Finding non-copyright photos for reuse on social media


Finding images and photos for reuse on your blog, Facebook page, and online marketing just got a whole lot easier.

If you have fumbled around image after image trying to conclude if they are copyright-restricted to highlight your latest blog, or if you are a small business that doesn’t have the marketing budget to hire a photographer or pay downloads just to keep you Facebook page afloat, Google images now has a search option for searching for images for reuse.

To find unrestricted photos for reuse on social media, go to Google Advanced Image Search and type in a key word. Then, under the option “usage rights,” change the filter from “not filtered by license” to one of the following: free to use or share, free to use or share even commercially, free to use share or modify, or free to use share modify even commercially.

search for non copyright images

Another way to use this search is to Google the keyword or phrase and select “images” in the results page.

google image search copy

Once you are in the screen with the Google image results, click on “Search Tools” and “Usage Rights” and select the best option depending on how you will be using the image.  This filters your search results according to usage permissions.

search images by usage rights

While this search tool is amazingly easy and convenient (and free!) to search for images for reuse, Google warns:
Before reusing content that you’ve found, you should verify that its license is legitimate and check the exact terms of reuse stated in the license.   Read More  


Consultants: How to Close a Deal and Get the Client


close a deal consultantIn the world of consulting, there are two kinds of people: those who can close a deal, and those who end up going back to work for the Man.

But why is it that some consultants–despite their knowledge, talent, and people skills–have difficulty turning coffee into a consulting gig? Where are they going wrong?
If you are new to social media consulting, or if you have just noticed a decline in your ability close a deal, consider the impression you may be giving the client during a sales pitch. You may be giving the client the itch to run in your delivery or sales tactics.

How to Close a Deal on a Consulting Gig

Don’t get caught off-guard.  Don’t allow a cold call from a potential client to turn into a sales pitch.  You need time to prepare and research the company before you deliver your pitch.  Kindly decline to discuss the details of an arrangement until you are prepared to serve your client with a full pitch.

Come prepared. When the time has come to make your pitch, come prepared.  Make sure you have done your homework on the needs of the client’s business, their current social media efforts, and suggestions for how to improve their social media. If you have worked up a draft of your services and prices, be sure to bring that, as well as some examples of your work.

Listen to what the client is really saying.  Really listen close to understand exactly what the customer is asking you to provide.  Understanding their real needs and stresses is key to closing a deal.  If the client feels you can listen and understand their needs from the very beginning, they are more willing to trust you to work for them.

Ask questions. Active listening involves asking the right questions so you really understand the client’s position. Make a list of questions that you want to cover, including questions like:

  • “Where do you see your business in five years?”
  • “What messages would you like to stay away from?”
  • “What do you hope customers say about your business?”
  • “What social media outlets are you comfortable with/not comfortable with?” and,
  • “What kind of results are you hoping for?”

Don’t dictate the direction. Too often, consultants believe only in their way of doing business. Ultimately, the client is the customer, so let them dictate the direction of the business. Your job is to make their vision work, not create their vision for them.  So, if they insist on a certain business model or marking message, spend your time trying to figure out how to make it successful, rather than asking them to reinvent their marketing or business model.

Add, don’t take away. Just as negative marketing messages are a bad idea, so is a negative sales pitch.  Don’t ever talk about what the client is doing wrong; rather, discuss how you can take what they are doing and make it more successful.  Clients hold their businesses close to their heart, and they want to hire someone who respects the sweat they’ve put into making their business work.

Be confident, and realistic.  When you are confident and reassured as to what you actually can (and can’t) do for a business, you earn the trust of the client. That confidence comes from setting realistic and obtainable goals.  No one is impressed by someone who over-promises and under-delivers.

With these tips for closing a deal, you will not only go into a sales pitch prepared, but you ensure a seamless working relationship with their client that includes specific, and realistic social media goals.


Myths and Advice to Boost Your Facebook Posts


Facebook for Dummies, anyone?In the world of social media, how do you separate the good from the bad?

How does Facebook separate “good” posts from “bad”?  How do businesses separate “good” consultants from hacks?  And how does anyone working in social media separate “good” advice from “bad”?

There is so much advice out there about the management of Facebook pages—over 25 million pages to be exact—how do you know when you are getting good tips to increase your Facebook engagement, and when you are getting advice that will actually decrease your Facebook reach?

Since Facebook changes their algorithm about as often as Apple has an iOS update, and new “social media experts” enter the picture faster than Google can do a search, it’s nearly impossible.  That’s why when social media advice comes from a trusted source, it’s like social media gold.

We recently ran across this article, “7 Facebook Marketing ‘Tips’ and ‘Tricks’ That Don’t Actually Work,” and thought, “Now that’s useful!  Why didn’t we think of that?”

So, while we can’t take credit for the idea or most of the content, what we can do is offer advice of what you can do to improve your Facebook business feed instead.

According to the article, here is what does not work when posting on Facebook:

They said this doesn’t work:

Including a Link in the First Comment. This was a pretty popular myth going around about a year ago. Folks claimed that including a link to your content in the first comments instead of in the post itself would increase your chance of appearing in the News Feed because a photo-only or text-only post would perform better than those with links.

But this isn’t exactly true. In fact, Facebook’s algorithm has been promoting posts with links in them more recently and in the past, has favored photo updates. Only a few people have seen anecdotal evidence that this works — and some haven’t seen anything affected at all. ”

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Is Paid Reach Bad for Facebook’s Brand?


facebook reach Naughty, naughty Facebook.

First, we talked about how fewer posts were being seen on Facebook.  Then we talked about how Facebook’s stock wasn’t doing as well as projected.  After that, we talked about how Facebook was becoming profitable through mobile (and otherwise) ads.  Then we talked about how Facebook reach is shrinking. And so here is our conclusion: Facebook needs to make money to stay profitable and make investors happy, and they are doing that by practically eliminating organic reach. 

We know, officially Facebook says good organic content can compete with paid content and will be favored in their algorithm, and therefore, Pages can maintain a steady organic reach.  HOWEVER, Page owners, consultants and now studies agree: that’s just not the case.

“The days of getting any free reach on Facebook may be numbered.

It’s no secret that the portion of a brand’s Facebook fans who see posts that aren’t supported by ad spend is dropping. In a sales deck sent to partners last fall, the social network acknowledged what some brands had observed for more than a year — that organic distribution of posts on brand pages was declining — but it didn’t quantify the extent of the decline to be expected.

One agency is now reporting that organic reach has fallen off by almost half since October. Social@Ogilvy conducted an analysis of 106 country-level brand pages it has administrator access to and found that the average reach of organic posts had declined from 12.05% in October to 6.15% in February.

For 23 pages in the sample with more than 500,000 likes, the drop was from 4.04% in October to 2.11% in February.

For context, Facebook told marketers two years ago at its fMC event in New York that 16% of their fans on average were seeing their organic posts.

‘Increasingly Facebook is saying that you should assume a day will come when the organic reach is zero.’”

via: Brands’ Organic Facebook Reach Has Crashed Since October: Study

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10 Ways to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing


inspire creativityI’m writing this article from the inside of a coffee shop on a snowy Bend, Oregon day and distractions are all around me. I could be skiing on Mt. Bachelor. I could be shopping for antiques in downtown.  I could be making snowmen and hot cocoa with the kids. But, no!  I MUST work.  I MUST find inspiration.

Distractions may seem like they eat away at productivity, but when applied correctly, they can also help trigger creativity.  In fact, I gladly welcome distraction when I have blogger’s block.  After all, don’t they say the best way to figure out something is to stop thinking about it?

So, if you are in the midst of a creative mind block, here’s what you should do: open the blinds, grab a cup of Joe, wrap yourself in a blanket, and read these 10 tips for getting your creative juices flowing…then let the inspiration follow!

The Social Business’s Tips to Spark Creativity:

  1. Stop thinking about it.  Ok, so you are reading this article, which puts you halfway there.  But really, contrary to intuition, thinking about a problem too much can actually be counterproductive. So, take a recess from your thoughts and move on to another task for a while.
  2. Exercise your creativity. Spend a few minutes at the beginning or end of each day exercising the creative side of your brain. Free write, write lyrics to a song, keep a journal, re-decorate your office space, cook, or even browse Pinterest.  Give your “B” side of your brain some daily nourishment.
  3. Create a space that encourages creativity.  They say a messy desk means a messy mind, so why wouldn’t an uninspired office mean an uninspired mind? Whether it’s your office space or a place to go to reflect, having an area of your home or office that’s inspirational will help you move to the creative zone.  Change up your computer wallpaper, post inspiring pictures, paint the walls a fun color, and clip inspiring quotes–anything that triggers an emotional response.
  4. Change up the scenery. If you just can’t seem to get out of your uninspired rut, change your mindset by changing your scenery. Move your laptop outside, go to a new coffee shop, sit in front of the fireplace, make a picnic on the beach–go anywhere that might inspire new ideas.
  5. Phone a friend. Sometimes, brainstorming with another individual can move you past a creative block.  Even a call to your mother can be helpful if you ask for feedback on a topic or question.  You never know where the next great idea lives!
  6. Find new ways to do things. We get so caught up in doing things efficiently, sometimes we forget to add a creative touch. When was the last time you sent an email in a pretty font, or responded to an email in limerick? There’s not just one way to do things, so think to yourself, “How can I make this task more fun or interesting?
  7. Play a game. There are lots of games that can help channel our creativity and open up the fun parts of our brains.  Try a crossword puzzle, Scattegories, Pictionary, Outburst, Cranium, or join in on a TV game show right from your own living room.
  8. Read and research. Building off others’ ideas is a great way to spark your own creativity. If you creativity is stalled, read and research the topic to help you internally brainstorm ideas for yourself.
  9. Meditate or exercise. Sometimes the only resolution to creative block is to remove your mind and body from the situation with meditation and exercise. Both can help clear out hurdles in the creative process.
  10. When you’re really stuck, try the “six hats method”.
    • Red Hat: Look at the situation emotionally. What do your feelings tell you?
    • Yellow Hat: Use a positive perspective. Which elements of the solution will work?
    • Black Hat: Use a negative perspective. Which elements of the solution won’t work?
    • Green Hat: Think creatively. What are some alternative ideas?
    • Blue Hat: Think broadly. What is the best overall solution?
    • White Hat: Look at the situation objectively. What are the facts?

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Tips for a Highly Successful LinkedIn Group


Nederlands: Linked In iconThere is a social media network for every business.  But many businesses overlook the potential of one particular social network: LinkedIn.

If you are a B2B company who has attempted social media with mediocre results, YOU NEED TOO PAY ATTENTION!

Now celebrating a few shy of 1,500 members of a group we created on LinkedIn a mere two years ago for a client, we feel it is about time to talk about the benefits of LinkedIn Groups.

If you are a B2B business and have never thought about a LinkedIn Group before, consider this: LinkedIn Groups build branding.  How, you may ask?

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  • They build credentials and place businesses at the top of the leadership wagon within an industry.
  • They build a network of people in, and surrounding, your industry (prospects, potential customers, industry leaders, potential job candidates, current customers).
  • They allow you to be part of your customer’s conversations.
  • They help you stay atop trends in the industry, which allows you to be informed and identify opportunities where problems and frustrations exist.
  • They drive traffic wherever you want traffic to go: your website, your blog, your Facebook Page, your infographic…
  • They can be used to generate leads.

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2014 Social Media Predictions


futureUn-fun things that come with the new year: taxes, resolutions, rise in cost of living.

Fun things that come with the new year: new budgets, a fresh start, and The Social Business’s Predictions for Social Media.

So, without further introduction…here are The Social Business’s 2014 Social Media Predictions.

Prediction #1: Long live traditional marketing.

While there will always be a (small, lonely) place for traditional advertising, budgets and personnel for new media advertising will continue to grow.  That’s because more and more companies are making this obvious revelation: Social Media IS Marketing.  Long live the days when the intern was given endless freedom to exercise a company’s reputation online. FINALLY, businesses are saying, “Hey! You mean that’s stuff’s on the internet…forever?!?  Maybe I should have a marketing strategy for that!”

Prediction #2: Even your dad will have a smart phone.

Look for the integration of technology in the most unlikely of places: schools, exams, hospitals, and even…your dad’s cell phone.  Once he discovers that talk to text function, even he will be won over.  No longer needing a computer programmer to train and integrate personnel on the latest technology, expect to see it everywhere: from car dealerships to your dentist’s office.

Predictions #3: Pay to play.

The idea that social media should be free to users will not change.  No, consumers won’t pay to access their Twitter or Facebook account.  But advertisers will.  And as more businesses adopt the idea that they will have to play for online advertising just as they paid for traditional advertising, expect the cost of these advertising outlets to go up, too.

Do you have your own predictions for future of advertising? Share them with us below, or on The Social Business Facebook Page.

 


2013 Social Media Predictions in Review


My lifetime collection of fortunes!About this time last year, we published our social media predictions for 2013.  While we don’t have a crystal ball, if there’s one thing we know about social media, it’s this: things always change.

So, for fun, let’s see how our predictions fared:
Social Media Prediction 1: Technologies will integrate and collaborate.

This prediction could not only mean more integration between social media channels such as WordPress, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, but it could also mean integrated analytics that include everything from blog views to repins on Pinterest.  This could also mean integration between Google+ and other social media platforms, which could ultimately help marketers with SEO when using social media platforms other than Google+.

How our prediction fared: Well, 2013 has brought us easier ways to collaborate between social media platforms. For one, Facebook connect continues to be a popular plugin, new services allow for publishing to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google+ at one time, analytics reports are more accurate and available than ever thanks to new tools…and most exciting, Facebook now has a scheduling feature.  One thing remains the same however: Google Search and Facebook Search are still two different worlds, and considering the fact that are both competing for your traffic, we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

Social Media Prediction #2: In With Real-Time Marketing, Out With “Optimized” Newsfeeds.
Our prediction is that services such as Facebook will have to revert back to some of their old ways, allowing users to control which posts they see and how often, rather than “optimizing” the newsfeed so fans only see one in every seven business page posts.  This will also mean that optimization will focus on timeliness and relevancy rather than profitability, which will make scheduled posts obsolete, and posts that key in on trending topics, priority. While Facebook may not be thrilled to face this reality, fans need to get the updates they signed up for and businesses need to know their efforts have a ROI. If Facebook doesn’t jump on board, our prediction is users will find somewhere else to go…like Google+.

How our prediction fared: Facebook has initiated Graph Search which uses a variety of relational search items such as locality to help users connect with local businesses, groups, and people. We have also noticed that reach among active users has been creeping up…as long as you have the ads to consistently grow your audience. So, in a way, some of the old ways are coming back, but what has changed is that Facebook needs to make a profit, and so ads are increasingly important.  It will never be the free platform of Facebook past.
 Social Media Prediction #3: Social Media Marketing Budgets Will Grow.

We have noticed an uptick in business, and we don’t expect this uptick to turn around any time soon.  Profits and the GDP are at record-setting highs, businesses are still stretching their staff, and social media–once considered “for the birds”–is now more relevant than traditional media.  This all adds up to larger marketing budgets and more work for social media consultants like us.  No longer considered a luxury, businesses are starting to put more emphasis on how social media can improve SEO, create customer loyalty, and build brand awareness.
How our prediction fared: Just look at the number of social media-related jobs on LinkedIn and I think you will have your answer. Budgets are growing to adopt more social media help–in house and as consultants–as well as to pay for those costly Facebook ads :)
Social Media Prediction #4: Relevance is SEO, and SEO is Social Media.

SEO is becoming the new focus of social media.  Marketers will soon post for one purpose: to gain web credibility and SEO. As more social media platforms collaborate, and as Google’s internet empire grows, expect more emphasis to be put on originality, content, and link building as opposed to the early-2000′s tactics of shock and awe for hits. He who creates custom content and shares it with the world (and that means on Google+ too), will reign as champion of the social media SEO game.  There are some smart cookies down there at Google, and they are always finding new ways to give credibility to sites with original, human content, while also filtering out cheaters and spammers in the SEO game.  They aren’t there yet, but we predict they will be soon. And wouldn’t that be a beautiful world? When you Google a term and get the most relevant results, rather than the most optimized (via clunky, non-human writing and techniques)?

How our prediction fared: Yes, SEO is still king, and that may just make Google the SEO God. Google has even implemented Google Authorship to help further detect spam and plagiarism so authors and bloggers with Google cred and original content will outrank keyword-stuffed spam.  So, while Google+ still struggles along to meet the user numbers of it’s social media counterpart, Facebook, there is still a lot of reason to consider using Google+, and optimize your blog content for it.

 

 


Copyright vs. Plagiarism: What you can and can’t do


Copyright SymbolsRecently we discussed how Google Authorship is helping crack down on blogging plagiarism. By placing original content from a ranked and verified authors above one-off authored content, true blogger authors are rewarded with rank.

But the lines between original content and plagiarism are often blurred, and forgotten.  For most of us, it’s been decades since we last practiced proper copyright.

First, it’s important for any author to understand what is, and is not, copyright and copyright infringement.  For example, you can site a piece from another author (within reason) if the purposes are educational:

“Copyright” is not a verb. It is a noun. We, as human beings, as thinkers of creative ideas, create copyrights (literally out of thin air) when such an idea is expressed into or onto some form of tangible medium. Such a tangible expression is called “a work of authorship.” If such works are truly original and not merely copied from, or strikingly similar to, someone else’s prior, protectable tangible works of authorship, then a copyright, an incorporeal personal property right owned by the author, is created in the process.

If the newly created work is similar to someone else’s work of authorship, then that other author could sue for copyright infringement.

via “When can you legally copy someone else’s work?

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