Azure Collier

my take on social media marketing and its impact on how we work, live and consume

3 easy tips to make your social media content look professional

There’s a lot of noise in the newsfeeds of social media networks. A lot of clutter and sloppiness.

But your content doesn’t have to look like that. Your posts can stand out from everyone else’s. Before you share, take a moment and use these 3 easy tips to look professional

1. Shorten your links

When you include a link in a post or a tweet, avoid long URLs. They just look bad. And if you’re writing a tweet, a long link can get cut off if you go past 140 characters.

The solution is a link shortener. I’ve used HootSuite’s link shortener and bit.ly, an there are a number of others out there. I used HootSuite to shorten the link for this tweet:

Tweet Shortened Link

The benefit of using a link shortener is that many of them include tracking tools so you can see how many clicks your link got and – if you share that same link on multiple platforms (bonus points for this!) – you can see which platform gave you the most engagement. Here’s a look at HootSuite’s reporting tools:

HootSuite Summary Clicks and Referrers

HootSuite Top Clicks

2. Change how your link is displayed

When you share a link on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, the URL is in your status update, and a preview of the webpage you’re sharing shows up below by pulling an image from the site, as well as a title and subtitle.

Once that link preview shows up, delete the URL in your post. You don’t need it because it’s still active in the preview.

Then use editing tools to clean up your link preview. These editing options are all pretty similar for Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Make sure you’re pulling in the image you want. If there’s more than one image on the website you’re linking to, you can choose to display the most relevant image. Click on the arrow below the image to flip through the options.

LinkedIn Edit Link Headline

You can also edit the title, subtitle (if shown), and the first sentence or two that are pulled from the website. Sometimes the link preview will cut off sentences once they’ve reached a character limit. Click in the editor in the link preview and clean up the text.

Here’s a cleaned up Facebook link post for one of the nonprofits I volunteer with:

Facebook Delete Link

3. Crop your photos

Did you know that each social network displays images a little differently and resizes them based on the network’s design? Make this work to your advantage. If you’re sharing a photo, crop it for the best possible display for whatever network your posting to.

This cheat sheet lists all of the photo sizes for each kind of image – from profile to cover photo to photo posts – for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. Don’t have photo editing software to crop your images? Try a free service like PicMonkey.

I created this image in PicMonkey and cropped it for optimal display in the newsfeed. This post is for the Facebook page of the nonprofit I mentioned earlier. You’ll notice that I have a link in the text for this post because you can’t go to it by clicking the image:

Facebook Photo Crop for Post

Look great!

These tweaks take a few minutes, but they’ll make your posts look like the pros. Once you get in the habit of shortening your links, editing your link preview and cropping your photos, you’ll be able to optimize your social media content, look professional and attract the attention and engagement of your fans.

Got more tips? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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My top 5 of 2013

2013On this last day of 2013, I wanted to take a look back at my blog and the topics that spoke to my readers the most. I reached a milestone this year – 10,000 views – and these are the top 5 posts you were interested in:

1. Make your LinkedIn profile stand out by adding projects

This is by far the top post people come to my blog for. If you haven’t read the post, it has instructions on how to create a visual, creative portfolio by adding links to your projects in the Summary or Experience areas of your LinkedIn profile

2. 3 tools that will help you measure and optimize your Instagram engagement

As Instagram’s popularity grew in 2013, people were interested in getting the most out of their Instagram content and measuring how effective it was. This post gives you 3 tools to do that – Statigram, SimplyMeasured, and Twitrland.

3. 3 tools that will turn your Instagram images into a Facebook cover photo

If you’ve been taking Instagram photos, they probably look better than other photos you’ve snapped with your smartphone, thanks to Instagram’s magical filters. So it makes sense that Instagram users want to show those off in their Facebook cover photo. This post has instructions on how to use PicStitch, Statigram, and  InstaCover to do just that.

4. 3 tools to analyze the impact of your personal Facebook profile

Most marketing blogs are focused on how to create and measure effective content for Facebook business pages. I really haven’t seen anything to show how your network of friends and family interact with your personal Facebook profile. This post looks at 3 tools – WolframAlpha’s Facebook Report, Klout, and My Social Strand – and how to analyze what content your personal network likes.

5. How can your business get noticed in the new Facebook news feed? More visual content

In 2013, Facebook made several changes to the look of its News Feed and what kind of content is seen by fans. Those changes reflect something that Facebook users have been telling us for a while: they want more photos and videos.

Thanks to all of my readers for checking out my posts this year! I look forward to writing more posts to help you with social media marketing in 2014. Happy New Year!

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Search and discover: Secret tips to finding and learning more about your connections on LinkedIn

I have more LinkedIn connections than Facebook friends – 371 on LinkedIn and 269 on Facebook. That’s because of my personal rules for adding people to those networks. I’m happy to connect with people on LinkedIn who I’ve worked with, known in person, or crossed paths with digitally. But I really don’t want all of those business contacts to have access to the personal details I share on Facebook.

Since Facebook tends to be a place where the conversation mostly leans toward personal than professional, I’ve found my LinkedIn community to be a place where I can learn more about the people in my network, tap into their collective skills of the people in my network, and discover new connections. And LinkedIn has a few resources to help me do that – some “secret” resources that you might not know about.

LinkedIn InMaps

This is my favorite LinkedIn feature. LinkedIn InMaps is a product of LinkedIn’s analytics team, and is an “interactive visual representation of your professional universe, based on the relationships between your connections.” InMaps organizes your contacts into color-coded clusters, and it’s pretty easy to tell what past jobs and connections have influenced each cluster.

Here’s what mine looks like:

Azure Collier LinkedIn InMap

The most interesting part of my InMap is the connections I’ve made during my current position at Constant Contact. I’ve been there a little over 2 years, and that’s the largest cluster of connections – even larger than connections by positions I’ve had for 4 or 5 years.

You can also see which people you’re connected to in your network are connected to others in your network, just by clicking their name. The larger that person’s dot is, the more shared connections you have.

Azure Collier LinkedIn InMap Connections

In this example, you can see visually who my colleague Dave Charest is connected to – their threads are darker than the non-connections. The right sidebar of the page lists that connection’s title, resume highlights, and some of your shared connections; there’s a link you can click on to see all of your connections.

LinkedIn Mobile Calendar

LinkedIn’s mobile app allows you to sync your phone’s Outlook calendar with your LinkedIn contacts so you can get to know more about the people you’re meeting and working with. To get started, click on the blue LinkedIn logo on the app, then choose calendar, and allow access to your phone’s calendar.

LinkedIn Mobile Choose Calendar

The calendar sync function automatically pulls invitees’ profiles and adds their photos to your scheduled events. In my case, most of my meetings are with people I already am connected to, but this is a great tool if you have meetings scheduled with people who are new to you, or are from other companies.

LinkedIn Mobile Calendar

Alumni Search Feature

Curious to see if any of your fellow college alumni work in your area and in your industry? LinkedIn makes this easy to do with their alumni search feature. To use it, click on Network in the LinkedIn menu bar, and then choose Find Alumni.

LinkedIn Find Alumni

LinkedIn will automatically pull alumni for the college in your profile – if you have degrees from multiple colleges, you can choose the one you want to search for.

Choose which graduation years you’re interested in, and you’ll see the top 5 cities, companies and careers for alumni from that time period. Want to see results for a certain city, company and career? Click See more at the bottom of the top 5 to expand for more options. Click on the ones you want, and find alumni connections in your field.

I searched for all graduation years – there aren’t a whole lot of Purdue University grads in the Boston area, but it was interesting to see that there were some fellow alumni nearby who are in marketing and communications. Go Boilers!

LinkedIn Alumni Search

Need more LinkedIn tips? Check out this post to learn how you can add projects to your LinkedIn profile and show off your work!

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Make your LinkedIn profile stand out by adding projects

LinkedIn is the social network that doesn’t get much love.

It’s professional and buttoned-up. It’s not as fun as Facebook, or as pithy as Twitter.

And – aside from your profile photo and any image that shows up as part of a link that you post on an update – there’s nothing visually interesting going on.

Until now.

If you have accumulated a visual, creative portfolio as part of your career, you can absolutely show it off – by using the add a link feature in the Summary or Experience areas of your profile. The Summary area allows you to show off all your projects in one spot; adding to the Experience area allows you to add work to specific positions.

STEP 1

LinkedIn Edit Profile

To get started, make sure you’re in the edit mode of your profile.

STEP 2

LinkedIn Summary Section
Scroll down and find your Summary or Experience section. Click the add a link icon.

STEP 3

LinkedIn URL Title

Enter the URL for your project – you have a wide range of sites to pull from because LinkedIn has partnerships with about 100 providers, including SlideShare, Prezi, Twitter, Pinterest, Issuu, YouTube, and Vimeo. Click Enter, and then LinkedIn will pull the title and description of your item. Edit the title and/or description, and click Save.

FINISHED!

 

LinkedIn Projects

Now you have a new multimedia project to showcase on your profile.

Although you can add specific projects to your positions, I like having them all in one spot in the Summary. I have webinar slide decks, a video, blog posts, and my Twitter stream. It’s a great way to display my skills in social media content creation, writing, editing, presentation design, and video editing.

Voila! Your LinkedIn profile just got a whole lot more interesting and interactive.

Have you tried adding your projects to LinkedIn? What do you think of these tools? Let me know in the comments.

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