run a test and see results within 24 hours. 2) Once you have found the environment that gives you the most reaction, you create metrics that are based on your outcome. The metrics and outcomes could be comments, shares, likes, pluses. What matters to you most and where did it happen the most? 3) Test the same method on different platforms. If it's the same outcome, you have created a formula that you can replicate. These different platforms can be Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.
What types of tests can you do on these different social media platforms?
You can run tests on lengths of the post, time posting, how certain titles perform, your tone, and your message to create a formula. Run these tests from a few days to a week. The following week repeat the same format. Compare the reaction from both tests. Once you have enough data to support increased blog performance, what you have created is a standard tone and message.
How do you test tone in your blog?
I like creating a conversation with the reader. I want the reader to have a reaction. I want the reader to have a reaction: I want them to get angry, cry/give me feedback. It’s replicating the therapeutic model. Here are two comments I received on my blog: 1) “Damn you just made me cry, keep writing I so enjoy reading it.”-CK 2) “Thank you. This post came through to my email at the exact moment I needed it most. I just sat in a parking lot and cried.”-BD
Do you have any tips on how bloggers can create conversations with their readers?
Build on the previous post. If it’s a rant/experience, post a how to avoid ___ the next day. Invite guest bloggers to contribute to your site. They are eager to enhance brand recognition by cross-promoting your blog.
Do you have any don'ts when trying to engage your readers?
I am establishing a relationship with my readers based on trust, communication and honesty. That way anything I introduce to the readership is coming from a place of: you allowed me into your life or your decision-making process and I am not going to make recommendations that will alter that. Don't endorse anything to early. Build your credibility and establish trust with your audience.
When commenting on someone else's blog, don't drop your link. It will get deleted. Instead, begin building relationships with fellow bloggers and journalists by leaving comments on other's blogs/sites. In this way, not only are you building a relationship with other bloggers; you are also building a relationship with a portion of their audience. Once you establish trust with your audience, you are simultaneously establishing influence and credibility. When a blogger goes to a site and sees that
Do you use any social media platforms to help build engagement on your blog? If so, which ones?
I prefer Google+ because it integrates all of your activities in one place, such as your blog, reviews, YouTube. I recommend getting authorship verified and doing g+ reviews because it increases your visibility across the search engine. Since I started on Google+ about 14 months ago, I have over 9,000 pluses, 3,000 shares, 4,000 comments on 700 posts with 8,250 followers.
What kind of benefits do you see from having high engagement with readers?
You are getting real-time feedback from your market while you are developing your product. It helps you establish credibility, authority and influence while you are cultivating the relationships with yourtarget market. In this way, it's an indicator of your product/concept/service's performance in the market. It also doesn't hurt that sponsors, partnerships, and enterprise also like that you get positive feedback.
During Social Media Week, I attended an event that discussed the impact of social media and technology on the business landscape, as well as the best social media strategies for businesses. The event was moderated by Lisa Chau, writer and founder of Alpha Vert Enterprises. The six panelists included:
Here are some of the questions asked by Chau and responses from the panelists:
Q: How has the community management job changed with the advent of technology and social media?
McDonald: Community managers existed well before social media, but they were probably called CEOs, receptionists, sports/group leaders, etc. They were the community managers before technology was around. The only thing that has changed is that technology has made community managers a title now. Community managers don’t manage the community; they oversee and try to guide the community. When I look at how I define community manager today, it’s not so much the audience, but the people who are passionate about your brand that you can develop relationships with -- they will go out and create the crowd and spread your message to the audience. I focus on a small group of users that help convey the message to everybody else. What I’m trying to push for in the industry is that this position not be looked at as an entry-level position but as an executive-level position where you’re bridging across different departments in the organization and really helping set the strategy.
Burroughs: Before startups would hire community managers as an afterthought position, but now we’re finding it is the second or third hire they make. Even to exist as a small business or startup, you have to curate a community right from the beginning.
Q: As an entrepreneurial blogger, what is the key benefit to today’s changing economy that is increasingly more technological?
Silva: The ability to do live research and development simultaneously is invaluable. Not only is it a cost-effective strategy, but I also get to run tests in a very short time and re-design whatever aspect needs tweaking while cultivating a relationship with my customers. You’re building and cultivating your relationship with your customers while you’re doing your research and development.
Q: Do you see that the costs have dropped dramatically because of technology and social media?
Jones: In a small nonprofit, all these tools are helpful but really the one-on-one human connection can never be supplanted by mass communications and data. These tools we are going to be using and work with, but they will never replace one-on-one customer engagement. Marketing costs for nonprofits haven’t dramatically dropped. In the nonprofit world, donors want to be reminded that they are the important person to you, and boards -- who you answer to -- aren’t as progressive as you would like to think. Even though we print less, we require more staff now. The staff costs are going up, while the number of copies we’re printing is going down.
Q: Do you find that you have to send out as much paper?
Lukens: For the foreseeable future, it will be part of our marketing efforts, but we really vamped up our reach through social.
Q: What social media platforms should businesses use?
Burroughs: Understand who your audience is and then target the platforms that they are on. Start small instead of jumping on a million platforms and hoping that you can manage all of them.
Montalvo: It is also important to understand how your audience interacts. How do you they interact with their media, because some are more comfortable with broadcast.
Q: What kind of advice would you give someone starting out in your particular field about where to start, the guidelines for putting together a long-term strategy, and how to collect metrics to analyze?
Burroughs: The best strategy is to first figure out your customer and then pick which platform works, so where your community is most active. If you’re looking to start to understand your various communities then I would suggest picking the top three influencers and reading everything they put out.
Montalvo: The most important part when you’re talking about social is ensuring that it’s integrated in your general media office, and having your high-level principles understand it is truly integrated into everything you do. It is really the way now along with your general media outreach when interacting with your customer base.
Jones: Look around and see what exists before you just start with something. You really need to understand what your needs are before you start down the technological path. Do an analog analysis of what you will need. Before you start the tech, figure out what you’re going to need -- not today, but three years, five years from now -- and then invest well and wisely toward the five-year end.
Silva: Before you devote a lot of resources into different things, run short tests and treat social media like it is a lab. You need to first do a short, quick test on how effective your strategy is on that medium. The second thing you need to do is develop metrics based on your outcome. After your do your tests and develop some metrics, you will have a formula that you will constantly replicate over and over again. Each platform will have a different formula.
McDonald: The first thing you need to find out is what your business objectives are, and then you start figuring out how your strategies will align with your business objectives. Also, testing small, fast and often is the best thing that you can do. And don’t be afraid to fail. One of the lessons I learned when I worked for a startup company that I will never forget is put something out in the marketplace, see how customers react to it, and then make adjustments from there.
Q: Can you tell us techniques that you employed to increase engagement?
Silva: I developed the blog with 16 years of practice behind me, so all of it is really cognitive behavioral science. I took cognitive behavioral techniques I developed and put it out there. I am really testing out a new behavior modification model. The second part of the blog is that it is structured in a hierarchical order. A reader can constantly go to the blog and build on what they’re experiencing. I give solutions to the readers and that is what starts up a lot of the engagement.
Jones: Knowing your audience and where they are is very important as well as not wasting resources on audiences that are not going to be reacting to what you are trying to sell.
Q: How are technology and social media going to change the business landscape in the future?
Lukens: Technology today is extremely primitive. A smartphone is fundamentally trying to change the way we communicate with others, and I think for an object to do that is very insufficient. I think technology is moving closer to our bodies, and in the next twenty years we will not have a solid piece of technology to look through but it will be in us.
Burroughs: I think customer service will change. I also think customization, content, and authenticity will continue to be demanded by people. Also the freedom of freelancing, which will really have the power to help people’s lives. I am really excited about giving people the power to not have to live in NYC to make a living. They can be located anywhere and be really good at managing a community and building a customer base.
Jones: The biggest thing to look for in the future is how to find the balance between messaging and medium, because we haven’t found it yet.
McDonald: It’s not about looking at what platform we will be on, because it's still just communicating with people. We’re having all these talks about what we’re allowing our employees to share, and the thing we’re going to realize pretty soon is if we’re trusting them enough to come work for us, then we’re going to need to trust them enough to spread their own message in their words about what they feel about the company. Don’t get held up in what’s going to be the next greatest thing, just be concerned in how you’re interacting and communicating with people, and what effect you will be getting from them.
Starting a blog about a topic you're passionate about is essential, but you also want to bring readers to your page and have them interact with your blog posts. Clarissa Silva is a behavioral scientist, clinician, and founder of a relationship wellness blog with over 2,000+ comments. She uses her background to understand what type of blog posts will connect with her readers and elicit a response. Silva wants to share her knowledge as well as an algorithm she came up with to make sure all bloggers can create the same type of engagement with their readers.
To participate in the chat, join us on Twitter on Tuesday, March 4, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. EST and follow the #ConnectChat hashtag to follow the conversation between @urjustadumbass, @ProfNet and the rest of the chat participants.
If you cannot join us on the day of the chat, you can find a recap on ProfNet Connect the following day. We hope you will join us!
About Clarissa Silva, MSW
Clarissa Silva is a behavioral scientist and clinician with 16 years of experience in mental health, behavioral science, and public health. She is the author of a very tongue-in-cheek relationship wellness blog, "You're Just a Dumbass", to help people select and maintain healthy relationships and avoid some of the difficult life lessons that one encounters in suboptimal relationships. On her blog, she shares techniques that she developed to help clients with creating relationship wellness in their lives.
Silva is also the creator of playidealdate.com. She is developing this concept to offer people a unique approach to dating. It is designed to be a modernized version of the "Dating Game" and appeared as an official Google Hangout on Air during Social Media Week 2013 and was featured in Google Local NY's September 2013 newsletter.
She holds an MSW from the University of Michigan and a BA from Hunter College. She has been featured on FOX, NBC, HuffPostLive, PR Newswire and Vista magazine.
We all have certain social media features that make us want to scream. We asked our network of experts which social features they find the most annoying, and here is what they said:
“Most people love Snapchat because you can be social, but private -- yet the platform offers one not-so-private feature: best friends. The feature allows users to see the top three friends they exchange photos with the most frequently along with everyone else's top three friends. This feature takes away from the appeal of sending a private photo and definitely leads to the "I thought I was your best friend" fight.” -Marnie Juster, digital account coordinator at Schroder Public Relations
“I *hate* Facebook's chat function. Hate it. People try to write me there and I so rarely check it. I'll get random chats throughout the day and then there is important stuff buried there, too. One more place to check for communication? Not so much.” -Penny Sansevieri, president/CEO of Author Marketing Experts
“I have a problem with LinkedIn's suggestions for people that you might know and want to connect with. Although these are often very accurate, if you click Connect, they send an automatic invitation without giving you the option to edit it and add your personal message. And there's nothing on the page to warn you before you hit Connect, or any way for you to take the invitation back and do it properly once it's sent.” –Philippa Gamse, digital marketing strategy consultant, and professor at Hult International Business School
“What’s most annoying is when people buy Twitter followers to make them seem more influential than they really are. Twitter should no longer allow people to buy followers because it’s dishonest and undemocratic, which goes against many of Twitter’s objectives as a micro-blogging platform. What should determine Twitter’s ‘thought leadership’ is quality and betterment of conversation, much like that of the Reddit community.” –Christine Deakers, assocate at Eastwick, and writer for The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, and bSmartguide
“The number of 'Likes' for a Facebook page should only be available to view by the admins of the page. What we've found working with several brands is that too much importance is put on the number of 'Likes' a page has rather than creating engaging and valuable content, listening to the conversation and driving action. Due to this obsession, brands will resort to creating fake audiences by purchasing likes. If Facebook took away the number of 'Likes' for public viewing, it would force brands to think more strategically about their social media strategy.” -Andrew K. Knoblauch, digital media and public relations account coordinator at Dixon Schwabl
“An annoying social media feature is LinkedIn's auto congratulations to people in your network when you update your profile and change your job. 90 percent of these changes are for editing purposes only and *not* new positions. This causes embarrassment for the person who changed their profile.” -Jasmine Sandler, B2B social media strategist, and founder/CEO of Agent-cy Online Marketing, Inc
“I wish that every social media product would stop telling me whom I should hang out with. That goes for Tumblr (See what we have for you -- friends!), LinkedIn (They accidentally came to my page and I should salute?), Blogger (Your friends are here!), Facebook (You keep telling me which people I should 'friend' and naturally they ignore me, because they don't know me after all -- then you then send me a note telling me I'm not using Facebook correctly? Really.), About.Me 'Look, look, look who looked at you.) Twitter (endless stream of nonsense -- stream being the operative word here) and, of course, the nonstop self-infatuated glee of G+." -Richard Laermer, author, and CEO of RLM PR
“What annoys me is how Facebook asks you if you want to buy your Facebook friends gift cards for their birthdays. If I did, it wouldn't be through social media, that's for sure. Then there are the people who invite you to play games on Facebook. This is extremely annoying, especially when you get the notification on your iPhone.” -Angela Smith, community services specialist at ProfNet
“I will admit that I'm not a huge fan of Facebook’s 'Trending.' I find that when I go on Facebook, I'm looking to connect with friends and occasionally colleagues, rather than read the news or latest gossip. I know this is where Facebook wants to go in the future but to be honest, I'm concerned that they'll start to alienate users rather than engaging them by pushing big news stories and ignoring personal connections entirely; it's important to mix a little personality with hard news and Page Six whispers.” –Kaitlin Jurt, social media manager at Spike
“On the phone, LinkedIn got access to my contacts. (I am sure I inadvertently pressed ‘yes’ somewhere along the way.) Soon, I had all the LinkedIn contacts dumped into my Android phone's contacts. How do I delete these hundreds of LinkedIn contacts, many of whom I have never spoken to from cluttering my phone contact list? I had no idea. When I tried to delete them one at a time, I kept getting an error. I spent hours researching it online. I think they disappeared when I deleted the LinkedIn app. I am still not sure.” -Abhay Padgaonkar, president of Innovative Solutions Consulting, LLC
“While we all can anticipate social networks methodologies to evolve as advances in technology are made, some features should remain. Particular those that disrupt work productivity cycles, such as appearing online. Google+ Hangouts no longer have the ability for the user to control how they appear. Once you are using the product, you have only the option of appearing online and from what device you are using. For those of us who are in Hangouts on Air or Hangouts for business meetings, we will receive notifications all throughout the broadcast or conference. The only solution provided to avoid incoming requests are to snooze notifications.” –Clarissa Silva, founder of YOU'RE JUST A ****
You may have heard about the rise of social search apps but are not sure how they work. For this Q&A Team, we spoke to Eugene Borukhovich, cofounder of Q!, a new social search app. Borukhovich discussed with us the idea behind Q!, how the app works, as well as other information you should know about social search:
Can you tell us a little about the app's purpose?
Social search is loosely defined as leveraging the social graph of an individual to present relevant information as a search result. We communicate across a variety of online mediums and process streams of information daily -- but when we really need an answer to a question, we have to search and research or resort to finding it in the ever-scrolling timelines on our social networks. Q! was designed for a new generation of information seekers and helps consumers filter their life to the curious or urgent questions as they go through their day.
How did you come up with the idea Q!?
After our last startup, which focused on bringing the right doctor at the right time to the right patient, we realized that our mission needs to be much bigger. The next decade is all about bringing the right knowledge to the right person at the right time.
To which of your social communities do you ask your question(s) to?
We currently support Twitter and Facebook, but will be adding additional social and expert networks over time, such as LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram.
What type of questions can you ask your communities, and can you provide any type of multimedia or links to go with your questions?
While some of our competition is focused on images-first, we believe in natural human language to express your question: images and links can be added to the question and that capability already exists.
Can you explain how the social search app will select who will receive the question?
Currently, the question is posed to all your social communities, but eventually we would like to have a specific friend expert respond. The growth of social networks makes it possible to identify, follow, and engage. If you look across your friends on Facebook or your followers on Twitter, they all have different cultural backgrounds, professional profiles, hobbies -- and each of them can contribute their knowledge based on their expertise. However, we are working hard on algorithms to engage people beyond your immediate circle of knowledge.
What is the typical response rate for a question that is asked on Q!?
We have about an 87 percent answer rate on Q! within a three-hour timeframe and a 93 percent answer rate within 8 hours; furthermore, 50 percent of answers come from Facebook, 15 percent come from Twitter, and we actually see a 35 percent answer rate across Q! users themselves. The minimum answer time we have seen is seven seconds!
Do you think people are more drawn to using social search vs. a traditional search engine? If so, why?
I hate to say it, but it depends. Personally, I am a busy professional and have zero time to search and research. I have a comparative disadvantage in certain topics and would rather leverage OTP (other people’s time) to get the answer I need.
I would like to reference a study (A Comparison of Information Seeking Using Search Engines and Social Networks) performed by MIT and Microsoft Research back in 2009. Even in those early days, the study concluded that asking your social network a question “is fun, they trust their social network, they wanted opinion-type answers, and their social network knew additional context about them.” In addition when the subjects were asked to search and at the same time ask a question to their social network, 58 percent received responses from their network before completing their search and 83 percent received answers eventually!
What is the difference between users asking these questions on their social networks rather than using a social search app like Q!?
Prior to creating Q!, I heavily used individual social networks to ask my questions (mostly Twitter). What I quickly found is that when I need to reference the answer sometime in the future, it is impossible to find it in the stream of interactions. Q! is a user experience that aggregates your questions and answers and filters them away from the rest of the social communication stream.
Do you think there is any type of hesitation from people when using Q! and/or other social seach apps?
Yes, there is some skepticism. Younger generations will be much more comfortable with using Q! because they are more open and willing to share information.
When getting responses to your everyday questions, the trust factor is key. There is a personal touch to the responses you receive from your social circles, because they understand what you’re about, as well as your likes/dislikes, etc. There is a personal level and trust involved in your social circles responding.
How do you ensure the privacy and security of your users?
It is about finding the right business model that takes into consideration the privacy and data ownership of your users. You need to get your users responses to their questions and make sure its effective while protecting their privacy and security.
How do you see the future of social search apps?
We are only scratching the surface of possibilities in social search, and we strongly believe the best social intelligence is still human intelligence. It is this marriage between artificial intelligence and real experts (who might be your friends and followers) that will define the next decade of social search.
Last Thursday, ProfNet hosted a Google+ Hangout On Air discussing how to become a story idea machine. The two guests included Diana Burrell and Mark Aiken. Burrell is a freelance magazine writer, author, speaker, and instructor of Becoming An Idea Machine. Aiken started freelancing part-time 18 years ago and became a full-time freelancer four years ago. He is also a former student of Burrell’s. Here are some interesting and helpful discussion points from the Hangout On Air:
Everyone has lots of ideas, but the challenge it that they don’t write them down. People don’t recognize how interesting their lives are to begin with, and that is just their own lives. -Burrell
A freelancer that is just getting into the business may have ideas but are not sure if it will work for a magazine. To make it work for a magazine they have to learn about shaping and packaging an idea. –Burrell
The first work of my workshop, I work with writers on getting them used to writing things down. –Burrell
When a student gives me an idea for review, the questions I ask myself are: Is this a topic? Is it too narrow for a magazine article? Who would be interested in this idea? That is how you take something that is raw material and shape it into something that can be spectacular. -Burrell
Really good ideas come about by living your life, being active and paying attention to the world. Don’t just sit at your desk, but get out there. –Burrell
You can play with the structure of an idea in a magazine article by changing it up, e.g., “how to feed picky eaters” to “tips from chefs on feeding picky eaters.”
Editors have heard every idea under the sun, but when you have that perfect idea and sent it to them, you will rise above all the others. –Burrell
Pick 3-5 magazines and really study those magazines. You can then start collecting ideas that would work for those magazines. –Burrell
If you want to do well, you really need to be a reader of magazines, and at least have a couple that when they are dropped in your mailbox you rush to read them. –Burrell
Your goal might be to sell an idea, but your goal can also be to get noticed in a good way. –Burrell
My trick for determining whether an idea is to narrow or broad is determining whether I can write a book on the subject. If the answer is yes, it is too broad and you need to think how to focus it more narrowly for a magazine.-Burrell
It isn't about coming up with sexy, wild far-flung ideas, but it is the stuff that interests you that will interest others. Like any muscle, you need to practice idea generation, and the more you practice it, the better you will get. – Aiken
When I come up with an idea, I just assume it has occurred to others as well, and what I can do differently is write the article in the only way I can. Each writer tackles an idea in a unique way. –Aiken
I choose the market I want to break into, go to my list of ideas, and then find the best matches. Sometimes I have an idea that I’m dying to cover, and I will ask which market will accept this idea. –Aiken
A carefully tailored pitch to a certain magazine that I researched and know is a good way to go. I have had several instances where an editor has gotten back to me and said they didn’t have room for the idea I pitched, but asked if I would be interested in writing …. -Aiken
If there is a magazine that appeals to me, then I can imagine myself writing an article for them. I pick up a magazine and think, “Is there some space for me in there?” -Aiken
To hear the entire discussion, watch the video below:
It is a new year and a great time for me to freshen up my vocabulary. What words should I refrain from using in my articles and posts? Any suggestions for what words I can replace them with in my writing?
Dear Trash Talk,
We asked some of our favorite people to share which words they're avoiding using in 2014:
Last week, Social Media Club NYC hosted an event about Google’s new algorithm change called Hummingbird, and the impact of this change on SEO and social for users and brands. The meeting was moderated by SMCNYC board member Danielle Simon, and the three panelists included:
Landsman put together the following PowerPoint to introduce the topic of Hummingbird. You can download it here: db.tt/rFVSLL2W
Here are highlights from the PowerPoint:
Hummingbird was announced on Sept. 26, 2013.
Google Senior VP of Search Amit Singhal explained this new change by saying, “Hummingbird is focused more on ranking information based on a more intelligent understanding of search requests, unlike its predecessor, Caffeine, which was targeted at better indexing of websites.”
With this new change to Google Search, content is still the most important thing. You need to be able to share content with context.
The change brings to bear Semantic Web, as Google seeks to deliver the results of semantic search.
Google really wants to understand what your search query means.
Google keeps a database of all things that were searched and then they look at your personal search history when you sign into your Google account, as well as your context and the context of you and your content. They call this Personalized Search.
Human language is getting more play at Google, especially with Siri and Android hearing what you’re saying.
Hummingbird leverages Google’s vast Knowledge Graph, which contains information about 570 million concepts. It then uses this equation thought of by Landsman: Words + Context + Knowledge Graph = SERPS (aka “hits”)
Google tells you keywords are not provided unless you’re an advertiser. The explanation behind this is when SSL (Secure Sockets Layered) is employed, keywords are not provided.
Google moved to SSL for all Personalized Search. As a security measure, this would secure the user’s identity.
Here are some things you can do since Google is not telling you the keywords: start listening; look at your referrer logs; look at time spent per page; look at what else shows up in search; write great copy on all of your pages; and be sure to use all the meta data tools.
It is more important to drive traffic to your site that is interested in what you have to say versus getting tons of hits.
Here are some of the questions that were asked by Simon and attendees, and their responses:
As a searcher, what type of change would we have seen that reflects this algorithm change?
Batista: When searchers need to type to search for something, they don’t want to type a lot. However, when you need to speak to search, you will be more verbose. It is easier for us to speak than type. From Google’s perspective, they are looking at two perspectives. These are the challenges that Hummingbird is enabling Google to solve.
What are the practical things you can do as a business, and how can you serve your customers better by coming up in certain queries?
Batista: Google started an initiative in 2009 called rich snippets to encourage more webmasters to annotate their pages and identify whether the page is about a place, review, recipe, etc. In return, this helped Google enrich their knowledge graph, which makes your search more compelling. If I have client where we implement these rich snippets, they have at least a 30 percent increase in click-through rate.
Another free tool you can use is Webmaster Tools. It is an SEO tool that Google provides you, and you have full access to the phrases that people are searching. With the query data that is typed, you will not have conjunctions, but with spoken words you will have prepositions. This is how you will be able to filter the query list provided by Google. You can also filter by searching for the type of device that was used to search. Once you identify the type of search, you look to see whether your page is serving the need of the user, and users are looking for.
Are your search results different when you search on your phone versus on your desktop?
Landsman: The most likely difference will be geographic. When a search is mobile, they take into account location. For example, if you type in “Chinese restaurant” on your mobile phone versus your office desktop, it will tell you more about what’s nearby and it will come up a bit quicker.
How is social starting to influence search?
Bernard: If you’re a local business, you need to make sure your content is optimized for mobile. This can be social posts, tweets, thumbnail sizes on images, or your website. The second thing is Google+, which is connecting a lot of the pieces of the Web together, i.e., email addresses, authorship tags. From a social perspective, don’t forget about Google+, because somewhere down the line this may become even more important than people think. It isn’t just about the content being there, but it is also about the social signals from Google+. We have done certain experiments in AOL with social signals that are coming off of Google+ posts, and we have definitely seen these more with engaging posts.
How Can You Pull Images into Google Search?
Landsman: Google is fascinated by Pinterest. Pinterest is more important to Google than a lot of other stuff, such as Flickr. For one client, whenever they put a visual on their site I would pin it, and Google would then show it immediately. Pictures on Google+ aren’t as loved as on Pinterest, but it is still close.
What Are Something Things That Can Be Done to Help Search?
Bernard: Write better headlines. The impact of writing better headlines from a search and social perspective is enormous. You almost have to get into the minds of people searching for when you’re doing your headlines. Your headlines need to be more conversational.
Landsman: You need to use the language of the searcher and visitor. What are they interested in, and how are they going to react to you? You also need to understand user experience, and with search becoming more semantic, it is becoming arguably that much more important.
What is future of Hummingbird for users and marketers?
Batista: Google wants to build a computer where you can ask any type of question and it will be able to answer. Being able to give you whatever answer you can think of -- that is where things are heading.
Landsman: And the real dream is that they want to be able to anticipate what you want.
We really enjoyed hosting our first Google+ Hangout On Air in October, so we have scheduled another one for Jan. 30, from 1-1:45 p.m. EST! Whether you are just starting out or are a long-time freelancer, you will want to join us. We will have two guests joining us, Diana Burrell and Mark Aiken, to discuss how to become a story idea machine. Diana Burrell, freelance magazine writer, author, and speaker, runs a workshop that helps freelancers ensure they will never run out of ideas. In addition to consistently generating new ideas, Burrell will explain how freelancers can sell these ideas to the appropriate markets. Mark Aiken, freelancer and former student of Burrell's, will explain the lessons he learned from Burrell's workshop, as well as how he has applied them to his career.
Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. You can send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR agents, search the more than 60,000 profiles on ProfNet Connect, or get timely experts and story ideas by email -- all for free! Need help getting started? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Thursday, Jan. 9, Joanna Belbey, a social media and compliance specialist at Actiance, led a webinar about how to comply with the regulations surrounding social media use in the financial industry. Here are the highlights from the webinar:
Risks of Using Social Media
Companies are using many different forms of communications, i.e., Skype, Google Talk, LinkedIn, etc.
Challenges facing a social business include: security, compliance, enablement.
IT needs to secure the organization’s corporate network to ensure that confidential information does not leak out, as well as protect the organization from incoming threats.
The compliance department needs to ensure the organization follows electronic communications regulations.
The executive team is concerned with the organization’s productivity and bottom line. Employees need to be able to collaborate over instant messaging, enterprise social software, and unified communications.
Adoption of social media in the enterprise is being driven by different departments, such as sales & marketing, HR, scientists and researchers, and IT.
Recent SEC and FINRA Guidance
Two types of financial advisors: registered representatives (broker-dealer) and investments advisors (registered investment advisor).
Registered representatives are regulated by FINRA and the SEC.
Investment advisors are regulated by SEC or state regulators.
Both the SEC and FINRA consider social media as a form of electronic communications.
FINRA and other regulators didn’t create any other form of regulations for social media, but they use the same any other form of communications.
Communications regulations are boiled downed to three main areas: recordkeeping, advertising and supervision.
SEC states investment advisors that use social media must comply with federal securities laws. Firms should also be able to identify risk and be able to test whether their in-house policies and procedures identify these risks.
SEC states that firms that allow third-party postings on their social media sites should develop policies about these third-party posts, especially posts like testimonials.
When it comes to record keeping, SEC doesn’t treat social media any different than other written communications.
Controlling Human Fallibility
Identity management: Whether it is their Facebook identity, LinkedIn identity, etc., they should all tie back to their corporate identity.
Activity control: Posting of content allowed for marketing but read-only for everyone else.
Granular application control: Employees can access Facebook, but not Facebook Chat or Games.
Anti-Malware: Protect network against phishing or Trojan attacks.
Data leak prevention: Protect organization from employees disclosing sensitive information.
Moderation: Messages posted only upon approval by designated officer.
Logging and archiving: Log all content posted to social networks.
Export of data: Export stores chats to any email archive or WORM storage.