Tagged: small business

Tips and Tricks for Capturing Quality Video with Your Smartphone

Social Content Marketing revolves around two goals:  Getting audience attention, and Keeping it. And the most effective way to do this is through video.

This information isn’t new. With the growing popularity of social media, marketers have found that videos of original content are up to ten times more likely to be embedded or shared than similar static social posts.

And a convenient way to get this content is sitting in the palm of your hand.

Your smartphone is capable of doing more than making calls and surfing for cat videos. You can shoot short-form, highly engaging video content perfect for Social Media simply by following these five guidelines.

Blog1. Turn, turn, turn

Do. Not. Shoot. Vertical. Video.

Websites, computer screens, televisions, movie theaters — even our own eyes — are engineered to be wide screen. Vertical video is squeezed between two black bars, giving the impression that your audience is missing out on the big picture. And it just looks bad.

Shooting horizontally, or in landscape, allows your smartphone to capture more of the picture, including backgrounds often missed in vertical shots.

And shooting a landscape will actually make your picture better too. By turning your phone, the video capture loads more resolution, allowing the video to be utilized on any platform, easily edited or even incorporated into existing higher resolution video.

Switching to landscape mode may also help with stability because it nearly forces you to use two hands.

2. Check Your Audio

Smart phone microphones are built to provide good sound quality for calls, but this does not transfer well to video, particularly when shooting at a distance.

And easy fix is to use an external microphone, which can be as cheap as $10.

Not so easy to fix is distracting background noises like traffic or voices. Even quiet sounds such as air conditioning fans can muddle your sound quality. To avoid these sounds coming through on your final video, film in a quiet, carpeted room if possible, setting the external microphone as close to the action as possible.

On outdoor, live-action or loud demonstration shoots, consider utilizing post-production music additions via a smartphone app.

3. Go Slow and Steady

Shaky-Cam may have made 90s horror films unique and exciting, but that camera trick doesn’t belong anywhere near your social media.

The most effective method of ensuring steady video is to place your phone on a tripod. These range from anywhere between $8 and $50 and are specially made for smartphones.

For shots that require mobility, invest in a gimbal. These handheld stabilizers hold your phone on an axis, allowing it to remain stable while providing a more fluid moving shot.

Gimbals can run anywhere from 50 to 400 dollars, so if you’re not ready to invest just yet, try this: start filming from a sitting or kneeling position, supporting your elbows on your knees to stabilize your hands.

If you need to pan, first stabilize your elbows on a solid surface such as a chair or table. Then pivot slowly, keeping you your elbows stationary. And although most mobile phones have a zoom function, the quality is better when the camera is moved closer rather than zooming in.

4. Switch on the lights

If you have ever had your picture taken with a smartphone’s flash, you know all too well that the photo is not likely to be flattering. But capturing video in low or poor light is not an option with a smartphone. They just simply are not advanced enough to capture video without adequate light. That’s why images and videos shot in low light look so grainy.

Consider investing in a lighting kit that includes a soft box. A soft box works by producing an even and soft light that reduces shadow without over lighting a subject. These start at $75, and an inexpensive starter kit with three lights can cost about $150.

For a more portable light source, an external LED flash and video light may be the answer. These wireless lights usually charge through a USB port and are easy to set up with any smartphone or tablet. These usually start at about $30.

5. Adapttangerine002

As useful as you smartphone may be, it does have limitations. But these can be overcome with add-ons that amplify your phone’s abilities.

For instance, if your content tends to center around live events such as races, sporting events or nature videos, consider investing in a lens adaptor. The adaptors can be used as external zoom lenses, fish-eye, wide angle, macro, filters…the list goes on.

These lenses run from anywhere between $50 and $500, but are worth it if you are looking for particular shots time and time again.

An external lens filter kit can give you special effects without utilizing an app or expensive hardwear. These small adaptors can split images into twos and threes, take closer video and add color easily, all for about $40.

4 Ways to Get Customer Testimonials

testimonial-01Your job as a business is to win over the trust of potential customers who are not quite ready to do
business with you. Customers are like hoodwinked children. They are cynical and defensive about anything they hear or read. However, if a friend, or someone they know and trust, tells them something, they are inclined to believe it without question.

To make a prospective customer care about your business, you need to show them how you can make their life easier or better. Then, you need to follow through and prove it. The conventional way to prove a claim is to present positive testimonials, endorsements, or media articles and mentions about your business.

You probably already praise your business. However, statements you make about yourself just don’t have the same impact as statements that come from others. Especially testimonial-03happy, satisfied customers.

To convince a cynical potential customer – someone that may not be sure about becoming your customer – you need to let them know your current customers think you’re great. There are ways you can generate proof your business is sound and performs exceptional work.   What follows are four ways to help generate positive testimonials from your customers.

  1. Ask

The simplest way to get positive testimonials is to ask. Do this as a part of thanking your customer for their business. Send an email, or follow-up letter to each of your customers that says something like:

Testimonial-request-USE IN BODY

When your customer responds, you have your testimonial. Collect them all and use excerpts of the best lines that exemplify why others should do business with you.

  1. Create unique experiences

A few years ago, fishing hat manufacturer Tilley sent customers a letter congratulating them on purchasing one of their hats. The letter included tips on caring for the hat and made a pitch for some of their other products.

testimonial-04On the back of the letter was an “Insurance Certificate.” Should the hat become lost or stolen, the
certificate allowed a half-priced replacement hat. This unique promotion made the buying experience different. While a half-priced replacement may not work for all businesses, consider if an “insurance” idea is right for your product or service.

So why do something like this? When you have the opportunity to deliver unique experiences to your customers, follow up! After the sale, email your customers for their thoughts about doing business with you and the buying experience. Their responses become your testimonials.

  1. Recruit volunteers

If you are introducing a new product or service and have a Facebook, or other social media group, use your community to find willing testers during your launch period. Offer a pre-determined number of testers a half-price or even a free service in return for their permission to use their comments as testimonials.

It is important to remember to return the favor when you are asked to test a new product or service. Be sure to offer written comments than can be used as a testimonial for the product or service.

  1. Build relationships with credible experts

Ever read a recommendation for a new book? In the publishing world, authors often get influential people to recommend their books. This gives potential readers positive comments about the book from high-profile people.

testimonial-02So how do you approach a credible expert, someone who may get many of these requests? The smart way to approach this is to always be cultivating relationships over time. Always offer your assistance and always offer to be useful in general long before you ever conceive of your product idea.

If you are building meaningful relationships with others on social media, it should be easy to ask for input from experts. You can always find local experts to recommend your product or service. You could even ask the mayor or other well-liked city officials to try your business in exchange for permission to use their written recommendation as a testimonial.

You can also hire an expert to try your product or service. As a part of this agreement, use the expert’s name and testimonial when promoting your product.

Always ask for feedback

When you openly communicate with your social media audience and encourage their feedback, you can end up with some great testimonials. Keep your testimonials in one place so it is easy to draw from them when you create content.

If you make collecting customer comments a priority, eventually you’ll have thousands of potential testimonials and endorsements to choose from when you need to dispel doubt in the minds of cynical and defensive customers.

3 Steps to Better Video

Planning your video before you pull out the gear helps produce the best video possible. This is true whether it is your first video or you consider yourself an expert. It’s important to put the information you gather on paper, because this makes the actual shooting go more smoothly and quickly. Here are three steps to planning your video to help make a better video

Focus On Your Audience

First thing to do when planning the content of your shoot is to consider the audience you are addressing. When doing this, you will find a script is the most important part of the video. No matter what type of video you are planning, you must have a script. In some cases, an outline may be sufficient. In others, you will want to write out pen and paper form clipart modevery word. The script is your guide during the shoot. Stick to it.

A script helps focus on your audience. In most cases, your audience will be your existing customer-base.   However, if you are reaching out to new customers, don’t assume they understand your terminology. Make sure your script explains anything someone not familiar with your business might not know about your business.

Read over your script several times. Then have someone else read it. If you are shooting a ‘how to’ video, double check your script to make sure you haven’t skipped a step that may seem obvious to you, but may not be as obvious to someone only casually acquainted with your business.

If you plan to use an on-camera talent, make sure your spokesperson is comfortable when reading the script aloud before you set up the camera. It is important they speak the script aloud before you are ready to shoot. This way, your talent is completely familiar with the script and it helps find areas in the script with wording that may be awkward to say aloud.

It may not be necessary for your spokesperson to memorize the entire script. Since you will most likely edit the final video, your talent will probably only need to have small sections of the script committed to memory during the shoot.

Show Your Stuff

cooking-dslr-shoot-41The second step is to consider what you need to show your audience. A person speaking on camera for 3-minutes can be an incredibly long time if the speaker is the only thing shown in the video. If your video is about a specific product or service, you will want to make sure to display prominently the product or service.

After recording the person speaking on camera, record scenes of the product or service close up.   If, for example, your video is about a special technique you use to repair a bumper, be sure to show a technician using that technique. A close up of hands doing the process is always good to show while the talent talks about the process or product. Use this video to illustrate what your spokesperson is describing.

We call these “B-roll” shots. You will find it greatly enhances a video to show a close up of the product or the service that is the subject of the video. As you write your script, consider what b-roll shots you might need. Write them down in a shot list that you can refer to when you shoot. This way you do not forget to record the scenes during production.

Time and Place

The third step is to consider when and where you will shoot the video. Planning these basic logistics helps not only with the efficiency of your production, but they also affect the overall look of the final DSC_0661-2video.

Wherever you decide to shoot, keep in mind what you want to have as the focus, or main object of each shot. Be aware of everything else around the main object. In addition, is there something in the background that might distract from what you want the viewer to see? Always look carefully at the scene through the camera to see if anything distracts from the primary focus of the shot.

There may be times you want something extra in the shot, like a logo or something you specifically talk about in the video. You can make room for it in the shot or have it in the background.

When you are recording audio with your video, listen carefully for any background noise that might interfere with your main audio source. Is your scene in an area where people are working? If so, you might plan your shoot for a time when they are not working – like during a lunch break – or ask if they can take a break while you shoot. If nothing else, request they keep noise to a minimum.

If you take a systematic approach to planning your video, you will find the video shoot goes much smoother and editing will be much easier as a result.

No More Silent Films

If you want to make great looking videos and use a quality camera, like a DSLR, you are half way to audio-volume-high-hiyour successful venture. However, don’t overlook one very important piece of the puzzle – the sound.

Unless you are in the business of shooting silent movies or music videos, audio is rest of the story. In most cases, your audio will probably be someone talking. Hearing the speaker clearly is every bit as important as camera framing, scene selection or lighting in a quality video.

This post covers tips to help make the sound in your video be as compelling as the rest of the production values.

Why Does My Audio Sound Bad?

You should never rely on the built-in microphone of your video camera for recording a person speaking – no matter how expensive your camera. The audio recorded from speakers in the camera’s built-in microphone will sound very hollow. It’s not the best choice for recording the human voice.

The reason is that the camera’s built-in mic picks up every sound around it. It picks up not only sounds from the front of the camera, but also sounds behind the camera. Any sound your camera operator makes, the servo-motors in the camera – for the zoom lens and such, and the fan from your heating and cooling equipment, will all be heard.

If you have a DSLR camera, it most likely has a separate mic input that accepts an 1/8 inch plug. Use this for recording your audio. The only time you should use the built-in microphone from your camera is for recording ambient background sounds of your environment.

Lavalier Microphones

atr7000_lavalier_1_sqThe ideal microphone for recording a single person speaking is a lavalier mic – one that attaches to clothing. The design of a lavalier mic is specifically for recording the human voice.   This is the type of mic television newscasters use.

Clip the mic on the clothing about 6 inches from the speaker’s mouth – usually about the second button on a shirt or blouse. This positioning avoids picking up room noises or anything in the background that is not a part of the video.

There are two types of lavalier microphones – wired and wireless. A wired lavalier mic is good to use when the speaker is close to the camera. A wired lavaliere has a long cable that plugs into your camera. The price range for a good wired of lavalier mic ranges from about 30 dollars to 100 dollars.

A wireless lavalier microphone is a good choice if you have a situation where the on-camera speaker is required to walk around for a demonstration or is a great distance from the camera. The wireless mic eliminates a situation where the mic cable might pull the camera or cause a trip hazard.

A wireless mic has two parts – a transmitter and a receiver – in addition to the microphone itself. The subject wears the small transmitter. The receiver is at the camera. Wireless microphones start around 150 dollars and can cost up to a thousand dollars.

Whether you use wired or wireless microphones, depending on the manufacturer, you may need an audio adaptor. This box-like piece of equipment converts the large plug (called an “XLR” plug) to a plug that fits into your camera.

Handheld Microphones

There may be videos that require several people to speak on camera.   This is a good situation for your SM58-2moderator, or lead person, to hold a handheld microphone in front of each person who speaks. This would include the moderator himself.

There are wired and wireless handheld microphones. The prices start at just under $100 to several hundred dollars.

For all microphones – lavalier and handheld – the price is based on the frequency response of the mic. Usually, the more you pay, the better sound quality you will receive.

Don’t Forget The Headphones

shure-srh440-studio-headphonesWhen you record a speaker, it is always a good idea to have your camera operator, or another person, monitor the sound as you record your video. You must use headphones to monitor the sound. With headphones, you hear only what is recorded. It also allows you to listen carefully for any extraneous background noises. Most cameras have a headphone jack for listening as you record.

Remember, sound is an important part of every video, don’t leave it to chance!

Video = Memorable Social Media

Everywhere you look today, video is popping up.

Consider this: Television is no longer the first, or even the primary, screen in our lives today. Surveys show that YouTube now reaches more 18-34 year-old US adults than any cable channel. However, it’s not just 18-34 year-olds that are watching videos on YouTube. Adults, parents and grandparents, are watching and posting their own YouTube videos.

Video is becoming so common, that nearly every publishing and social media platform now has, or is integrating, video capabilities.

Facebook Videofacebook-video

Even Facebook has embraced videos. Remember last summer’s ALS Ice Bucket challenge? For many people, it was the first time they uploaded a video to their Facebook account. Since July 2014, the ALS Association has received over $115 million in donations!

Even more remarkable, Facebook had a 50 percent increase in the use of video from just May to July of 2014. Facebook announced in September 2014 that it now delivers one billion video views per day! It is no wonder Facebook is introducing new video features to its site.

People Remember Videos

We are visually oriented; that is why we remember videos. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million words. Actually, 1.8 million words! According Brainshark, a communications training company, the information retained after watching a one-minute online video is equal to about 1.8 million written words!

Videos speak in a way words and static images cannot. If you haven’t already, you may soon find yourself using Google to find a video to answer a question. Admit it, watching someone demonstrate something is much more effective than reading about it.

As a content creator, you should be creating videos that are relevant and engaging for your audience. Don’t worry about trying to create the next viral video. If you create content that your audience just can’t help but share with others, the viral part will take care of itself.

Using-Video-Marketing-For-businessUsing Video for Your Business

So, how do you use video for your business? Show off your work! Before and after images, video progress of your work or a time-lapse for automotive repairs are perfect ways to show off your work. Adding a date stamp is a subtle way to reinforce how quickly you accomplish your great work.

There are other ways to use video besides highlighting your work. You can use video to show off your facilities and employees. Perhaps you have new equipment; show it off with a description of the customer benefits it offers. Highlight your employee of the month and their work. You might consider giving a mini-tour of your facilities. You might want to offer a special discount for customers who specifically mention the video when in your shop.

Another good use of video is customer testimonials. Ask if a customer is willing to talk on camera about your business. You can have them talk about your awesome customer service, or how quickly the work was performed and if they would recommend your shop to their friends.

Perhaps you have an awesome holiday light display. Show it off! If you sponsor a local sports team, show highlights from the latest game.

Spread the Videos Around

Do not just post your video on YouTube or Vimeo. Link to it in your blog posts and on your website. The great thing about posting a video on YouTube is you can link to it on your website and get twice as much exposure. Also, encourage those who find your videos to share with their friends and followers.

Your videos can lead potential customers to your website or blog, and your website or blog can direct current customers to your video channel.

 

Instagram and Shopping: A Definite Correlation

According to new research, people on Instagram love to shop. This is very different from Facebook, where its users mainly use the platform to keep in touch with family and friends.

Iconosquare did a study this year, showing that of 16,000 users, 70 percent of them reported they have looked for a specific brand on the Instagram.

Of all the people following a brand, the recent study shows that 62 percent of them follow because of loyalty and love of the brand while 41 percent follow to capitalize on contests, promotions and giveaways.

Instagram-jpgAs a brand, liking your customers’ post is important. It gives them a sense of pride and a feeling of respect. The research showed that 65 percent of people on Instagram feel “flattered” when the brand likes one of their posts.

Because Instagram generates more engagement (3.31 percent of users engage compared to Twitter’s 0.07 percent according to Socialbakers reports), it is the perfect platform for generating sales while gaining more customers.

The Instagram user-base is much younger than that of Facebook and Twitter. Because the younger generation tends to be more social media savvy, this means it is used more and that causes the higher interactions with posts. For your brand, that can also mean you have those customers for quite a long time.

To further help your sales with Instagram, follow many hashtags that are being used surrounding your brand. Whether the posts are positive or negative, it can show you what you need to be doing and what you should keep doing to keep customers happy and increase revenue. It can also help you realize what promotions or giveaways you may want to consider.Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 9.16.54 AM

For example, if customers continue to show the need for your company calendar, but questions keep popping up on where to get them, you may want to do a calendar giveaway. This can be a good way of getting customers to share different content with your product while using a specific hashtag to get their calendar.

People on Instagram love to shop, it’s that easy. Be sure to give them content that will entertain them, but make them want to buy as well.

Go Get Google Plus

In a recent post, we talked about Google+ being the second most popular social media site in the United States. In fact, Google+, with its 343 million active users is the third most popular site in the world. It ranks right behind Q-Zone, a Chinese social networking site.

Many people neglect the use of Google+, but it is crucial for your business. If you don’t already have a Google+ page for your business, create one today. In today’s blog, we have three more tips to help expand your business influence and opportunities.

  1. Join and Create CommunitiesGooglePlus1

You will find many communities on Google+ similar to those you will find on Facebook and LinkedIn. If there’s not one that suits your business, you can start a new one! Create it using your personal profile or your business page.

Your community can be public or private. A private community requires permission to join. As the moderator, you must approve requests from any that wish to join a private community

Like any social network group, Google+ communities have their share of spam. However, Google+ has an excellent spam management system. The Google+ system grabs most spam and keeps it for moderator approval instead of allowing it to go public and someone notifying you to remove it. At Google+, moderators can also get rid of users who frequently spam others.

You can find ways around most spam in your community by keeping the community private and only allowing people of your choosing to join. A private community will take longer to build, but it does help reduce, if not eliminate, spam.

  1. Get Local!

Google+ has taken charge over Google Places. Customers can leave review write-ups on your local Google+ places page even if you are not active there. That makes Google+ important to businesses because search results show up in reviews alongside other important details and photographs on a Google+ Local Places page.

If you have ever searched for a business at Google, you have probably noticed some businesses have a map and business information along with the option to write a review. These are Google+ businesses! Once you have a Google+ page, when someone searches for your business, this information appears along with the option to review your business.

  1. Host a Google+ Hangout

Yohangoutsur business may not be prepared to invest in webinar or online meeting software. Google+ hangouts are a fantastic and free platform around the expensive meeting software. With Google+, you are limited to a maximum of 10 participants active in the video hangout. However, you can stream video to however many viewers you want using YouTube, making it similar to a webinar.

You can hold Google+ hangouts for all sorts of things, like interviews, question and answer sessions, discussions, webinars (with screen-sharing), private conversations and really about anything else you could imagine. Hold a hangout about car safety; show off new equipment and employees.   Other subjects might be about repairing aluminum or how to identify a quality repair shop.

In addition, you can record the hangout and post to your YouTube channel – a great way to increase your video content.

Go to the Google+ hangouts page (https://plus.google.com/hangouts) and see live hangouts happening in real time. You may find some that you can jump into to see how the hangout works and better know your audience. Then you will be well on your way to creating your own hangout party.

Check out our other Google+ tips, here on Engage Target Media.

YouTube Advanced Tips for Small Business

Youtube_logoIn this post, we look at some YouTube advanced tips for small businesses. I have some advanced tips you can use to help make your business stand out and get the most out of YouTube.

If you are already posting videos to YouTube, you should Customize Your Channel! Customizing is well worth the time it takes to set up. You can add your company’s branding, customize the colors to compliment your company’s look, and add information and links.

When you set up a channel, it offers users the option to subscribe to your content at the click of a button. YouTube visitors also have the option to search just your uploaded content on your channel. The channel structure also allows you to highlight uploads, playlists, favorites or all videos.

With your custom channel in place, it’s time to Organize Your Content. Make your content viewer-friendly rather than just offering a stream of video uploads. Create playlists to group relevant videos together, or lump older content into time-related folders if appropriate. You could have a playlist of customer testimonials. Another playlist might be tips and tricks your employees have for your customers.

Remember that YouTube offers users the option to embed entire playlists into external sites, so give the creation of them, their titles, and description some decent thought. Be sure to check out our video on captions and tags for more on this subject.

using_youtube_analytics_sourcesYouTube offers every user free analytics data via the “Insight” button on every uploaded video. Be sure to Use YouTube’s Free Analytics Tools. Do not overlook this free-to-view information. It can offer you some valuable info on not only views stats, but demographics, community, and the most useful — “discovery” data — info on how users came across the video, including the links they followed to get there. This can be helpful in deciding how and where to display YouTube videos on your website. The tools are there – be sure to use them.

My final tip is perhaps the most important. Promote Your YouTube Videos. Don’t assume viewers will come to you just because you have a YouTube channel. Someone once said, “not advertising is like winking at a beautiful person in the dark. You know what you are doing, but no one else does.” YouTube visitors will not automatically think to look you up on YouTube. After all, there are those adorable animal videos!

Every time you post a video that is relevant for general sharing, you should blog about it. Then tweet it and mention it on your Facebook Page. Twitter and Facebook are easy through YouTube’s account settings that automatically publish news of a new video if you have linked up the social services. If you haven’t linked your YouTube account to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, do it now!

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 6.03.45 PMWhile on the video in YouTube, click the “Share” button. YouTube has some of the most common social media sites listed. Just click the button for the site to which you want to add the video. For blogs and other social media sites not listed, click the box below the icons to copy the HTML code. Sharing the video on your social media sites as well as your own website will help push users towards your video content.

One last tip – don’t shy away from allowing embedding of your videos on other sites — the more views the better.  So get out there and make sure your videos are seen! Good luck!

The Quick Tip Guide for Blogging

iheartblogging-379x243It should be no surprise that blogging in today’s internet centered world is critically important for any content marketer.  However, coming up with a constant stream of content that resonates with your audience can be an overwhelming task. Lucky for you we have boiled it down to some basic pointers for fine-tuning your blogging strategy.

First comes the ideas.  Before you write anything, you must have a creative, engaging idea for your post. If you find yourself having trouble coming up with fresh ideas, consider a couple sources for inspiration.  Check out industry news, social media and relevant message boards to see what your target audience is talking about.  Make sure you stay relevant to their current interests to ensure the highest amount of visibility.  Also use personal experiences and stories to humanize your brand.  Always keep it professional, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It always helps to write down creative content ideas as they come to you, even if you don’t use them immediately.

Next is one of the most important elements of your blog post, the title.  Research shows that the average blog reader only stays 7 seconds past the title of your post.  Your title has to grab attention and keep it. Titles with numbers, especially odd, tend to perform better than those that don’t. Include the words “How – to” to show people that they will learn something useful from your post.  Another strange statistic is that people often respond more to negative tones in posts than positive ones. For example, “Why You Are Losing Money” is much more effective than “Money Saving Tips”.  Just make sure not to go overboard.

2010-12-06-blogging-is-hard1Writers block can be extremely detrimental to a content creator but it does happen from time to time. The best way to combat it is not to stare at a wall or try to force it, but to seek out ideas.  Listen to what people are saying on Google and social media platforms. Tailor your posts to fit what people are talking about. Answer questions that haven’t been asked yet. Take your own approach to a hotly debated topic in your industry. Take advantage of times you do feel creative and plan ahead for the times you might not.

The only way to become a better writer is to keep writing. Even if you don’t use all your work, write as much as you can. Try to spend at least 30 minutes everyday just writing. You’ll see an improvement as long as you keep trying to get better.  Good luck and happy blogging.

 

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.