The Social Media Button Rat Pack: Facebook Like, Google +1, Twitter Tweet and LinkedIn Share

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Social media share, like, connect and follow buttons are mushrooming – if you have a website or blog, get them aligned to your advantage.

Unlike the first gen of share and bookmarking buttons/ chicklets of a few years back, the new breed are integrated with the big social media platforms, and in some instances with Google and Bing search. Furthermore, they are able to provide measurement on the social media influenced traffic which moves through your web properties.

Other reporting features include referral and engagement data for your online content. To bring a little social media functionality to a webpage near you requires the simple copy and paste of a snippet of code (I’ve talked about the non-technical marketing requirement of copying and pasting code in a previous post).

Here’s the rat pack of social media buttons to be paying attention to, what they do, and how to grab them. The buttons on this page are all live, so feel free to test them out…

Facebook Like

Love or hate Facebook, there’s no denying its deep reach across the web, making this button a ‘can’t ignore’. If a visitor to a webpage who’s logged into Facebook clicks on FB Like button, the page URL is posted onto their FB wall; this in turn appears on their friend’s news feeds. The post serves as both a friend recommendation, and provides a link back to a page and to whatever was liked on that page.

The Like button doesn’t have to pertain to the page the button is actually on. For example, you could have multiple items or products on a page, each one with its own Like button, but associated with the specific page where the particular content item or product is featured.

You can embed your Facebook Like buttons with or with count indicators, and in different sizes. Create you own here.

Microsoft’s Bing search engine integrates various FB social graph data into its search results, including an indication of the webpages your friends have liked. See the guy from Bing talk about this in a short video here.

Facebook have recently released their impressive Website Analytics. Once your website or blog is verified you can pull aggregated data for people who have interacted with any of your embedded FB functionality such as like buttons or comment boxes. You can also track data for people who have arrived on your website or blog via external FB links – from FB itself or other webpages hosting FB like buttons or widgets.

Google +1

+1 is Google’s new social media play. It works in a similar way to the Facebook like button, but draws personal profile data from your Google Profile instead of your Facebook profile. If you don’t have a Google Profile, you can get one here. To see an example of one, this is mine.

Instead of Liking a webpage as you would with Facebook, those with a Google account can tag online content items and products as being +1’ed. Google pulls your social connection information from any of their platforms that you are registered with and share with others, such as Groups or Buzz. Google has also started integrating +1’s into its search results, including indication of any webpages your Google connections have +1’ed.

It’s likely that Google will integrate +1’ed reporting with its own analytics and your web properties that have GA is installed.

You can embed your +1 buttons with or without count indicators, and in different sizes. Create you own here.

LinkedIn Share

For the professional set, Facebook’s Like button is too trivial for most – and it’s more likely that an executive would be logged into their LinkedIn account at work, and not Facebook. LinkedIn’s Share button sends a summary of page information, a thumbnail image from the page, and a webpage link to the person’s LinkedIn updates wall in the form of a status update.

You can embed your LinkedIn share buttons with or without count indicators. Create you own here.

Twitter Tweet

A visitor to a webpage who is logged into Twitter and clicks on a Tweet button will send a summary of webpage information and a shortened page URL to their Twitter account (the user gets an opportunity to customise the tweet before posting it).

Google has also started integrating shared Tweets into its search results, including indication of any webpages your Twitter connections have shared.

You can embed your Tweet buttons with or without count indicators. Create you own here.


Twitter Follow

This button enables visitors to your webpages to follow you, or any designated account on Twitter, without actually having to visit Twitter – assuming they’re already logged into their Twitter account.

Create your own buttons here.

 

 



Effective Internet Marketing Comms: Lessons from MasterChef

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Cooking is not difficult if you’re able to follow simple process instructions. To do well in the MasterChef kitchen however would require more than just being able to follow a recipe. Surviving this show demands a deep understanding of the base food elements: their unique characteristics, how they work within various contexts, as well as in combination with one another.

Great cooks don’t need recipes, they configure the ingredient building blocks in their minds, start, and refine the dish according to taste as they go. Effective online communications and marketing works in a similar way: professional creativity, rolling up the sleeves up and doing the most with the content you have, against your objectives and allocation of resources.

You do however need to know what your online content building blocks are – text, images, video, and audio. You also need to know the principals of online syndication and social media sharing, and how to copy and paste very simple snippets of code. Various analytics will help you ‘taste’ and refine the effectiveness of your output as you go.

Here’s a list of your core online content building blocks (your ingredients):

1. At Least One Publishing Point to the World Wide Web
A website is the main publishing platform for most organisations as long as content can be added to it with few financial or technical burdens. A modern content management system (CMS) attached to your website is a must if want to publish through it with regularity.

If you don’t have access to a website you can also publish your comms online via a plethora of mostly free multimedia content aggregators, a few of which you’d already be familiar with: YouTube (video), Flickr (images), Slideshare (slide presentations) and iTunes (audio podcasts); or you could publish through a social networking platform such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter; and you can also post multimedia content through a blog.

2. Knowing How to Copy & Paste
Seriously, if you know how to copy & paste within a Word doc then you’re up to the task of taking a snippet of code from one spot on the web and dropping it in somewhere else. For instance, you might want a video hosted on YouTube to play through your own website, which is possible. If you copy the code supplied beneath most YouTube videos (click on the ‘share’ and ‘embed’ buttons) and then paste that code into a page of your own website via your CMS, the video will appear. You don’t need to know the mechanics of how this happens, just that it does – a bit like the ‘magic’ that takes place inside a microwave oven (technical and who cares?)

Get comfortable with the idea that your online content can be combined and moved around the web by simply copying and pasting bits of code soup. Often times your multimedia content will be served in formatted ‘containers’ called widgets which keeps things neat and lets the user control basic play settings. Some platforms, Google Maps for example, even allows you to pull your disparate multimedia content from around the web and serve it up as seamless layers – this is known as a mash-up. See a Google Maps mash-up example here.

3. Knowing How to Share (…is a Beautiful Thing)
Social ‘share’ buttons are appearing on many social media platforms – they are cleaner and simpler than copying and pasting code, but come with fewer customisation options. These buttons will either embed your online content automatically onto another social media platform, or will link back to where it’s being hosted.

You can even place your own social media share buttons on your own web pages using the ‘copy and past’ technique described above. For example:

4. Knowing How to Syndicate
Most of the big social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Foursquare or your own blog allow you to push and pull content, updates and posts to and from one another, either automatically or on an ad hoc basis.  As examples, your Foursquare updates can be pushed through to Twitter; your Twitter posts through to LinkedIn and your blog; you blog posts to LinkedIn and Facebook, or your Facebook wall posts through to Twitter or LinkedIn.

Now, you don’t want to have all of your content being automatically syndicated across all points at once – that could get messy. But you do want your content to reach as wide a possible (target) audience. You’ll have to work out your own content syndication config according to what you’re publishing and to whom.

 

Good cooking draws from creativity, proportion, balance and practice – tossing every ingredient at your disposal into a bowl will not work. And yeah, you can follow a recipe and get a result that won’t offend; but to produce a dish that will impress a judge requires a bit of unscripted magic.