Blogs about Social Media Stategy and Theory.
Social media marketing has evolved and developed in the last few years to become a recognised and effective form of marketing and communication for many businesses.
It is no longer a case of setting up a business Facebook page or Twitter account, posting a few times as saying: “Yes, I’m doing social media.”
Any organisation that wants to use social media as a key part of their marketing strategy needs to give the content they are sharing the same thought and consideration as they would for any of their marketing channels.
Online marketing content needs to be well thought out and provide added value to your followers/fans. Does it provide good information? Does it excite or entertain them?
Good content can include; a blog post, a ‘how to’ video or information about your wider industry that is current and useful. For example if you were a business that made furniture then a great piece of content would be an edited film of you making something.
This video made by Ercol is a great example:
Pictures and video are rich content as they are most likely to be seen, and more importantly, shared by your fans and followers.
Make the content work
Spend time on creating that one piece of great content, e.g. the ‘how to’ film, and then maximise its reach by sharing it on as many platforms as possible. A film could be hosted on your website, blog and/or YouTube channel and shared via Facebook, Twitter and email.
Have a planning session with your team or get some social media assistance to help with this. Look at things like the natural calendar e.g. seasons, weather and public holidays but also think about your target customer. What drives them, what will they find helpful and useful. Then map this all out onto a calendar or spreadsheet so that you have something to refer to, to guide your content. This should help you to plan good quality content, but you also need to be able to react to changes and trends quickly, especially on social media platforms.
We are all driven by our emotions..
The content you post that is most likely to be shared (liked, shared, retweeted or commented upon) is that which stirs emotion. This is the most shared image ever on the internet:
At a recent workshop I asked the attendees why they thought this was, and they told me that it made them feel emotional and gave them a warm, fuzzy feeling.
Not all of your content can hit that hard but it is worth spending some time thinking about what you are sharing and how to make your social media marketing as effective as it can be.
If you are interested in learning more I am running a Social Media Strategy and Content Planning Workshop later this year.
A little while ago I came across this image. At first I had a good chuckle but then I thought that, actually, it might be a good idea to write a little blog about it, as all the different social media platforms we have access to now do need a little explanation. So, here it is, social media explained..
‘I’m eating bacon’. Twitter gets a lot of stick for being seen as just being full of celebrities, and mortals, posting about what they are eating for lunch. And, while this does happen, it is also about so much more. The reason the post is so exact though (I’m eating bacon’ is because posts on Twitter (tweets) are limited to 140 characters. This doesn’t give room to say much and you do need to be direct and to the point but you can always link to website post or blog to make your point understood.
‘I like bacon’. You do have a lot more characters to play with in a Facebook post (it used to be 420 but is now pretty much unlimited) and, as this infographic alludes, people are much more likely to be friendly and chatty/emotional on Facebook. This probably lies in its mass appeal and stems from its original purpose which was to connect with friends. Interestingly, if you put the works ‘like’ into a post it is more likely to be ‘liked’…
‘I have skills including eating bacon’. Linked in is the social media platform of the male office worker. 79% of LinkedIn users are over 35, and it’s also the only main social media site where men outnumber women. The main use of LinkedIn is by professional individuals to connect with other professional individuals and share information about their industry or look to recruit/be recruited. A LinkedIn profile is akin to an online CV that is fully accessible to any potential employer 24 hours a day.
‘This is where I eat bacon’. Foursquare is a location based social media platform where users ‘check-in’ to places they are visiting. This is mostly restaurants, bars, clubs and social locations. They can review the location and see if anyone else they know on Foursquare is there. Venues can also offers rewards for checking-in and have the advantage of accessing enhanced customer information and user experience.
‘Watch me eat my bacon’. YouTube is the second most used search engine on the web and owned by Google (the most used). YouTube is a wealth of information and knowledge for users who think visually with videos on almost every subject you can imagine available at the touch of a few keys. Yes, you probably can watch someone eat bacon but you can also learn how to strip and rebuild an engine or make a piece of furniture.
‘Here’s a vintage photo of my bacon’. Instagram is a photo sharing platform that enables you to easily put effects onto your pictures, that is now owned by Facebook and has come under a lot of bad press recently. This is because Instagram have changed their terms to say that if you continue to have an Instagram account you give them the rights to sell your images commercially. Personally I would advise staying well clear of this platform. If you prefer to use a visual platform then try Pinterest.
‘Here’s a recipe with bacon’. Pinterest is a relatively new social media platform that has gained a lot of positive press for driving more traffic to websites than LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ combined. It is a visual platform that is a huge pinboard of pictures and ideas. Its demographic is still largely females in the states and, yes, there are a lot of images of food, recipes, clothes, fashion and art. But, as with any social network, if you follow the right users you can create a feed that is interesting to you.
‘I work for Google and eat bacon’. Yes, as the name suggests, Google + is a social media platform that was created by, and is owned by Google. Their attempt to steal Facebook’s thunder in the social media game. The jibe that you have to work there to be on it is directed at the fact that the majority of Google + users work in the social media/tech industries and it hasn’t really yet found its way into the mainstream.
‘I’m listening to music about bacon’. Last.fm is an online portal for listening to and sharing music, similar to Spotify. Spotify is now owned by Facebook and the notion of sharing what you are listening to, as you are listening to it, with your social media contacts is becoming increasingly popular and common place.
So, there we have it, social media explained in a bit of a tongue-in-cheek way – but also a useful topline round up I hope.
Social Monkey is running some social media training workshops in 2013in Fakenham and Kings Lynn to find out more click here.
August has been a bit of an odd month for Social Monkey. Holidays, birthdays, long weekends and things being generally quiet with clients has left lots of time to catch up on some reading though. So I thought I would share my top 5 social media blog posts from my Summer reading with you
Twitter’s Fake Identity Crisis- Tech Week europe
A great article about how you can and why you shouldn’t buy followers on Twitter.
The Value of Facebook Promoted Posts – Jon Loomer
Statistics and hard evidence about the use of Facebook Promoted Posts.
The title pretty much speaks for itself
Interesting read regarding where social media is at as an industry and its future.
22 Tips for New Blog Ideas - Jon Loomer
We ALL get stuck with what to write from time-to-time and this article has some great tips on how to overcome the writer’s block and inspired this blog!
When Facebook floated, one of the features it brought out (but kept fairly quiet and hidden for some reason) is the ablilty to schedule Facebook posts.
The reason it is more favourable to do this on Facebook, than via a dashboard such as Hootsuite, is that Facebook algorithms prefer content that comes from Facebook over a third party source.
Here is a quick ‘How to’ schedule Facebook posts:
1. Write your update, add links or pictures as you normally would do, but instead of hitting ‘Post’ button click on the little clock in the bottom left hand corner
2. This will then give you drop down options for selecting the year, date and time of when you want the post to go out. (It is a bit clunky compared to dashboard scheduling – but it gets the job done!)
3. Once you have selected all your options click ‘Post’. A little box should come up:
You’ve done it!
If you want to check what posts you have scheduled you can do this in the ‘Activity Log’ which is also accessible from ‘Edit Page’ drop down menu at the top of the page.
You can also delete scheduled posts and change the time of them here – but if you want to edit the post you have to delete it and re-do it (I told you it was a bit clunky!)
The world of Social Media Marketing continues to grow, change and develop at an alarming rate. This amazing infographic from Buddy Media shows just how complicated things are, so much so that they even missed off Pinterest!
Even those of us who work in and with social media find it a continuous challenge to keep up-to-date with changes and developments to ensure that we are making the most of platforms, tools and applications for ourselves and our clients.
If you want to start using social media for marketing your organisation this little guide might help to keep things simple:
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube are still in the lead when it comes to social media marketing.
Don’t spread yourself thinly, choose a couple of platforms to set-up and engage your organisation from. Twitter is most effective for business-to-business marketing, as is LinkedIn. Facebook is more effective for business-to-consumer marketing. YouTube is only worth investing time in if you have the ability and drive to make and share good quality video content regularly.
To Blog or not to Blog?
Simple answer is YES! Be it a blog that is integrated into your website (helps to push traffic), a WordPress blog or something simpler like tumblr. Part of any social media marketing plan should be a content strategy and doing a weekly blog, or regularly sharing pictures or videos on a blog is the best way to do this.
As with any effective marketing strategy, you need a structured plan for your social media content. This will also help to stop you feeling that you have nothing to talk about (especially in the early days) and increase engagement. See previuos post: The Importance of having a Social Media Strategy and Planned Content
Have fun and enjoy it!
This is SOCIAL media marketing! It is not about pushing the same old, dry message week in week out. TALK to your fans/followers, share their content and make new friends. Social media marketing is all about engagement and sharing and in doing so you will have promoted yourself and what you do without even knowing it!
Social Media Etiquette, or SMEtiquette as it shall now be known, is as crucial to you/your business being well received as etiquette is in a face-to-face situation.
As with everything, different situations/mediums/platforms carry their own ‘rules’. So here as some around SMEtiquette to keep you in favour with your followers, connections or fans.
Please and Thank You
Yes, social media is on the whole a more relaxed environment to communicate in but that doesn’t mean that rudeness is tolerated. If you are asking for help with a problem, or for something to be shared say ‘please’ and if a follower/fan acts upon your request then thank them!
Sharing content is the life blood of all social media platforms but if you’re only ever sharing your own you will be seen as selfish and potentially lose fans/followers. The recommended ratio is that you share approximately 3 times as much of others’ content as you do your own.
However, only share other content that will add value to your audience and don’t bombard them with what could be seen as SPAM.
The invisible account
There is nothing more frustrating than following/liking and trying to engage with an individual or organisation in social media and receiving no response/information.
If you have a presence on a social media platform then make sure you check it EVERY DAY and respond to any comments/mentions.
We are all people!
The facelessness of social media platforms can often lead to individuals being braver then they would be in a face-to-face situation and saying something spiteful or disparaging. If you don’t like what someone is sharing then unfollow them! It is not okay to respond in a negative way and will only reflect badly on you.
However, if the content is sexist, racist or illegal then do not hesitate in reporting them to the platform owners. Facebook and Twitter are usually very hot in responding to complaints and barring users.
Remember behind every Tweet or Update is a person!
The key to any successful social media strategy is in sharing good, relevant content.
This should be a combination of your own original content, either via images that you create or capture or through a blog, article, infographic or video. This will help to spread the message about what you do and also position you as a professional in your field. It can also help to push traffic to your website, blog, gallery or wherever you are keen for people to ‘land’.
Alongside this you should be regularly sharing the content of others. Social media relies on and is designed for sharing. By spreading the message of others you are helping to facilitate this and engaging on that platform. This should be a selfless act of sharing content that you find interesting and hope your fans/followers will find relevant. In turn others will share your content though and help to spread your message.
You should not be afraid or precious about sharing your content or others sharing it for you. This is what social media is all about. The days of controlling a message and being afraid of it getting into the ‘wrong hands’ are long gone. If you want to be successful in social media and use it to market yourself or your business you need to embrace this new way of thinking and working.
As of 30th March all Facebook brand pages will be automatically switched over to the new timeline format. This layout is very similar to the format we have now, hopefully, all gotten used to on our individual Facebook pages.
If you haven’t updated your organisations page yet these are the things you need to change/look at updating:
1) Cover Photo
The most important thing to do is upload a cover photo. The dimensions to work to are 850px (width) by 315px. This space is a real opportunity for you to showcase your organisation – it could be that you use a nice photo or have a graphic specifically designed.
2) Application Icons
Under the cover photo there are icons that link to your applications. Only four are on display permanently (you can use the arrow key to view all). ‘Photos’ is ‘stuck’ in number one spot but make sure that you move the others around so that the next three that are most important are constantly displayed on your page.
3) Highlight Posts
Clicking on the star that is displayed in the top right hand corner of a post will highlight it and permanently make it full width on your timeline. Use for posts that were important or special in some way to highlight them.
4) Pin Posts
Clicking on the Edit pen that is displayed in the top right hand corner of a post will give you the option to ‘Pin’ it. This means that it will stay at the top of your timeline for a week, or until you ‘Pin’ another post. Great for making sure those important messages are on permanent view.
5) Review and Update Timeline
This change is a great opportunity to go back through your timeline and remove anything that isn’t on brand or now seems inappropriate and add in any important milestones.
There are other changes that make it easier to manage pages as an administrator and the ability to receive and send direct messages to fans but as a priority the above areas should be looked at before the big switchover on the 30th March!
Whether your organisation is using social media or not, if you have a major incident you will be – even if you don’t know it!
Twitter, especially, is well used and recognised as a form of news feed. If your organisation has a major incident e.g. building blow up, product recall or someone die on your premises, you can be pretty much assured that it will be all over Twitter in a matter of hours.
So how can you make sure that you are doing all you can to include this new form of communication in your Crisis Public Relations planning?
1. Be there already..
Make sure that your Marketing and PR strategy already includes having a presence on, and understanding of, the main social media platforms. Currently these would be thought of as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube , LinkedIn and Google+. If you are already engaging with and have relationships on these forums then it will be easier for you to respond to and deal with any issues there.
Use Google Alerts, Twilerts and other tools to monitor your organisation in the social media and online sphere, so that you are automatically alerted if a conversation starts up or comment is made about you.
3. Don’t be afraid and act quickly
Social media culture is very different from traditional media. You don’t have time to hang-up on the journalist, pull a team together, write a statement and get it signed-off. You need to be confident enough in your position and knowledge of the organisation to quickly decide on an update, check it off with someone in authority and get it out. Even if it just says something like: ‘We are aware of the [issue] and are working hard to…, we will be updating regularly.’
4. Keep the conversation going
Once the initial crisis is over and you have managed to keep your fans and followers up-to-date with information, you then have time to be more considered. Get the CEO to make a short film in response to the crisis, post it and share it. Keep on engaging and sharing good content to all your new fans and followers! The saying goes that: ‘All publicity is good publicity’ – suddenly your brand is all over social media, maybe initially, for the wrong reasons but you should have been able to turn it around and use the opportunity to build brand awareness.
The main thing is not to stick your head in the sand. Act quickly and be as open and honest as possible, responding on the platforms where the information is being shared.
If you feel that you don’t have the expertise in-house to deal with these forms of communication in a crisis then consider employing a social media agency to help you.
Update: Since writing this Pinterest has changed its Terms of Service
Pinterest is a visual online sharing facility.
It launched in closed beta in March 2010 but has since opened itself up to the ‘general public’, but only by invitation after a request is made, and then the account has to be linked to a Facebook or Twitter account.
It has grown in popularity this year and, according to comScore, had 11.7 million unique users in January. The main reason it has really started to pique interest though is through its ability to drive traffic. In January it drove more referral traffic to retailers’ websites than LinkedIn, YouTube or Google+…
Infographic courtesy of modea.com via mashable.com
At the moment it has a very warm, cosy feel to it. Its users are predominantly female and the content shared tends to be images of art, fashion, nice places and nice ‘things’. It has great potential for those who are in the creative industries as it is a platform for sharing ideas and thoughts in the form of images and pictures. It removes the need for over explanation and is good forum for those who ‘think in pictures’.
‘By making available any Member Content through the Site, Application or Services, you hereby grant to Cold Brew Labs [owners of Pinterest] a worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services.’
This statement, understandably, is putting some potential users off as it implies that, for example, if an artist posts an image of one of their works then that image could be used by Pinterest for commercial gain.
- Melanie on Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work
- Keith Osborn on Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work
- Why you need a Content Strategy to make Social Media work - Social Monkey on Social Media Workshops
- Social Networking - Why Face-to-Face is still important on Norfolk Tweetup
- Melanie on Norfolk Tweetup