Increase Social Media Engagement with Photos!

Today is the start of a new series at JohnWiedenheft.com – Infographic Wednesday!

Infographics are a GREAT way to get a lot of information across in a highly visual manner that attracts lots of eyeballs. Today's example is no exception:

It's been said before that the easiest way to increase engagement on your social media networks is with photos. Here's an infographic from new iPhone app Overgram mentioning some stats on engagement (see towards the bottom of the graphic).

How do you use photos in your social media?

What we can learn from Thanksgiving and Black Friday

I am thankful that…

Social media is changing the way that families and individuals celebrate the holidays. 

It's almost as if the holidays season doesn't exist anymore if there's not pictures posted on Facebook. The flip side of that coin is the thought among your respective Facebook "friends" that if YOU don't post something about how YOU'RE celebrating, then you must be thankless or a Scrooge.

What can we do about this?

I propose not that we stop posting our holiday pictures or status updates on Facebook, but to take the time to reflect on not just the meanings of the respective holidays, to use the break from our busy-busy lives and focus on the important things in life.

Speaking of social media, there's been a story that's shared on Pinterest and Facebook recently. Here's one of the ways it was posted:

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else—the small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.' The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of Beers with a friend. 

A reminder during this hectic time of the year to step back and really enjoy the important things in life. Happy Thanksgiving.

Why I Like Teaching Instead of Telling

A colleague of mine asked me the other day about my website, "What's your goal with your website? What do you aim to accomplish with it?" She asked this not as a negative critique, but as a curiosity question. 

I thought it was a brilliant question. So many times people say, "You have a website? Good for you!" and they don't really give more than a cursory glance at the website. It hit me, I do the website, this blog, for the purpose of sharing my experiences and perspectives on social media and email marketing.

I've found that while I read a lot of blogs and articles on social media marketing, a lot of those sites fall into one of two areas:

1. How to use the latest shiny toy, or 

2. News about the latest shiny toy.

While articles on the above two topics are important and worth reading, I don't want or need to talk about those items on this website. You can get that almost anywhere else, and those blogs could do it better than I can. That's what they're there for.

"So, why AM I reading your website?"

I've noticed that the sites and writers I gravitate towards one a regular basis are those that provide a deeper understanding, an explanation, of the material at hand. When Pinterest became a huge hit, there was story after story about how much traffic it was driving, and how it was helping brands. But rare was the blog that made that information relevant to the small business, or the non-profit, or the university.*

I love asking "Why?"

There is no better feeling in this world than someone who asks you "Why?" It's your chance to not only teach someone else about a topic, but also a chance to give yourself a deeper understanding of the topic. And by teaching that topic, in this case social media, you might even learn something from the student.

Learning the "how" of the shiny new toy is important for the short term, and it's definitely exciting to accomplish a task you haven't done before. But instead of moving from shiny new toy to shiny new toy, learn the "why" of what you're trying to accomplish.

*Note: In the case of Pinterest, I was blown away by this post on Pinterest at SocialMouths. When Pinterest was making the rounds of all the social media blogs, I thought this was the best example of going past the hype and showed you the "why" of Pinterest's importance.