Timing in the online world matters – lessons from Dan Zarella

Today we are bombarded with content from everywhere. Especially online. Everyone who is actively participating on the internet is competing for our attention. Both content creators and curators are interacting intensely through various means like email, social networks, blogs, etc. And it is becoming more and more easily to start feeling overwhelmed and lost in all this information. Therefore, it is essential to understand and plan carefully when and how you are taking part in these exchanges.

Fortunately, a couple of days ago, Dan Zarella – the social media scientist working at HubSpot, presented his recent findings on “the science of timing” in a great webinar. I’ve been following Dan for quite some time and took part in several of his webinars as a result of which I’ve gained important understanding about the world of social media, email and blogging.

As I said, the webinar I’ll point out in this post is about timing. Timing regarding social networks, email and blogging activity. Here are some of the main points from Dan’s presentation (or takeaways as he prefers to call them):

Social media:

– Retweeting happens most during the afternoon, mostly between 12PM and 6PM
– Tweeting more on a regular basis during the week, don’t worry that your followers will be overwhelmed by your tweets – this will also help you increase the number of followers
– However, if you are looking to gain more clicks to your own content (webpage, blog) make sure you don’t bury these links in other updates you are tweeting/retweeting
– If you are focusing on spreading your content on Facebook, share links during the weekend

Email:

– People read email most frequently during mornings, therefore posting early in the morning increases the chance of your message to be read
– Experiment with emailing over the weekend – open and click rates are higher at that time, yet bounces and abuse reports are also higher. Email gets most attention on the weekends
– Sending more emails increases the click-through rates and decreases unsubscribe levels
– Newest subscribers are the best – they are likely to remember you best and have higher interest in your email

Blogging:

-Similar to email, blogs are most read during the morning, yet one must not underestimate that 40% of people still read blogs at night
– People read more blogs during weekdays
– Yet if you want to have more comments, try blogging over the weekends – people are more inclined to join your discussions on Saturdays and Sundays
– People who link to your content are most active early in the morning, during the week
– More frequent blogging will result in more views and linking

These are in brief the major points of the webinar. One thing you should note is that the times used in the presentation are according to the EST time zone, but I believe that the same time frames can be related to time zones within Europe.

Here is an interesting tool by HubSpot which will show you your most retweetable times and days:

http://TweetWhen.com

And here is Dan’s presentation on the science of timing:

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The GREAT Ayrton Senna – honest, inspiring and very personal

It is hard to put into words how I feel when listening to this remarkable speech by Ayrton Senna – one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all times. First of all, it is very personal to me, because I can relate to everything he says. Second, it is my belief that we are in control of our own lives and it is with great discipline, devotion, determination and clear goals in life that we can achieve success.

Do you find these words touching? Can you relate?

Activate your Google Profile now!

Recently, Google improved their Profiles service. The new features make it easy for you to add some basic information to your Google account and display that publicly on a public Profile page. A public page that can serve also as your digital business card…just a little bit more comprehensive.

My profile page in Google

Now, you might think that this is another service that just adds to your digital footprint and will require extra time to be maintained. However, this is not the case with the new Google Profiles. Based on my experience, it took me just 5 minutes to set up my profile page. And the information I added was general enough, so that it won’t require any extra tweaking at least for another six or seven months. All I had to do was to add a picture, write a couple of lines about what I do and some education and work history. It’s that simple!

I want to mention just a few of the positives of having a Google Profile. First, this page is public and can be made visible to everyone with access to the internet. So, it makes it easy for you to add a digital business card for people to see when they are “googling” you. If someone starts a search query about your name in Google Search, your profile page will show up in the results. It is a great tool to utilise if you want to gain some more exposure to your personal brand, especially among job recruiters. Also, your current contacts might get to know you a bit better with this function activated and engage into a conversation with you.

Another benefit is that you are able to add links to all other digital tools you are using. You can add links to your websites, blogs, social networks – pretty much everything that helps you to promote your brand. Everyone who checks your profile page will be able to quickly go through all the listed media channels.

And here is my Profile page for you to have a look: https://profiles.google.com/marin.gerov/

You can create yours here: http://profiles.google.com

Will you be activating your Google Profile? Or do you already have one? What do you think of this service – do you find it useful? Let me know in the comments!

3 PR lessons from the Charlie Sheen saga

Picture from @charliesheen 's Twitter stream

Charlie Sheen. Over the last couple of days you’ve heard a lot about him. The stories have been everywhere – press, TV, internet, radio. Putting aside the players and issues in this story, I’d like to focus your attention on three communication practices which I believe the actor’s public relations team has been doing really well.

Express clearly your side of the story and stick with it!

First, and most important of all, over the last week the actor and his team of publicists have been openly sharing their side of the story. Charlie Sheen, being a spokesperson for himself, tells his story in a transparent, honest and direct way, in a language that is easy to understand by everyone. The message he wants to communicate is very clear, he sticks with it all the time, and repeats it confidently over and over again – he is clean, ready to get back to work, and the twitter hashtags #winning and #tigerblood are well-known nowadays.

In contrast, there has been almost no word from the camps of Chuck Lorre and CBS. Those two parties have missed on the opportunity to present to the wider audience their own side of the story. As a result of that, the public might turn against them in the near future and take the side of Sheen later. Hearing only statements like “no comment” will most certainly not help their cause.

Increase exposure to your message!

Second, the actor’s camp has generated enormous level of exposure for their message. Charlie Sheen interviews have been broadcasted, published and streamed all over the place. And all of them happened in the time frame of 48 hours! Moreover, various different media have been utilised to help increase the exposure levels. You open a newspaper and you read about the actor. You switch on the TV and you can see an interview with him. You tun on the radio and you can immediately recognise his husky voice. You go online and you are overwhelmed by the amount of material streaming across various social networks, blogs and other sites. You simply can’t avoid it – you’ve been exposed to the message. Job well done PR Team Charlie!

Pay attention to new technologies!

Third, Charlie Sheen’s communications team did not ignore the importance of new technologies. In this particular case, the actor’s team acted quickly to get him on Twitter and start spreading the message on the social network. And what a result that was! His account (@charliesheen) has become the fastest growing twitter account ever. In two days the actor accumulated more than 900 000 followers. At the time I am writing this post he has more than 1,3 million followers! No one has ever done that in such amount of time. By starting a Twitter account, the actor quickly expanded his network and was presented with a great platform where he can express all his thoughts. Using this medium, the actor can easily share his side of the story and continue to increase the exposure to his message.

To sum up, going in front of the public with a clear, honest and easy to understand message, using various media to increase the exposure to this message, and adopting new communication technologies has allowed Charlie Sheen to present his side of the story surrounding his personal life to a broad and influential audience.

This is what I find most interesting from this whole story. What about you? Can you infer any other good communication practices from this case study? Let me know in the comments!

The importance of patience when using Twitter!

Do you recognise this bird?

A couple of years ago I signed up for a relatively unknown service. It allowed submission of personalised status-like messages to an audience of followers. The message I was allowed to post had to be fitted within a limit of 140 characters. I decided for myself that I will give it a try.

Several years later and I cannot imagine a day go by without spending at least an hour going through my twitter feed and interacting with the small community I have created there. The invaluable information and ability to get in touch with each user of the service are things I cannot do without. But it took me quite some time until I started utilising Twitter to it’s full potential. In fact, I know that there is still quite some way to go before I actually become a truly active and engaged user.
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