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Social Media Inception: A Post Within a Post Within a Post

Working in the world of social media at Pure Visibility means that social platform coexistence is always on our mind.  Per usual with most things on the Internet, social media networks do not exist in separate silos.  The interactions and sharing that takes place between them is really quite remarkable and deserves further examination.

I stumbled across this interesting sample a while back: a screenshot of a Facebook post published on Instagram and uploaded to Imgur.  Even the first commenter realizes how wildly interconnected the post is (“We have to go deeper”).  This social media “inception” is carried out with intent and has a variety of positive and negative implications.

social media platform sample


Social Equalization

The fact that anything posted online can be snapped and transferred elsewhere on the Internet bypasses the notion of “friends” and “connections” that big social platforms like Facebook rely heavily upon.  The example above illustrates this point perfectly – I have no idea who the Instagram or Facebook users in this post are, yet I have access to it through Imgur.  Access to content expands with each platform it’s reposted to and essentially “equalizes” the playing field to anyone with a social media account.

social media equalization

Sonny and Cher don’t necessarily have to be friends online to share content.


Social Exposure

With accessibility to content comes mass exposure.  To use Imgur as an example again, one can often find a special type of post on the front page – Tumblr compilations.  It’s a collection of witty and amusing thoughts from across Tumblr that are grouped into one post and submitted to Imgur.  For many Imgurians, this is the only interaction they may have with Tumblr.  The level of exposure Tumblr receives is massively amplified as a result (even 100 posts later, this Tumblr compilation has received over half a million views).

social media exposure

New audiences and reach opportunities live within each social media platform.


Social Filtration

What makes the content described above so prolific, though?  Posting any random picture or screenshot certainly won’t guarantee mass exposure.  The key is high-quality content, or emotionally charged material that attracts a wide audience.  The truly interesting content is often transferred across multiple platforms and filtered out from the general noise.  The filtration could happen in a variety of ways.  One example is as follows:

  • A whole network made up of millions of users post their thoughts, pictures and videos.
  • One individual sifts through the posts and feeds to find the buzz-worthy content to repost.
  • Users who find it enjoyable spread the love onward to different platforms.

Certain BuzzFeed lists operate on this model, including this one chronicling the clash between two celebrities through a series of tweets.  The author has taken the time to filter through their feeds to compile only the relevant tweets and build a dramatic story (which tends to be content gold on social networks).  Users share this compilation across Facebook, Pinterest, Google+…and voila.

social media filtering

“Content gold” can surface when users filter out the appealing topics and spread it to other platforms.


What can we learn from this?

The depth in which a post can be buried across platforms can be problematic for brands.  Anyone with access to the Internet can dig out controversial content posted years ago.  For example, coverage on DiGiorno Pizza’s insensitive #WhyIStayed tweet made in 2014 can easily be found on sites like YouTube.  As mentioned above, high quality content can reach vast audiences, so brands and influencers must do their research before contributing online.  Based on our experience over the past decade with these concepts, we know that there’s great opportunity to engage and be seen if executed correctly.

Pure Visibility Conquers the Cold by Commuting Sustainably!

Depending on where you’re reading this, you may or may not be experiencing the winter chill that we are here in Ann Arbor. In fact, as I write this, my weather app tells me we have a wind-chill temperature of 4 degrees Fahrenheit outside! HOW FUN! No seriously…we mean it! Look at those smiles!


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To live up to one of our Core Values of “Driven to Improve,” Pure Visibility employees made the most of January’s frigid weather by participating in Ann Arbor’s Conquer the Cold commuting contest.

We earned badges and prizes, like a free Sweetwaters drink, for logging sustainable, “alternative,” commutes (anything other than driving your car alone) like carpooling, walking, riding the bus, and telecommuting.

Even better than the free drink was the street cred we earned for #OwningWinter, the fresh air we breathed, the extra holiday calories we burned and the CO2 emissions we conserved!

Here are the stats from our Conquer the Cold challenge! (Because what is a challenge without some data?)

Altogether, we accomplished:

  • 43 alternative commutes
  • 804 alternative commute miles
  • 688 pounds of CO2 conserved!

We can’t wait to do even better next year, and in the meantime, we look forward to dominating Ann Arbor’s May Commuter Challenge!

We are also dreaming up some other values-driven challenges for the team…so stay tuned!

Tell us…what’s your best winter commuting story?

In winter solidarity,

The PV Cold Conquerors

conquerthecold-winterboots

Meredith’s winter Haiku contest submission:

Another cold day.

Only in Ann Arbor, Mich,

we need “office” boots.

 

DIY: Learn to Create Videos In-House (Without Paying a Cent)

You’ve probably seen it a million times at this point; anyone who’s anyone in content marketing is touting the significance of incorporating video into your marketing strategy.  We are quick to nod our heads in agreement and share articles about YouTube’s ever-expanding prominence or Facebook video’s rise to power, but how many of us actually follow through and create a single video?  On top of that, how many of us …Read More

Algorithms, Part of the Social Media Package?

As many of us are now aware, Facebook has changed its algorithm for what seems like the umpteenth time. The algorithm update this time around has negatively affected organic reach for companies’ Facebook pages. The shift was sparked as a direct result of Facebook’s latest user survey, which found that users felt they were seeing too many promotional posts. Ultimately this translates into organic unpaid posts now reaching fewer individuals, especially if an unpaid post fits under any of these categories:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that urge people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Alongside algorithm changes, the amount of content Facebook has to choose from to show users is ever increasing. More people and businesses are creating Facebook accounts, which increases the number of potential stories a user can see on his or her News Feed. This competitive landscape, in turn, is also causing organic reach to decrease immensely.

As a company, watching your organic reach numbers plummet is frustrating, especially when you’ve put great care into not making posts overly promotional. It seems as if Facebook is only interested in showing content from businesses that pay for ads on the social medium, even if they claim organic content still has value on Facebook. For businesses to reach customers organically on Facebook, they are going to have to try a little harder. Posts that receive a great deal of engagement will ultimately end up with a higher reach than posts that garner no activity. With this system in place, Facebook is attempting to give users more of what they want to see.

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For many, there’s more hope on other social media platforms to meet consumers organically. Personally, Twitter seems like the best place for brands striving for organic reach. There aren’t nearly as many promoted posts bogging up users’ timelines as there are ads taking over Facebook’s News Feed. Corporate posts flow seamlessly in timelines alongside posts from user’s friends, leading to an overall higher rate of exposure by more users. But be warned, it seems as if Twitter is going to follow in Facebook’s exceptionally large footsteps. Twitter is introducing its first-ever algorithm in 2015.

Currently, a user’s timeline consists of tweets from users they follow in reverse chronological order.  Once the algorithm is implemented, which will occur slowly, users will see tweets based on relevancy factors. If a user favorites a company’s tweet but doesn’t actually follow the company, they may see tweets from that specific company in the future, which could benefit businesses looking to Twitter for visibility.

Changes to, and the introduction of, algorithms on social media are expected in the fast-paced society we live in. It’s how a company reacts to such changes that bring them to the top, or bottom, of the social media “News Feed.”

 

How Pure Visibility Attracts And Engages Awesome Employees

In early September, I moved from sunny San Diego, California to Ann Arbor, Michigan. After three years of work experience, I determined that working for an organization that shared my values of sustainability, social responsibility, flexibility and fun was essential to my career happiness (especially since lunch breaks with an ocean view were no longer an option).

As a sustainability and marketing enthusiast, when I discovered that Pure Visibility (PV) was hiring, I was intrigued. The more I researched PV – scouring their website, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and news articles – the more excited I became.

You see, PV is doing more than just a few things right when it comes to employee engagement, happiness, and fulfillment. A quick poll of my fellow PVers revealed that they are here because they love working for a collaborative, values-driven, fun and creative woman-owned business.

Here are a few tips any company can glean from Pure Visibility’s success.

Articulate your values loud and clear:

A whopping 67 percent of the workforce and 78 percent of students consider having an employer that shares their values as being “very important” or “essential” to their ideal job.

You can’t attract these potential employees if you aren’t sharing your values with them. Explicitly stating and defining your values on your website and other channels like social media could be the difference between a potential employee getting excited about your company or quickly moving on to a more inspiring employer’s website.

How PV does it:

Pure Visibility highlights our Core Values on an easy to find, dedicated page on our website. I might have never applied to PV if they didn’t showcase this emphasis on fun, sustainability and social responsibility.

Prove it! (Live and demonstrate your values):

Potential employees aren’t just going to take your word for it. Once you have determined and articulated your values, you need to show that you “walk the talk.”  You need to back up your words with action; an eloquently worded boilerplate is simply not enough. Current employees will also be pleased that you are delivering on your promises.

How PV does it:

PV proves our commitment to sustainability through the actions below (and we make it known by sharing them frequently on our website and social media).

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  1. Participating in and promoting sustainable commuting:
    • Employees are supplied with “Go! Passes” (Ann Arbor bus passes) and are encouraged to utilize them, even for personal use on the weekends! PV also supports telecommuting and biking and participates in Ann Arbor’s “Get Downtown” commuter challenge each year.
  2. Supporting the local community:
    • Our office is in the historic, renovated Kerrytown® Market & Shops, with easy access to unique shopping, dining and mass transit. With a 10 percent discount to all building tenants, shopping local is a win-win.
    • We never miss the Ann Arbor Farmers Market on Wednesdays, which (lucky for us!) takes place right below our building. We are on a first-name basis with the Roos Roast coffee crew.
  3. Reducing, Reusing, Recycling:
    • Reusable dishware and utensils are abundant in the office.
    • We use very little paper – I’ve only printed ONE piece of paper since I started here!
    • PV has the most extensive recycling system I’ve ever seen at an office, with SIX different bins separating different kinds of plastics, glass and paper.
    • We recycle and re-sell old electronics instead of dumping them in the trash.

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Keep your employees healthy and happy:

Efforts to improve health and happiness within the office not only make your current employees more fulfilled and productive, but potential employees will take notice as well.

TINYpulse’s 2013 Employee Engagement Survey found that the top factors contributing to employee happiness are transparency, team play and collaboration. Other studies emphasize the importance of natural lighting and plants in the office. Advertise efforts like these and you might just have an excess of potential employees knocking on your door.

How PV does it:

PV was awarded with the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility in 2013 for the following efforts.

  1. In the office:
    • No cubicles! With an open layout and no individual offices, we are constantly collaborating and interacting with coworkers. This creates a less hierarchical structure and keeps all employees feeling involved and valued in decision-making.
    • Let there be light! Less walls and large and plentiful windows allow for plenty of natural light. This triple threat keeps employees awake, plants thriving and saves on energy costs!
    • Freedom to work your way: Employees are able to work while sitting, lounging on a couch, or burning calories at one of our standing desks (my personal favorite).
    • “Stand-up” meetings: We have a daily standing meeting (literally) where we quickly update coworkers on priorities. It gets the blood moving, the creative ideas brewing, and ensures everyone is on the same page.
  2. Outside of the office:
    • Flexibility: PV allows flexibility in work hours, location and vacation. A few PV employees even work entirely from home. The rest of us often work in the locally owned Sweetwaters coffee shop on the first floor of our building.

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Implementing all of these ideas may not be possible or relevant for your company. But no matter your situation, expressing and living up to your company’s core values is essential to recruiting and engaging passionate and productive employees. Throwing a few plants into the mix doesn’t hurt, either.

As Meredith, our social media strategist, sees it: “If you are going to spend the majority of your life working, why waste it doing something you aren’t 100 percent thrilled with?” 

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A Recount of My First Month at Pure Visibility

It’s exciting to say, with conviction, I made it through my first full month at Pure Visibility.  To the hearty veterans in this line of work, this is nothing more than a small blip on the radar of milestones.  Being excited about milestones, no matter how small, gives me a chance to quantify my experiences.  Within just one short month, I’ve learned a vast amount about general SEO strategies and PPC management.  I am not a stranger to the demanding world of analytics within the marketing field, but I’ve realized this past month how much I enjoy Paid Search Management, in large part due to the “scientific” feeling behind the methodology.  It’s a bit like watching an organism grow.  After setting up a campaign, we monitor, over time, the content to gain an understanding of what works best to keep the campaign sustained.  From there, we optimize for maximum growth.  The option to automate this process exists, but it’s intriguing how human manipulation of the account drives better results most times.

I could geek out about the details of my job for hours, but I’ll spare you the novel and move on to the next great part of my position at PV: writing.  My opportunities to write and QC content are above and beyond what I imagined when interviewing for the position.  It’s not a new concept by any means, but as an analyst, I never thought I’d land a position that offers pats on the back for writing about what I love or find compelling.  Cooperating with individuals who value your writing skills is truly a breath of fresh air. Posting and monitoring our social media platforms falls under this category as well.  As stated before, I’ve found it’s easy to gauge my level of success by “quantifying the experience”, in this case, utilizing the metrics on our pages.  I’m proud that my work has helped increase our visibility and engagement over the course of the month, however, I’d still like to strive for even better numbers in October.  There’s definitely an ebb and flow to what posts receive attention, so it’s my job to find the patterns and adapt accordingly.

In conjunction with my work, I’m blissfully happy about the daily opportunities to collaborate and joke around with the PV team (I kid you not, at the moment I have “make a JibJab Halloween video with everyone’s faces” on my to-do list).  I joked earlier today about our status as the “Justice League” of marketing, but there’s some truth behind it; each member provides a noticeably large (and superbly diverse) impact on the day-to-day operations.  I’m grateful for the encouragement and positive energy permeating this office, both in person and online.

Overall, It’s been a fantastic month, full of new interfaces and new smiling faces.  Can’t wait for more to come!

 

 

 

Why You Win At Pub Trivia, Even When You Lose

As of late, I’d use any word except “consistent” to describe my life (new position at Pure Visibility, new apartment, the list goes on).  What does remain an unwavering constant, however, is my time spent attending trivia at a local bar every single Wednesday.  There are those that would deem this quite low on the priority list.  To my team and I, however, it feels like a necessary part of the week.  (Ironically enough, we show up week after week but still can’t decide on a regular team name.)

To clarify up front: I am abysmal at trivia.

So why am I even writing about it? I believe it takes someone who is truly horrendous at something to really appreciate the value they get out of doing it.  In other words, I clearly find trivia enjoyable for reasons beyond “I’m good at it”.  Over the years I’ve started to realize certain skills applied in this game can actually be attributed to your everyday business life.

1)   Collaboration
This goes without saying, but pub trivia is a team effort.  There’s nothing I love more than individuals putting their brains together and thinking up a storm; it combines the complexity of Jeopardy with the silliness of Family Feud.  While you might have that team member who is the “sports guy” or the “history buff”, it’s always surprising to see who actually comes up with some solid answers.  Where trivia gets really interesting is the process for choosing the right answer.  Our team will throw out potential answers to each question with a confidence level; the more confidence the team member has about the answer, the more likely we are to choose it.  We encourage every team member to express his or her ideas, even if it’s based on just a hunch.
Having this experience under my belt came at a perfect time.  Pure Visibility is a very open-minded company that encourages any and all brainstorming.  Throwing marketing ideas off one another at meetings feels like I’m back in that bar stool.

2)   Solidarity
Before rallying your company together to do those eye-roll-inducing trust falls and team building exercises, consider joining a trivia league.  Even though I was already very close with all the members of our team before starting up weekly trivia, there is undoubtedly something different about the bond we share now.  It’s like being a part of a fun joke – each trivia night gives us something to discuss later that week.  What’s more, you work as a team to reach a common goal (even if that goal is only $10 worth of bar money).

3)   Critical Thinking & Strategy
If collaboration is the bread and butter of pub trivia, then think of strategy and critical thinking as the knife; it’s the tool you need to make the most of your answers.  To give some context, pub trivia is based on a multi-point system.  Depending on the trivia company, you can usually wager multiple points for each question.  How you choose what point values to wager is based on that confidence level I mentioned before: 1 point wagers are for those “what the hell is that?” questions, and 10 point wagers are for those “I would bet my car and first born child that I’m right” questions.
It’s thrilling to watch these assessments take place within just 2 short minutes.  Luckily most businesses have more than 2 minutes to evaluate their strategies, but the concept still applies: taking big risks can be a higher pay out or an unfortunate bust.  How confident you are about your actions lead to that decision.

While it can be a tad bittersweet pouring 2 hours of your life into a game that you ultimately end up losing most weeks, there’s more learning behind the scenes of bar trivia that you may not realize.

Just make sure not to drown your sorrows with alcohol or you really will feel the pain of losing the next morning.

The Start of a Journey in Digital Marketing

One year ago I was a business student vaguely interested in digital marketing. I had been reading many ROI success stories in various business journals where companies used Search Engine Marketing and wanted to know more. I had worked with social media in the past, but I was interested in enhancing my knowledge in other sectors of digital marketing.

At this time, I was not entirely sure how I was going to do this until I was recommended to take a series of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) courses that Eastern Michigan University (EMU) offers.

During these courses I had the opportunity to work with:

  • A professor who is well known for his work in digital marketing field
  • Two non-profit organizations
  • A $10,000 monthly Google Adwords budget
  • Multiple Google Analytics Accounts
  • A fairly large network of potential future employers

These courses introduced me to the art of digital marketing, earned me a position in the final Search Marketing Practicum class, and also an internship at Pure Visibility.

During the Internship and Final Practicum course I had the opportunity to…

  • Work with two non-profit organizations
  • Work on various tasks for multiple client accounts
  • Attend multiple client check-in meetings
  • Learn a bit about Business Development
  • Give suggestions for overhauling an email campaign
  • Rebrand my online footprint (Twitter, Google+, personal website)
  • Attend multiple in-person networking events
  • And much more…

So far, if I had to sum up what I have learned in Digital Marketing it would be:

  • Technology causes things to always be changing
  • All of the sectors work together with one another in more ways than one.
  • Having a good network will help with the growth of your career.
  • Staying open minded will help advance your knowledge
  • It helps to always accept new tasks and challenges
  • The best way to learn is to do it yourself

I must say, I know quite a bit more now than what I did one year ago, but I still have much more to learn until I’m satisfied.