Social Media Jobs

According to data collected by representatives of statistics portal website Statista (statista.com), almost two billion people used social media in 2012; and as of the date of this article, social media giant Facebook (facebook.com) now has more than one billion users.

With numbers like those, it is not surprising that businesses are looking for ways to increase revenue by utilizing social media. As such, the demand for social media savvy employees is growing.

The aim of this article is to highlight the responsibilities and educational requirements of some of the most sought-after social media specialists.

SEO Analysts

Search engine optimization (SEO) analysts are responsible for improving business visibility online. In order to do this, these analysts use a variety of tools to create websites that are informative and customer-friendly in order to ensure that their employer’s name remains on the first page of popular search engines such as Google (google.com) whenever prospective customers type keywords related to the company’s products or services.

Associates of employment compensation research company PayScale (payscale.com) have concluded that the average annual salary for SEO Analysts in the United States is $39,811.

Social Media Content Writers

Business owners rely on content writers to help establish their brand and increase sales. The writers accomplish this by producing informative and engaging content that is free of typos, bad grammar and unsubstantiated claims.

Social media savvy content writers understand the importance of eye-catching titles and keywords, and they use both to help drive traffic to websites.

PayScale (payscale.com) representatives have suggested that content writers currently earn approximately $40,230 per year.

Social Media Strategists

According to various job descriptions found on career-oriented websites, digital strategists or digital marketing strategists use popular social media network websites such as Twitter (twitter.com), Pinterest (pinterest.com) and Facebook (facebook.com) to evaluate a company’s target audience. Once they have gathered the information they need, these strategists work with other members of the company’s marketing team to create marketing strategies that will expand the company’s customer base and increase revenue.

Factors such as experience and location can affect a digital strategist’s earning potential; however, PayScale (payscale.com) associates have made the following claim: “A social media strategist earns an average salary of $46,195 per year.”

Social Network Community Manager

Social network community managers or online community managers help bridge the gap between businesses and consumers by using blogs, forums and other social media outlets to promote a company’s products and services and provide customer support.

According to PayScale (payscale.com), the median annual salary for online community managers in the United States is $47,405.

Educational requirements

Specific educational requirements for social media jobs will vary from company to company; however, a number of businesses that post help-wanted ads on employment websites such as Monster (monster.com) and Indeed (indeed.com) solicit individuals who have graduate or undergraduate degrees in communications, marketing and business.

Interested individuals who lack these credentials can help boost their chances of being hired by taking advantage of certification programs, which normally take much less time to complete than a traditional four-year degree and are generally less expensive as well.

For example, Purchase College (purchase.edu) offers a number of social media certification programs that can be completed online. This option can be of great benefit to people who are unable to participate in campus-based programs.

Benefits

One of the benefits of having a career in social media is that some of the jobs are “virtual.” In other words, employees can work from the comfort of their homes. This kind of flexibility can be extremely beneficial to disabled individuals who may be unable to travel, stay-at-home moms and older adults re-entering the workforce.

As the world of social media continues to grow, numerous statisticians have suggested that social media job opportunities will increase as well.

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Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is simply using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus+, Instagram, and more, to gain attention to a company or product. Companies use social media marketing to create sharable content that attracts potential customers and encourages them to share it across their social platforms. Below are some benefits of using social media marketing.

Before social media marketing, companies use to advertise on the television, radio, and billboards. All these have one common theme, there is no feedback coming back on the product being advertise. With social media, marketers can communicate with consumers to get a better idea of how a product is doing. Companies that communicate with consumers and welcome new ideas, can build a better brand loyalty.

Another benefit of marketing with social media is cost. Generally, companies only pay an employee to post on social media sites, but that company can post things and share it with the billions of people that use social media. Instead of spending money to advertise on many different billboards, social media reaches an audience through technology with just a simple click of a button. However, that does not mean there is not a strategy to using social media. Marketers should still create a marketing plan to evaluate situation analysis, objectives, and create goals.

There are social media objectives marketers should look at when branding a product. These include:
Listen to your customers – Monitor the various social media outlets to see what is being said about the product.
Build Relationships – Talk to customers about a product. Create surveys and take their feedback for what it is worth. If a person is deciding between two companies to buy a product, and one company shows they engage with customers, they will likely lean to that company to buy a product. Using social media to build relationships is key.
Promote Products – Social media lets customers talk about the product. The more people who know about a product, the more sales that product can generate. Just one Twitter retweet could reach thousands of people. So promoting products on social media can be financially beneficial.
Manage Reputation/Customer Service – Social media marketers should never be afraid to respond to feedback, whether it is good or bad. If a customer is not happy with a product and is voicing it all over social media sites, the marketer should respond to them and try to communicate with them as fair and reasonable as possible. Just talking to a customer with a negative experience may show the customer that the company really does care about them and that they will stay as a customer.

There are ways to track just how many people are seeing a post from a company. These social media metrics include:
Buzz – This is the volume of buzz that a consumer creates based on posts on the various social media sites throughout a certain time, day, or season.
Interest – Number of Facebook likes, Twitter favorites, fans, followers, friends, and/or growth rates are all ways to see just how much interest in a company or product.
Participation – Similar to interest, but this shows how much consumers are actually communicating with companies. Whether it be with comments, retweets, posts, and more.

One example of social media marketing is that companies use them to give away free stuff. There may be things like the first 100 retweets will get a free coupon, or the 500th like will win a free product. Also, companies can have plenty of contests through their social media platforms.

As you can see, social media marketing can be a huge tool to promote a business or product. The relationship that this brings with customers is something we did not see just ten years ago. Social media does change quite rapidly and it is up to companies to see what social media sites are the best to use to promote a product. Some things that are more suitable for Instagram, may not be as suitable for Facebook. One thing is for certain, social media marketing is here to stay.

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The History of Snapchat

Founded by Evan Spiegel and Reggie Brown in 2011, Snapchat was originally launched as an app called Picaboo. The concept of sending and receiving photos that could not be saved came to Spiegel as a project in his product design class while attending Stanford University in April of 2011. Not having the ability to code the project themselves, Brown and Spiegel incorporated the assistance of Bobby Murphey to code the original version of the application. Reggie Brown left the Snapchat team in August of 2011 due to a falling out between himself and the other co-founders.

The fundamental feature Snapchat marketed itself as having was the ability to take a picture, send it, and not worry about having it be in the possession of the receiver. Snapchat requires a finger to remain on the screen of a smart device in order to view the picture, making the act of capturing a screenshot very difficult, albeit not impossible by some clever users. For this reason, users are able to set the max amount of time their images can be viewed for.

Snapchat was not only receiving a lot of positive press, but also a lot of negative publicity. Accused of allowing underage individuals to send sexually explicit material between one another, the app was often a source of media targeting. The major concern was that the large majority of users of the Snapchat service were individuals between the ages of 13 and 23. Since the program was marketed for its ease of use and ability to send pictures of users, growing worries surrounded children using it to ‘sext’ each other.

By the end of 2012, over 20 million photos were being shared by Snapchat users every single day. The popularity of the application proved to be a challenge for the young entrepreneurs because of the difficulty they had in providing a stable and reliable platform for users during periods of heavy usage. Problems with the Snapchat app included slow delivery times as well as lost images.

To scale up the platform to handle the influx of new users, Snapchat raised over $60 million dollars in venture capitalist funding during 2013. By October 23, 2013 the company was valued at nearly $4 billion dollars. During this time, Reggie Brown sued Snapchat, claiming he was a co-founder and the brains behind the platform, the name, and the logo. The lawsuit was settled in late 2014 for an undisclosed amount and Brown was credited as a creator of Snapchat.

Snapchat has continue to grow as a social platform and as a company since its humble beginnings as a Stanford University final project. The founders of Snapchat have turned down several billion dollars from both Google, Facebook, and other tech companies that have been interested in acquiring it. As of 2014, Snapchat has been speculated by many analysts as being worth nearly $10 billion dollars. As the app sensation continues to grow, the future for Snapchat continues to look brighter. It doesn’t appear the service will be going anywhere anytime soon.

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GIF Keyboard

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Looking for a GIF Keyboard for iOS8? Look no further than this great keyboard from Riffsy that lets you send animated GIFs into just about any app including iMessage. It’s a fun way to reply with something more than txt. Send the a GIF to get them LOLing.

GIF Keyboard in the Press

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Using bots for Second Life Marketing

Yes much like in the movie Blade Runner the replicants already walk among us, virtually at least. In Second Life bots are nothing new, however what is new is their heavy usage in marketing to boost traffic numbers and increase virtual sales. You can find some good coverage on Grid Expectations and New World Notes for the back story. Once you’ve read up why don’t we take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of bots in Second Life. I’ll even tell you how its done….

The Good

While not a popular opinion I support the use of bots in Second Life. I deal with plenty of dead, automated systems that mimic humans (ie telephone directories, web sites etc) every day, why not in the virtual space as well? One thing companies have failed to invest in for their virtual properties is a proper staff. Avatars arrive at virtual ghost towns when they should be greeted and shown the right direction to get started. A combination of paid live staff and bots with crude AI (already possible thanks to Pandora Chat Bots) can greatly increase the visitors experience at your destination.


Bots used as virtual models at B&B Skins

In a virtual world where clothes, skins, and body shapes are by far the most prized commodity using bots for display purposes is another example of the good. Here a customer can see the truest representation of what they are about to buy. Images are flat and take forever to load, avatars load quickly and offer the best preview.

 

Adding a layer of Artificial Intelligence to these bots open the doors to a lot opportunities beyond staff, above we see an example of a their use in machinima. In this scene we see several bots playing sports together, some players are bots, others live actors. Sine Wave has a great web based interface for setting up and controlling your bots, you program the triggers and define the actions.

The Bad


Cafe of the Dead!

In the first image of this blog post and above we see another image from B&B Skins. High in the sky (well above the standard flight limit) we find the virtual worlds most quiet cafe. Here I found over 75 bots sitting among themselves, enjoying whatever a bot enjoys (one can only assume that’s CPU cycles). So what’s bad about this? They aren’t hurting any one up there other than perhaps causing some extra lag. Right?

Well as some know Second Life traffic is based not only how many avatars visit a location but how much time they spend there as well. So if you camp bots for 24 hour periods your location will get a significant boast in ranking and in some cases a spot on the much beloved "Popular Places" list. In the case of B&B they do make the popular places list and as a result get a steady flow of new (and live) traffic through their shops. Gamed? Tricked? Scamming? Sure maybe a little, but B&B offers something different, a very high quality product. Other places who artificially inflate their ranking typically offer shit products or scammy pyramid schemes for Linden dollars. Vendors in Second Life continue to get more competive, it’s hard to blame some for using this tatic to get noticed amoung the 1000s of other retailers.

The Ugly


Say hello to our new masters

So what’s next? An army of millions of undead and unrezed avatars plaguing the metaverse, stealing your very soul and of course lindens? The eventual enslavement and overtaking of the entire grid, turning us into pawns for a heartless, tax dodging super race of corrupt replicant powers? Well not exactly, out of hacks and gamed systems will come a new way to calculate traffic. Much like how we record traffic for web sites Linden Labs (or TNBT) is going to have to give us a few upgrades. There has already been plenty of talk about this but I imagine as with many much needed upgrades they are low of the "to-do" list right now. Until the loop hole is fixed (lets hope it eventually is) you might as well enjoy and experiment with bots for your own business.

How Its Done

Creating bots in Second Life is done several different ways but all are based around the libsl frameset. If you have prior programming experience (or just an ungodly amount of free time) you can create your own scripts and start logging in bots. For those that want a little more user friendly experience try one of the following:

Thoys SL Bot


Thoys SL Bots by Thoys Pan

For a one time fee of $2000L (about $8USD) you can turn any existing avatar into a bot. Thoys is one of the better ones available because with your purchase you get a nice light Windows client to control your bot. With this client you can set a "Owner" (yourself), chat, make payments and execute several other commands. One of the more interesting tabs lets you setup your bot for use with Pandora Chat Bots where you can easily install some very crude but effective AI. I’ve used this on my land for staff and preloaded the bots responces with marketing messages and helpful directions. Specific keywords trigger the values I program through the Pandora web site.

Lastly Thoys SL Bot has one very nice feature, avatars logged through it do not appear "ruthed". This is where the avatar remains gray and custom skins/clothes do not properly render. You’ll find many SL bots face this fate making them much easier to spot and less engaging.

Sine Wave Robots


Sine Wave Robots

With a web interface as sexy as their branding Sine Wave has one of the best services on the market. Setup is quick and easy and allows you a dizzying amount of customization to your bot’s behavior. Bots are appropriately called actorbots and will cost you around $1USD per day, per robot to run. Since there is no client to run connectivity is reliable, they will even auto re log your bot at a time you designate.

SLeek


SLeek Light Windows Client

SLeek is a very light Windows based Second Life client for logging in avatars. Here you can perform most of the basic actions of the full client minus the CPU intensive graphics. The program works well but from my experience can only run about 3 instances (logged in bots) before they all crash. Additionally your bots appear "ruthed" to other residents but hey its free so as they say, you get what you pay for. I’ve found this client helpful when on a laptop or public terminal and need a quick way to login for chat.

Please feel to share comments on ethics of bots in Second Life or any additionally questions in the comments. Just please…no comment spam bots. ;)

 

Posted in Second Life | 4 Comments

Facebook Beacon

If Facebook Beacon somehow survives the recent onslaught it will likely become a powerful advertising platform. They are doing everything right, you just aren’t ready for it. Yes you, the same person who fills their various social nooks with all types of juicy personal information yet throws up the privacy flag when its convenient. I understand the concerns, and I would even say they are more than valid. It just seems to me in this new web landscape there is very little middle ground to stand on. You are either a social media whore, sharing your thoughts/friends/relationship status/actions freely for all to see, or opting out completely.

Data Sharing Is Not Something New

Information is power as they say, and marketing companies thrive on it. When you signup for a credit card or simply enter your information online this data is almost always shared in one way or another. Companies like Choicepoint have built huge businesses out of it and they want more. Social networks already contain some of this information and they want it. Your credit score and address are one thing, but your personality and social actions are the real "holy grail" here.

Keeping Up With the Jones

Referral based marketing is sexy, if you run in tight circles of friends on social networks your connections are watching you. Facebook Beacon taps into something formally out of reach to most companies, your friends. Where "word of mouth" marketing is simply a whisper in your ear referral based marketing is something more tangible. Something you can click and run with, a passive but effective call to action.

So for now I’m going against the grain and as an "Internet Marketer" supporting Beacon. For those wishing to block it without having to delete your account I recommend visiting here. For best results you’ll probably want to make a tin foil hat as well.

Coming Soon: Twitter Beacon! Now when you thrill me with your updates on recent sandwiches eaten I get a advertisement from Subway. :)

 

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Mahalo Daily Launches Monday November 5th

Check out the trailer above and tune in November 5th for the first episode of the Mahalo Daily staring Veronica Belmont.

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Poor Man’s Tech Conference Guide

"Your invited to the Web 2.0 Summit"

When I received this email from the prestigious Oreily web conference I naturally assumed there was some type of clerical error. Perhaps they just sent these out to any one who requested one, in any case I was excited. Call me crazy but I love these things, such a great opportunity to meet fellow geeks and draw inspiration from speakers. Gleefully I clicked through to register and there it was like a 404 to my heart, "Register Today! Only $3500". Now to most of the attendees of this conference three large is not a big deal, or their company picks up the tab. In my case (independent with quasi cash) and many others who would enjoy this conference a price tag like that is just not within reach. So how can we enjoy the same events, or at least get some free drinks? For this I present to you the Poor Man’s Tech Conference Guide:

I didn’t know they made a rolle for you cheap ass, got into the club on a free pass

The exhibit only pass is your best friend. Companies pay big bucks to be in the hall, anywhere from 5-100 grand depending on the show size. A good conference knows the more faces exhibitors see the better and sometimes give out free passes to the exhibit hall. Check the conference web site and make sure to register ahead of time for one.

 

Fake it till you make it

A few years ago conference badges were pretty simple paper printouts. These could easily be reproduced with a little Photoshop and color printer. Now however many are moving to the "credit card" type badge which are more difficult to reproduce. A few options on how to handle this:

  1. If you have a friend with a paid ticket have him bring it over to see if you can create your own.
  2. Use web sites like this one to stock up on supplies. Many conference still use the same badge holder with a color strip to indicate the type of registration. Conference staff is typically looking at this and only this as you pass by.
  3. Look up the conference on Flickr to get badge examples. Thanks to the crack like addiction of geeks and Flickr, images usually show up within minutes of the conference starting.

Hack the staff

I used to do technical logistics for large conferences so I have a lot of experience with conference staff. They break down into three groups:

  1. Hired Goons: These folk work for large conference companies like Freeman or are sent from staffing agencies. As exciting as it must be to register business men while they talk on their cell phone, they usually don’t care too much for their job. They get startled easy so tread lightly, you best plan of attack is to walk up frustrated and say you lost your badge. Make a mental note of an attendees name and give them this. If they ask for ID tell them your badge was in your wallet and them grumble about having to call all those credit card companies.
  2. Suckers!: These are employees of the company behind the conference who got suckered into working it. While most of the execs have fun attending or running the show they get to stand behind an sign labeled "A-G Registration". These people are usually bad to try anything with, not only do they know the systems they might even know the attendee you are trying to clone.
  3. "Security Guards": Similar to what you find at your local bank these guys are actually you best choice for a hack. They hover around doorways and check badges like a hawk but they are easily distracted. During lunch time especially they seem eat at their "station" many times and are well involved with a tasty sandwich. Additionally many conferences host a lunch so almost all staff is enjoying the free food like our friend here. Sneak by into the promise land during this time. You may have to wait in a session room for awhile but once your in, your in.

!!!!WARNING!!!!
Beware of Grandma Staff
!!!!WARNING!!!

Don’t even think about trying to pull a fast one on the many grannies you find at registration. What they lack in speed they make up for in detail and will maliciously check or ask about any issue. You little whipper snapper!

Lurk

The lobby at these events can sometimes be more valuable than the conference itself. Better yet the bar next to the lobby if available. You’ll find many fellow geek’s and business folk will open up greatly after a few drinks.

Look on web sites like upcoming.org for events and parties related to the conference. Sometimes companies will book a place nearby filling up it with attendees (and open bar). Track down a way to get on the list or simply show up and try to get in. If you don’t have an attendee badge bring a business card for entry.

Unconference

Want to go to a free geek conference and in your area? Attend a local BarCamp, these things are great and free as can be. I’ve been to a few and must say they have been some of my favorite conferences. Connect with other passionate and mostly independent geeks like yourself. Hell you can contribute by presenting your own session on just about anything. All you have to do is fill out a post it and stick it the wall. They also have powerpoint karaoke which is something amazing within itself.

So there you have, for those tech heads on their way up how you too can rub elbows with the a-listers and fellow digital friends. Naturally some of the above is a form of fraud so if you get caught don’t expect to be welcomed to next years event. Of course if you ever do make it big they will probably let you attend for free anyway.

also see: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/10/14/MNKJSL3GM.DTL

Posted in Events, Web 2.0 | 1 Comment

Second Life Travel Guide by Sean Percival

It’s done, finished, complete…

After months of exhaustive and strange research my Second Life Travel Guide is on it’s way to you. Whether you are an avid user or just slightly interested in Second Life this is the book for you. I curate the best the Metaverse has to offer in the following areas:

  • Shopping
  • Entertainment
  • Education
  • Adults Only
  • Real Life in Second Life
  • Where to Live

From Que Publishing this full color guide is heavy with beautiful in-world photographs and destination info. I like to say that the images in this book are so nice that it’ll make the geek’s coffee table.

There is also an in-world piece called Landmark Island. This private island will serve as a virtual travel hub of sorts. Here you find Landmarks (the SL version of a bookmark) for many of the locations in the book. It will also help me to keep the book up to date as locations change they can be reflected here. There is also Ning social network for this project here.

If you haven’t already signed up for account you can for FREE here.

 
Click To Pre-Order

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Your Blog Comments Brought to Life

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