Wait? What! 8/28: Get Back Into the End-of-Summer Grind With Tips from Buzzfeed, CIO and Instagram

Credit: Thinkstock
Credit: Thinkstock

TGIF! From a panel discussion with some of BuzzFeed’s top San Francisco writers to taking branding advice from Instagram it’s been a great week for us at B&O. Here’s a little recap of some of the top tech stories this week:

  • You’ve spent countless hours prepping for an interview, you know how to highlight your strengths and discuss your weaknesses, but do you know how to answer the oddball questions? CIO asks seven unusual questions to help you nail down that dream job.
  • Now that summer is coming to a close it’s time to get back into the grind of work. Are you ready to jump back in? Fast Company posted a video on how to tackle your work when you get back to the office after a long vacation.
  • Businesses are starting to change the way they brand through photography by taking some tips from Instagram on how to master the art of embracing the ‘perfectly imperfect.’
  • In this week’s offsite a few members of B&O traveled to Microsoft for an “Inside the Newsroom” event to have a panel discussion with a few noteworthy Buzzfeed writers and editors, Mat Honan, Jessica Misener and Nicole Nguyen. Want to craft an engaging pitch? Nicole suggests two brief sentences, a gif and a link to the product.
  • It’s time to bust three PR myths that could be hurting your career. Instead of focusing on landing that “it” piece in the Wall Street Journal, try focusing your efforts on getting a client’s story in a publication that target their audiences on a daily basis.

These were our favorite tidbits of the week. Share yours with us on Twitter @blancandotus!

Wait! What? 6/5: Swipe right for funding; Google’s magical ocean view

Thinkstock Photos
Thinkstock Photos

While you were busy gawking at #CaitlynJenner’s new following (2.3 million fans on Twitter — more than Obama), we were catching up on some crazy tech news you might have missed. Here it is:

  • Be prepared for excessive temptation to kick in: Instagram just launched a Shop Now button, allowing users to shop outside the app with a click. All of those #filtered photographs just got so much more enticing.
  • Ever wondered what lies in the deep, dark depths of the ocean? Thanks to Google Maps Street View Oceans, you can now see spinner dolphins, humpback whales, giant turtles… and gain access to 70% of the untapped territory on our planet.
  • Better Re: The solution to all panic caused by dead or dying phones. Just pop an old battery inside Better Re and it becomes a portable charger for anything that uses a USB cable.
  • Swipe right for…potential equity crowdfunding investment opportunities? Unusual matchmaking app Tendr launched in the U.K. on Wednesday. It allows investors to “star” investment opportunities, promising to remove friction and thereby increase efficiency in deal sourcing.
  • Finally, meet Huggable, the robotic teddy bear. He’s a high-tech puppet that lives in pediatric hospitals to help alleviate anxiety, pain and isolation. He can even talk and play with patients with the aid of a remote operator. Touching, but also further evidence robots will be taking over in the near future.

And that concludes this week’s news bites. Go out and celebrate the first weekend of June with some time on the beach. Or at least enjoy the ocean through the lens of Google Street View. See you next Friday!

Social Posting 101: The Skinny on Sharing Good Content

Thinkstock
Thinkstock

A few months ago, we discussed the optimal time for posting on social media. Here we are again to set the record straight: more content doesn’t always mean better content, and posting for the sake of posting should be avoided at all costs. Social media content should be aimed to delight, engage, educate and (sometimes) even create some controversy with your audience. Follow these tips to make sure you’re on track with your social content:

Facebook

Facebook doesn’t make it easy for brand posts to be successful. In short, if you want promotional brand posts to appear, it won’t be free. However, this does not mean that all content goes unseen – Facebook is mainly filtering out posts they consider to be “promotional,” meaning that quality content will still be organically distributed. Now the questions remains, what is quality content?

Kevan Lee, content manager at Buffer, has pulled together a list of what makes the “perfect” Facebook post:

  • Must contain a link: Research conducted by Facebook itself found that users prefer displayed links over photos with text displayed above.
    • This same research found that 80 percent of users preferred not to see “click-bait” headlines, but rather headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the story or not.
  • Keep it short: A study done by Buddy Media found that posts that contained 40 characters or less received 86 percent more engagement than longer posts.
  • Relevance is king: Guess what? People want to share real-time news with their friends! No surprise there, but you might not know that the Facebook algorithm boosts posts that are “trending” or being mentioned across the platform. Follow conversations and see what your audience is talking about to boost engagement.
  • What’s your content strategy? The most engaged-with brands on Facebook have a strategy when posting content. Consistence and frequency are crucial, though this doesn’t mean post five times a day. But make sure you have a regular cadence of content being shared with your audience.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has about 260 million users and leads the pack for professionals among the social networks listed. It can be both a way to connect with old colleagues, as well as a powerful tool for lead generation. Econsultancy found that LinkedIn sends four times more traffic to your company’s homepage than Twitter and Facebook. Additionally, the platform has the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74 percent. How do you make sure you’re maximizing this potential?

  • Let us repeat ourselves, consistency is crucial to the success of your profile. Whether it be a personal or brand page, consistent messaging ensures that your profile effectively conveys your message if a visitor decides to read one post or twenty.
  • Make sure your content is appropriate for the platform. LinkedIn members are professionals; they aren’t looking for cute cat videos (albeit, don’t hesitate to share these elsewhere). In fact, according to research from LinkedIn, 6 out of every 10 users are interested in reading industry insights, followed closely by company and product news (53 percent and 43 percent of users are interested in this type of content, respectively).
  • LinkedIn has two tools for marketers to determine what content is resonating best with their audience: Content Marketing Score and Trending Content. You can learn more about both tools here. These aim to arm you with the insights needed to post the most relevant and engaging content to both personal and brand pages.

Twitter 

Twitter is a bit like the Wild West of social media. Finding the best content to post often takes some experimenting to see what hashtags, articles, and voice resonates the best with your audience. Nick Lewis, PR and social media expert, compiled a list of the components of a good Tweet:

  • Don’t tweet with nothing to say: Does your Tweet serve a purpose? Does it warrant engagement from your audience? Over-posting without adding any value will likely result in reduced engagement, so the purpose of your content should be clear.
  • Link to associated sources: Due to Twitter’s character count, it’s sometimes tough to convey your whole message in a single tweet. This is where directing your audience to a related source (i.e. an article, blog post) comes in handy.
  • Include images: It’s simple. Tweets that include an image receive 150 percent more retweets than those that do not.

Instagram

Instagram is the fastest growing major social media network in the world with over 300 million users, including more than half of all online young adults. It’s no secret that visual content is exponentially more engaging than written content, especially with millennials. What is the secret to Insta-fame? Let us explain:

  • Context and relevance are key: Think before you hit the ‘Share’ button. What value does this add to my customer’s life? How do they benefit? Why would they be interested? How can I make this relevant to my followers?
  • Hashtag brilliance: Branded hashtags are a great way to not only engage with your audience, but also a great way to curate photos to share on your brand’s account. The clothing brand, Aritizia is a great example of a successful, branded hashtag.

For examples of what not to post, check out this article from The Huffington Post.

Regardless of the network, one piece advice rings true – know your audience before you say anything. What trends do they care about? What annoys them? What content are they seeking out on social media in the first place? And what are they posting?

Once you begin to answer these questions, you’re well on your way to posting engaging content.

Wait! What? 12/12: Say bye-bye to your Instagram followers; Streaming music becomes beaming music

"ALL of my followers need to see these strawberry pancakes. I don't care if they're robots." (Thinkstock)
“ALL of my followers need to see these strawberry pancakes. I don’t care if they’re robots.” (Thinkstock)

From the rainpocalpyse that left the Bay Area soggy and wet to the film industry’s nightmare of a hack, you may have missed the latest and greatest in tech this week. Don’t fret, we have this week’s news digest nice and ready for you:

  • Instagram painted a clear picture of what’s ahead for social this week when it announced it now has 300M monthly users. But wait, where are all of my followers disappearing to?
  • The holidays are upon us, you’ve decorated your tree, the stockings are hung… but have you decorated your beard yet? Movember is taken to a whole new level with beard baubles.
  • Never worry about disturbing your cube mates with your 80’s pop music again! This new speaker “beams” isolated tunes just for you.
  • Behind on your holiday shopping? Good thing 2014 was full of innovative tech gadgets. Find gift inspiration here!
  • Can you say “Hello, Mona Lisa”?! Google is bringing museums to your fingertips with the introduction of its latest platform.

That about sums it up for this week! Did we leave any of your favorite tech stories off our list? Tweet us @BlancandOtus & let us know.

Wait! What? 11/14: Out-of-this-world news that’s not about Kim Kardashian

Space: Tech's Final Frontier, We Guess. (Thinkstock)
Space: Tech’s Final Frontier, We Guess. (Thinkstock)

Were you one of the sheeple too busy taking marching orders from a magazine cover this week to actually pay attention to the news? Please, allow us to divert your attention from another redundant article about Kim K’s best assets (we promise, it’ll be there when you get back) to check out some cool things that actually went down in real life this week:

  • WE LANDED ON A COMET. (Well, not us, but the Euros did.) Who cares that comets are basically just dirty snowballs – this could finally prove our Interstellar-inspired interpretation of relativity is better than everyone else’s!
  • Alibaba’s Jack Ma is officially the richest of them all over in China. His reaction to receiving this title? Le sigh. Honestly, he says, being richer than God is just “a great pain.” We sympathize so, so deeply with his plight.
  • Instagram now allows users to edit their photo captions after posting. Self-important grammarians everywhere rejoiced at the news as they plotted their no-holds-barred attack on people guilty of mistakenly posting captions with a their/there/they’re confusion.
  • Big shocker: those Facebook ads promising unbelievable prices on random plastic surgery procedures you never knew you wanted are too good to be true! Basically, clicking on about a quarter of Facebook ads is the digital equivalent of going to a second location with some dude in Chinatown who promised you a $20 Louis Vuitton.
  • And finally, we’d like to thank the New England Patriots for confirming that our careers will be safe as long as people are people and robots are things that can’t understand why tweeting out racial slurs to a million followers is probably not a great marketing tactic.

Did you catch us slacking on some unbelievably juicy story? Be a pal and let us know on Twitter or in the comments below.

Wait! What? 6/6: Netflix and Verizon do battle, Uber is apparently worth zillions

Credit: Tinder, Inc.
Credit: Tinder, Inc.

While you were busy checking out the features you’ll never use on iOS 8 and realizing an Apple a day no longer keeps the doctor away, other tech happenings were underway. Some you may have missed:

  • Social apps find new ways to make you less social keep you glued to your phone longer: Instagram introduces more editing features, because asking your friends if Valencia or Amaro will get you more likes just wasn’t enough, while Tinder has a moment.
  • Wait, what? $17 billion edition: Uber gets $1.2 thousand million in funding at a massive valuation to continue its march towards ending car ownership, and killing cabs.
  • The road to solar is…the solar-powered road?: If crowdfunding success is any indication, solar roadways conceived by a badass couple from Idaho (yes, looking at you Silicon Valley selfie app company) might reinvent the future of energy.
  • The net neutrality awkwardness between ISPs and content providers gets awkward-er: Netflix and Verizon fire shots at each other as the Orange is the New Black creator blames the Can You Hear Me Now? creator for slow playback.

What piqued your interest this week? Connect with us @BlancandOtus or drop a line below.