Equipment DOES Matter

I stumbled upon this amazing time lapse video of Milky Way. Terje Sorgjerd captures the Milky Way over El Teide, Spain’s highest mountain. There is no way you could capture these images with your smartphone or a point-and-shoot camera. This was filmed between April 4 and April 11, 2011. The individual frames were shot using a Canon 5D Mark II with a Canon 17mm TSE, Canon 16-35mm II, Canon 24/1.4II and Sigma 12-24mm.

Now, sit back and enjoy! It’s simply stunning and justifies why investing in quality pays off. 🙂

The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.

Reasons Your Blog Needs to be on Facebook

Everyone seems to be using Facebook to connect with old friends, but do you realize what this huge network could mean for your blog?

The state of Facebook is astonishing, and that’s a big deal for your blog. Facebook Page can be thought of in much the same way as normal profiles on the site – brand or celebrity Pages have the ability to have friends, they can add pictures, and they have walls that fans can post on. Pages communicate by “updates” which show on the update tab or a person’s wall if they’re a fan and have allowed the page to show updates. Pages can have applications as well. Here, for example, is the Real Posh Mom Page on Facebook: facebook.com/realposhmom

Here are crucial reasons your blog needs to be involved with Facebook:

1. 500 Million Global Users and Counting. Facebook announced recently that they had passed 500 million members, making Facebook the third-largest country in the world, if it was a country.

2. 150 Million U.S. Users. Facebook is strong around the world, but nearly 30% of all Facebook users are here in the U.S. Facebook has almost 150 million American members.

3. Users Spend Over 700 Billion Minutes Per Month. That’s a lot of Facebook time. How can your company grab a bit of consumer attention?

4. Average Facebook User Has 130 Friends. Will Facebook users continue to add more friends at a rapid pace? It depends upon how they view their Facebook connections. If Facebook continues to revolve around relationships that you actually possess in three dimensions—people you “actually” know—then the addition of bunches of new friends may slow considerably. But, if Facebook makes the leap to tie people together more casually (like Twitter), average friend counts could rise dramatically.

5. Only 4% of Pages Have 10,000 or More People Who Like Them. If your Facebook page is a not growing as fast as you’d expected, you’re not alone. A study by Sysomos shows only 4% of pages have 10,000 or more fans. That’s why it is so critical to focus your Facebook strategy on quality of material you give to people who “like” your page, not only on the quantity of those who “like” it. By the way, congrats to Cafe Brazil for making this milestone!

6. Wall Posts Don’t Mean Popularity. But, there is a strong correlation between amount of other content (notes, links, photos, videos) and number of people who “like” your page. Thus, if you want to grow your Facebook page, it is imperative that you move beyond simple wall posts and add photos, videos, links and other content.

7. The Power of Real-time Search. Facebook makes most content available publicly, unless you tell them not to via your privacy settings. Twitter opened their data stream to anyone. Google and Bing are incorporating this data into search results, in real-time. This has tremendous implications for search engine optimization.

Facebook may not be the ideal environment for every social media initiative, but its huge size forces you to at least consider participating—regardless of what type of blog you run. Everyone from the small business to the Fortune 500 corporation are placing bets on Facebook.

Is your blog taking advantage of Facebook? How important is it to your social media efforts?

Social Media Cannot Be Ignored

Facebook has 550 million people now. 200 million people are using Facebook on their mobile device. Twitter is the fastest-growing search engine. The fastest-growing demographic is over 55 years old. It’s growing faster than the group under 30. It’s amazing how fast the world of social media moves!  Take a moment and watch the statistics and graphics. (Via: Socialnomics)

Stats from Video:

  • Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30-years-old; 96% of them have joined a social network
  • Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S.
  • 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media
  • Years to Reach 50 millions Users: Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years)
  • Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year
  • iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months.
  • If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest ahead of the United States and only behind China and India
  • 2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction
  • 80% of companies use social media for recruitment; % of these using LinkedIn 95%
  • The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females
  • Generation Y and Z consider e-mail passé – some universities have stopped distributing e-mail accounts; Instead they are distributing: eReaders + iPads + Tablets
  • The #2 largest search engine in the world is YouTube
  • While you watch this, 100+ hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube
  • Wikipedia has over 15 million articles…studies show it’s more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica…78% of these articles are non-English. If you were paid a $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia you would earn $1,712.32 per hour
  • 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content
  • 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands. Do you like what they are saying about your brand? You better.
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendation, only 14% trust advertisements & only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI
  • Kindle eBooks Outsold Paper Books on Christmas
  • 24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation
  • 60 millions status updates happen on Facebook daily

10 Ways Bloggers Can Use Social Media

Bloggers-Use-Social-MediaTwitter, Facebook and other social networking venues work to engage readers, drive your popularity and increase your sales. When it comes to building an audience and driving traffic, bloggers are turning to social media with record results. Instead of relying on organic search, successful bloggers know they have to develop a following on key social networks as a way to promote their brands and ultimately get more clicks.

1. USE YOUR BLOG NAME AS YOUR USERNAME EVERYWHERE. Promote your personal brand by consistently using your blog’s name for your Twitter handle and so on. Then, people don’t have to wonder about your blog’s name — it’s right there. Also, people will remember you easily across platforms, which is key as you develop up your online community.

2. QUALITY PRESENCE COUNTS. Don’t just create a Facebook page, and let it sit: reply to comments, post interesting content and pursue friends. Update your status regularly and give your business a positive online reputation. If you have limited resources, you may have trouble maintaining an exciting presence on every single social media platform. Choose the number and types of sites you can manage well rather than risk leaving stale or poor quality content everywhere.

3. DISPLAY YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ICONS ON TOP OF YOUR BLOG. Make it as simple as possible for your blog readers to connect with you on various social media platforms. They shouldn’t have to hunt around to find your Twitter handle, but should be able to click on a button and be taken right to your profile. Bonus points if your social media icons reflect the overall design or feel of your blog.

4. ADD SOCIAL SHARING BUTTONS ON TOP OF POST. It’s easy to add sharing buttons on your blog. Within a few clicks, these candy-colored icons will appear right there in your blog. Customize these social sharing tools, so they are promoting you in a tweet or a post, and not themselves.

5. LINK YOUR BLOG WITH LINKEDIN. As long as your blog somewhat pertains to your professional goals, you should be showcasing it on LinkedIn. List it as one of your three websites in your profile, where it will be labeled “Blog.”

6. PUT YOUR WHOLE NETWORK TO WORK. If your blog has contributors besides you, encourage them to post social networking updates. This gets your whole team involved in the marketing effort while increasing the exposure of your blog in the social world.

7. DO NOT SPREAD YOURSELF TOO THIN. If you have limited resources, you may have trouble maintaining an exciting presence on every single social media platform. Choose the number and types of sites you can manage well rather than risk leaving stale or poor quality content everywhere.

8. MANAGE YOUR REPUTATION. Do you know what your customers or potential customers are saying about you online? Pay attention to the comments you receive on Facebook, keep a Twitter search running for key names and topics that relate to your company. Set up Google Alerts and handle problems and complaints head on. What a great opportunity to show the world your willingness to engage people to resolve their problems and address their concerns!

9. SUPPORT OTHERS. Promote other bloggers’ content. You can’t simply only share your content — you need some variety in every social media stream. So why not check out what your fellow bloggers are posting and give them a retweet or a share whenever you can. Don’t forget to reciprocate and share content from bloggers who share yours.

10. BE PATIENT. Don’t be bothered if instant success doesn’t happen. Keep up a fresh, dynamic and engaging social presence, and you will reap rewards.