Monthly Archives: December 2013

How to Do an Instagram Scavenger Hunt

instagram-contest-usopen-cropDoing a user scavenger hunt on Instagram is a great way to not only get awesome audience engagement, but to differentiate your business as an organization that knows how to use social media successfully.

Not to mention, it’s a fun way to generate great content.

Instagram is one of the best visual social media platforms, so use that. It can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it.  Depending on the audience reach and potential involvement, it generally makes things a lot easier to manage if you keep the rules simple. Here’s one way to develop a scavenger hunt with limited hassle that boosts your social media presence across multiple platforms.

  1. Establish your rules and prizes. What is needed to win? You could choose a list of things that need to be photographed to win. Make sure you include a way for you to find the images like tagging your user name and using a event specific hashtag.  Also, you have to give people a reason to participate.  Small or large, people love free stuff. Prizes can range from actual goods to a shout out or mention on your page.
  2. Figure out a way to distribute clues. This is where the cross platform social media usage comes in.  Plan out specific times or days when you will put the clues out and decide which platform to use.  Facebook and Twitter work well and will give your new fans a reason to follow your accounts.  Keep in mind that too many Facebook posts can turn off fans that aren’t participating, so if you are going to have a lot of clues, maybe stick to tweeting.
  3. Promote, Promote, Promote. If you want to have a good contest, make sure the word gets out about what you are doing. Create a cool graphic or several to put out across all your social channels leading up to the actual challenge.  Visuals are a lot more eye-catching and memorable than plain text. If you are centering around a specific live event, put out flyers or post cards with the information so people have a paper guide.  Engagement starts before the hunt is on.
  4. Monitor and Pay Attention. A scavenger hunt is exciting and should be a fun experience for your company.  Enjoy watching the submissions that come in and pay close attention to who’s achieving your goals.  If people are having a hard time meeting specific rules, make it easier by altering them or giving extra help with clues.  Hunt’s where no one wins are not only embarrassing, but discourage potential new fans from liking your company.  Stay timely with choosing your winners. If it’s first come, first serve, make sure you know who’s first by staying on top of submissions.
  5. Award prizes and thanks your participants.  This seems like a no-brainer, but people enjoy being rewarded.  Feature your winners or even non-winning submissions on your website or social media pages.  Your brand will benefit from the exposure as well as the gratitude. Photo scavenger hunts are an excellent source of content centered around your brand and image, so use that to your advantage.


Companies big and small are experimenting more with exciting and unique ways to increase engagement across social media channels. Research what works and what doesn’t.  Success marketing campaigns are often simple but effective.

Don’t be afraid to walk off the beaten path and make your ideas your own.

You may be surprised by how popular your campaigns become.  Good luck!

Understanding Your Social Customer in 3 Steps

social-media-audiencesThe most daunting part of social media marketing for small business is understanding your audience.

After all, they are your customers and potential new leads.

Getting to know your fan base is the most important key to figuring out the best way to reach them with content that is engaging.  Here are a few tips to help demystify your marketing targets.

1. Find out where they are

It may seem obvious, but you should know which social media platforms your customer segment uses.  If you notice more fans active on Facebook, focus on putting great content into the news feed. This doesn’t mean to disregard other social networks because they could surprise you with new leads.  Go to where your fans are and show them your best.

2. Match the Network

The majority of social network users have at least two accounts on different platforms.  Which networks are used very much depends on what the user is looking for, like turning to Twitter for news and Pinterest for recipes.  Each platform is provides a unique experience, so tailor your approach to match the tone of the community.  Focus your content on the most relevant topics in your industry and target your audience.

sharing3. Sharing and Purchasing

Most social networks offer metrics and analytics now because of the rise of social media marketing for business.  For networks that don’t, other platforms have developed services to monitor metrics for you.  These simple tools allow you to see what of your content is getting engagement and how.  It’s like handing you the keys to what works and what doesn’t.  Social media drives roughly half of online and in-store purchasing.  Half of social media-related purchasing takes place within 1 week of engaging with the purchased item. Find out what your audience is looking for and give it to them by simply asking.

Ideally, after you ask questions about your customers’ interests, you will compare that to your metrics and plan your marketing strategy from there.

Understanding your customer requires listening and responding to make a connection.

Building these relationships takes time, but if you know what you are looking for it should be a breeze.



Facebook Marketing for Business

500x_facebook_macro_0Facebook is the largest and most used social networking platform out there, so it’s no wonder that your business’s presence there is important.  Tons of research has been done by marketing agencies to find out what works as content and what doesn’t.

Does sponsoring stories make a difference?

We’ve already covered why Facebook hashtags don’t work well for the platform, but here are some tips on what you should keep in mind when tailoring your content.

1. Mobile

Over three quarters of Facebook users are mobile.  The Facebook app is one of the most popular apps for across all smartphones. This means that slightly less than 100 million people log into their account through their mobile devices.  Make sure your page is optimized for mobile use. Your entire timeline is not visible, so pin your best content to highlight it.  Encourage people to check in at your locations or events and ask for reviews.

2. Paid Ads

Promoting your Facebook posts with a paid ad or sponsored story has been shown to significantly increase reach.  Keep in mind that paid ads do not draw as much engagement as non-promotional content, so stick to sponsoring stories that drive brand awareness and increase your customer base.

NegativeFeedback3. Negative Feedback

Negative feedback hurts your overall post reach.  Users can hide your content or unlike your page if they are given a reason to.  For most post types, negative feedback increases when paid ads are used.  Figure out what your audience prefers and share content they will enjoy.  Ask questions to show you are engaged with your audience on a personal level and care about what they have to say.  Mix up your posts and experiment with paid and unpaid versions.  Check your page Insights at least weekly.

The most important thing to remember with all social networks is that it’s about conversation.

Monitor how your brand is perceived and keep actively engaging with your audience.  Learn from your mistakes and never stop trying to be better. If you follow these tips, you will stay on top of your Facebook game.

Building Relationships in Social Media

social-media-billboardMost social strategies are mapped out with specific business objectives in mind such as brand awareness, customer care or sales. But regardless of specific business goals, there’s a central component to any successful social program: building relationships.

Relationships are the motivation and driving force behind social media.

Connecting with others and finding value in these relationships is why we as consumers use social networks in our daily lives. The companies who find valuable ways to build relationships win share of voice, loyalty and ultimately, new business. The catch is that these relationships aren’t built overnight. They must be nurtured over time by consistently creating great social experiences for your customers.

Social isn’t about “quick wins”, but rather approaching each social interaction as one step in an ongoing journey to building lasting relationships. Striving to make each social moment great is what creates likeable brands.

While the road to building lasting relationships is long, here are three crucial elements all social brands can implement to change their relationship status with consumers.

1. Be a trusted connection by listening first, and never stop.Social-Media-Listening-Image-two

We don’t stay friends with people who only talk about themselves and we don’t want to engage with brands on social that do the same. As valuable as it is to get the word out about your brand, listening is essential to building relationships with customers. It provides brands with insight into their audience, their likes and dislikes, and what they can expect from you on social channels. In addition, listening for any negative customer feedback allows brands to always keep improving and ultimately give their customers what they want.

2. Fuel conversation by responding and engaging.

In today’s connected world, when customers take the time to engage in conversation with your brand, they often expect your company to take the time to respond back. As a result, brands can no longer get away with being unresponsive on social channels. Responding to, and engaging with, your social customers signals that your brand is invested in each individual relationship. Acknowledging negative feedback provides an opportunity to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one. Engaging with customers to answer a question or send appreciation can instantly turn a good experience into a great one.

storytelling3. Become a storyteller by sharing and inspiring stories.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways we as people communicate. A great story captivates and engages emotionally, leaving people inspired to share. Social brands can now tell their story – and stories of their customers – easier than ever before. Sharing a customer anecdote can ignite community-wide excitement, and revealing the faces and voices behind your company can connect customers with employees on a personal level.

Every brand has a story to tell – be it customers who have overcome obstacles, humble beginnings or a glimpse inside the lives of leadership. Tapping into emotions and giving people a reason to share your story is one of the most effective ways to build word of mouth and deepen customers relationship with your brand. Unlike with traditional media, social offers the ability to tell new stories instantly and with little cost.

Creating great social experiences that build lasting relationships is no small task.

It requires dedication and we are only scratching the surface of what it takes to make these meaningful connections. Take the time to nurture your social media relationships and they will pay off.