Social Media

You are What You Tweet - Social Media for Restaurants

You are What You Tweet

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Today, social media’s impact on restaurants is more significant than ever. Whether that impact is positive or negative depends on how a restaurant executes a social media strategy. If done right, social media can have massive marketing power at a minimal cost.

But just creating social media accounts and aimlessly pushing out self-promoting content is not enough. These basic social media marketing tips will help increase your restaurant’s reach and engagement and get more people in your door.

Know Your Audience

Before creating a social plan, you first have to define your restaurant’s audience. Age, gender, location, and interests are just a few of many qualities you may want to consider. Once you establish the audience, the next thing to do is determine on which platforms that audience is active. These platforms are where you’ll start.

Taco Bell, whose target market is 18-34 year-olds, knows that 71% of Snapchat users are between 18-34 years old. So, naturally, that’s where their social media efforts are focused. They post daily on Snapchat, and only about one or twice a week on Facebook and Twitter.

Once you know your audience and what platforms they’re on, the next step is speaking their language. Taco Bell does this by using phrases made popular by millennials and Generation Z like “it’s lit” and “extra.” But this can backfire if you’re not careful. Being genuine is key on social media. Avoid posting anything that seems unnatural to you because if it seems forced to you, it probably seems forced to your audience too.

Word of Mouth Marketing 

The restaurant industry has always relied heavily on word-of-mouth marketing. Organic word-of-mouth is when a friend goes to a restaurant and raves to you about how amazing their experience at that restaurant was. Next time you’re looking for a place to eat, you may consider this restaurant based on your friends’ recommendation.

Social media word-of-mouth is the same idea. Except instead of personal recommendations, people may look to tweets or Facebook reviews. In fact, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

You can’t afford to ignore feedback on social media. If your restaurant receives a negative review, it’s crucial to respond as soon as possible by acknowledging the problem, apologizing, and offering an incentive to get them back in your door. This builds credibility and trust with that specific reviewer, and with everyone else who visits your review page.

Addressing positive feedback is also helpful. A customer that goes out of the way to share a good review is a customer you want to keep. Responding to their feedback is the cherry on top of their experience that can turn a one time reviewer into a lifetime brand advocate.

Share Valuable Content

Valuable content, whether it’s informative, engaging, or entertaining, gives customers an incentive to follow your restaurant and keeps them continually coming back for more.

You should share anything that may affect your audience’s ability to visit your restaurant, such as construction in the area, holiday hours, special events, and more. This kind of communication helps customers feel involved and ultimately can establish customer loyalty.

“Behind-the-scenes” content is also a valuable tool. This could include employee spotlights, a “sneak peek” at new menu items, and other back-of-house happenings. When you pull back the curtain, you’re creating a sense of inclusivity and developing an emotional connection with your customers. Having this kind of relationship with customers is invaluable to a restaurants success.

Encourage User-Generated Content (UGC)

With more than 260 million posts tagged #food on Instagram, food pictures are undoubtedly one of the most popular types of content on Instagram. There’s a good chance your customers are posting about your restaurant with or without your interaction.

To capitalize on these posts, many restaurants implement campaigns encouraging customers to use a hashtag unique to their restaurant. To further incentivize customers to share, restaurants often make it a competition, offering SWAG or gift cards to the most creative post.

Not only can user-generated posts take some content building responsibilities off your shoulders, but it also acts as a valuable endorsement, since consumers value peer opinions more so than a brand’s cleverly written sales pitch.

marketing on snapchat

5 Basics for Marketing on Snapchat

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100 million. That’s just shy of the number of people that watch the Super Bowl every year. That’s also about one third of the total United States population. 100 million is approximately how many people use Snapchat every single day. Think that sounds like a lot? Now think about seven billion. That’s how many views videos get on Snapchat on a daily basis, with 76 percent of Snapchat’s users are in the Millennial age group.

Visualizing these numbers isn’t what’s important; tapping into them is what matters. With this kind of potential, Snapchat has transformed from simply being valuable for personal use to being a huge opportunity for small and large businesses targeting Millennials.

The Snapchat conversation shouldn’t make you feel out of date. Take a walk through the basics and learn a few strategies your company can utilize through the app.

So you want to try it out. But how does it really work?

To strip it down to the fundamentals, Snapchat allows users to share pictures and videos instantly. The videos and pictures can only be taken through the app and not imported. Once you’ve taken the picture or video you have a couple choices: Post it to your “snap story” where it will remain for 24 hours as a part of a temporary album, or send it to one of your friends. Snap stories can be viewed multiple times by any of your contacts over the course of those 24 hours. The snap story is the more useful feature for brands. If you do choose to send a photo to someone in your contacts, they can view it once before it is gone.

Before posting or sending a picture, feel free to enhance it. It’s encouraged. Swipe right to select a color filter or geofilter. Your geofilter options appear based on where you are and what’s going on around you, but I’ll elaborate on those later on. There’s also the option to include the time, date and details like the current temp. Tap the screen and a text bar will pop up, and if you press the “T” in the top right corner, you can change the style of the text. There’s also a crayon button in the top corner that allows you to get artistic with your picture or video. Just slide your finger along the color spectrum that pops up to choose your paint.

Now that you know the basics, let’s get down to business. Here are five strategies for marketing through the app.

1. Show Transparency 

The rise of social media has fueled the demand for instant information and transparency, and Snapchat is the perfect synergy of those two desires. On Snapchat, you can post more frequently without overwhelming your audience in comparison to an app like Instagram. The pictures aren’t supposed to be premium quality because the concept relies on unscripted and authentic content since the only way to take photos or videos is through the app. People’s desire for raw information paired with the nature of the app makes Snapchat a great way to publish behind the scenes content.

Sports teams are some of the best examples of this concept in action. They use Snapchat to show footage on the bench in practice, on the bus before a game or in the locker room after a game. It relays the personality of the team and its athletes on a more personal level than a formal, produced interview. It makes sense why fans are interested; they feel involved, and the lower-quality handheld video feels intimate. This concept can work the same way for your business. Use Snapchat to tease products or services that are coming soon, and show followers the quirks of your company. Is a product finished but there are a few days before the launch? Fun, team-building day planned? Why not show it off on Snapchat? People are curious about the brands they support, and Snapchat feels like honest communication.

This personal relationship can be developed with more than just behind the scenes content. Snapchat is prime for live event streaming as well. For example, Victoria’s Secret used it before, during and after their fashion show to not only further inform people watching the show, but also to remind their followers to tune in.

Do you have a yearly corporate dinner or host an annual event? Show people where you are and what you’re doing. It gives a firsthand perspective and, if the event is open to the public, people are encouraged to join (virtually) because you will be posting live. Think of your Snapchat story as a digital way to replace live tweeting and target Millennials.

2. Provide Easy Engagement

Just like the social media apps you might be more familiar with like Twitter and Facebook, Snapchat is great because it’s easy for users to engage with your company. If you post a video or picture, followers can view, screenshot or reply directly to you. This is advantageous when it comes to things like contests. For one of our clients, we utilized Snapchat to encourage their audience to add and reply in order to win prizes. These efforts received more engagement than both of our Instagram and Twitter contests. If email campaigns aren’t stimulating the type of engagement you’re looking for, then offering a promo code on your snap story might be an ideal alternative to test.

3. Reveal Tutorials

Showing people how to use your product not only reveals its potential benefits, but also helps prevent any confusion. Snapchat offers businesses the ability to showcase their products and services with a much more casual explanation method. Facebook has been bombarded with how-to cooking videos as of late, and people are big on the simple, quick explanations.

Millennials aren’t as in love with Facebook as they used to be, so if you want an avenue to give them a tutorial, try using Snapchat instead. This can be valuable for all types of products – show people how to put together an outfit with your spring styles, how to make the perfect presentation using your software, style their hair using your extra-hold gel, etc.

4. Connect Through Influencer Outreach

Referral from a friend is a good way to start a new relationship. Utilizing popular and trusted people in your field to gain the interest and eventually trust of potential customers can be a great way to generate business. On Twitter, a retweet from an influencer is nice, but Snapchat takes this relationship to a whole new level. Try a “Snapchat takeover.” This means someone significant to your brand or target demographic runs your account for a period of time. Sour Patch Kids saw a huge growth through utilizing social media influencer Logan Paul for a five-day takeover.

They were able to generate an identity for themselves and wedge into a new niche in a short amount of time because of the instantaneous nature of the app. When you dive into your influencer outreach, it’s worth it to think about someone you can utilize for a Snapchat takeover to create a connection and help grow your audience. The organic nature of the app allows users to really get to know the personality of your company in a short period of time.

5. Advertise Through Geofilters

After taking a photo or video through the app, you can swipe right to add a color filter or a geofilter. Right now at the Shout Out office near downtown in Columbus, Ohio, my options are three different Columbus filters that show a small graphic that adds ‘Columbus’ written in different styles and colors at the top or bottom of the picture. These filters aren’t limited to stating the name of the area though. Companies like JPMorgan are putting their brand name on these geofilters and making them available to people in a specific area.

This allows you to associate your company with an area or an event, and everyone who posts a picture with your filter is organically promoting your brand. Snapchat also provides analytics for your filter, so you can see how many times it was viewed and used.

All of these campaign methods on Snapchat have similar goals: increasing engagement, recognition and interest. With so many Millennials using Snapchat and a very real need for brands to be transparent, this is a natural way to connect with your audience. Not only will the app give your followers the ability see what your up to, but Snapchat’s newest update pushes users to watch all of their friend’s snap stories. In fact, it’s harder to not watch a friend’s snap story than it is to watch it.

It’s not about being hip anymore – Snapchat is the best way to move from brand awareness to building a connection with Millennials.

Benefits of Outsourcing Your Social Media

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Social media is beyond mainstream, and many businesses today realize the benefits the various communication platforms can provide to reaching their business goals. The reality though is that as social media becomes larger landscape and more sophisticated over time, succeeding in the social realm can be tough…and it might require some additional expertise. So, if you find yourself in this place, here’s a look at a few reasons why it might benefit you to outsource your social media.

Communicating Your Brand Message

Sure, you know your brand best, but do you know how to effectively communicate it? Whether you’re a brand new startup just getting your feet wet or you’ve been in the industry for decades, believe it or not, it can be a challenge to communicate who you are as a brand and identify what’s your tone-of-voice. If you expect your audience to connect with you, this is an extremely important point of communication. Every update, post, or image should be something that represents the attributes of your brand, and should feel authentic as if you were talking to someone in person. If you haven’t established a voice, having a team to help you identify this voice and keep it consistent can be extremely valuable. Some of the best brands (small and large) are seamlessly managed by outside resources because they’ve been able to embrace the brand’s unique style of communication and flawlessly engage with their audience.

Socially Active Experts

Social media is an ever-evolving form of online communication, and there’s no reason to expect it to slow down anytime soon. Marketers managing social media have to stay on top of new trends and platform innovations. Whether it’s a new algorithm update, click to buy feature, advertising enhancements, etc., … it’s difficult to stay abreast of the social media environment unless you’re living it every day. Having a team of individuals, who can assess the environment, test new platforms, understand the opportunities and debunk the fleeting pop-up of platforms ultimately can save you a whole lot of time and provide focus.

Scaling as You Grow

As you grow, so should your audience, and with that comes more activity and the need for more engagement. And while you may be able to get things off the ground initially, as you continue to grow and see success, tending to social media may not be feasible. Let’s be honest, you still have a day job. Having dedicated individuals, who are there when your customers ask questions, have a customer complaint, or just want to sing the praise of your brand, could establish a new customer relationship, strengthen an existing, or renew a fading one.

Putting Money Where It Matters

Some platforms require a little extra power to get off the ground, to expose your brand to new audiences, or frankly just to stay visible, and sometimes it costs a little to get your voice heard. The unfortunate part is if you’re not familiar with the platform, you could be tossing money in the wind with no return on investment or your time. Those who manage social media day-to-day actively should understand where your time and dollars are best spent, be able to establish ideal budgets, and project anticipated results based on your desired goals.

Analysis of Activity

If you haven’t benchmarked social media goals (followers, reach, engagement, impressions, etc), how do you know if you’re succeeding or failing? Yes, every platform has available analytics, but if you don’t understand what the data is telling you, then how can you be sure that you’re getting the most out of your efforts. If you see engagement declining or impressions increasing, a social media team should be able to pinpoint what has resulted in a decrease or increase, and determine the appropriate actions to respond accordingly.

 

Bottom line don’t be afraid to ask for (outside) help. If you’re not sure how to approach social media or keep on top of it, consider asking a team with social media expertise to evaluate your current performance. You might just find that outsourcing your social media could be a real benefit to your brand and your customers.

A First Step to Find Your Advertising Audience in Social Media

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Finding the right audience in social media advertising can be a challenge – especially when you’re trying to get to find the ideal mix that gets you the most clicks, impressions, ROI and any other goals you and your digital marketing team are working toward. However, one of the easiest places to find your audience is already provided for you.

Your social media channels.

When was the last time you checked out your Pinterest or Twitter audience insights? In the depths of those often-overlooked tabs you just might find your answer. Anything from what their interests are, to who else they are following. Then what should you do? Create audiences within Facebook advertising for each platform and test it. They all might be a little similar, but each provides different insights into your audience’s interest.

Twitter has a “followers” tab you can check out that contains information from most unique interests, top interests to even who your followers are following. Use this information to fill out a custom audience. Are they interested in fashion, technology, music? Use their interest!

Pinterest audience interests are a little harder to find. You have to go to the analytics tab, then hit ‘interest’ (close to the top). Here you will see what boards/interests your Pinterest audience is interested in. Design, healthy eating? You can create a new audience in Facebook to send ads out to. Compare and contrast Twitter and Pinterest by running the same campaign back-to-back and seeing which works best.

Don’t forget Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is a fantastic tool to use to see where your audience is coming from to your site. The best part is you can use that information to your advantage when targeting audiences to advertising using Facebook (or other platforms).

When all of the Facebook audiences have been tested you can take that same strategy to other platforms. Try doing the same test on Pinterest or Twitter! It’s all about working with what you already have in front of you, and then testing other audiences as you go!

JetBlue Uses Social Media for a Social Movement

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Social media is a powerful business tool, but it can also be an amazing vehicle for doing good. JetBlue recently caught my eye when I heard about what they were doing to embrace social media and create a social movement by giving back to their travelers in the form of social sharing. With their Fly It Forward Campaign, they’ve asked individuals to tell them “If you were given one flight to spread good where would you go?” The goal is to provide fliers with a ticket to make the world a little better with the one request that they pay it forward.

It takes the simple action of traveling and makes it something much, much more. It’s about what you will do when you get there. The brand is investing and empowering travelers to give them access to making their dreams real and doing something that truly matters. JetBlue Senior Vice President of Commercial, Marty St George said it best, “It’s easy to get caught up in the mechanics of travel and overlook the reasons why people travel. Everyone travels for their own reasons. It’s those stories, those connections with individuals that inspire us all.”

Fly It Forward started first with crewmembers nominating members of their communities they thought were worthy of a flight. Tameka was selected a first. As a director of I Grow Chicago, she provides a safe-haven for at-risk community members by connecting them through yoga, urban farming, art, and culture. Her purpose is to teach community ownership and help individuals realize that they matter. With JetBlue, she had the chance to visit the United Nations as a delegate and learn from other communities who fight against similar obstacles in order to bring it back and share what she knows.

The next evolution of the experience is the process of passing it on. The beauty of it is that these individuals have never met. It’s not a good friend or a co-worker that they know who wants to go somewhere amazing. It’s about giving these travelers a chance to hear the stories of other like-minded individuals who want to make a difference or want to experience something that would be life-changing and passing on that same opportunity. You can follow the stories as they take flight and unfold on jetblueflyitforward.com and help continue the mission by nominating yourself or submitting a worthy traveler’s story through Twitter using #FlyItForward.

 

If your brand can take consumers to a place they never thought they could go, give them the vessel to do that. Whether it’s through communicating encouragement, empowerment, or physically providing them with the tools they need…that’s a powerful position to be able to do something good.

A Simple Guide To Marketing On Reddit

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Everyone knows that social media marketing can be an incredibly powerful, and these days necessary, marketing tool. Most marketers gravitate to Facebook because it is easy to understand. The slightly more tech savvy will be engaged in twitter or maybe Pintrest. But very few marketers will dive into marketing on Reddit, and they are missing a world of opportunity.

Reddit can be a scary place for a marketer:

  • It doesn’t have a beautiful and slick UI like most of its social media brethren. In fact, it’s more like the craigslist of social media.
  • It’s divided into thousands upon thousands of subreddits. More are added every day.
  • Its users are made up of some of the most tech-savvy and skeptical people on the internet.

Although it’s ugly, incredibly divided, and its users are unforgiving, in my opinion, Reddit is one of the best places a marketer can be today. If you identify where your market is and speak to them in a genuine and honest voice, they can be some of the greatest influencers out there. If you’re interested in capitalizing on one of the best social media outlets in existence, here is my quick and dirty guide to help you do so:

  1. Identify your relevant subreddits

If you are thinking that you are just going to post a link to your blog or website and be on the front page of Reddit, you are sorely mistaken. Trying to land something on the front page is a waste of time. Instead, spend a good amount of time and find out where your incredibly active subreddits are. There is practically one for everything. The people that frequent these subreddits will be incredibly passionate about whatever it is that the subreddit is about.

  1. Become a part of the community

You’ve heard us say this a hundred times before but I am going to say it again. It is called SOCIAL media for a reason. You need to actively participate in the community to have success there. You may have thought you identified your perfect subreddit, but once you get active in it you may find out that is has an entirely different tone than what you thought it would have. Start out by commenting on threads and answering questions. Gradually work your way into posting links.

  1. Have something to say

Once you feel like you have become part of the community, don’t just start throwing up links to your website every day. People will sniff that self-serving type of stuff out super quick. You need to have something to say, and it needs to be good. After spending some time on the subreddit you should have a pretty good idea of what kinds of things people are really interested in. Take those interesting ideas and write something about it on your blog, or post something about it on the subreddit giving advice or asking questions. Don’t just start submitting links to your shop page or company website every other day to generate traffic.

Being successful on reddit, really just boils down to a few things; find the right people, be genuine, and don’t abuse it. As I said before, these are some of the most savvy people on the internet, if they sense one thing off about who you are and what you are doing you won’t get anywhere. However, if you’re smart about it and become a genuine person in their community, it will be one of your best audiences out there.

What Instagram Can Do For Your Business That Twitter Cannot

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I don’t follow a ton of people on Twitter but I’ve carefully built a feed of:

1) people or brands who share and create useful content
2) people or brands I know or those I’ve connected with in some fashion and
3) folks who are simply kind, entertaining and engaging online.

I’ve built some rewarding relationships on Twitter, met great people and even collaborated on ideas and projects. It can be a valuable platform as long as you’re giving as much as you’re taking away.

Despite all of this deliberate cultivation of tweet sources, Twitter can feel like a social media Groundhog Day – a loop of the same “6 Ways to Whatever” and a broken record of links. To combat this problem Twitter has better integrated images and videos into tweets over the passed year. And it has helped. Stats show engagement rates increase as much as 151% on tweets with images. We’re visual people. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text.

So imagine your brand’s visual story being told on a platform inherently geared toward images. Instagram isn’t all selfies and lattes. Companies large and small across a variety of industries are finding creative ways to utilize Instagram as a vehicle for social communication.

What Instagram Can Do For Your Business:

Help You Show More Culture: Consumers, in general, you, me and we, want to know more about the people behind the brands we engage with. It’s easier to connect and relate brand voice and brand tendencies with a person or group of people than it is to a logo or name or product packaging. That hasn’t necessarily changed from consumer interest 20-30 years ago but the way it happens and the scale at which it happens certainly has.

Instagram is the chance to provide a glass door look into your culture; from philanthropy to pumpkin carving, Instagram is a chance to show the human side of the business and even activate employees to do the same.

Help You Show More Quality and Value: If you create a product Instagram is the perfect place to provide proof of quality, from the materials you use in the process, to the packaging. If you provide a service give folks a peek at the brainstorming. Let them see the breadth of team, skills, and work that goes into delivering a great service experience.

Help You Show More Travel: Heading out for a conference, client meeting or event? Use Instagram to capture highlights and local interests. Relevant hashtags and location tagging helps you connect with audiences that could ultimately turn into buyers.

71% More Likely to Purchase Based on Social Media Referrals

This stat is from a 2012 article but even if that number is skewed slightly the fact remains that social done right builds trust. Instagram provides a visually driven way to communicate and connect. More Instagram How-to’s here.

How is your company using Instagram? Share your challenges and successes in the comments below.

Social Media Success Summit – Part 1

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This month we’re participating in Social Media Examiner’s 6th Annual Social Media Success Summit. The online conference focuses on all things social media with more than 45 of the world’s leading social media pros. Last year’s conference drew in 3,000 like minded marketers. Since we’re halfway through the conference, we thought we’d share a few highlights from some of our favorite sessions.

Twitter

Amy Schmittauer, founder of Savvy Sexy Social, hit home three key points: Be Human, Be Relevant, Be Giving, during her session on “How to use Twitter to Build Relationships that Lead to Business.” On the surface that may just seem logical in the realm of social media, but it’s how you do it that makes a difference.

Conversations are crucial. Amy advised “Listen and talk to people. If you do nothing but this, you’ll find success.” It shows people that you DO talk to people, and you’re listening and interacting. People judge a follow on how much you engage with your community. The nice thing is that Twitter discussions don’t take up the news feed, like tweets on your timeline, because its just a dialogue between two people. So go ahead and carry on.

How do you get more engagement on Twitter? Go find conversations!! Everyone who wants to have conversation isn’t necessarily looking for it. Find conversations you can be a part of, and tweet with people you follow. Or tweet with people who are following you, but maybe you haven’t followed them back yet. Check out their timeline, find out what they’re talking about, and if there’s something that interests you.

We’ve mentioned before how much we like Twitter lists, but Amy recommended taking it a step further for engagement and consider utilizing for a specific event, such as a conference. You can list speakers or acquaintances that you want to connect with before or after the conference.

Visual Content

Another presentation that caught our attention was, “How to Use Visual Content to Drive Massive Social Media Engagement,” by Kim Garst. The statistics that Kim provided on visual content were staggering:

  • Visuals are processed 60 times faster by the brain than text
  • 90% of all info that is transmitted to the brain is visual
  • 40% of visual content is more likely to be shared
  • 46% of people think website design is #1 in deciding if a company is legitimate
  • 65% of people are visual learners

With statistics like these backing up her presentation, it’s clear that companies who aren’t capitalizing on visual content are missing out. Kim also mentioned three key things to consider when creating visual content: 1) It’s not about you, it’s about them. 2) Consider what your audience cares about, outside of your product or service. 3) Your visual content has to appeal to your prospects’ lifestyle. Most importantly – Be Real! So many companies out there put out content that isn’t authentic. Kim advises that you post a photo of your co-workers ‘behind the scenes’ rather than stiff stock photos.

LinkedIn

Lastly we couldn’t resist the chance to check out Viveka von Rosen‘s session on “LinkedIn Prospecting Gold! 5 Steps to Finding, Engaging and Closing Leads with LinkedIn.” LinkedIn has huge applications from a B2B perspective, but many users seem to still struggle with how to get the most benefit out of it. Here’s a look at some of the advice that Viveka shared:

Like Google your profile must be optimized if you want to be found by prospects. Check your connections’ skills sections, and those are great keywords. For premium users, utilize the new keyword tool to incorporate keywords into your summary section, interests, and experience description. When you add keywords, add them to CONTENT! Two to one people will find you through the keywords in your content.

Save your searches. Once a week LinkedIn will send you an email of three leads that fall into that category from your searches. Seems kinda like a no brainer, right? When you search company pages don’t forget to click on “People You Know,” to see who you’re connected to. Find out what groups they’re in and you can join and look for an opportunity to connect. For a little extra help on any additional information you need, use an eGrabber Account Researcher tool to get phone numbers, email addresses, and public company information about a prospect.

Utilize LinkedIn Connected. It allows you to tag people or create lists according to what they are to you. And, because tags are private, you can send messages to a group of people. Viveka said it’s a little time consuming to set up, but worth it. You can also add private notes right on their profile. For example, a note about where you met someone or specifics of your conversation. You can also set up reminders to follow up with them.

Lastly, use messages as opposed to email because email can sometimes get caught up in spam filters. You’re 20% more likely to have your message read than an email.

We’re looking forward to the upcoming sessions covering video, content and Instagram marketing. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our highlights of the Social Media Success Summit.

 

 

Social Media Help From Your Friends

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Launching a new brand on social media is difficult. It takes time to build your audience, find your voice, and win the attention of your target market. But what if you could speed that up a little bit? How you ask? Just ask your friends. Your friends, whether they are personal or professional, probably have a sizeable head start on your social media presence, and their reach is exponential. A current side project of mine with a non-existent budget has lead me to try this technique to boost our following on social media networks across the board as well as promote a single message in a well orchestrated social media blast. Here is what I did to plan this. read more

Google Plus Communities to Join

Five Google+ Communities You Should Join

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If you have a Google+ account that you use actively, you know about Google+ communities. Similar to LinkedIn Groups and Facebook Groups, it’s a categorized “community” based on a specific topic where anyone who has a Google+ page can join, chat and participate in the conversation. Below are five types of Google+ communities that are helpful and useful. These are prime examples of what a Google+ Community has to offer for your business, or personally:

Google+ Help Community

Let’s face it, when you first start poking around Google+ it can be quite confusing to get the ball rolling. There’s a community for that. Google+ Help Community is a place for your Google+ related questions. There are 338,595 members of this community that are able and willing to help you with all of your Google+ needs. This community has a wide range of topics from general help, to Google+ tips and tricks.

Apple Google+ Community

For all those Apple, Inc. users and lovers there’s an Apple Google+ Community. This community has 132,976 members who post about news about Apple, their devices, apps and everything else related to the company. The topics for discussion range from questions and answers about Apple product to trending topics about iOS updates (the most recent topic is about the iOS8 update issues).

Google Small Business Community

This is a community where businesses can get the help they need to succeed on the web by connecting with experts and each other. In addition to regular Hangouts and Q+A’s with Google+ members, trusted advisers and industry leaders, you’ll also see an assortment of other topics such as #BizBits, stats, tips, quotes and trivia for everyday learning, and #AskanAdvisor, which is where you can ask a question online to a professional. This community is backed by Google+ Your Business and has 73, 156 small business members.

Healthy Living Community

This community is killing it in the health and fitness section of Google+ communities. This is a community all about living a healthy lifestyle. The topics discussed are about health, diet, exercise, weight loss, fitness, and workouts. Anything in the health and fitness category that you have questions about, this community is meant for you. With 107,925 members the discussions are always interesting and about trending health topics.

Medicine & Biology Community

For health and science experts, this community is something you should check out. The goal of this community is to share and discuss technological advances in medicine and biology, focused on human health and longevity. With 36,822 members all discussing topics from basic biology, to immune systems, to synthetic biology. This is an all-around impressive Google+ community.

Do you have a favorite community? Share with us below!

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Twitter

Twitter: Feeding the Need for Change

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Feeling pressure from investors to change, Twitter is speculated to be introducing an algorithm-driven feed, much like you might be familiar with on Facebook. Currently what you see in your Twitter feed is a continuous flow of content from those that you follow and the occasional insert of a promoted tweet.

At the Citi Global Technology Conference earlier this month, Twitter CTO Anthony Noto said: “the reverse-chronological system that Twitter users for its timeline isn’t the most relevant experience for a user.” Ironically, it’s the very reason why many are such fans of the feed, myself included. I prefer to know that what I’m viewing is the content that’s being posted most recent, and there’s no circulation of tweets from the prior day mixed in with content that’s being published today.

Why the change then?

Even with its 271 million monthly active users, Twitter feels the pressure to continue to grow. And one of the things they believe holding them back from that is the complexity for first-time users (hello, have you been on Google+?). So the speculated reaction is an algorithm-driven timeline feed to organize content.

What does this mean?

Organic reach on Twitter will much likely meet the demise we saw for businesses on Facebook. It might be time to become an adopter (if you’re not already) of Twitter ads and at least start testing to see what works best for you or your brand. If you still want to get the exposure you currently get, you just might have to be willing to pay for it going forward.

What can you do?

If you want to have more control over your feed, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with Twitter lists. It’s not a new feature, but sometimes the benefits are overlooked. A list allows you to see the tweets from the list members you’ve created as a separate Twitter timeline…I like to call it my “clean feed.”

Twitter lists allow you to organize people based on relevant areas of interest. For example, I might create the Twitter list for myself that focuses on Content Marketing or Search Engine Optimization. That specific list then becomes a go-to-guide related to that subject matter; eliminating all the conversations in your feed, but content focused more on the specific topic of immediate interest.

You can set Twitter lists to be public or private. If you’re using your list as a business-prospecting tool or maybe to monitor your competitors, private may be the way to go. There are some perks to making your list public though. When you add someone to your list they’re notified and if they’re not already following you it sometimes encourages them to follow back. It can also establish your credibility as being an authority on a particular subject and you might find others will subscribe to your list. Subscribing to others’ lists is a nice way to monitor that feed, but without having to follow all of the members. And lastly, sometimes it’s just an easy way to introduce yourself to someone by letting an individual know you’ve added him or her to your list.

What else can we expect?

Other rumored changes are a more sophisticated search feature and group chat function. What one change I’d love to see is editable tweets! Facebook finally caught on that users wanted that capability to edit their posts. Even in 140 characters, it’s easy to make mistakes. And while that tweet may be short-lived with the average life cycle of a tweet only lasting 18 minutes, I prefer my spelling, mentions, and punctuation to be on-point for the followers who are viewing.

My hope is that Twitter doesn’t succumb to the presses to change from a follower-based feed. My biggest fear is with the continuous updates that all of these social media platforms are making, will we get to a point when no one is unique?

Photo Credit: BeauGiles

Do Companies Really Need Social Media?

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A few months ago my brother and I were out to dinner talking about work and the topic of social media came up. In the discussion, he said, “Our company would never use social media because we don’t need it.” I stared at him for a few seconds… wheels turning, gears grinding, ready to give him my full on social-media-rules-all speech when abruptly, I stopped. He said, “Tell me… why would we need it?” Truth is, I couldn’t answer him. It took me a few days to come to the realization that I couldn’t answer him because he was right, his company doesn’t need it. They won’t ever need it.

Before you judge me too harshly, answer me this: Name one company that absolutely needs social media, one that can’t live without it. Social media isn’t a need. It’s a want. It’s a benefit. It’s an asset to you, your company, and your brand. Social media is a modern luxury that is helping brands around the world to create brand equity in the minds of their consumers.

Just now, Coca-Cola is running their “Share a Coke” campaign that is absolutely killing it. It’s personal and it’s fun. All over social media “Laurens” and “Jessicas” are posting photos with their Cokes, Diet-Cokes, and Coke Zeros. The couple below has even leveraged the popularity of the Coke campaign to add a little something special to their big announcement. This shows that Coca-Cola doesn’t need social media to kill it. It helps them kill it. Simple as that.

 

 

Photo Credit: bjornmeansbear via Compfight

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wanelo

Why Wanelo?

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It’s a question that has been on my mind for quite some time now. For those that aren’t familiar, Wanelo, is a social platform that brings together stores, product and people all in one place. The platform whose name stands for “Want, Need, Love” launched in 2010 by web designer Deena Varshavskaya.

We know that social commerce is definitely catching on, but Wanelo has always seemed like an anomaly to me. I was an early adopter and joined in 2010 then quickly returned to my more comfortable and preferred playground on Pinterest (which many compare it to). However, this could be one for the ages. I’ve heard from my younger counterparts and read the reports that it popular with the millennial consumer.

Who’s There?

So with 11 million users, I thought it could be time to check back in. I haven’t been too far though, with my mobile app still installed and observantly paying attention to big brands like Nordstrom, West Elm, and Sephora who collab with the emerging social site.

How does it work?

Wanelo works like a direct to buy resource. Skip the hunt through blogs and unrelated resources to find the product you’re looking for, this resource allows you to directly buy from your favorite finds in your feed. You don’t complete the transaction on the site, but it connects consumers with the eCommerce site where they can buy the product. Wanelo then pockets a portion of each sale. Instead of grouping items on boards like “Collegiate Gear” like you’d find on Pinterest, the items are sorted by price point. The site also shows what’s trending and allows you to save your items on your wish list or as a gift, also while telling you the popularity of collective site “saves” for that item.

Why Consider?

If you’re looking to capture the attention of younger consumers and provide the most direct access to your product (ease and convenience), it could be a platform to consider. Don’t forget many millennial consumers are frugal with their spending, so the shop by price point is an appealing feature.

Nordstrom recognized the potential: “We noticed mid-last-year that there was lots of inbound traffic coming from Wanelo, so we quickly jumped in to create an account,” said Bryan Galipeau, director of social media at Nordstrom. “Within five months, we had a million followers, the fastest growth of any of our social media accounts.”

Not yet convinced? Consider these facts as to why you might “Want, Need, Love” to have Wanelo in your online strategy plan:

  • Over 7 million products are saved 8 million times a day
  • Wanelo users spend an average of 50 minutes per day on the site
  • Products from over 300,000 stores, including major retailers to small independent shops

Earlier this year, Wanelo’s Creator and CEO, Deena Varshavskaya was named to Fast Company’s 2014 Most Creative People list. Keep an eye out for the commerce platform, I think it’s got huge potential to evolve.

Photo credit: Wanelo

 

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Seasonal Social Media Campaigns

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In retail, cadence calendars are the crux of keeping the in-store environment fresh with seasonal floor set changes to window and graphic signage programs. But do you consider seasonality for your online experience? Social media is a great way to connect your in-store environment with your online presence. After all, your customers don’t live in your store, but they’re (almost) always online. Here are a few examples of how brands are using social media to celebrate the seasons.

Kate Spade 

As summer is often the season of travel, Kate Spade launched an Instagram campaign to build off their “Live Colorfully” tagline. And you know “Kate” doesn’t just live colorfully, but she “Travels Colorfully” too. The brand launched a contest to encourage followers to show how they #TravelColorfully for a chance to win a $250 Kate Spade New York gift certificate. Now through the end of August fans can submit their photos of their colorful travel using the hashtag. Giving the fans some inspiration, the brand shared some other own associates’ colorful travels. And the benefits for Kate? A plethora of user generated content for them to use!

They also recently launched a giveaway in partnership Travel + Leisure (who I think knows a thing or two about travel) to visit their stores to enter  a “Make Waves in Rio” sweepstakes to win a sunny escape to Rio de Janeiro, a $1,000 gift card, and a summer-ready tote filled with the season’s essentials. The promotion takes place online, but ultimately encourages fans to come in-store.

This two-part approach, campaign and giveaway, satisfies both the in-store and online shopper who may not have access to a Kate Spade New York store. A great way to reach multiple audiences.

Anthropologie

If you’re not lavishly traveling around the globe like the Kate Spade fans, Anthropologie is capturing the customer who plans to entertain at home this summer. Looking for ideas and trends in outdoor entertainment venue, the brand lunched a Pinterest #PinToWin contest. Pinners were encouraged to create their own boards around summer gathering themes like cocktail parties and poolside lounging; each pin identified with the hasthags #Anthropologie and #PinToWin. Three winners will be selected to win the  “Ultimate Outdoor Spread,” $500 worth of Anthropologie dining and entertaining items of their choosing.

What’s interesting about this contest is that it doesn’t require participants to pin only Anthropologie product, but it gives participants free range to incorporate whatever product brands they want in their boards. By doing this it doesn’t limit the consumer to existing products, and helps Anthropologie identify what future products might be of interest for the brand to create. It also gives them an opportunity to spot any new outdoor trends, for example popular colors, patterns or even new themed events.

Travelocity

Sometimes it’s just as simple as a statement. In this case, “I wanna go.” The Travelocity social media contest featured on both Twitter and Instagram encouraged followers to share their dream destination with a photo or just a tweet the hashtah #IWannaGo. Two winners were selected from thousands that submitted to win the trip of a lifetime. Check out this brief video featuring the brand’s ornamental globetrotting garden gnome, Roaming Gnome, promoting the contest.

While the contest was relatively simple for participation, there’s more to it said the brand’s CMO, Bradley Wilson. “It’s a way to celebrate the universal truth of wanderlust and to encourage travelers to share their travel dreams with others,” he said. “Whether it’s booking a quick trip to see family and friends or traveling to far-off lands and exotic destinations, we want to hear about it…we also want to help you get there. We want to know, where do you wanna go?” The brand also cleverly ran advertising spots during commercials for the Amazing Race; an audience which one might think would be inspired to travel the world.

Seasonal social media campaigns and contests have tons of benefits for brands when executed properly. The goal should be bigger than just gaining a following (which is okay too), but use it as an opportunity to learn something about your followers, fans, and customers.

Photo Credit: Boudewijn Berends

Instagram

Instagram: Behind the Scenes of Business

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A few weeks ago we wrote about our favorite people to follow on Instagram, but we didn’t really talk a lot about how to use Instagram for business. Thankfully we’ve been provided a great example by Beauty’s Most Wanted.

Beauty’s Most Wanted teams up with Stylemakers to develop custom product lines for cosmetics and skincare which are all sold through Costco pop-up shops and online through their website.

Last week they had a video shoot with one of their Stylemakers, Jenna Hipp and they literally turned their Instagram account over to her during the shoot. The result, a great inside look at what goes on to make all those great images we see every day and usually don’t think much about.

Not only did Beauty’s Most Wanted give fans a look behind the curtain, they also got to promote their end product. Followers got a great sense of the fun and professionalism behind the brand and it’s clear everyone had a great time. Think about this as an approach for your company, products, and brand. Use Instagram to give followers an inside view of your organization, how your products are made, or who the people are behind the scenes that work so hard to make all of this happen.

In the end social media is about engagement and this is a great example of how to engage customers with your brand. A big Shout Out to the marketing and creative team at Beauty’s Most Wanted. Thanks for the lesson on how to Instagram right.

 

Photo Credit: Jason A. Howie

Mark Zuckerburg

New Facebook Changes

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As of two days ago Facebook is on the move to make big new changes in ad features and privacy settings, in addition to Zuckerberg growing up and losing the hoodie.

Ads, privacy, no hoodie?! Oh my…

The fear of the big blue button:

The big new thing is Facebook has added privacy feature to log-ins. Zuckerburg stated during the conference that, “we know some people are scared of pressing the social log-in button if you’re not using an app that you don’t completely trust… then you don’t want to give it a lot of permissions.” Amen to that, Zuckerburg. This new version of Facebook with a fancy new way to log-in anonymously to apps without sharing personal information with developers, is a very welcomed change.

The Wall Street Journal sums it up by saying, “The changes, which Facebook says will be adopted by websites and mobile apps within the next year, will give users more choices about the personal information they share with third parties. By checking or unchecking a box, users will be able to specify if they want to share their friend list, their birthday or their “likes,” among others. Currently, people who log in with Facebook Login don’t control the information they share, including their email addresses, their friend lists and other personal data.”

New Ad Features: Facebook Audience Network

This is huge news to folks like the people on my team who run Facebook ads on a regular basis. Now we can apply Facebook ads that are better targeted towards mobile app users. According to Zuckerberg, this Audience Network will help developers show your audience ads that matter to them with Facebook’s powerful targeting.

So the real question is, what are these changes going to do to small businesses, especially when it comes to analytics and people (such as myself) who regularly rely on those numbers for Facebook ads and privacy settings? Well, I might have a few answers for you:

First, this new Audience Network will be a great open door to people we focus a lot of efforts on ads. We now have a new vehicle to use to target consumers who, like most of us, are on social media through our phones. The privacy feature, while putting a damper on developers, will help people feel more secure on websites and apps that require a log in with Facebook. Honestly, I have a habit of not falling through with those sites. I don’t want my Facebook feed knowing what dress I’m purchasing or if I took a quiz to see what kind of pizza I am. However, thankfully the Facebook team picked up on that and makes that little blue log in button seem a whole lot more inviting.

For more details, check out the full video for your viewing pleasure here: Mobile World Congress 2014

Image via fudyma

Someone Was Listening

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So a couple of weeks ago we blogged about social listening and it’s power to help connect with people. Well it works, or at least it worked for Liquid Web. Last week our major hosting provider Bluehost had a major outage and we Tweeted about it to our clients and followers.

Well, lo and behold, about 3 minutes later we got a follow from Liquid Web and a request for us to follow and get a direct message. They had “heard” our Tweet about the Bluehost problems and were asking us to give them a try. So we have. We set up our first Liquid Web account and are trying it out to see if it’s a possible alternative.

For the record, we think Bluehost has some of the best support in the industry, but this was their second major event in a year and even great support can’t overcome issues with reliability.

At any rate, Liquid Web was listening and this is just meant to be a very quick example of how this all comes together to create new customers.

Photo Credit: Philippe Put

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Benefits of Social Media Scheduling and Social Listening

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Managing social media, whether it be for yourself, another brand or client, requires constant activity and responsiveness. The most efficient way I think people can stay at the top of their social game is to utilize social media scheduling and social listening. Some individuals might see the negative in automating some of the process, but I want to share with you a few reasons why it’s efficient and can actually provide you the time you need to be more actively engaged with your followers.

Scheduling

There are a number of social media management tools that can be used for scheduling communications. Ask anyone and you’ll likely get several different suggestions. We’ve found great success with HootSuite and Sprout Social, it just depends on your particular needs and what might work best for you. HootSuite worked well for our own social scheduling, but as we’ve continued to grow and oversee social media for more of our clients, Sprout Social has been helpful to manage multiple accounts in one platform.

Why schedule? Since your audience is likely not online 24/7, you can select various times throughout the day to publish your content to test what time of day you get the most traction. Depending on the platform, you can also select messages to be published at the most optimal time for engagement.

When it comes to the content shared on social media, we believe in a balance of curated and original content. But curating the right content can also take time. Instead of having to hunt down news items to share, set up an account with an aggregator like Feedly or Scoop.It. You can also use notification services like Google Alerts, Talkwalker or Mention to receives alerts when a brand or topic is mentioned or a news item is published. By curating that content and scheduling, you can spend active time responding to mentions or comments, as well as reviewing other content that could be suitable to retweet or share.

Social Listening

Here’s where efficiency with your time leads to activity. Social listening can provide extreme benefits. To start social listening establish keywords and streams to track for conversations relevant to your brand. By doing this it helps identify opportunities for you to engage with both followers and non-followers. Here are a few additional areas you can gain insight from listening:

Trending Topics: Understand what topics are trending in relation to your brand. This could help you identify gaps in the marketplace for a particular product offering or service, or could help you establish positioning for a particular marketing campaign.

Content Ideas: If you see a trending topic, leverage for creating timely content. Maybe you notice over a period of time a lot of followers asking questions about a certain subject. Put yourself in an authority position by creating a how-to guide, e-book, quick tips, or anything else that might ease the consumer’s pain points around the matter.

Identifying Influencers: Pay attention to individuals that are often talking about topics that relate to your brand. These are ideal people to encourage to follow your brand to have them help spread the word. You can start by following them, sharing their content, and then progress into more genuine conversations. When the time feels right you can consider offering a product sample for review, or invite them to participate in a consumer panel to gather deeper insights. Some brands even scout out online influencers to serve as brand ambassadors or bloggers.

Recognize Advocates: Pay attention to brand advocates. They have powerful insight and can sometimes prevent you from making brand blunders. While they may love your brand, they’re often the first to speak up when they’re not happy. You may recall when Maker’s Mark announced they were going to reduce the amount of alcohol content in their product. Customers took to social media to address their displeasure and ultimately the brand (wisely) reversed their decision.

Geographic Targeting: It’s a big, big world of social media and while you have the capability to communicate with audiences all over the world, sometimes your marketing efforts require a more targeted approach. You can narrow your listening focus to help deliver locally relevant content, and could be ideal if you’re launching in a new market.

Responding to Customer Service Issues: I mentioned in previous post on customer service that not all issues are brought directly to you. By listening to online to consumer complaints you can identify opportunities where its advised to mitigate the situation. Turning a negative into a positive situation can be one of the best things you can do for your brand. But don’t just put on a social front, make sure you follow through with appropriate action. Don’t be a Lululemon transparent pants-gate (sorry Lulu).

Competitor Monitoring: Not only is it a good idea to listen to what consumers are saying about you, but it’s also advised to watch out (or listen) for the competition. You can identify customer disconnects and use them as brand advantages. It’s also good to see how you stack up, and what you can learn (and then do it better).

Again, the key point with social media scheduling is not just creating content, publishing, and walking away. Instead it’s about actively listening and finding opportunities to engage with people. It doesn’t mean less involvement, just a more organized and strategic approach, and when done right, can lead to great dividends in the end.

Are you scheduling your social media content and actively listening to online conversations? We’d love to hear how it works for you. Share your experience in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Melvin Gaal (Mindsharing.eu)

30 Minute Social Media Strategy

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I am constantly meeting people who are trying to use social media to help grow their business. The trouble is, they aren’t doing such a good job of it. Why? Time they claim. I get it, most small business owners are stretched extremely thin. But time shouldn’t be a barrier to doing social media well. As with anything else, if you go in with a plan your chances of success are much greater. If you follow these rules, tools, and to-do’s, time won’t be a barrier to being successful on social media. I promise.

The Rules:

  1. Don’t post the same content across all platforms – Why? Because you are giving your fans a reason NOT to follow you on all platforms.
  2. Don’t use social media as a megaphone – A lot, and I mean A LOT of people get this wrong. They think that social media is merely an advertising channel and they use it as such.
  3. Interact – This is the whole point. Get social. Go ahead, see other people. Experience new things. SHARE those experiences. Talk WITH people, not AT people.
  4. Take advantage of tools and aids to help you be effective – There are so many good resources out there to help you manage, curate, and communicate via social media. Make your life easier.

The Tools:

  1. Hootsuite – Meet your new best friend. If there is any one tool that will help you manage your social media in less than 30 minutes a day, it’s this one.  Make sure you use Hootsuite’s stream ability to monitor any keyword, search term, or list that pertains to you. It will make retweeting and mentioning a snap later. Schedule out your posts in advance, monitor topics, and stay efficient.
  2. Feedly.com & Scoop.it – Set up an account and set up monitoring on things that relate to your brand on social media.
  3. Google Alerts – Determine search terms that are similar to the terms you set up on Feedly or scoop.it and use Google alerts to monitor the web for them.

The Platforms:

The sheer amount of different social media platforms can be overwhelming but the important thing to remember is that not every platform is for every business or individual. There is no written rule that says every business has to have a Twitter account, or Pinterest account, or Facebook account, etc. Take a minute to think about the content your audience wants and choose the best medium to deliver it to them through. Especially if there is one person taking this on, don’t manage more than 3-4 platforms and don’t forget the first rule, keep each platform’s content unique to the others. Here is a list of some of the major platforms you may want to consider.

  1. Twitter: Perhaps one of the most engaging platforms running today, Twitter can take a lot of work but can pay off in dividends when running right. A lot of people don’t get on Twitter because they don’t think they have anything to say, but they are thinking of it in the wrong way. Instead of thinking you have to have something to say, think about sharing. Share things you find interesting. Pretty soon you will find you have a lot to say. Daily Tasks – Tweet something. Retweet something. Mention someone. Follow someone. Hashtag something.
  2. Facebook: A good Facebook presence has the most up to date information to your business possible. Especially if you don’t have a website you are proud of, use Facebook to keep your community up to date on what is happening with you or your company. Share events, give insight on new products or variations to existing ones and build your audience. Daily Tasks – Post something. Like something. Respond to each comment.
  3. LinkedIn: Get connected with like-minded individuals through groups. While individuals in your network may include long-term business connections or people you just met briefly over coffee, groups are a targeted audience that has similar interests, and essentially help filter the noise. Start small and join just a couple groups where you can monitor discussions. Set up alerts to get notifications when discussions are posted, take 5 minutes to review, and respond when you can provide knowledgeable insight on a subject matter. You can also make it a goal to post your own discussion topics, maybe once a month, so that you’re actively engaging with the community. And if you’re not participating in discussions, allocate those 5 minutes to share good content that you’ve written or read. It’s a less crowded space in terms of social platforms and stands a better chance of standing out. Daily Tasks – Share something. Connect with someone. Add to a discussion (or start a new one, don’t do this one day though).
  4. Pinterest:  The great thing about Pinterest is you don’t have to be a great photographer to use it well, you simply need to curate your content well. If Pinterest is a good fit for your business, the power of engagement can be incredible. For a deeper look at Pinterest, check out Pinterest for business. Daily Tasks – Pin something.
  5. Instagram: Although most social media platforms have some visual element to it, Instagram is almost purely visual. Though they make it easy to make your photos look amazing, not everyone always has amazing things to photograph. If you don’t have a visual product, i.e. if you are not constantly creating something try to find another approach. For instance, Instagram can be a great way to give a behind the scenes glimpse into your company culture. For more information on Instagram download our Instagram guide. Daily Tasks – Photograph something. Respond to comments.
  6. Google+: Although to some it may seem like Google+ is the social platform being shoved down everyone’s throats by Google, it can actually have a ton of benefit for your social media presence. For more information on how to get the best of Google+ download our guide.Daily Tasks: Post something. Add someone to your circles.
  7. YouTube: When thinking of social media platforms, YouTube isn’t often one to comes to peoples mind, but it is, in fact, a social media platform, and an incredibly powerful one at that. If you are taking the time to upload things to YouTube, make sure you have your own channel and monitor it well. Video may be a lot of work but can pay off dividends. Daily Tasks – Respond to comments. Weekly to Biweekly Tasks – Post a video.

The To-Dos:

*30/30 is an app that my colleague Nathaniel Seevers recommended to me. It has proven to be one of the best tools to keep myself on task for something like this. If you really want to stick to 30-minute social media management, this app is invaluable.

Sunday

This is Hootsuite day, and if you can spare the time you should block off an hour, but if you can’t it can definitely still be done in 30 minutes.

10 Minutes – To review what your Feedly, scoop.it and google alerts have caught for the week. See which articles pertain well to you or your product and pick a few to share throughout the week. While your skimming or reading through the articles, jot down lines straight from the text that you find compelling. That way when it comes time to share, you have an easy quote from the content itself. Also, this is where if you can take that extra time, do so. Use up to 40 minutes if you can spare it.

5 Minutes (per platform) – Take 5 minutes for each platform to schedule out your posts throughout the week. Use the content you just curated from the feeder services and shoot for 3 posts per platform, also schedule out posts about upcoming events or product information that your social community would find interesting.

Monday – Friday –

Your tasks throughout the week should really be focused on interaction, i.e. directly interacting with others and responding to people who are interacting with you. This is where your streams in Hootsuite become super important. Make sure you have them set up to monitor things like the name of your product or service, subjects and things that apply to your product or service, or anything else your community would talk about and be interested in.

7.5 – 10 Minutes (per platform) – Ideally you should be interacting in real time as things happen, but if you don’t have the means, block off your 30 minutes and divide the time up equally. Look at your streams and use it as a guide to interacting with people. Also, use this time to add more posts to be scheduled as things come up with your business throughout the week. For specifics, see the daily tasks under each platform.

Saturday – Social media never really take a day off, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Unless you have a special event, are responding to someone directly, or find something you just have to share at that moment take Saturday off and let the time you don’t use carry over to Sunday.

 

In conclusion, social media can be easily managed by anyone who is willing to prepare, use the right tools, and be diligent about daily management. Is there any other trick you know about to help with social media strategy? Share with us in the comments!

Photo Credit: Robbie Howellcc

Social Media Platforms of 2014

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New forms of social media are popping up all the time, but the question is which ones are going to be the next big thing in 2014? I’ve heard about a few platforms through word of mouth and I’ve read about some online as well. However, I wanted to do thorough research of my own, so I downloaded the apps or played around on their sites to really test these guys and see what all the hype was about. Here is a list of the top social media platforms of 2014 to look out for, and if they are a thumbs up or a thumbs down:

Jelly – Thumbs Up

Jelly has already been brought up in our internal meetings more than a few times due to its rising popularity. The question is, will it take off? Available on the iOS and Android, the Jelly app is very new, but the creator Twitter co-founder Biz Stone is certainly not new to the world of social media.

The concept of Jelly is genius, yet simple enough to understand. Let’s say I’m walking around Columbus and I come across a statue or piece of art that interests me and I want to know more about it, I can snap a photo and ask my network of friends to get a response. According to the website, “using Jelly is kind of like using a conventional search engine in that you ask it stuff and it returns answers.” Here are the 3 key features of Jelly:

  • Friends follow friends. – Jelly is designed to search using the groups in your existing social networks so you can ask your friends.
  • Paying It “Forward” – Jelly works so you can not only ask questions or answer your friends’ questions, but it provides the capability to can be shared outside of the app accessing friends of friends as well.
  • Point, Shoot, Ask! – Being able to ask questions with images deepen their context. Snap a photo and ask away!

We Heart It – Thumbs Up

If Instagram and Tumblr had a love child, We Heart It would be its cute little baby girl. It’s built with a younger generation in mind but since the younger generation is taking over the Internet, the world, and everything else, we can expect this to take off as well. Similar to Tumblr and Instagram it’s a collection of who you are expressed through photos. I enjoy coffee, wine, and shoes so my page is a collaboration of those things in a pretty little package. My only complaint is this social media platform could do with more variety of photos, but with a growing user-base, this issue should fix itself sooner rather than later.

Shots Of Me – Thumbs Down

If you really enjoy taking photo after photo of yourself this app has your name on it. If you aren’t into that kind of thing, stop here. However, I will say if you want a good laugh check it out. Shots of Me is a Justin Bieber backed mobile app, helping you take selfies and only selfies. Without a real purpose, this app doesn’t particularly interest me, so unless Matthew McConaughey joins I won’t be getting back on this app anytime soon. One positive? It might be the key to getting all those selfies off of Facebook and Instagram. Can I get a hallelujah?

Sportlobster – Thumbs Up

You can always tell when a good game is on when you get on social media and dudes and bros from across the country are debating about bad calls. Sportlobster is giving users the ability to follow scores live, predict results, create content, and interact with other fans. You can follow your sport(s) of choice and jump right into the conversation within minutes of creating an account. When you join the app you can go through and select preferences about the sport(s) categories you are most interested in reading about. This weekend I chose to follow Tiger Woods and when I did so I learned that Sportslobster has a pretty awesome menu of your notifications, predictions, blogs, and news. If you go to your preferences such as Woods, you can check out his events, blogs, news, posts and who the fans are. Sportslobster provides awesome access to athlete specific info. This weekend I chose to follow Tiger Woods and discovered tons of relevant content about his events, fans, news and more.

The one negative about this app is its pretty European-based so there is more Cricket and Rugby than Nascar and College Basketball. They do have American football and professional basketball, so again, with a larger user base, we might see more universal content soon.

Whisper – Thumbs Down

Whisper is a social media platform that is anonymous for people who want to share and connect with other socials. Even CSBC got in on the action on this one posting an article begging the question if Whisper is the next big social media play. There are already 3 billion page views per month. Since this platform is solely based on animosity it really makes me wonder if it will stay strong. This sounds great, but my issue lies in the fact that the focus of being on social media is being social. If I’m on Instagram I’m on there to share my photos with my friends and family. Similarly, when I log onto Twitter during this award season, I’m on there to read what Perez Hilton is saying about Jennifer Lawerence’s dress on the red carpet. My point is, the main focus is that I know who these people are and that’s my point on being on social media.

So, I did my research. I got an account and looked around a bit. The reality is that from the position of a young professional, this app is not for me. When I was 14-15, maybe it would’ve worked. This app gives teens the ability to “whisper” on an anonymous social media platform and connect with other kids who feel the same way. While I may not be a fan, that doesn’t mean it won’t be huge this year because it has a target audience, and with 3 billion page views per month, the makers of this platform are reaching their goal.

Impossible – Thumbs Up

I am completely diggin’ Impossible. I get where they are coming from and I think the world could use a few more social media platforms like this, especially comparing to other social sites. Thank goodness for a little restoration in my faith of humanity.

Impossible is a new website and app that encourages people to do things for others for free. People can post wishes of things that they want or need help with and offer what they can give, which can be things or skills, even a simple hug. Impossible shows these wishes on their site and people can connect with one another to accomplish these wishes being turned into reality. It’s a great concept and aside from some people asking for gnomes and other odds and ends, I think this project could really take off. If a few large corporations get involved and the word gets out more this could be a really great thing.

That’s what’s on my social radar. Anything new you’ve spotted trending?
Photo Credit: thomasstache

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