socialkaty

Google+ for Businesses and Brands: What You Need to Know

By Lisa Chatroop, Social Media Assassin

Google+ debuted with much fanfare on June 28th and skyrocketed to 20 million users within its first three weeks, making it the fastest-growing social network of all time. This past month, Google finally rolled out Google+ for businesses. Although it may seem like just another social networking site (many liken it to a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter), there are several unique features Google+ has that allow brands to reach out to their customers in new and unique ways.

Content is Key – and Searchable!
Unlike Twitter, Google+ has a high tolerance for longer original content – meaning that you aren’t just limited to 140 characters. Additionally, unlike Facebook, the ability to use hashtags on Google+ allows brands to create keyword-rich content that is searchable within the site.

Google+ also has a unique feature called Sparks, which is a bit of a hybrid of Google Reader and Google Alerts - in other words, it’s a way for you to read the latest news (like Reader), but it filters the results in the manner of Alerts. Additionally, the search function on Google+ not only allows businesses to track what is being said about their brand, but also allows users (read: potential customers) to find content that appeals to them. In other words, These features make it easier for brands and potential customers to find each other via search terms.

Those that are looking to post a lot of original written content on Google+ (authors, media outlets, and the like) will appreciate the Author Tags feature. This allows content to be permanently tagged with the source data, meaning that even if the material gets picked up by news aggregators, authors can rest assured that the content will still be properly attributed.

Get into the Niche
One unique feature of Google+ is the ability to segment your audience into various groups via Circles. This feature allows brands to send messages that are relevant to each specific Circle they’ve created, thereby allowing them to focus their promotional efforts to a very specific niche. For example, a store with a wide variety of offerings like Wal-Mart might want to promote a sale on Revlon lipstick. Circles would allow them to target that message to women within a certain demographic while avoiding broadcasting the message to disinterested parties, (i.e. men that are only interested in Wal-Mart’s selection of hunting gear). These targeted interest groups cut down on promotional clutter, and we envision this feature resulting in less “unlikes” due to irrelevant postings. 

Hangouts: A New Way to Interact with Your Audience
Although it may seem like just another way for friends and family to stay in touch, many brands are already doing some creative things with the Hangouts feature on Google+. For example, the Black Eyed Peas did a backstage Hangout at a recent concert in NYC.

Members of the media are also using this feature to their advantage – NBC affiliate KOMU-TV recently used Hangouts to give their viewers a behind-the-scenes look at what happens during a live newscast. For brands that aren’t in the entertainment industry, we envision Google+ Hangouts to be an interesting outlet for real-time customer service, live tutorials, meeting/event coverage and more.

SEO Searchable
As one would expect from a Google product, having a presence on Google+ can positively affect your visibility in Google search. First and foremost, all content on Google+ is picked up by Google search and business profiles do show up in search as well. Second, Direct Connect allows users to go directly to your page by searching “+” and your username in Google. For example, to visit Pepsi’s Google+ page, one would enter +Pepsi to be directly connected to their page without the hassle of searching within the website and sorting through irrelevant pages.


Measuring Your Success on Google+
 

As social media managers, we live and breathe the analytics we receive on the accounts we manage. Fortunately, Google+ syncs with Google Analytics to produce real-time analytical data. Additionally, the Ripples feature on Google+ (think “ripple effect”) offers a visual layout of how your content has spread. Not only is Ripples an interesting way to see how your content has spread, but it’s also an excellent way to help identify brand influencers.

How to Integrate Google+ Into Your Social Media Strategy
First and foremost, snag your identity now. Even if you don’t plan on utilizing your Google+ page just yet, you’ll want to secure your name before someone else does. Second, take the time to learn the platform. Take a look at some brands and public figures that are already wildly popular on Google+ and ask yourself what makes them so. A few of our favorites are Burberry, The Muppets, and Pete Cashmore. Finally, as with any other social media outlet, you’ll want to be tactical, thoughtful, establish a goal and understand exactly how and why people are using the site. The early adopters of Google+ are a savvy bunch – you’ll want to put your best foot forward and establish a dynamic presence.

PR 101: How To Get Your Story Featured In The Media
By Kip Reiserer
For any brand, company or business, effective use of Public Relations or “PR” is critical in order to grow and raise public awareness of a service or product.  Public Relations is the flow of information between an organization and the public which adds credibility to a brand.  Placing the work of an organization so the general public can see, attain information and become familiar with a brand via media outlets is almost entirely the work of public relations.  

Although social media is quickly taking the media by storm, let’s not forget that obtaining press via print, television and radio is still an effective way to reach your target market.  For example, if a Chicago-based company is launching a new product that directly affects the greater Chicago population, getting local news or radio coverage can spread awareness to thousands in a matter of minutes.

But how do you get news anchors, writers and radio hosts to talk about your product?  First, you have to understand the editorial process, create a pitch and then secure publicity.  Senior Account Executive Nicole Minadeo and Director of New Media Dennis Doughtery from Resolute Consulting were willing to share a few tips about preparing to pitch a story.  

If you’re running a campaign for your company/client and are in need of free press, you need to understand editorial coverage.  You must know that:
  • - Editorial coverage is free, credible and unbiased.
  • - There are no guarantees when it comes to getting your story published - the story may run immediately or never.
  • - The media is in control.
  • - Securing publicity takes time, effort, patience and persistence.-
  • - Even small publicity is favorable publicity.

So why would a media outlet want to run your story?  In a city as big as Chicago, there are always hundreds of relevant stories floating around that a writer or TV/Radio producer can choose from.  

Before contacting a source in the media, make sure you know what makes a newsworthy story/segment.  If you’re going to make your pitch stand out and catch a producer’s eye, it must include the following:
  • - Timeliness
  • - Significance
  • - Proximity
  • - Prominence
  • - Human Interest

Another good tip when crafting your pitch is to see if your story can in any way relate to a popular trend.  If there is a way to relate your story to a popular trend in the moment, the chances of it getting picked up will surely go up.

So now that you have an idea of how to craft your pitch to bloggers, writers and producers, how do you actually go about getting your story in front of their faces?  

5 steps to securing publicity:
  1. Research and develop a media list.
  2. Develop press materials and messaging.
  3. Call media outlets on your list.
  4. Send information.
  5. Follow up.

Television and radio have a bit of a different side when approaching network producers.  Visual or audio footage is usually necessary for these outlets.  

When a TV network produces a segment, there must be at least some B-roll to help the viewers understand from a visual standpoint.  Above all, make it as easy on your media source as possible.  Let them know what B-roll they can get, where they can get it and who they can interview.

A lot of PR is pitching to writers and bloggers.  Here’s a few quick tips for developing your PR pitch:
  • - Condense press releases as much as you can.
  • - Unless they ask for it, don’t ever attach documents for reports.  
  • - Sometimes you’ll have to email a reporter more than once, their inboxes are constantly full.
  • - Pitch to reporters on their social media outlets such as Twitter.
  • - Always follow up and stay connected, even if you don’t have a story.

Having your story published in a major news publication is hard work and won’t happen every time.  Don’t be afraid to venture outside of the box and target a smaller publication.  For example, if your story impacts the greater Chicago area, why not shoot for newspapers and television stations in small towns and suburbs outside of the city?  You’re most likely to get ahold of the media sources and have the story published/aired.  

Another aspect of getting your story published is the possibility of you or a co-worker being interviewed.  Don’t freak out - interviews can be very easy and allow you to talk about the information you want the public to have.  

Interviews can be via email, over the phone, in person and even on camera.  Resolute Consulting provides some helpful tips when it comes to your preparation:
  1. Have a cheat sheet in front of you if possible.
  2. Know at least three things you MUST work in before interview is over.
  3. It’s easy to stray off topic - pull the conversation back to what you want to talk about.
  4. Don’t ever mention your competition, you don’t want to give them free press.
  5. Stay positive at all times.
  6. Don’t go off on tangents ~ remember, everything is on the record.
  7. In the case of a TV interview, wear company branded apparel.

These are just a few helpful hints when it comes to dealing with PR and being able to get free press.  It won’t always be easy and you won’t always get your story featured - that’s just the way it goes.  But remember, in an industry that travels a mile a minute, securing publicity takes time, effort, patience and most of all, persistence.  

Be sure to check out Resolute Consulting and follow the official SocialKaty Twitter and Facebook pages!
Assassins Weigh In on Klout

Klout is a hot topic with the launch of their new topic pages, importing lists and who doesn’t love Klout Perks?!

At Social Media Week in Chicago, our assassins attended the live events and panels, and Klout was brought up several times. Some approach the topic with disdain, seeing it as an unfair way to judge their online actions, and an artificial number meaning little more than ego-stroking.  While others acknowledge the real time-saving value to finding influential users, and acknowledge that businesses can gain a lot from knowing who are the key people in that industry. 

Regardless of your opinion of Klout, it is shaking up how we view our interactions online.

We asked our own SocialKaty assassins their opinions on Klout, and this is what they had to say:

Why are people influential on certain topics on Klout? What strange topics are you influential about?

 Lisa:

It seems as if the things you tweet that get the highest response rate determine what you’re influential in. For example, I posted a link to a story about a hotel suite designed by Tiffany and began fawning over the dining room with several other women. Because of that one-time conversation, I’m now influential in “dining room”.

Prash

I’m influential about sheep on Klout. I know exactly why and I’m not telling.

Francois

People are influential on certain topics based on the topics they choose to discuss and the engagements that they make with people on twitter about them. 

That being said, I am influential in “Cats” and “Pianos”. This strikes me as odd. Basically goes against everything I just said in my above statement but maybe there are underlying or indirect topics I discuss that are important to Cat and Piano enthusiasts?!?

Amy

I happen to be influential in Jordin Sparks. She opened for NKOTB/BSB. I was really impressed with her performance and tweeted her saying something along the lines of “you’re awesome.”

Very kindly, Jordin tweeted back and said thank you to me. With this tweet, several online gossip sites picked up on the interaction and retweeted it like crazy. Because Klout determines their scores based on the ability to drive action" within social spheres (and actions are considered retweets, @messages, likes, and comments), Miss Sparks helped to amp up my standing.

Why is having a Klout profile important?

Lisa

Although I wouldn’t say Klout is the be-all end-all for proving influence, it is helpful. In my opinion, it’s simply another way to brand yourself as an expert in certain topics. 

Prash

It’s a great tool for self-improvement. Finding out your actual reach and the likeliness of your content to be acted upon is a great way to shape one’s social media strategy. Then, of course, there are the perks.

Francois

It really distinguishes thought leaders and experts so that you can find people who actually have something profound to say, and that you might actually be interested in engaging with!

Amy

Klout scores are an important tool for measurement in social media. The Chrome extension for Klout is also very handy. As with any interaction in life, it is nice to know who you are talking to.

In your opinion, how do you continue improving your Klout score?

Lisa

In my opinion, constant engagement is the best way to improve your Klout score. The more you engage with others (especially those with a high Klout score), the higher your Klout score will go.

Francois

Well, I believe engagement is the best way.  

Also having a voice that you feel people would be interested in hearing.  If you’re a fashionista and you tweet about your outfit, that’s good! But if you tweet about why your outfit works or tips on putting together your outfit, then thats better and might be something that someone might want to read and engage with you on! Its all about saying something that creates a conversation!

Amy

A great way to improve your Klout score is to help others improve theirs by rewarding folks with +K’s. Most people are inclined to return the favor. And at the end of the day, the number one, governing rule of success in social media applies to Klout too – ENGAGE!

How do you raise your Klout score? Do you love it/hate it?

Let's go "VIRAL"

By Sarah James Account Director at SocialKaty, Inc.

Everyone wants to go “viral”. We’re all looking for the easy way of creating a “viral sensation” that everyone will pass along to their friends. Contrary to popular belief, this is extremely hard. It may be easier for you to go viral if your video includes a cute kitten, a “twerking fail”, or a cute kid. But for the everyday brand - your “viral video” has to have some serious thought behind the message.


There is nothing wrong with a video that doesn’t go viral. A good video explaining your business can tell your target audience the benefits you provide, how you’re unique, your core values, and how you can help them. These videos don’t naturally lead people to immediately share the video with everyone they know, but it will still provide significant value for your customers.

If you’re trying to make the best “viral” corporate video, here are my suggestions:

  • -First, decide why people would want to share your video. Are you going for humor, weird, cute, or the shock factor?

  • -Don’t try to cram everything into your video - pick one theme. If your company has a fun culture, go with humor.

  • -Shorter is better. According to Wistia, 30-second video clips were viewed by 85% of people all the way through, while 2-10 minute videos had a completion rate of only 50% of people.

  • -Don’t force your company to be something it’s not. Viewers of your video will be able to tell if you’re just putting on a show. Make it natural.

  • -Make the video about your consumers. Focus on benefits for your fans, not just bragging about your product.

Here are my personal favorites from companies who nailed the viral video:

Dollar Shave Club - Our Blades are F*ing Great - A short and simple video took this new “shave tech” company to receive 8 million views in just 10 months. Their budget may have been small, but the pure talent and humor resulted in 12,000 new members in the first 48 hours alone of launching the video.

Kmart’ ‘Ship My Pants’ Commercial - A big win for Kmart - A short video filled with juvenile humor that states their promotion loud and clear.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches - Dove goes for the shock factor conducts a social experiment that is on par with their core values. They even take it full circle by creating the hashtag #WeAreBeautiful for users to take their conversation about the video online.

So... You Want to Make a Harlem Shake Video...

By Jake Gunst Account Manager at SocialKaty, Inc.



Great.  Just what we need.
Two weeks ago, The Sunny Coast Skate crew uploaded the first Harlem Shake video, a visual gag based on a techno wait… electronic uh… EDM (is that what we’re calling it now?) song by Baauer. A week ago, there were 40,000 versions of the Harlem shake. But hey, if you make one right now, millennials will think you’re funny and topical. Right?


Oh, you still want to make one?
Super. You are indeed a gift to the world. At least let me give you some pointers to make it not so terrible. Minimize your insufferableness with six steps:  
  • The Format - Take the first 30 seconds of Baauer’s Harlem Shake. Around second 16, the song says “and do the harlem SHAKE!” and the base beat drops. During the first half of the song, we see a lonely dancer, usually with something on their head, in an empty or still space. At the drop of the beat, cut to a similar scene, but it’s filled with dancing, craziness, and usually a shirtless guy. Keep the camera still. If you change angles, you’ve ruined the environment where the joke lives. Like Ferngully, I think. I don’t remember, it was a long time ago. This is the right way. This is the wrong way. “But what if we blow everyone’s minds by changes the format?” NO.

  • Contrast - The humor of the Harlem shake video comes from the contrast between clips one and two. Clip #1 should be excruciatingly plain - get everyone out of the room if possible, so that when you cut to clip #2, the joke hits. You want as much color and movement as possible in the second clip.

  • Aesthetics - The people in the second clip need to be DANCING. Sorry, Colbert Report Audience, but you’ve got to move those legs. Just as importantly, visually, change up the levels. Someone should be hanging from something, in a tree, on a car or whatever, some people should be up close, just vary it up - here’s a good example.

  • Timing - If you can’t line up the clips with the drop, you’ve destroyed the joke. Your audience is going to sit there, feeling Fremdscham, thinking about how they’ll never click one of your links again. Secondly, you have to end the clip with the last… um, rancor noise? I don’t know to call that sound. But make sure you cut it off right at :30 so it had a hard stop. I guess it’s a matter of opinion, but I prefer cutting to black right before the rancor noise, but it seems customary to have the last second in slow motion.

  • Surprises - Humor is in the unexpected. Think about Mitch Hedberg’s paraprosdokians. What does this mean for your video? I don’t know - something unexpected. I don’t know if they did it first, but when what I assume is the entire Norwegian military made their video… the sleeping bad guy? Hilarious.

  • Delete it - Seriously, don’t forward me your Harlem Shake video. I’m not going to watch it.

Best and worst
Let me tell you who nailed it and who didn’t:

Nailed it: Matt and Kim. You won’t do better than this. First of all - visually nailed the contrast: A) lighting; B) sheer numbers; C) no one commits to a dance as much as Kim does.

Failed it: The Daily Show. Jon Stewart took a break from his second decade of stale deadpan to attempt a Harlem Shake anti-joke. STOP IT ALREADY. Other anti-jokers, you too.

In the process of failing it: Are you a college? Don’t do it. Are you a brand? Really don’t do it.
Raising Brand Awareness on Any Budget

By Jennifer Stuart Account Manager at SocialKaty, Inc.

So you had a great idea. You got funding. And now you have a product that you think people might want to buy. But how do you get the word out there? How do you find your audience?

When you have no budget
Set up your social media pages. Ask all your friends to follow your pages and help you spread the word. This will help you get your first few fans. You have to give these fans something to share. You need to post interesting content related to you product every day. It can be a combination of content you create yourself and content you get from other sources.

You don’t need to be on every platform. You need to be on the platforms where your audience spends time. This will take some research. Each platform has a search function. Search keywords that relate to your business within each platform. Find blogs to follow using Google blog search and AllTop. Most blogs contain widgets that will lead you to other platforms that these audiences are using. Be sure to link to any pages you are on from all of your platforms.

Once you find the best sources, follow them by adding them on each platform and add blogs to your Google Reader. The important thing is to have some content already in place for the people that land on your page. Very few people will follow you back if there is no content that is adding value or if it doesn’t look like you’re an active participant in the community. Be funny. Be smart. Be interesting. Be the type of person that you would want to follow.

When you have some budget
Run ads. The big misconception about running ads is that they are expensive. But the truth is, you can spend as little as $10 per day. The other misconception about ads is that you can target very broad groups, and the audience will find you. Ads take quite a bit of maintenance. The more specific you are with your targets, the better. Also, make sure that your ads aren’t competing with each other. In one ad, you may target women who like Macy’s, Nordstroms, and Lord & Taylor. In another ad, you may target women who like Forever 21, Anthropologie, and Urban Outfitters. Also, test out different copy and images on the same audience. What is grabbing their attention?

Another thing you can do with a little bit of budget is make videos or podcasts. With some inexpensive editing software, you can make quality content. Not every video you put out there has to be high tech and professionally produced. Make sure the lighting and sound quality are good, transitions are clean, and content is interesting. Then optimize your video to help it show up in search.

Host or attend an event. Often, the best way to get your product out there is to talk about it, in person, to people that could use it. Use the event’s hashtag to connect later with people you didn’t get a chance to talk to.

Social Media is time consuming when done right. It takes time to find and create content, to interact with your audience, and to stay interesting and relevant every day, but it pays off in the end.

SOCIALKATY IS LOOKING FOR INTERNS!

Calling all social media enthusiasts! Want an internship experience in a fast-paced, dynamic, and culturally unique environment?

SocialKaty is looking for self-motivated and enthusiastic candidates for our Spring 2014 Internship Program! The selective three-month internship at our River North office in Chicago provides hands-on experience working with our team of community managers to implement successful and unique cross-platform social media campaigns, promotions and contests for retailers, restaurants, e-commerce sites, tech platforms and dozens of awesome businesses.

Collaborate with Account Managers, designers, and our management team to better understand the mechanics and best practices of marketing through social media channels and build the foundation for a career in the social media field.

You will be exposed to a number of learning environments throughout the program such as:

  • Training on Facebook, Twitter, and Content Marketing

  • Certification in the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ)

  • Creation and daily management of your own online community

  • Participation in strategic planning sessions for client initiatives

  • Exploration of social analytics and advertising

  • Assisting in content creation and public relations outreach

Want to apply for the position? Follow these simple steps!

  1. Complete a brief survey

  2. Forward your resume to jobs@socialkaty.com with the subject heading “Internship Spring 2014.”

  3. Attach any additional previous examples of work if applicable.

To be considered for the internship program, you must be able to work in our Chicago office, and be at least 18 years old upon applying.

Please note that this is a full-time, unpaid internship which will begin on March 3rd, 2014. College credit is available.

 

A Day in the life at SocialKaty (explained in GIFs)

When Joe says, “Jake, we need to update the blog”

And I’m just getting back into the office from Christmas break:

So let’s go into a day in the life of a SocialKaty employee.

Finding the door to 116 W Hubbard Street:

What it’s like to adjust the office stereo:

What it’s like to organize my notes after a client call:

What it’s like to attend a workshop on Google+

Getting psyched up for the Braintree Tech Community Dodgeball Tournament:

Here’s what I was like the day my office nemesis, Whitney, was hired:

When Tiffany suggests Chick-fil-A for lunch:

Here’s what I was like preparing for our Google Analytics certification:

Forgetting to turn off your Facebook notifications

Except when you get Zero likes, Zero Comments, Zero Shares…

When you check to see if anyone is in the sales office

When someone tries to do social media in house:

When someone asks about MySpace:

When someone says “You can’t drive traffic from Reddit.”

When Andy talks about different advertising options we have:

When I try to get our coworkers to meet at Rossi’s after work:

What I’m thinking every time we go to Belly’s office*:

*just kidding, Craig.

When a client comes into our office:

Doing Yoga on Thursdays:

Waiting for summer hours to return:

When Joe asks, “Jake, did you finish that blog post?”

JOBS: SOCIALKATY IS LOOKING FOR INTERNS!

SocialKaty is preparing for the Spring 2013 Grasshopper Program! This highly selective three-month internship at our River North office in Chicago provides direct experience working with our awesome team of community managers. Three lucky participants will collaborate with Account Managers, Designers, and the management team to better understand the mechanics and best practices of marketing through social media channels and how to prepare for a career in the social media field. Please note that this is a full-time, unpaid internship which will begin on March 11th, 2013. Keep reading if you are interested in working with our team!

Grasshoppers will be exposed to a number of learning environments throughout the program including but not limited to the following:
  • -Training sessions on Facebook, Twitter, and Content Marketing
  • -Participation in brainstorming and strategic planning sessions
  • -Exploration of social analytics and advertising
  • -Assisting in content creation initiatives   

Want to apply for the position?

We ask prospective participants of the program to complete a brief survey and forward their resume to jobs@socialkaty.com with the subject heading “Grasshopper Spring 2013.” Feel free to attach any additional previous examples of work if applicable. Someone from the SK team will follow up with applicants through an invite to the office for a formal interview!

To be considered for the Grasshopper program - applicants must:
1. Be able to work in our Chicago offices

2. Be curious and self-motivated

3. Be at least 18 years old upon applying
Three Tips To Building Your Twitter Following

By Kip Reiserer Account Manager at SocialKaty, Inc.

Twitter.  

Once made famous by the likes of Lady Gaga, Ashton Kutcher and Kim Kardashian, the social outlet has transformed itself into a must for brands and businesses in almost any industry.  You want to engage a large online community - but how?  

You’ve seen the major brands Twitter accounts - hundreds of thousands of followers while only following a select few.  It may look cool but if you’re not a household name like Oreo or Taco Bell, you can forget  achieving those numbers without spending a wad on Twitter advertising.

Luckily, you’ve made a pit stop here.  To get started, follow a few of these tips:

Use Interesting/Funny/High-Quality Photos

It’s a fact - people respond/react more to a high-quality/entertaining picture than to a clever combination of words.  Every tweet shouldn’t necessarily contain a picture, but people will be more likely to retweet a picture that they find interesting or that appeals to their emotions.

Don’t fill your timeline with promotional descriptions of your product or service.  Show them.

If you have a clean, good looking brand and possess any type of photo-editing skills, you should be in good shape.

Run a ‘Retweet and Follow To Win’ Contest

An easy way to gain some new followers and increase your impressions is to run a Retweet and Follow to Win contest.  It’s simple - if you have a product to sacrifice, craft a few tweets along the likes of this:

Be sure to:

  • -Include “Retweet and Follow to Win”

    • -If you don’t add the “Follow”, you’re contestants will only retweet - trust me.

  • -Include a picture of the product.

  • -Use a hashtag to track impressions.

  • -If you can, add a link to the product on your website.

Once you’ve given it a few days, pick a winner and ask them to DM you with their info.  If it goes well, you should have some new followers that have now seen your product (not to mention the other impressions from retweets)!

Follow People With Similar Interests

If you care about how many people you follow, you’re going to struggle with building a significant community.  To gain followers, you must venture out and follow people who share a similar interested in what you’re trying to say or sell.  

But where do you find these people?  Popular Twitter accounts, of course!

For example, if you own a company that sells cell phone cases, don’t go and follow a bunch of people who follow Bass Pro Shop.  While most of those people probably own a cell phone, it’s completely unrelated.  Go to the Twitter accounts of the likes of Verizon, Sprint and ATT.  Look at who is following them and just go down the list for a while.

If you really want to narrow it down, go follow people who follow your competitors!

These tips should help you get started on building your online community.  If these don’t work, befriend Lady Gaga, Ashton Kutcher or Kim Kardashian.

5 Awesome Chrome Extensions to Help Your Social Media Experience

By Cassidy VanSlyke Account Manager at SocialKaty, Inc.

I was an avid Firefox user as of two years ago. Before that I used Internet Explorer – EEK! I am personally a huge fan of Google Chrome because of its many capabilities, especially the use of the incognito window for when you want to search in stealth mode.

 I’ve discovered a few Chrome Extensions that have been beneficial for my own personal SM experience, and highlighted the ones that save time when I’m surfing the net.

 

1. LastPass Chrome Extension – (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/lastpass/hdokiejnpimakedhajhdlcegeplioahd?hl=en)

 

I am constantly battling with my many passwords, and have found LastPass a great asset in my organizational practices.

Google’s LastPass is a free password manager and form filler that makes your web browsing experience easier and more secure. It also allows you to import and export from most major password storage venders.

2.  Instagram For Chrome -

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/instagram-for-chrome/opnbmdkdflhjiclaoiiifmheknpccalb/

 

Browse your Instagram feed, check up on your frineds, and so much more with this easy extension. If you are familiar with Instagram’s interface, you’ll be able to easily browse, like, and comment on all photos in your feed.

3.  Bitly Shortner for Chrome –

 

For those of you care about how your links look, Bit.ly Shortner for Chrome is definitely a no-brainer. You’ll be able to shorten URLs with the bit.ly sidebar and track clicks.

4.  G Chat PIX

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/gchat-pix/ahdcbmcfcelhbaajmnfilcmnchogibdn?hl=en-US

 

If you find yourself on GChat half of the day, this is an awesome app for quickly inserting pics. GChat Pix allows you to easily share images by dragging an image from your desktop into your chat window.

5.  Awesome Screenshot: Capture and Annotate

 

 

I love this extension because it gives you the ability to take a picture of the entire webpage, not just what appears on your computer screen. You can also annotate the image with rectangles, circles, and arrows.

HOW TO: Create a KILLER Vine Video

By Allison Neff Account Manager at SocialKaty, Inc.

If you haven’t heard of vine by now you must be living under a rock.  This social media marketing platform allows for just a short, 6-second video clip message.  Can you share all there is to know about your brand in 6 seconds?  We can help you pick out what’s important to highlight! When creating a vine here are two topics that will never steer you wrong:

-Company culture highlights (office tours, office parties/events, employee highlights)

-Product highlights (product functionality, product in use)

Now here is the fun part! When creating a vine it is important to highlight as much as you can in as little time as possible.  In this post we will discuss 3 simple vine tips to help you vine like a pro!

-Panning

Panning is a great way to quickly show an entire view.  This method would be great for highlighting your office! By holding down on the record button and simply moving the camera you are able to pan across an entire area! Here is an example of panning:

-Tappity, Tap, Tap

When you have more that you want to show, tapping to record can be a great way to conserve time for other parts of your video.  Similarly to panning you can just move the screen to cover the entire area you want to highlight.  However, instead of holding down the record button you do short, quick taps with your thumb!  (This can also give the appearance that you’re moving much quicker than you are!) Watch as we tap our way around the SocialKaty office:

-Stop motion

Stop motion vines can be really awesome! This technique would be good for employee highlights, showing quick snippets behind the scenes, or even product production highlights! The trick of stop motion vines is to hold the camera at the same angle every time and take short, one second snippets only changing one aspect of the shot each time! In this example we changed the employee each time! 


The final product:

Once you’re a vine pro- much like us here at the SocialKaty office you can use a combination of all of these techniques to result in the perfect Vine production!

SocialKaty Is Looking For Sales Interns!

SocialKaty is continuing our exponential growth in 2013 and we need additions to our business development team. This is a unique opportunity to work directly with our upper management team and gain experience by meeting our partner organizations. We are seeking an extremely motivated Sales Intern (90 day internship) to help support our client relationships and agency relations.

Every day as our Sales Intern will be different and fast paced. Duties include:

MEETING NEW PEOPLE.

SocialKaty’s Business Development team meets as many companies as possible, as fast as possible. Our Sales Interns will help facilitate these meetings.

Hands-on training directly from President & Vice President of Business Development.

Social Marketing campaign ideation and campaign pitching.

Research industry and social media trends.

Learn how to translate a client meeting into a scope of work.

Outreach! Use your love for digital marketing to reach new companies, every day.

Qualities we are looking for:

A positive attitude, strong work ethic and big personality to our team.

Strong interest in meeting new people and learning about new businesses.

Good organizational skills. Focus on detail.

Must be able to deal with our fast paced environment.

A deep passion for marketing.

Verbal and written communication skillset.

Functional knowledge of Excel, PowerPoint, and other Office programs.

Knowledge of graphic design is a huge plus.

Education:

Marketing, Advertising, Communications, or similar curriculum.

This internship is unique, competitive and creative. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to work with a fast-growing Social Media Marketing Agency, so get creative and bring your A-Game! 

How to apply:

If you are interested in applying, please send an email to katy@socialkaty.com with a subject line reading ”Sales Internship”. 

Meet the SocialKaty Interns!

Katie Bradley- Social media provides an opportunity for brands to be a lot more relevant, credible, authentic, and interactive. In addition, social media has the ability to own the emotional equity of its consumers in a way that is not unlike how our grandparents built businesses. The way the butcher knew when you came in, that Timmy was your son and how you liked your steak cut. In short, social media is in the people business. Perhaps one of the most exciting parts about the social media space right now is how new it is; because of that there is so much potential. Additionally, not too many people know how to capitalize on this new medium and the people who do know are valuable. SocialKaty Inc. is a unique company in that it is solely dedicated to social media initiatives and the digital space. I came to SocialKaty Inc. because I wanted to capitalize on this new medium within a dynamic company. My favorite social media platform right now is YouTube because of the vast reach and intimate interaction it provides.

 

Jaime Clarke- The greatest thing, I think, about social media is that anyone can do it – anyone can dive in and try their own thing. From helping brands grow, to political activism and sharing family photos, different facets of social media offer a variety of features for everyone to utilize. I joined SocialKaty, Inc. last month because I recognize and value the importance of social media proficiency in today’s world, and I wanted to become more familiar with how to make the best use out of different platforms. I’d say my favorite social media platform would have to be Facebook since everyone and their mothers are on it (literally), and I think it’s the best channel for organizing and sharing information. The last thing I laughed at on the Internet was ThugKitchen.com, after my friend posted the link on my timeline (see? Facebook!).

 

 

Alanna Merrill- Social media is the new frontier of the Marketing and Advertising industry. There will always be a new trend, platform, or tip out there for brands to explore. From big brands to small production companies, I am a huge advocate of transparency. I believe that social media provides the transparency that most companies seek through sincere engagement and outreach. I joined SocialKaty’s Spring Grasshopper Program because I find social media to be new and exciting. Much Like Lewis and Clark, I am an explorer and social media provides that “new car smell” every single day. At the moment, my favorite social media platform would have to be Pinterest. I have a theory that if you ever want to become better at something, spend an hour researching it on Pinterest and the inspiration will flow!

SocialKaty Employee Highlight: Pat Cuttica

When did you realize you wanted to pursue social media as a career?

I’ve been using social media on a personal level since college, but it’s funny because I was actually the biggest Facebook hater when it came to Dartmouth in my sophomore year in 2004. I just didn’t see the point in becoming virtual friends and poking people online - which is basically all you could do back then. As it matured, though, I slowly warmed up to it; however, I certainly never thought it was something I could make a career out of. After finishing college and living abroad for a year, I settled into finance for a little over 5 years. I’d say over the last year of that job I really started to get more serious about looking at social media as an industry and possible career path rather than just as a fun personal experience. When I left finance and linked up with some friends of mine in the startup scene here in Chicago, one thing led to another and I landed at SocialKaty. I couldn’t be happier with how things worked out.

What is your favorite social media-networking site?

Right now, Twitter. I love how it’s truly a level playing field. If you use @mentions and hashtags creatively and intelligently, you can really get anybody’s attention no matter how big and famous or important they think they are. I like the brevity of it, as well. SoundTracking is another social networking platform that I’ve been playing with a lot lately. If you use Instagram and Spotify then you really should be using SoundTracking. I can envision a lot of really cool uses for this platform. It needs more users, though.

What do you think will be the next big social media trend?

Well, this may be cheating because I think this was talked about a lot at SXSW recently, but I think contextual social networks could get pretty big. I really like the analogy that Dave Morin the CEO of Path used: Facebook built “the city” and now there’s an opportunity for innovation with more contextual experiences like Path (“the home”), nextdoor.com (“the neighborhood”), Couple (“the bedroom”), etc. It will be interesting to see if users actually create a demand for such niche platforms. I guess we’ll see.

What is your strategy for responding to negative posts or comments about a brand?

I think it’s important to respond to the post or comment directly on whatever platform it is in a timely manner and demonstrate that you recognize and understand the user’s frustration or complaint. I think it’s best to encourage the user to contact you, the brand manager, directly through either private message or email. The idea, I think, is to show not only that specific frustrated user, but the rest of the community as well, that you value all feedback and are willing to listen and work with all customers to come to resolution.

How many Facebook friends do you have?

488 - which is probably 388 too many. For whatever reason, in my personal use I tend to think of Facebook more like Path - the more private social network that limits you to 150 connections. That said, if you friend me I’ll probably accept.

 

5 Celebrities Using Social Media for Social Good

By Alli Neff at SocialKaty, Inc. 

Social media has become so popular, everyone uses it whether they like it or not. Having a social media presence is important but it means nothing without an effective social media persona. Now that so many people have at least one social media profile, this has become an effective channel for reaching widespread audiences. Celebrities are using their social media platforms to promote social good. Their strong persona’s and popularity help to engage people in projects for social good. People like to hear that celebrities are involved with something bigger than Hollywood. People like to know that celebrities are real people too and that they’re using their money towards good causes (not just wasting it like the tabloids frequently portray.) Here are 5 celebrities who are using their power as a social media force to promote social good.

  • Olivia Wilde is a famous actress known for her appearance in Tron, The Change-Up, and The OC, a once popular television series. Wilde uses her witty humor to keep her audience excited about things going on in her life while also highlighting the economic opportunities available for women around the world. She tweets of gun control, support for Haiti, and artists for peace. She uses her twitter channel as a way to reach out to her 747, 757 followers and raise awareness and encourage her followers to support a greater good.

  • Sophia Bush is well known for her 9 seasons on the TV series One Tree Hill. She has a following of 725, 643 people and she uses her twitter personality to support her efforts in changing the lives of many through education and equal rights efforts. Bush also speaks out about gun control, oil/gas drilling, animal protection, and LGBT rights. She uses her twitter as a method to reach her audience and push them to help her support social change for social good.
  • Chalize Theron is another great example of a celebrity using her status to promote social good. Her Twitter handle @CharlizeAfrica says it all. Theron uses her twitter profile to reach out to 119,200 and let them know the work she is doing to advance development in Africa. Her Africa outreach project is talked about through the hashtag “#reachout” which has seen lots of traction. Much of her work focuses on saving African youth from HIV/AIDS.

  • Mia Farrow is an actress, and former fashion model. She has appeared in over 45 films and has won numerous awards. Farrow works to raise awareness for children’s rights, particularly in conflict-affected regions. She is a UNICEF goodwill supporter and uses her twitter profile to reach her audience of 81,818 followers to share her efforts. She uses moving quotes and statistics to show her audience the importance of her cause. She has also made several trips to Darfur to advocate for Darfuri refugees and has also been broadcasting about her recent trip to Syria.
  • Born and raised in California, American actor/director Leonardo DiCaprio has been actively involved in environmental issues since early in his career.  His car choices, and solar paneling on his house are just some of the ways he shows his support for the environment. He also takes to Twitter to share important information on environmental issues. Most recently he has been sharing the issues of global warming and its effect on wildlife with his 4,062,719 followers.

 

Social media is a great way to speak out to the masses and raise awareness. Social media gives ordinary people who normally wouldn’t have a chance to reach huge audiences a voice. Choose wisely the message you’re promoting to your “friends” but more importantly your followers. People are following you because they want to hear what you have to say. Give them something worth listening to! As Ghandi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” These celebrities are doing amazing things with their time in the limelight and supporting great causes. They are making a difference for the better with every message and tweet they share.

SocialKaty Employee Highlight: Adam Crouch

What have you learned since working at SocialKaty?

I have learned so much from all of my co workers, some of that includes learning how to write content that appeals to a specific audience via social media, what new trends are appealing on the internet and also how to create Facebook ads in order to generate a buzz within client pages.

What is your favorite site to stay on top of social media news?

I would have to say Mashable as it shares tons of insight all in very diverse industries and I always seem to find at least 3-5 stories I immediately need to tweet to my friends.

What kinds of content do you share and post most often on social networking sites?

On my personal twitter and facebook pages, I tend to tweet a lot about sports and music, two of my biggest interests. Anytime I hear new songs or albums I love sharing them and then anytime a big game is on, you’ll usually get some kind of analysis from me as if I was working for ESPN or you’ll figure out who my favorite players are.

What is your strategy for responding to negative posts about a brand?

I think it’s very important to understand the problem at hand and deliver a positive response and solution to that person who posted the negative post so that we are both on the same page.

Who is your favorite celebrity on twitter?

I would have to say @KobeBryant who finally joined twitter recently and you can finally see what kind of life he lives outside of hoops or my awesome cat Sox @Sox_says because she’s pretty much the coolest cat in the streets of Chicago. 

Employee Highlight: Joe Grady

Each week we showcase one of our awesome SocialKaty employees. This week is our CFO: Joe Grady!


What brought you to SocialKaty?
I was looking to make an impact with a young and hungry company.  SocialKaty provided me with that opportunity. While handling the financial responsibilities, I operate within many different company departments. SocialKaty is the ideal situation for me to grow and learn professionally.

Which social media network do you use most?
Facebook and Yelp.

Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook. Twitter seems to be a medium that people use before they think, leading to regrettable tweets.

When was the last time you laughed at something funny posted on the Internet what was it?
Just before I wrote this: “in-bread”



What is the biggest mistake you have seen small business make with social media?
Undervaluing the importance of social media.  These interactive platforms offer individuals or groups the opportunity voice their opinions and experiences, which provides valuable feedback on customer experiences, performance, and presence.

Keep in touch with Joe. Follow him on Twitter!

Growing Social Media Marketing Firm, SocialKaty, Inc. Secures Series A Funding From Chicago-based Lightbank

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:

Nicole Minadeo

(312) 768-4744

nicole.minadeo@resoluteconsulting.com

CHICAGO – SocialKaty, Inc., a Chicago-based social media marketing company that leverages technology to manage online communities for businesses, announced today it has secured Series A funding from technology investment firm Lightbank.

Founded in 2010, SocialKaty is on pace to double in size by the end of 2012, as more businesses seek assistance implementing cross-platform social media strategies. The investment from Lightbank will allow the company to continue to meet growing demand for corporate and non-profit clients that include nationwide consumer packaged goods companies, restaurant chains and retailers.

“SocialKaty provides unique social media marketing services which are undeniably becoming an integral part of every business,” said Lightbank partner Paul Lee. “The SocialKaty team is made up of the kind of people we want to get behind and we are looking forward to partnering with them to continue their success.”

SocialKaty co-founders Craig Ulliott and Katy Lynch created the concept after working together at Where I’ve Been – a company Ulliott started in 2007, funded by Lightbank, and acquired by TripAdvisor (NASDAQ: TRIP). Lessons learned from managing Where I’ve Been’s 10 million users provided a foundation to launch their own agency focused on growing companies through social media channels. SocialKaty relies on custom management tools to monitor brands, interact with online communities and deliver strategic insight to improve click-through and conversion rates.

"This investment from Lightbank allows our team to accelerate growth into new markets in need of scalable online marketing solutions,” said Ulliot. “Our typical package is about half the cost of hiring a full-time community manager, and with actual measurable results it’s a no-brainer for our clients.”

Since launching, SocialKaty has built a team of experienced community managers who have designed and implemented hundreds of creative campaigns to increase fans and followers, raise brand awareness and drive the bottom line for their national and international clients.

“As the need for social media has grown over the last two years, SocialKaty has helped a variety of Chicago-based companies. Now we’re expanding outside Chicago with clients on both coasts and even internationally,” said Lynch. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to work with Lightbank to grow our service offering, especially as we continue to sign up new clients every few weeks and hire staff to keep up.”

###

About SocialKaty
Founded in August 2010, SocialKaty is a Chicago-based social media marketing company that leverages technology to manage online communities for small to mid-size businesses. We are a team of highly skilled Community Managers that execute and maintain campaigns that spread awareness through conversation to targeted audiences and ultimately accelerate business growth. SocialKaty’s services include day-to-day management of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and blogs for brands as well as social advertising, social contests, design and development. For more information, visit SocialKaty at www.socialkaty.com | Twitter: @socialkaty | Facebook: www.facebook.com/socialkaty