Is Social Media Losing Users?

Social engagement is down across my social sites – what’s up with that? This is a very short post documenting some of my observations about social media for the last part of 2016 and the first part of 2017.

Have other people noticed that social engagement is down for the first part of 2017? I am not getting as much engagement on Google plus, Twitter, or LinkedIn. LinkedIn use  to be one of my top referrers. I did not get one site visit from my last post. I have also not received many comments or likes on LinkedIn. This lack of engagement on LinkedIn is not a normal pattern. For the last 6 months plus LinkedIn engagement has been fairly high. Now I am lucky to get one interaction every few posts.

I still get a good amount of engagement on Google Plus, but even that is down slightly. Recently I have not had time to plus and respond to all of my comments on G+, so I can understand not getting as much engagement there.

However, I have noticed that my Tumblr stream is sparse compared to what was normal. So It’s not just me, but a lot of other people are not posting or engaging as much as they were 30  to 40 days ago.  Is this going to be the new normal? The only social site where I am getting more engagement is StumbleUpon. If anyone would like to follow me on StumbleUpon I’m at http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/andrewledford

Even the social sharing in my Tumblr stream is way below the number of posts that have traditionally been shared. Is social media losing active users across the board?
Even the social sharing in my Tumblr stream is way below the number of posts that have traditionally been shared. Is social media losing active users across the board?
Follow me on Google + to comment and connect
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrss

Share this
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Case Study – Four Day Improvised And Off The Cuff Social Promotion

Case Study – Four day improvised and off the cuff social promotion for the Tim Russ Band
This was done sometime ago and I am just now getting around to publishing it. I wanted to document a very short and extemporise promotion I did for a friend on my different social media accounts. This started because I wanted build a private arts and entertainment group where my friends who are artist, musicians, and producers could support and promote each other.

I think that this kind of promotion can be improved with some pre-planning and coordinating our efforts across social. If I had a bit more time I would have thought about sending an email with a bit of information promoting the event.
I started posting on a Tuesday when I saw the post on Facebook.

Day 1
The Tuesday posts consisted of reposting on Facebook and then scheduling a post on Twitter using Hootsuite.
Facebook = 1 like
Twitter = 54 impressions and 3 engagements

Social sharing started when I saw thier post on Facebook
Social sharing started when I saw thier post on Facebook

I received a message from the band that they had a new event page. I thought this would be more friendly to sites that are somewhat anti Facebook, including a new experimental site I have started to use.
On Wednesday I began posting with more intention. I posted to my favorite social network Google Plus, and then to my other social accounts LinkedIn, Twitter, Mind, and Facebook.

https://www.minds.com/register Mind is a new social network that at the beginning of this experiment I had only belonged to for about 3 days, at that time I only had 1 follower. I used some of my points on mind to “boost” or promote the post. I started with 13 views and then did another 50 promoted views. After the promoted posts I had 197 views. In the evening I did another 36 promoted views. I ended up with 295 views. Most of my posts on this site get around 12 views. This leads me to believe that the boosted/promoted posts get more views than what are paid for. I am still trying to learn how best to use the site. I think this site will become too spammy to use as it matures, unless they do something to control the people hurting the user experience by gaming the system and/or using it for trashy promotions.

On the second day I used better hashtags on my twitter post and received a beneficial retweet that hit the target market. This retweet earned a like from another band that does quite a bit of local marketing and I believe has developed something of a local fan base. I wish the band members would have reach out and connect with this band. In the future it could be beneficial for cross promotion. Some of the two band members have met at community events, so this would have been a great time to build up that relationship.

On Google I posted to my Art collection. Google Plus Post This is one of my least popular collections/groups. I also reposted it to a local Long Beach G+ community.
On LinkedIn I posted to a Long Beach group and a travel and tourism group that I belong to.
On day two I also posted to my Facebook fan page and then shared that post to my personal stream.

Day 2
Mind = 295 views out of these I paid for 99 boosted views
Twitter = 65 impressions and 6 engagements this included 1 retweet + 3 likes
Google = 4 plus1s on profile page & 1 plus1 in Long Beach community
LinkedIn = 0 interaction
Facebook = post was clicked on 5 times and there were 7 reactions, comments, or shares it reached 19 people.

Day 3
On Google Plus I did a new post in the Star Trek community
On Facebook I posted on my personal timeline and mentioned a friend who has a well developed follower base of Star Trek fans. He was out of town so this did not work as well as I was hoping. I also pinned the previous day’s post to the top of my fan page. In addition I did a post on StumbleUpon. I have not used StumbleUpon before, so I don’t have much experience on the platform. I was hoping to use StumbleUpon more for discovery, but it is a little too slow and clumsy for how I search for content. I opened the account hoping to develop a network on the platform, but I now don’t think I will use it much. Perhaps I will find a use for it as I get more experience on the platform. (Update – I am now getting fairly good results when I post to StumbleUpon 60+ page visits on a new post and some post earn a steady stream of traffic. I think at the time of publishing this post StumbleUpon has become the largest source of referral traffic for this site.)

StumbleUpon is now one of my best sources of referral traffic
StumbleUpon is now one of my best sources of referral traffic

I used 200 point from my mind account to promote the post on that platform.

Mind = 360 new views
Twitter = 36 views 1 engagement I do have to say it had a 6.9 percent engagement rate which is the highest engagement rate for the last 20 posts.
Google+ = 2 Plus1s on profile page 2 Plus1s in Star Trek community, 1 plus1 in Long Beach community
LinkedIn = 0 interaction
Facebook = 1 like, and 1 share on profile and 2 shares from fan page and 3 more engagements and 1 more post click. As of the second day the post reached 25 people.
StumbleUpon= 0

Day 4
The only promotion I did on this day was 200 promoted views on mind .com.

Mind = 532 new views and  2 up votes
Twitter = 16 new views, 0 new engagements and a 5.5 percent engagement rate which is still the highest engagement rate for the last 20 posts. But it is now getting closer to the engagement rate for an earlier post promoting the band. I have not been tracking the stats on the earlier post, but it looks like they have improved slightly.
Google+ = 1 Plus1 in Star Trek community
LinkedIn = 0 interaction
Facebook = The reach has expanded to 26 people on fan page
StumbleUpon= 0

For me Google Plus is best sources of quality website traffic
For me Google Plus is best sources of quality website traffic

I could have done more for this band if they would have provided more content. A post a day would have been nice. It would have also been great if we had official bios on all the band members. The band is built around a famous cast from the Star Trek series and that is why I was posting to Star Trek groups. But other band members have their own talents and personas that I think would be of interest to the indie music community. Here is the Tim Russ website for those of you who are interested http://www.timrusswebpage.com/site/Welcome.html

This was a good experiment and it was at the beginning of my use of two social platform I have not used before. StumbleUpon gets the thumbs up and I think it is a useful platform for social promotions. Minds, well that one seems to not be so good. I am still playing with it, but I have had no meaningful interaction on that platform so far.  On Minds.com you can get a lot of views, but those views do not seem to be at all useful.

I did enjoy tracking the engagement from this very improvised bit of social media use. I plan on doing another one of these case studies with one of my own post. Having access to website traffic does give some important numbers that are missing from this four day experiment.

I have found that website visits are much higher than recorded/reported site statistic would indicate. I often get quite good site traffic from Google Plus even if I don’t get much engagement on the post itself. The same is true for StumbleUpon and to a less extent LinkedIn. When I was doing quite a bit of experimenting with social traffic I found the same was true of Facebook too.

Follow me on Google + to comment and connect
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrss

Share this
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

What are your marketing and promotional plans for 2017?

Business building, marketing, and promotional plans for 2017?
Along with a lot of other people I am preparing for a new year of promotional and entrepreneurial activities. 2017 looks like it will be the year I actually start the New Media Mingle business. The website has been up for a while, but I haven’t really started the business yet. I am still in the audience building and fundraising phase. I am happy to say that I now have an audience for at least one of my video shows. Now I just need to raise the funds to go back into production.

During 2016 I did get to conduct an experiment sending traffic from my social media to my website. One of the critical things I learned from this experiment is that I can already drive enough traffic that it will crash my site. The second and most important lesson learned is that without a revenue stream I cannot afford to host a site that receives all of my social traffic.

For 2017 I also have identified a funding strategy that I plan to implement once I get up and running. Although it will take quite a bit of effort and some time to put into place. I’m hoping the new income stream can start in six months or less. Although I am also aware that I suffer from optimization bias and there is  good chance it will take longer.  I have observed that optimization bias is a common problem of the self employed and entrepreneurs, However, without it, much would never get done.

My Special Project 2016-2017 will be an important marketing experiment for the New Year
Building my Special Project. My Special Project 2016-2017 will be an important marketing experiment for the New Year

It should be no surprise that I’m planning to use a somewhat unorthodox promotion strategy in the coming year. The plan is to stick with my commitment of organic traffic. I still have no plans to do paid advertising. This year Facebook has been further depreciated as a promotional platform. I do not plan on giving FaceBook much weight in my social strategy this year. I have already start posting less on Facebook than I have for most of 2016. However, I will probably start a page for the new project there as well.

I am thinking of doing things a little different than what everybody else is doing. If everyone is using best practices it seems that those with the most resources to implement standard tactics best will win. What I am looking for is a way where someone without financial resources can win against those with bigger budgets.

I am still on the organic traffic quest. Perhaps I am living in the past when content was king and could build traffic and sales. However, I think there is still a way to get organic traffic without spending a lot of money. To succeed at building organic visits may not cost dollars, but it will cost. There has always been a hefty price to pay for organic traffic in time and effort.

I do plan on developing an Instagram account this year. Yes, I know it seems like I am late to the party. But I have not had a need for Instagram until I get my new special project off the ground. The new project will be part of the new marketing mix I am planning to use next year.

12/25/2016 My Christmas Present From Google Plus 150,000,000 views
12/25/2016 My Christmas Present From Google Plus 150,000,000 views

I do plan on continuing to favor Google product in 2017. I still believe that Google plus is the last true great social networking site left standing. Although I enjoy Tumblr, Yahoo seems to be implementing changes to that site to make it less user friendly. I am planning to continue using Linkedin as well. I am also toying with the idea of repurposing some articles on the LinkedIn publishing platform. LinkedIn seems to require a lot of effort for a somewhat modest bit of traction.  I do think the quality of people on LinkedIn make it a worthwhile platform to invest in. LinkedIn may also become more valuable after Microsoft takes over the platform. It looks like these three social platforms will still be important parts of my social strategy for 2017.

I have not been active on YouTube for a while. I think 2017 will see my renewed interest in YouTube and perhaps other video platforms too. YouTube continues to be the big player in online video. Even though other platforms are eating into YouTube’s market share. YouTube is still holding its own and will be quite important for my plans over the next year. Short form video platforms may become useful with the development of my new special project as well. Once a well established revenue stream is developed I would like to start publishing video on another video platform in addition to YouTube.

In 2016 Twitter has been disappointing and I am probably going to discount it a bit in my general strategy. But, I think I will start a new account for the new project. Twitter still seems like a good way to let people know when I will be making a live appearance.

StumbleUpon is a useful platform I started using in 2016. I am not sure how traffic will convert from  StumbleUpon but it does drive a lot of page views to this site. I am surprised that it has proven to be a good source of steady traffic. I thought it would only bring traffic from post for a day or two. However, I find that it can provide a steady stream of traffic even for old posts. I plan on using this platform more in the coming year.

Content has always been a central focus of my online promotions. 15 years ago it was much more effective. At that time content was the promotion. Now it seems each piece of content needs its own promotion. I have quite a few articles written from last year that were never published. I didn’t want to publish an article here and there without an organized publishing schedule. I have started posting a few articles as subject categories that will be added to later in the year.

What I do plan on doing is focusing on my readers, friends, and fans. Different platforms will be used for the various functions of building the new brand.

I do think newer and more trendy platforms will play their part in my 2017 promotion plans. However, they will mostly be a place for user generated content created by fans and spectators. I guess you can think of this as my dark social strategy. It’s not easy to control or measure. However, it can be influenced.

The state of SEO.
I have not decided on a SEO strategy. Somedays I relish the challenge of getting on the first page of SERPs and other days I want to avoid the traditional battle to the first page. I am not sure if extremely good SERPs placement will help in what I am trying to accomplish. It is always a fun metric to refer people to when you have the first place listing, but I am not sure that will matter in the long run. I am thinking of not implementing any real SEO strategy and seeing if I can still get ranking. I will probably still write with SEO in mind, but I won’t actively try to manipulate positioning.

Special Project 2016-2017 In December I realized I need to do a Redesign to main part of the Special Project
Special Project 2016-2017 In December I realized I needed to do a Redesign to a main part of the Special Project

As the year progresses I plan on writing about all of these platforms. More importantly I hope to also tell why I am making some of the distribution and platform choices. Why choose older establish platforms over the newest shiny social thingy?

Follow me on Google + to comment and connect
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrss

Share this
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Tim J. Lewis at the Robotics Society of Southern California October 2016

Tim J. Lewis at the Robotics Society of Southern California October 2016
I had the good fortune to visit with Tim J. Lewis at the Robotics Society of Southern California. He was demonstrating some of his Halloween creation while giving us some history and tips about animatronics and their development at Disney. Tim worked on many of the most famous animatronics at Disney including Pirates of the Caribbean, the Lincoln presentation and my favorite the Tiki Room. He also worked on the crypt keeper on Tales from the Crypt.

Me and Tim Lewis with his animatronics cat
Me and Tim Lewis with his animatronics cat

While I am good at getting living creature to do all kinds of interesting things I am a novice at animating the nonliving. My first project is going to be a puppet. However, I’m working on learning to animate these fictional creations with the help of little computers, servos, pneumatics, and motors.

Me and Tim J. Lewis a Disney animatronics engineer
Me and Tim J. Lewis a Disney animatronics engineer
The magic inside animatronics
The magic inside animatronics
Follow me on Google + to comment and connect
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrss

Share this
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Robotics Society of Southern California Meeting

I finally had a chance to attend the Robotics Society of Southern California Meeting. This is another Long Beach group. I have wanted to go to these meetings for over two years now. The big barrier is that I work on the weekends. After attending one meeting I can see I am going to need to start taking a day off.

There is a lot to learn. It all seems a little overwhelming. However, I am sure it will come to me little by little. There is so much to know in this field. One of the incentives for attending these meeting is learning about what others are doing and how they are doing it. Sharing this information will make it easier to find solutions to difficult problems. It helps that there are some really intelligent people that attend this meeting. In fact I think everyone I talked to seemed to have what I imagine is a higher IQ than the average person.

In the photo is one of the robots that was visiting along with its creator, oh yes, and I am standing there too.

Robotics Society Andrew With Robot and its creator
Robotics Society Andrew With Robot and its creator
Meeting Andrew With Robot and the one who made it
Robotics Society Meeting Andrew With Robot and the one who made it
Follow me on Google + to comment and connect
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrss

Share this
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Mr. New Media Mingle Prototype X1

Mr. New Media Mingle Prototype X1
This is the first version of my prototype. I still need to add the head and make some major modifications to the arms. So far I am not as happy with this prototype as I was hoping.

What do you think would be the best use of this?
Stay tuned for more pictures and to follow my progress.

New Media Mingle Prototype X1
New Media Mingle Prototype X1
New Media Mingle X1 from left side
New Media Mingle X1 from left side

 

New Media Mingle X1 from right side
New Media Mingle X1 from right side
Mr. New Media Mingle X1From a low angle
Mr. New Media Mingle X1From a low angle

n

Follow me on Google + to comment and connect
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrss

Share this
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Play Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in Long Beach

On Sunday I had a chance to attend the play Dirty Rotten Scoundrels in Long Beach, CA with one of my friends. This post briefly goes over the play and some of my takeaways.

At Theater Performance Dirty Rotten Scoundrels In Long Beach
At Theater Performance Dirty Rotten Scoundrels In Long Beach

The story is primarily about two conmen who prey on wealthy women. The performance was quite enjoyable. It has been many years since I have attended a live performance such as this and it was a delight.

I thought the story line was well matched to the audience with its subtheme of the old guard trying to hang on to power, while a new and upcoming generation is doing its best to usurp it.

Although the performance was quite entertaining, the whole experience is what I found most engaging. The live performance itself is old school, but the supporting tech looked digital. My next long form article will touch on how new hi tech (new media) can give old forms of storytelling new life.

I do believe there are many element of theater that can be applied to a video production. The planning and talent that goes into these productions is spectacular.

I am amazed at the choreography of all the stage elements. The lights, the sound effects, the band, and the stage props all popping in on cue and departing in the same manner.  I did spend some time watching the guy in the control room and the lighting. During intermission I peeked into the control room through a window. It does look like there is some mighty fun equipment in there. I would like to take a tour someday.

I was particularly impressed by the skillful focusing of the audience attention. As far as I could identify this was done with lighting, action, and dialog. Just as a magician uses sleight of hand to entertain an audience, theatrical productions use sleight of stage.

The cast was terrific. The leads were played with wonderful insight and charisma. I also enjoyed the playful dialog of the actors with the audience.

Actors, Stories, and the Audience
The actors were great, but that is what everyone notices. I am as interested in, and sometimes even more interested in, what is going on around the central subject. What is at the boundaries of black and white? What happens when the message hits the receiver?

I did notice what I think was an interesting behavior of many audience members during stressful moments in the play. These were subtle movements that may be difficult to see in individual people during face to face encounters. The unique environment of the theater is what makes these observations possible. I am sure this is something the ushers could verify. Ushers and regular theater goers should have enough experience to confirm if these are indeed stress related behavior patterns. I imagine ushers and theater goers can also identify additional behaviors caused by the emotions associated with regularly occurring story elements.

After the performance was over I had the good fortune to briefly chat with one of the lead actors.

Another interesting behavior I noticed with this audience demographic is that they do not like to engage in conversation with strangers. Could it be that they think the subject of the play may unfold in their own lives if they talk to strangers?

Confirming the “don’t talk to strangers” trait may be one of the most interesting insights of the event. I have been thinking about this audience psychographic trait ever since I left the theater. The “don’t talk to strangers” trait does have some rather large implications for most of the shows I do, as well as how they are promoted. This group was the polar opposite of the VidCon crowd.

Andrew Attending The Theater Performance Dirty Rotten Scoundrels In Long Beach
Andrew Attending The Theater Performance Dirty Rotten Scoundrels In Long Beach

I wanted to get a photo for this blog before I left. However, the people I attempted to have a conversation with, so I could ask them to take a photo, acted as though I had the plague. They looked quite indignant that I would attempt to actually talk with them. Eventually, I ask two young girls who were happy to help. I also did a picture of them. As I was waiting for the traffic to clear so I could depart unhindered, I notice a group of people in the same situation of not having a camera person. Being the helpful and cheerful person I am, I volunteered to be the phone camera photographer. It turns out one of the people in that party teaches video in high school.

Follow me on Google + to comment and connect
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrss

Share this
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Creativity In The Narrative of Dreams

Creativity In The Narrative of Dreams
Last night I attended a dream meetup. I have always been interested in dreams and it is quite interesting to hear of others dreams. It is also informative to hear alternate interpretations of dreams.
I used to paint some of my dreams. I am now looking to incorporate dreams into story narratives for a video series I would like to produce.

Andrews Dream Art 1 - I am looking forward to incorporating dream narrative into new media video
Andrews Dream Art 1 – I am looking forward to incorporating dream narrative into new media video

I have often thought about how some dreams have a filmatic feel while others are quite surrealistic. I have always loved surrealistic art.
I do believe both of these elements can be incorporated into branded entertainment. I think good branded entertainment is artful promoting with the unmarketing of marketing
I hope to see you at a creative and/or business event soon

Follow me on Google + to comment and connect
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrss

Share this
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

My New Media Marketing Focuses On My Follower’s Best Interest

My New Media Marketing Business Revolves Around My Follower’s Best Interest

I am transitioning from my old business to a new media marketing business. At the turn of the century I had a friend who suggested I change careers. He encouraged me to start offering online marketing instead of continuing with the business I dedicated most of my life to.

My New Media Marketing Business Website
My New Media Marketing Business Website

My friend’s suggestion was based on my ability to get quite good search engine ranking and a couple years later on my use of online forums and social media. Even back then it was not uncommon for me to spend three to eight hours a day doing online marketing.

I have been active online for more than 17 years. This activity has ranged from building websites to building engaged and robust communities, oh yes, and a lot of online promotion.

Analog Videographer Meets Bigfoot. On this video shoot, when I was quite young, we were in the middle of nowhere and a very large (like giant) transient with a shotgun started following me and my girlfriend through the desert. I called him bigfoot she called him the ax murderer.
Analog Videographer Meets Bigfoot. On this video shoot, when I was quite young, we were in the middle of nowhere and a very large (like giant) transient with a shotgun started following me and my girlfriend through the desert. I called him bigfoot she called him the ax murderer.

My involvement with video started long before I became interested in the internet and online marketing. In fact I would have to say the video I started with is not even classified as new media. It was the old tape and liner editing back then.

It has taken about 2 years for me to finally wind down my old business and fully commit to offering my services in the areas of marketing and video production.

The New Media Mingle Website Revolves Around My Follower’s Best Interest, Which Means I’m Not Just A Marketing Hired Gun

I am offering a new media approach to marketing, mingled with some old fashion promotion. This approach involves presenting a marketing message (the story) mingled with entertaining content. Yes, that’s right I am offering marketing as entertainment. My message is – Lets all move away from the old media model of interruption first advertising.

The inspiration for this post grew from a job offer to deceive Netizens
I think viewers, followers, and fans should be treated with respect and as friends and allies. Don’t you think it’s about time marketers move away for the model of treating followers and fans as an enemy that needs to be overcome with deception and trickery. Shifting customer orientation to a position of respect brings me to the genesis of this post.

The idea for this post was prompted by a business offer I recently received. This site has not been active for very long and it’s not yet ranking in search so I’m glad to get inquiries whether from online or offline.

The problem with the business offer is that it was to start with some rather nefarious online marketing. The questionable marketing practice was something, I in no way was interested in.

Unfortunately, I rejected the video project that went with it based on the ethics of that business. I am wondering if my desire to do what is best for my current and future followers is going to get in the way of getting new business.

I am based in southern California
562-423-1691

Follow me on Google + to comment and connect
twittergoogle_pluslinkedinrss

Share this
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail