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5 Social Media "Don'ts" - How to be a Better Member of the Social Media Society

5 Social Media "Don'ts" - How to be a Better Member of the Social Media SocietyWe are in a time where Tweets, Likes, Comments, and Shares are a common way to express ourselves, to connect remotely with our friends and family, and to give our businesses an online presence and identity.

Many businesses have a grasp on the basics of social media (if you don't, here's a good place to start), but unfortunately many businesses often commit these acts of social media don'ts.

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Twitter Welcomes a New Custom Timeline Function

Twitter Custom Timeline ViewFacebook users are no stranger to the concept of customizing their timeline - however, don't get this confused with Twitter's newly-released "Custom Timeline".

Twitter's new Timeline feature is a cross between Twitter Lists (where one can group together Tweeters in categories) and a story curating tool (à la Storify).

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How to Write a Blog that People Will Actually Read

How to Write a Blog that People Will ReadWe are often approached by clients that have heard about how blogging has been shown to increase website traffic over time.

We hear: "Sure, that's all well and good, but in my industry I don't have enough sustainable information to blog about!"

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Facebook to Re-Work their Advertisement Tools

Facebook has taken a bold step in consolidating their advertisement base, announcing a move that they hope will create a more streamlined ad experience for user and advertiser alike.  Feedback from market analysts kept coming back to the same concept: simplify the product base.

We have long been proponents of Facebook ads, for the granular level options in targeting your audience.  Historically Facebook ads have had a lower response rate the some of the competition, but the ability to hone it to your audience at a granular level, alongside only having to pay for results (with a pay-per-click versus a cost per impression model) has reduced the importance of the click-per-impression metric.

At present, Facebook offers 27 different ways to promote a product.  Over the course of 6 months, they intend to cut that number by more than half, removing those which are not successful, and combining previous tools that produced virtually the same outcome into a single tool at its optimal state.

The tool which will be most drastically revised is what is known as "Sponsored Story Ads."  Sponsored Stories are essentially Facebook posts triggered by user activity.  For example, if you "like" a Page, event, or story that is sponsored, there is a strong likelihood of this activity showing up in your friend's news feeds. (So-and-so has "liked" Tomatoes - You should like Tomatoes too!)

As you can probably imagine, Facebook users have also been complaining about this type of advertising, as notification inboxes get filled up with Sponsored Stories - with no way to opt-out of receiving them.  The original "liker" also may not feel the greatest about being publicly attached to a product name while it is being promoted across all of their friend's Facebook feeds.

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Pandora, Spotify, and Grooveshark (oh my!) - Which Online Music Service is REALLY the Best for You?

Online music streaming is at a high point.  Including the recent emergence of "iTunes Radio", Apples' new addition to the online music streaming community, users now have over a dozen options to choose from when selecting their music streaming provider - and its definitely a challenge to compare them.  Which service offers the best comprehensive coverage?  Is it worth paying for premium services?

There are plenty of sources out there for different lifestyles and needs.  For users with extensive already-existing music libraries in iTunes or Google, iTunes Radio and Google Play are good options as they have "library integration" features - meaning they combine new music with your current library when creating your online listening station.  Spotify and Rdio are good for  those with less extensive libraries, and their premium features offer offline listening capabilities that their counterparts do not.

Tech blog GigaOM created this great table (left) to help you compare your options based on price, function, streaming, playlist capabilities, and purchase song options.

Jason Finn, Geek | Chicago's "Chief Geek", personally uses Spotify Premium.  While iTunes Radio has syncing capabilities with your iTunes music and is cheaper ($25/year vs. $10/month for Spotify Premium), it does not support offline listening - a big deterrent for those who listen mostly on-the-go.  With Spotify, there are playlist download capabilities so you can listen to music without internet or 3G data usage. 

If you're the type of person who doesn't know what you want to listen to and you don't want to spend any money, this Geek, Alex, yours truly, recommends Songza, which creates music playlists based on your mood or location rather than on a genre or artist (like Pandora).

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Social Media for Financiers

A new business-themed social networking website is on the horizon.  The Times of London recently reported that the Wall Street Journal will be launching a new LinkedIn-style social networking website for "like-minded people" to have an online space to meet and discuss business ideas.  This is being launched by News Corp, the worlds second-largest media group as of 2011. Alongside the new social networking website, News Corp will also be introducing new Dow Jones services and personal messaging systems exclusively for the WSJ.

Is there such a thing as too much social networking, or is this a timeless idea?  Are there aspects of social media that could present new opportunities for your business?  Drop me a line and we can discuss.

Is This the End of Tax-Free Online Purchases?

This month, after a many-year process, the Senate has officially passed a bill which could mean the end of tax-free online purchases.  With the "Marketplace Act of 2013", states will now have the authority to collect taxes from online storefronts.  Technically speaking, online purchasers were supposed to be accounting for these taxes on their tax return already, but as this was rarely done, this bill will account for the previously uncollected tax revenue.

Amazon is a supporter of the bill, as they have embraced a sales model which uses local facilities, and this bill would be useful towards that process. 

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YouTube: The New TV?

Image courtesy of Flickr user USB: http://www.flickr.com/photos/abbot45/"We're the new TV", claims YouTube.  As of March of this year, Google cited YouTube as drawing one-billion unique viewers a month.  It is with this fanbase that YouTube is launching what The Verge calls a "full assault on traditional television."  Having already teamed up with Vice Media and Machinima, paid channels, and we can certainly anticipate the rise of more channels of this type on YouTube.

YouTube is campaigning heavily to advertisers, using stats such as the recent Nielsen finding that YouTube reaches more viewers within the 18- to 34-year-old range in the US than any single cable network.  They also submit that YouTube is an experience completely unique to the television, inherently more "authentic" in the sense that it provides a voice to "Generation C" (the connected generation).

Is YouTube the new TV? Does your business have a presence on the world's second largest search engine?  Do you need to advertise on YouTube too?

Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).