So, what have you been up to for the last 6 years?

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?

Reader, I changed my life. I launched this website several years ago with the hopes of staking out enough of a claim on the internet to change careers. I spent nearly a decade doing traditional and digital marketing within the music industry, as a record label, then as a distributor, and finally as artist management. What I really wanted was to connect people with an idea and a dream to the things that make those ideas and dreams manifest. I have helped musicians, mortgage brokers, small to medium to enterprise businesses, and fitness professionals (among others) make their websites and digital marketing work for them, generating opportunities for them while they sleep. Because I was an employee of an agency for much of this work, I don’t have the ability to add most of them to my personal portfolio.

I’ve also been hosting the OC WordPress design meetup, where we meet once a month on a Monday night to talk about concepts in design. We’re one of four discussion groups in Orange County, CA, and I hope you check us out and come to the meeting that best fits your interests!

After 3 years at the agency, I moved on to be a product manager at a software company, where I love identifying the solutions our customers need and creating plans to build those solutions. But, this means I don’t get to do much with the thing that made all this possible in the first place: WordPress.

So, I’m getting back in the game, because it means I can do something I love and help people at the same time. I changed my life with WordPress; how can I help change yours?

Twitter quietly launches access to account analytics

Twitter Analytics

I read this morning on Christopher Penn’s blog that Twitter had finally launched their own analytics platform — or, at least, made access to account analytics public, though you have to do some digging to get to them.

To access, click the gear icon from your Twitter timeline and select Twitter Ads. Once you’re logged into the Ads platform, you’ll see an Analytics drop-down menu in the top left corner. Click it, select Timeline Activity, and many curiosities will be met. Well, curiosities if you’re also a metrics / numbers nerd like myself. 🙂

The screenshot I included with this post is of my own analytics on @sarahwefald. Nothing too impressive there, though I am impressed with the reach multipliers Twitter tells me I’ve received. I spend most of my time on social media working on building the accounts and brands of my clients, so my relatively small numbers make sense to me.

If you want to get very granular with your Twitter data, this will not be the tool for you. You’ll still need Crowdbooster or equivalent if you want to find out the best times and days for you to post. Enterprise-level analytics companies shouldn’t be shaking in their boots just yet.

So, I guess it goes without saying that if you need me today, I’ll be pulling up the official analytics for all my clients’ accounts.

[Infographic] Optimize your Facebook posts

It can be tough to keep on top of “best practices” on Facebook. I say best practices in quotes as it seems like as soon as there’s a set of standards developed, everything changes and we go back to experimenting to find what works. The nice folks at Salesforce were kind enough to post this infographic online to help us create optimized posts on Facebook, or as they put it, “the perfect Facebook post.”

Basically, keep it short: 90 characters is the recommended limit. Target your post by location or language if it’s relevant, and if you’re going to start advertising your post, do it within the first 24 hours to reach more of your fans.

Source: Salesforce


Twitter launches new music service Twitter Music

Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 6.46.03 PMAbout a week and a half ago, We Are Hunted announced they were joining Twitter.

This, of course, started a lot of chatter about Twitter’s plans in this space. We Are Hunted has been a much beloved music discovery app organizing and charting social media discussion about bands, and offering songs for download occasionally. Friday, the Twitter Music app went public.

Looking at the app this weekend, it seems that Twitter Music has borrowed from We Are Hunted’s design and, like its predecessor, surfaces what bands fans are talking about. Linking a Spotify or Rdio account allows for full-song streaming. What isn’t clear to me, however, is whether Twitter Music will start to offer downloads in partnership with bands and their labels as We Are Hunted did, or whether Twitter Music will have any curated tracklists. It’s also not clear to me whether the charts are determined by raw numbers of tweets in a given time period, or numbers of tweets by particular influencers, or some combination of the two.

Crowdsourcing has democratized a great deal of music marketing, but emerging artists still rely on curation and tastemakers to gain a toehold. I listen to new bands because my friends are talking about them, but my friends’ music tastes tend to be pretty varied. I have favorite music critics whom I watch for recommendations on what’s new and good. I didn’t start listening to Savages because of an algorithm; I saw Sasha Frere-Jones’ Instagram photos and posts to an email list describing how amazing their NYC show was, then looked them up.

I see a lot of potential in Twitter Music and will definitely be playing with it more in the coming days and weeks. However, I’m uneasy about the notion that something as warm and organic as finding out about new bands may be at least partially reduced to cold, detached data calculations.


Thanks to Stephen Phillips, We Are Hunted founder turned Twitter engineer for Twitter Music, a little clarity on where the new app generates its charts:

Stop lying

pinocchioBear with me a moment for some backstory: We’ve been getting a robocall repeatedly at the office to alert us how our Google+ page hasn’t been claimed yet, so we’re missing out on foot-traffic to our business.  We’re an office, so foot-traffic isn’t something we’re looking for. I can’t quote the narrated description verbatim, but it’s clearly worded to make it seem like the calls are coming from Google. Being an internet professional, I know the only time I’ve ever gotten a phone call from Google was about advertising and not about G+; immediately, this does not pass the smell test for me. I’ve been dialing 9 or whatever number they say to be removed from the list, but the calls keep coming. Finally, this morning, I’d had it. I wanted to speak to a representative and find out for sure what was up with these calls.

I navigated through the options with my dial-pad, and finally I was patched through to a representative: “Hi, I have a question: are you with Google itself, or are you an SEO company?”

“We provide services to Google, Bing, and Yahoo.”

“Okay, but do you provide those services as a direct contractor, or are you an SEO company?”

It’s impossible to convey the rudeness in text, but it was there: “I already told you that. Yes, we’re an SEO company.”

“You didn’t tell me that, though. Everything about your script seems designed to make me think you’re with Google.”

“Well if you don’t want our services, you should have just asked to be taken off the list.”

I saw through the front, so immediately, I became the recipient of scorn. I get that most people might not know what SEO is, and I get that cold-calling is a job that puts you in contact with hostile people all the time. But I wasn’t being hostile; I was trying to get a direct, non-weaselly answer to my question before asking why they won’t take our number off their list. I was so taken aback by the immediate rudeness I got that I forgot to ask why my repeated attempts to be removed from their list haven’t worked.

The great Chris Lema wrote an article about how keeping the truth in your corner is vital for success: avoid the people who lie and say you can’t do something just to hold you back, but also avoid falsely propping yourself up with lies about what’s possible. I would add this: If you have to lie to get your foot in the door, you’ve already lost.

Call me and offer your services as an SEO company. But don’t try to make me think you’re someone you’re not, then get mad at me for calling you on it.

How to reach your Facebook Page’s fans

Marketers have been saying for awhile now that the way to maximize your reach on Facebook when posting on behalf a Page to attach your message to a graphic of some kind. This became even more true after the move to Timeline. We started creating graphics for every announcement to ensure whatever news we were trying to communicate would reach its intended target by playing into Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm.

Then, Facebook changed their algorithm again a couple months ago. Suddenly, pages reaching 25%-30% if not more of their fans on Facebook found themselves reaching 10% of fans per post.

It appears they’ve changed it again.

Photo posts still seem to get the highest engagement numbers (clicks, shares, comments, likes). However, text-only status updates are getting greater reach numbers. In my experience this week, I posted two messages relevant to a page’s audience. The post on Tuesday was a graphic that included a link to a video in the caption. The post I made today was a status update about an item on sale at an upcoming event. Though the Tuesday post was perhaps more universally relevant to fans, the Wednesday post reached 75% more people.

If you need to broadcast information to your fans, embrace the status update! But if you want to engage them properly, keep doing it with photos.

Marketing yourself for a job search with Tim Tyrell-Smith at Social Media Campfire

Social Media Campfire is for and by Social Media Professionals who come together to discuss Social Media. This is a higher level discussion for people who work in or with Social Media. Think about sitting at a campfire where you have natural conversations, sharing stories and enjoy spending time with friends. That is what our Social Media Campfires are all about.

Lately, Marieke Hensel and Kathi Kruse have been focusing Campfire meetings around a different speaker each month for an open discussion about how the speaker uses social media in their industry. I’ve spoken with the group about the music industry, Kathy’s shared her incredible experience in the automotive world, and tonight Tim Tyrell-Smith dispensed great advice and knowledge on how to use social media to lay the groundwork for a job search and obtain new employment.

Here are just a few bullet points of some of our great, two-hour discussion:

  • Tim started building his brand online by blogging (both on his own site and guest blogging), and through speaking engagements.
  • His company is Fix, Build & Drive, a company helping business owners grow by better utilizing online marketing. He’s also developing Tim’s Strategy – software to help job seekers. He’s been working with college career centers to help manage their resources, and human resources departments to help soften the blow to employees in the event of layoffs.
  • He says that every time to have the opportunity to connect with someone online is an opportunity to communicate who you are and what makes you different from others who do the same thing. You may not see returns on this immediately, but it’s an important investment to make.
  • LinkedIn open networkers and open endorsers are not groups he likes. Basically, “open” people on LinkedIn will connect with or endorse anyone for any topic. I couldn’t help but think of the wild old days of Myspace when people thought it meant something that Tila Tequila had the highest number of friends on the platform. At this rate, LinkedIn isn’t far from becoming meaningless and having to do the amount of soul-searching and niching-down as Myspace is doing now.
  • That said, if you’re a job seeker, having a 100% complete profile on LinkedIn is key because it’s still an incredibly valuable way to get a warm introduction to someone at a company you’d like to work for, from whom you may not have heard back otherwise.
  • Job seekers can use Twitter to find work by following relevant recruiters (easily found by searching “recruiter”) and participating in Twitter chats like #ResuChat.

One of the things that resonated with me most was Tim’s belief that the most key point of networking, blogging, or public speaking is having the courage to be yourself. Having spent many years working with heavy metal bands, I felt like I had to split my Twitter use into two accounts geared towards music (from a fan’s perspective) and online marketing / web development, respectively. Though I’m not sure I’m being 100% authentic since I’m peeling off these layers of my personality and having them live separately from one another, it makes sense to deliver to those separate audiences the content they’re interested in. He also emphasized how important it is to know what you want and build from there. If you’re focused on one goal, it’s easier to take meaningful action.

Follow Tim on Twitter at @timsstrategy and @FixBuildnDrive.

Don’t lose the voting privileges you didn’t know you had!

Did you know you can vote on Facebook policy changes before they happen? 99.9% of Facebook doesn’t appear to.

The current policy up for the chopping block is the ability to vote against policy changes, and moving instead to allowing users to comment on what Facebook’s administration does.

If you want to be able to vote on this stuff in the future, click here to sign into the app, then vote to keep the current policy documents in place.

Cheat sheet: Social media graphics sizes

I’ve created custom designs for social media profiles and have made templates for myself here and there through trial and error, but this seems like a great shortcut. The less time you spend bumping graphic elements pixel-by-pixel around your Photoshop document, the more time you can put into pimping out your profiles!

The cheat sheet is courtesy Mediabistro’s AllTwitter blog.