Monthly Archives: May 2014

Shortcuts to Avoid in Social Media

042313-shortcutShortcuts are something that are used in almost every facet of life. Be it keyboard shortcuts or a quicker way to get home from work, people like to do things the easiest way possible.  We have automation tools that allow for advanced programming of Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and even Instagram.  But where do we draw the line between convenience and practicality?  Does automation of posts deserve the bad reputation it has? We personally feel that automation has it’s place, but it require supplemental monitoring to make it effective.  Here we are going to go through some social media shortcuts that you should avoid with your pages.

1) Pre-Scheduling for Events

This seems like a no brainer, but you should avoid scheduling your posts in advance of a real time event.  If, for example, you have programmed tweets talking about a specific driver in an upcoming race, it could backfire on you if something about the event changes. The driver could be injured before the race or the weather may cause a delay.  Stick to posting real time updates on events if you cover them to prevent this from happening.

2) Auto-Replies

One on one communication should never be automated. Whether it’s thanking someone for following you or answering a message, you should always do these yourself. There is no better way to turn off a new follower than to send them an automated thank you.

3) Posting the Same Message Across Multiple Networks

This is where automation gets the most flak from critics.  A lot of times when using automation tools to schedule messages in advance, you can schedule the same message across multiple networks. For example, you may send out a message as a tweet and as a Facebook update.  Unfortunately, this is pretty noticeable to followers. After all, it’s still a little weird seeing a lot of hashtags on Facebook if you are cross posting from Instagram or Twitter.  We recommend tailoring each message you send out for the network you are posting on.  What makes for a good tweet may not translate that easily to Google Plus and so on.

4) Sending Connection Invites Without Personalizing

For networks like LinkedIn, you can send a message along with your invitation to connect.  There is a standard message already in the template, but you should take the time to make it personal. People will know if you just sent them the boiler plate message, so make sure to put your own spin on it.  Explain why you want to connect or how being connected to you will be beneficial to that person. Don’t risk looking like a spammer with the standard message.

password5) Using A Simple Password

Most people use the same password for everything. Be careful of doing this, especially with an easy password. Social accounts get hacked all the time for one reason or another, so stay on top of your accounts with solidly difficult passwords.  Also be sure to change them every so often to keep your accounts as secure as possible. The process for getting your accounts back after they’ve been hacked can be difficult and sometimes not possible. Better to be safe than sorry in this case.

6) Buying Likes

Did you know that some companies offer ‘likes’ for a price? These businesses create thousands of fake accounts to generate likes for their clients. Facebook has caught onto this scheme and actually punishes pages that do this by limiting their organic reach.  Avoid buying into any scam that is supposed to bring you likes on your page, it will end up doing more harm than good.

7) Only Retweeting/Sharing

Retweeting is good for networking and spreading other’s messages if they are in line with your brand. The same goes for sharing on Facebook.  Only retweeting and sharing, however, shows your audience that you don’t have anything original or unique to offer. Use the retweet and share buttons sparingly so as not to oversaturate your followers. Otherwise why should someone follow you when they can get the message from the other source?

8) Inviting Every Friend to Like Your Pages

Annoying your friends with constant invites to like pages they aren’t the targeted market for will actually hurt your reach. You want to make sure you are reaching the right audience for your brand with your ad campaigns.  Stick to trying to gain a following of appropriate customers.

tagging-on-facebook9) Tagging Irrelevant People

This is probably one of the worst things you could do with your social pages. Under no circumstances should you tag people in an update that have nothing to do with your message. Get permission from anyone you want to tag before you associate them with your company and only then tag them if they are relevant.  You will get more exposure by tagging, but it will backfire if it doesn’t make sense.

These are just a few things you should avoid with your pages. Social media management isn’t easy, but if you make sure you aren’t taking the wrong shortcuts, you will do just fine. Good luck and happy posting.

 

Big Brand Facebook Tactics that Work for Any Business

Well-Known World Brand LogotypesThe most challenging part of social media management is staying active and engaging. Big brands like Oreo, Nike and Target have dedicated marketing departments that spend all their time coming up with great fresh content. Following the cues of these brands is something any business, no matter how small, can do.  We are going to go over some of the ways these companies keep their fan base coming back, so that you may be able to make your pages more engaging.

1) Holidays and Events

Heineken held a Instagram scavenger hunt content ahead of the U.S. Open Men’s final for a chance to win tickets. Fans had to search for clues in a mosaic of Instagram photos that would ultimately lead them to nine pairs of tennis tickets. In order to prove they had found the next clue, users had to comment on the correct photo with the codeword “#SHHH.” You can host promotions or games through your own social media channels the same way while capitalizing on an upcoming event or holiday.  Reward your fans for participation and they will continue to engage with you.

2) Crowdsourcing

Facebook and Instagram are great places to ask people for content. By asking your fans for their input, you can easily generate new content that is centered around your customers. Again, reward your fans for their input by acknowledging them and showing appreciation.  Someone take a picture of using your product? Feature their photo on your own pages as a shout out. People really appreciate being noticed by brands or companies that they use, so share the love with your fan base.

3) Fun

Humor is a great way to humanize your brand. It shows that your company can have fun and wants to share that with others.  Skittles and Old Spice do a very good job of engaging fans with nonsensical humor. If you can make your fans laugh they are much more likely to share your content and possibly let it go viral.

70-20-104) 70/20/10

Almost all the major brands that have successful social pages follow the rule of 70/20/10. That means the 70% of their content is information that is valuable to their followers in some way. This can be tips, tricks, contests, Q&A chats or anything else that does more for your customer than it does for you.  20% of your content should be shared from other sources to show that you acknowledge other companies, brands or even your fans. Share articles written by industry publications, or user submitted photos and videos. The last 10% of your content should be self-promotional. This is where you show off your products and services.  Apply this rule to your content and see it take off.

5) Customer Service

Daily upkeep of your social pages mostly includes responding to fans. Liking or encouraging good comments, answering questions and handling complaints is something that should be done often. This humanizes your brand and shows that you are active and involved with your followers. Take the time to respond to everything you get and make sure to tag the relevant people.

6) Consistancy

Quite simply, you should make sure that there is at least one post every few days on all of your social networks.  If you focus on just a few, it’s ok to post every day.  The most important thing is that you are consistently making posts so your fans know your page isn’t dead.  Take care not to over post or you’ll risk driving away your audience.

7) Storytelling

Video is a great way to tell your brand’s story. Oreo is definitely a brand who has utilized video to it’s fullest extent. They generally keep their videos simple using stop motion and viewer submitted content to engage their fans.  Your videos don’t have to be long or big productions thanks to Vine and Instagram Video.  These networks are free to use and are easy to navigate.  You can also use hashtags to categorize your posts and get your message out to a wider audience.

Four-seasons8) Capture the Seasons

As the seasons change, capture the feel of each one.  Fans know you are current and thinking about something other than your business if you play into the seasons of the year. Tie your brand or company into your messages. Change your profile picture or cover photos to keep with the changing times.

There are many ways to keep your audience engaged like the big guys do if you are willing to get a little creative. Play around with your posts to see what resonates most with your fans.  It’s all trial and error. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. There really is no wrong answer on how to best connect with your followers.  Take risks and you may see them pay off in the long run.  Good luck and happy posting!

Linked In for Lead Generation

linkedinWe’ve talked before about how to use LinkedIn for your small business, but we’ve never really delved into the ways to use it for lead generation. Here are some creative ways you can kick start developing new leads using LinkedIn.

 1. Introduce Yourself

After you make a connection with someone, go through their contacts. Make a list of people you’d like to be introduced to and ask if that person would be willing to make a quick introduction for you. Include your welcome message in the note in order to get a more warm reception.

2. Participate

There are group discussions for almost every niche you can think of on LinkedIn.  These groups are often full of people looking for support and answers. Give your knowledge freely and start building relationships. Establishing yourself as a credible source of information and expert will assure people will turn to you for your services. Not to mention that you can connect with people in groups by sending them messages even if you aren’t directly connected to them.

3. Use Flattery

When reaching out to connections or business, use compliments to sweeten your message. Show a real interest and express a desire to work together and collaborate. You will be surprised how many people you can meet using this technique. Don’t go overboard with your flattery. Keep it simple and truthful.

4. Collect Leads

Using the lead collection feature, you can collect leads directly through your LinkedIn ad campaigns. Members who click your ad are taken to your landing page with a button requesting that you contact them. It’s easy to use and can help you build up quite a list of connections.

5. Pay Attention to Profile Views

LinkedIn allows you to see who has visited your profile. Contact those people, if they are a connection, with a message asking if you can help them with anything. If they aren’t a connection, research them and send a note saying that you noticed they visited your page. Anyone who spends time on your profile is worth reaching out to as a potential lead. Don’t shy away from making new connections this way because it could lead to more business. You never know if someone is casually looking at your profile or looking to hire you.

questions6. Ask Questions

It may seem like a no brainer, but you should use your status updates to engage the people you are connected to.  Posting about industry trends, quotes or business questions get people talking and keep you on the front of people’s minds. Don’t be afraid to get the conversation moving with your updates.

7. Stay Active

You should post at least weekly on LinkedIn to keep yourself top of mind with your network. Share newsworthy content or updates about your company. Just make sure you are posting.  Passive awareness from your network becomes important when you reach out to your contacts. People are much more likely to connect with active users than with lurkers.

The most important thing about LinkedIn is that it’s a social network like all the others, so keep it that way. Making new connections and actively engaging people is a surefire way to establish a strong presence on the network. Be aggressive and establish yourself as the go to source for your industry.  People will definitely want to work with you if they know you can be trusted, so set out to be awesome. You never know what kind of business you may drum up.

 

How to Write a Great Tutorial

Tutorial written with white chalk on a blackboard.We know that tutorials can be pretty boring to watch or read. It’s hard to keep an audience focused if the subject material is drab and dull. With a little effort, we are going to show you how to turn your boring tutorials into something engaging in just 5 steps.

First you will want to start with the why. Learning anything new requires effort, so to get people interested and willing to put in the effort, you must tell them why they need to listen to you. The why tells your audience where they are going and why their efforts will be worthwhile. Paint a clear picture of the destination. Your audience will understand that your guide will help them in a way that they couldn’t be helped without your content.

Next, you should include vivid examples and a bit of fun. While you are explaining to your audience the differences between features and benefits, use cheeky examples like this: An ergonomic saddle, which is a feature, prevents a sore butt, the benefit. You can also turn your examples into a story to liven up the explanation.  Simple stories add drama to your tutorial and make your audience curious about what will happen next.

Also, use metaphors to spruce up your tutorials. Metaphors help your audience visualize an abstract concept by relating it to something concrete. They also help associate a new idea with something they already know. Pick one theme and look for connections. Like how developing a blogging voice is like chefs creating their signature dish. There are endless options of metaphors to use, so use them to simplify your explanations.

overcoming-hurdles-study-adviceNext, keep your audience interested by introducing a few problems.  Everyone is trying to avoid making mistakes, so they will pay special attention to problems to avoid them.  Answer the problems you bring up with your material. Teach your listeners how to jump hurdles.  Your content should be able to advise your audience about the things that may go wrong in your how-to.

Finally, edit your text or script to be sharper and more attention grabbing. Your words need to capture attention, express emotion and get your point across.  Consider more emphatic and sensory oriented word choices. Tighten your text as much as you can, and then tighten it again.  Make sure your words have a dynamic rhythm. Long sentences have a comfortable flow, but shorter sentences are more fiery, drawing attention to each word. It’s important to read your text aloud during the editing process so you can determine the rhythm. Switching back and forth between long and short sentences keeps your audience on it’s toes.

A good how-to inspires it’s audience to implement the ideas presented. Consider what might stop your listener from following your advice and take away that obstacle. By encouraging your audience to overcome their doubts, you will establish yourself as an authority. What are some other ways that have worked for you to keep your followers engaged? Does this change how you might think about doing things in the future? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments.