Make your tweets beautiful with the help of the Twitter Cards Validator Tool

Last week I showed you how to tame the Facebook dragon in The Facebook Sharing Debugger Is An Essential Content Marketing Tool. Scrape, scrape, and rescrape until you get it right, is what I always say. I cross-posted the article onto LinkedIn and the lovely Beth Farris chimed in with some Twitter Cards Validator Tool school:

So, yes, there is a Twitter validator, the Twitter Cards Validator Tool.  I am assuming that whenever you click on Preview Card, it also acts like a linter and debugger, but I am not sure — please let me know in the comments.

Whether or not your photos, title, description, and graphics render correctly isn’t as serendipitous as it is on Google or Facebook. In order to render correctly on Twitter Cards, you actually need to implement Cards on your site by adding the correct meta tags to the page.  Here’s how to make it work on DrupalWordPress (Yoast should do), and Joomla (if you’re even the littlest bit confused at this point, please share this URL with your IT or web person).

So, I tried validating a Biznology article I wrote from a couple weeks ago. I know that the Biznology blog is built upon WordPress and has the right template, all the right plugins, and is on a fast enough server that Facebook and Twitter never have a problem rendering correctly on Twitter or Facebook. Here’s how it looks:

Mike Moran and his development team over at Mike Moran Group LLC and Biznology have everything sorted out because the Biznology blog already supports the twitter:card summary tag.

However, unlike the Facebook URL Linter, my personal Zope/Plone install over on ChrisAbraham.comjust shuts the Cards Validator down and completely confuses it. Yes, that’s on me, but it should actually be on Twitter, too. This is how crappy a job the Twitter URL Linter works on my personal site:

ERROR: No card found (Card error)?” That makes me so sad. I really need to roll up my sleeves and take Chris Abraham Online to the next level as this is not OK. Luckily, I found a Twittercards extension for Plone over on GitHub that works with my version of Plone.

I am only sharing this with you as a fellow marketer and not as an application developer, web developer, or coder. If you want to learn more about Twitter Cards and how your content can best be integrated and optimized for Twitter, check out the Getting Started Guide.

However, if you do have your own WordPress website and you have admin access and can add new plugins then there are a couple-few solutions. I just installed Facebook Open Graph, Google+ and Twitter Card Tags on my RNNR.us blog so I’ll tell you how it goes.  Twitter has also developed a WordPress pluginitself to support Twitter Cards and also optimize your blog for Periscope.  I installed it as well so I am hoping that I didn’t just blow up my poor little, barely used, rnnr blog.

Well, thank you very much, Beth! Why didn’t I know about it? I didn’t think I really needed it, except I do. I guess I assume that Tweets are ephemeral and textual but, today, all the best tweets are as rich, visual, graphical, video, and photographic as are Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

But what should you be feeding Twitter and Facebook and Google+ and Pinterest and your own blog?

Thank you to Garrett Heath of MarketingBytes.io for his amazingly short-but-comprehensive advice on the ideal image size, ratio, border, and padding to use in order to appease all of the social media platforms, including the featured image on your blog:

1600px by 900px, never use a border, allow a padding on top/bottom of 65px and left/right of 130px

If you want to know why, Garrett Heath goes into great detail in Social Image Size To Rule Them All: Updated For 2017 Social Size Specs. Thanks, Garrett!

If you do everything right, install the correct plugins, use the right images at the proper resolution, you too can have a page rendered this beautifully, too, just like My Recommendation for Indoor Rower Rowing Shorts for Erging on the Concept2:

If you want to go any deeper, jump down the Google rabbit hole of your choice or just pop over to the Twitter Cards page on Twitter.com, the source of everything Twitter and everything Cards.

Via Biznology blog


Win lifestyle influencers over with generosity and attentiveness

15761889077_8a68c0083a_bIt takes a lot of money to give you license to treat someone like crap. And they’ll still resent you and wish you dead. In the gig economy, the interview process goes both ways. Your favorite lifestyle influencers are actively vetting you with the same rigor you’re using to discern whether they’re influential enough to be worth the pot full of money you’re willing to pay them for post or partnership.

Some agencies on Madison Avenue are starting to get it as is David Goldsmith,  Chief Strategy Officer at WEGO Health. They’ve been working on building respect-based and trust-based influencer relationships with his caregiver and patient community for over ten years before opening up the 100,000+ influencers they’ve cultivated over that decade to organizations, companies, and brands outside of their agency-side.  The result is WEGO Health Experts. Gerris partner Dan Krueger and I jumped on a call with David Goldsmith last week Friday and it was kismet city. David and I are fellow alumni of The WELL (cja@well.com here) and we’ve obviously been involved and engaged by online communities since before the web via the world of text via telnet, an Gopher- and USENET-based Internet.

We also recognize that most every message board registration, Twitter-handle, Facebook wall, every single channel on YouTube and profile on Instagram represents a beautiful child of God and not just a Klout score or a sticky metric or an Influencer Score or a follower/friend/subscriber count or even an engagement.

Even lifestyle influencers and lifestyle bloggers and Instagrammers, who are pretty much all lifestyle influencers, and the lifestyle YouTubers with their lifestyle channels are beautiful children of God as well and deserve to have every one of their perceived Millennial snipes, snarks, and the perceived lack of appreciation and perceived entitlement that they exude forgiven because they’ve been treated like crap a lot before they became the bells of all the balls and have taken over advertising for where all the ad dollars are going these days.

Forgive them and “Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle” — remember, hugs not horns. No matter how jerky they’re all being to you, suck it up buttercup — they’re just doing what you’ve done: exerting all that leverage and newfound power back on you. Either way, it doesn’t change the fact that we’re all looking for connection, appreciation, respect, and understanding — including insufferable Millennials.

YouTube calls all these people creators. They’re artists: screen-ready, podcast-ready, photo-ready, and are willing to put in the time in. If you read last months article in the New Yorker, #Vanlife, The Bohemian Social-Media Movement, you’ll quickly learn how much work goes into taking Instagram selfies of your leisure, surf-obsessed, life living in a van with a super-hot lover. It takes hair and makeup and a bit of samulacrum to turn the back of a van into the place of dreams where toned, tanned, terrific legs prop up against a van wall while the beautiful #vanlover lingers, lounges, and reads the real life hard-back book of some French philosopher or maybe Goethe.

So, I believe that their aggressiveness and the surliness and snark is a direct response to how they as a group have been treated in the past. They’ve grown so worried about the fickleness and thin skin of their advertisers and sponsors that everyone in the world, it seems, has a Patreon account. The tagline of Patreon? “Best way for artists and creators to get sustainable income and connect with fans.” For those of you not in the know, “Patreon is an Internet-based platform that allows content creators to build their own subscription content service.”

It’s like a persistent Kickstart for makers and digital artists. But instead of raising money to launch a product, business, or the remake of a movie, Patreon allows fans to directly pay online influencers to continue have the freedom and incenting to keep on making and creating.  It also allows all the patrons to curry favor and earn the power to request online mentions, to get a call out, to be featured, to be named in closing credits, or to have the leverage to influence future content or topic.  Money from Google isn’t reliable and agency product sponsorship can be patchy but having the financial support of your friends, fans, and followers turns out to be the gift that keeps on giving.

Yes, we’ve driven them to that and it’s totally fair. We do care more about numbers, reports, ROI, and impact more than we care about the contributing parts of that Borg.  To too many of us, they’re more “the influencers” and “the micro-influencers” than they are the lovely individual named Jamie Morton, the Trihardist.

So, mea maxima culpa, actually, because while Dan and I were on the phone with David Goldsmith, it occurred to me that lifestyle influencers can separate their opinions from their compensation. Quite a few months ago, one influencer responded to my outreach by asking for payment but adding that that money wasn’t to buy the review but to pay for his time. It was an opportunity cost and in no way buying content.

That there are only 24-hours/day and only seven days in a week and only 365 of those days in a year and $250 bought one of two of them.  From learning about how David Goldsmith actually advocates for his 100,000 healthcare and medical patient and caregiver influencers and experts, getting them consulting gigs and speaking gigs and actually taking them to the next level, grooming them into topic expert consultants, what Madison Avenue is doing, building partnerships with their influencer network, is very appealing and a very smart innovation.

While Dan and I are still the experts in earned-media micro-influencer marketing with over a decade of practice and almost twenty years of combined experience, we’re very excited to start building relationships with other influencer marketing agencies, consultancies, and agents.

If you’re interested in learning more about influencer marketing, micro-influencer marketing, or earned media micro-influencer marketing, please call me or email me or check out my company site or my own personal website — I look forward to connecting.

Via Biznology


Old School is New School by Nate Paul of World Class Capital Group

From from Old School is New School by Nate Paul:

We live in the age of the “Next Big Thing.”

The latest and greatest smartphones are released every twelve months, rendering the last model about as useful as a paperweight (if you believe the marketing hype).  An entire industry has been built around Silicon Valley’s cult of disruption, a belief that we should always be replacing our old way of thinking and doing with new and exciting ideas.

It seems like nothing is safe from our love affair with newness.  In the coming years, cars will relieve us of the burden of sitting behind the wheel and smart refrigerators will relieve us of the worry of remembering to pick up milk.

Don’t get me wrong – I love technology. In fact, one of the most gratifying parts of my job is working with software and technology companies and the growth of their businesses. It’s hard not to be excited by the endless ways that innovation will change our lives for the better in the years to come. 

But while many of my friends and colleagues spend their free time reading about the future of robotics and artificial intelligence and thinking about how the Internet of Things will change our daily lives, I far more often find myself thumbing through decades-old issues of Forbes, Businessweek or Fortune, soaking up as much insight as I can from great dealmakers now relegated to the history books.

One mainstay on my nightstand is a battered old copy of Business Adventures by John Brooks that I bought from an actual bookstore (not online!) when I was in high school.  The book was originally published in 1969, but the insights remain astonishingly relevant today.  The passage I probably re-read the most is about the Ford Edsel fiasco, which is the ultimate cautionary tale about the importance of paying close attention to your market and being ready to respond when your customers’ preferences and demands change. It’s no surprise to many that the business leaders I admire, including Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, are fans of Brooks and his timeless wisdom.

One of the core lessons the greatest investors and business leaders share is an obsession with the fundamentals. In hot markets like today, in which unicorns and pre-revenue billion dollar valuations grab all the headlines, it’s easy to lose sight of the basics.​

But sizzling markets and the lure of quick profits is nothing new. When I started investing in real estate in 2007 while still a college student, the market was saturated with speculators.  The previous few years had seen unprecedented capital growth in the residential and commercial markets, and suddenly everyone was a developer or a flipper.  Finding properties that were undervalued and had strong fundamentals was extremely difficult at the time, because the competition was snapping up everything they could find and counting on never-ending price appreciation. 

Going against the grain, I began building my company by obsessing over the fundamentals – intrinsic value, recurring cash flow, and a long-term investment horizon. When the real estate market collapsed in 2008, I managed not to panic or flee, and once again went against the grain, becoming one of the most active buyers of real estate in Austin…then Texas…and eventually, the nation. Following Buffett’s advice, I was fearful when others were greedy – and then positioned to be greedy when others were fearful.

This old school approach doesn’t just apply to investing, it applies to almost every aspect of building and running a company. In business and investing, cautionary tales are everywhere – from the one-hit wonder Wall Street fund manager who delivers one knockout year and then flames out, to the Silicon Valley rising star who builds a killer app and is never heard from again.  Those of us who have achieved success at a young age should be terrified by these examples.  I’m driven every morning to build a company that creates jobs, wealth and economic opportunity not just for years, but for generations.  I can’t imagine how to do that except for being a student of history.

I’ve never liked the old saying that those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it.  To me, history is a goldmine of proven ideas just waiting to be uncovered.  It may just be that the “Next Big Thing” happened long ago.

Nate Paul is President, CEO & Founder of World Class Capital Group, a leading national commercial real estate investment group.  This article was previously published on The Huffington Post.