Archive for category: Social Media

The 4 SEO Trends Every Marketer Should Know to Survive Google’s Constant Algorithm Updates

The 4 SEO Trends Every Marketer Should Know to Survive Google’s Constant Algorithm Updates

It seems like as soon as I wrap my head around Google’s latest algorithm update, there’s another release that changes the game.

While SEO experts should live in the weeds of these updates to understand the nuances in how Google ranks content, marketers should recognize a few high level SEO trends that drive successful content marketing initiatives.

Click here to read the full post with the 4 SEO trends you need to know.

May 29, 2013 0 comments Read More
A Customer Service What Not to Do: 1-800-Flowers

A Customer Service What Not to Do: 1-800-Flowers

UPDATE: A Facebook representative from 1800Flowers contacted me after I published this blog post offering to send the flowers free of charge. I was skeptical, but they did, in fact, send the flowers along with a box of chocolates. That is a great resolution to this fiasco – if only it didn’t take days of fighting through several channels to get it done!

A week ago, I was on YouTube and a prominent YouTuber mentioned a 1-800-Flowers promotion that helped put a little money in his pocket while simultaneously saving consumers a few bucks as well. I needed to get something for my mom for Mother’s Day, so I took advantage of the deal. I ordered a simple arrangement, paid, and got a confirmation. Like most people ordering from a recognizable brand, I thought that was that.

I met my mom Sunday night for dinner and she hadn’t received anything. It made me look bad, but I thought surely the flowers would arrive the next day. When they didn’t, I felt terrible. I called 1-800-Flowers (whose number wasn’t hard to find) fully expecting them to understand the increased inconvenience their oversight had caused with this purchase being a gift for a major holiday. Well, they didn’t.

May 15, 2012 1 comment Read More
Divorcing Google

Divorcing Google


I’ve been a big fan of Google for a long time. I remember discovering the search engine as a kid before it was popular, and I’ve followed the company’s explosive growth. The tools they’ve created have been incredibly useful and innovative – from Google Docs to Gmail to Books. But today, I started the divorce process.

As Google has grown, they’ve gotten further and further from the ideals that made them so attractive. I gave them a pass when they decided to censor searches in China, choosing to take their word that providing some access to information was better than none. I defended them when it became apparent that bots were scanning our emails to surface relevant ads. After all, these tools are free and Google has to make money somehow. But the Android phone was a turning point.

I bought a Nexus S, and I admit that I love it. It is stylish, syncs well with all of the major applications on the web that I use frequently, and free turn-by-turn navigation is awesome. The problem is that Google is taking massive amounts of data from my mobile use. Of course, this is no different from what they are doing with my use of their web applications, right? Wrong. You see, I paid a lot of money for this Nexus S. I traded money for a product, so I shouldn’t have to give away my data. On the web, I am given free tools so I expect Google to display ads to make money. But that isn’t fair on an Android device. If they want my data, they have to subsidize the cost of the phone.

I’ve also watched Google mismanage Google+, taking an awesome product with some fantastic features and shove it down the throats of users. They’ve biased their search results shamelessly. And they’ve all but forced Google users to join a network that no one has a need for.

And what put me over the edge was the revelation that Google is changing their policy on personal data so that users won’t be allowed to delete their own data anymore. I’m sorry, but that is in fact evil. Regardless of what the fine print says, it is my data – it is information about my relationship, career, habits, behavior, personality, etc. that is being hijacked as I am pushed out of the equation.

I won’t do it.

So, today I started the process of separating from Google. I’ve moved most of the websites and applications I use over to an email address associated with this blog, I deleted my Google+ account altogether, and I’ve changed the default search engine in my browser to Bing (until a reliable alternative emerges).

Of course, after years of integrating my online life with Google very intimately, this divorce will take time. I cannot immediately delete my Gmail account. And I am unwilling to completely ignore YouTube as I personally believe it is one of the best social networks available. But the process has begun.

It is a sad day, but I think Google has gotten too big to do good.

I hope they fail.

February 28, 2012 1 comment Read More
Sponsored Stories: Are they really so bad?

Sponsored Stories: Are they really so bad?

I wanted to start this post off by saying that the world got a little douchier today. That’s a much more provocative lead than this. But I’m not so sure.

Facebook’s much-dreaded Sponsored Stories product, which will essentially put ads in your news feed, rolled out today. Users have protested the placement of ads since Facebook introduced them, but this new product takes a bold step forward.

And part of me agrees with the protesting users. I mean, ads should be separated from organic content. And then there is the whole privacy issue too. Your actions on the site can now be used by a company to make them money without your consent. There is definitely some validity to the complaints.

But is it really so bad?

Sponsored Stories are going to take the things that you already do (“like” a page, check-in at a store) and tell your friends about it. These are things Facebook is already doing, but now companies have the opportunity to pay to promote your actions.

I think this is pretty brilliant. Studies show that 70% of consumers trust peer-recommendations over advertisements, so a brand is crazy not to take advantage of the opportunity to expand the reach of positive organic recommendations. And, let’s be honest, this is a much cleaner way for Facebook to make money than just surfacing some irrelevant ad on your page.

I think this product is a win for everyone, Facebook, brands, and consumers. But what do you think?

January 11, 2012 0 comments Read More
Edgerank is Vital to Your Brand’s Visibility on the Web

Edgerank is Vital to Your Brand’s Visibility on the Web

Remember when people launched entire companies dedicated to helping people get more visibility in Google’s search results? While search is certainly still a vital part of any brand’s visibility strategy, there is a new algorithm in town.

It’s called Edgerank, and it is Facebook’s formula for deciding what users see in their NewsFeed. Each object (a status update, a link, a video, etc.) is matched with each of your fans and then given a score for each. If the score is high enough, that object will appear in their Top News Feed. If it isn’t sufficiently high, the content is lost to that particular user. And even more alarming is that if the score is low enough it might not even appear in the user’s Most Recent News Feed, making it almost certain that he/she will never see your content.

The implications of this algorithm for brands are huge. You might have 1 million fans on your page, but unless they are actively engaging with your content, you are not reaching them. And that’s the key. Your Edgerank is determined by how much engagement you get from your fans. Facebook wants to show their users what they think they want to see. Your job as a brand then is to keep your fans engaged or lose their attention altogether.

Here’s how you do that:

The Edgerank algorithm is made up of three functions:  affinity, time, and weight. Affinity is based on the number of interactions your fans have with your content. The more a fan likes or comments on content, the more visible your brand will be to them. Time is how long its been since a user interacted with your content. Someone may have commented on 800 of your posts in 2009, but if they haven’t done it since, your Edgerank will be low. And weight is a way of prioritizing the types of actions a person takes on your content. A comment is weighed heavier than a link.

What all this means is that you must find a way of not just getting your fans engaged but keeping them engaged. Buddy Media published a white paper with ways brands can encourage interaction among their fans to increase their edgerank, giving you 10 tips for greater engagement. Here in the Digital Communication office at the Center we each have a copy on our desk, and I encourage you to do the same.

For those of you who are too lazy to go over and download the white paper, here are their 10 tips to help your brand stay in your fans’ news feed:

  1. Ask questions
  2. Post games and trivia
  3. Interact with fan engagement
  4. Incorporate wall sapplets
  5. Incorporate relevant photos


June 29, 2011 0 comments Read More
[How To] Embed Facebook Videos

[How To] Embed Facebook Videos

I’m sure any person with a blog has often wondered why Facebook doesn’t provide an embed option on its videos. We’ve learned to use YouTube or Vimeo by default, but guess what? You CAN embed Facebook videos – its just not as obvious as it is on YouTube. Unfortunately, however, not all Facebook videos are in the public domain, so depending on a user’s privacy settings you may not have the option to “go to video” (as shown below). Keep in mind that the Facebook TOS are different than other sites, so embedding the content of others without their consent could get you in some trouble. My advice is just to stick to embedding your own content.


Alright, here’s how to do it:

1. Go to Facebook Video Page

When you reach the end of a Facebook video, this is the screen you’ll see:

Click on the “Go to Video” link and you are directed to a Facebook video page.


2. Find Facebook Video Url

Now look at the long url address in the browser location bar. It will look something like this

This is the url of the Facebook video page and cannot be embedded. You’ll have to edit this url to get the actual Facebook video url to embed. So this is the shorter url we need (note the changes, number stays same):

2. Get Facebook Video Embed Code

If you look at the old style embed code for any Youtube video, you find it looks like this

<object width="500" height="314">
<param name="movie" value=";hl=en_US"></param>
<param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param>
<param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param>
<embed src=";hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="314" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed>

This is a standard embed code for shockwave flash video. I have bolded the embedded youtube urls. Now replace those youtube urls with the Facebook urls.

<object width="500" height="314">
<param name="movie" value=""></param>
<param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param>
<param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param>
<embed src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="500" height="314" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed>

Paste in html mode in your post, and your Facebook video is embedded! Enjoy!

May 30, 2011 0 comments Read More
Latino Entrepreneurship Workshop

Latino Entrepreneurship Workshop

I gave a presentation on May 26, 2011 at the Latino Entrepreneurship Workshop in Atlanta on how to approach social media from a business perspective. The first presentation below contains all of my slides from that presentation. The second presentation includes slides with detailed steps on setting up accounts on various social media platforms.

May 26, 2011 0 comments Read More
What Billboards and Social Media Have in Common

What Billboards and Social Media Have in Common

Don’t hate me. This is a reblog from a post I wrote over at the Center for Sustainable Journalism’s blog. Below is an excerpt, but you’ll have to head over there to read the rest.



I was driving into Atlanta from just north of the city earlier this week when I realized just how many billboards line the interstate. When I realized that their placement just outside of where my attention is supposed to be is similar to traditional website ad placement, I began thinking about why we tolerate billboards but complain about website ads.

Isn’t this spam…real world spam?

I look at this way: for the most part, I am willing to tolerate ads that serve as a revenue stream for something from which I gain utility. Website ads are usually fine because it provides revenue for the site I want to visit. Video ads are usually alright because I want to watch the video, and I couldn’t if there was no way to monetize it. It’s the same for magazines and even the ads on the walls of the MARTA trains and buses. But billboards? The profit from those typically hideous displays of poorly conceived advertising campaigns does not subsidize the interstates or the cost of my driving – yet, I am forced to see them.

That is life in a hyper-capitalist society, you might say. But I think there is a lesson here for how organizations should approach social media.



May 25, 2011 0 comments Read More
Why You Should Hire Young People for Social Media Positions

Why You Should Hire Young People for Social Media Positions

I wrote this post for the Center for Sustainable Journalism’s blog, so you’ll have to head over there to read the full post. Just to be transparent, I am the digital media manager at the Center for Sustainable Journalism.


At least once a week I open up TweetDeck to find some random person’s blog post being circulated about how horrible it is for organizations to trust young people with social media accounts. And each time I’m left with the feeling that someone late in his/her career just really hates seeing young people land great jobs in an exciting emerging field.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think organizations should leave their digital strategy to interns. But if we take an honest look at what social media is at its core, I think we can only conclude that digital natives are a great fit for online community manager positions… more>>

May 23, 2011 0 comments Read More
U.S. Military Software to Sway Online Arguments

U.S. Military Software to Sway Online Arguments

Are you one who believes the United States can do no wrong? If so, this post won’t matter much to you. But if you’ve studied history even on an elementary school level, you realize that this country has done or supported some pretty nasty stuff. The Internet gave us hope that governments could be held accountable, that those who possess the most power could be checked by the power of information dissemination on a mass scale. Those hopes are dashed today as we learn that the U.S. Military is developing software that will not only scour the web to look for negative press, but also manage complex dummy accounts that can spread pro-American sentiments in order to sway public opinion.

If what I write about constantly is true, that the potential for social media to allow for viral discourse allows multiple perspectives to weigh in on a given topic in an attempt to get to the truth, then this new campaign by our government is viral propaganda, an attempt at distorting the truth and disrupting sincere efforts to make this world more bearable.

The Guardian writes:

The project has been likened by web experts to China’s attempts to control and restrict free speech on the internet. Critics are likely to complain that it will allow the US military to create a false consensus in online conversations, crowd out unwelcome opinions and smother commentaries or reports that do not correspond with its own objectives.

The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as “sock puppets” – could also encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.

And how does our obviously paranoid government get away with such an unconstitutional measure? The Patriot Act, of course, and by riding the wave of fear. Commander Bill Speaks, Centcom spokesman, said that “the technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US.” So, we’re to believe that they are just fighting fire with fire, that it won’t be used to control domestic conversations around the web. Got it.

The Guardian piece points out that “Last year a New York lawyer who impersonated a scholar was sentenced to jail after being convicted of “criminal impersonation” and identity theft.” But like murder, I suppose it’s legal when the government sanctions it. I’m not trying to be overly political or alarmist, but if you ask me, this level of propaganda is the biggest threat to our liberty that we face in the 21st century.

*By the way, I’m linking to Centcom so that they know I’m being critical of them.

March 18, 2011 0 comments Read More