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Why Engagement Matters on Social Media by Amy White

Social Media is all about the “social” aspect of marketing.  It doesn’t matter if you are doing your social media purely for fun or as part of a business strategy. 

If you are on any social media platform you are marketing a product, even if that product is yourself.  

There is a reason we constantly check our pictures to see how many people liked our images.  I post and share images, articles and status updates with the hope that my content is interesting to my followers.  

I am marketing both myself and my business with every social interaction.    

I love social media.  I love sharing photos, being social and curating interesting content from my feed to share.  

I like engaging people, sharing ideas, collaborating on projects and in general making new friends from around the world.  

Social media makes our world just a little bit smaller each day.

Why social media engagement matters:

I’m not an expert at social media, but over the last year of blogging, I’ve noticed a few things that I’d like to share.  

Anyone using social media for business wants to increase their following base.  It is all about the almighty follower, likes, comments, shares . . . . the list goes on and on.

We use our social media platform to share material.  

Simple right.  

It sounds like it should be.  

There is a myth, that as long as you put up quality content your readers will come.   I’m getting visions of “Field of Dreams” – and yes this does date me.  

Yeah, not so much.  Oh, you’ll get lucky occasionally and pick up a few new followers and have someone share your content, but it takes more than just quality content to attract people.

Engagement, engagement, engagement!  

It is kind of like the old standby in real estate of, location, location, location.

You can have the most beautiful feed in twitter land and you won’t get followers unless you are engaging people.

Over the last year, I’ve slowly been increasing my twitter following.  I had gotten my count to around 1300 just prior to having my baby 3 month ago.  1300 isn’t a huge number, but my base was solid.  I was receiving a decent number of shares and had great interaction.  

I completely abandoned twitter for 2 ½ month after giving birth.  

I kept my auto-tweeting going through Tweetjuke box, but literally did nothing else for 10 weeks.  

When I got back on Twitter, my following had dropped to around 1200 and I had lost a lot of traction.  The only people retweeting my content were friends who knew I was out on maternity leave.  

It was really disheartening to see how much ground I had lost.  

Five weeks later, I’ve increased my following to 1,815.  

I attribute my loss and subsequent gain entirely to engagement.  

I’m still posting the same auto content, but am now supplementing it with additional content.   I’m retweeting, sharing interesting articles I’ve read, but most importantly I’m commenting and interacting again.  

No one wants to follow a robot on Twitter.  

When I’m following people, I want to know that there is someone behind the screen.  

I want authenticity.  

In other words, successful social media enthusiasts are social animals who use their love of engagement to increase their following.

I’ve seen it over and over in social media land.  The friendliest users end up with the most followers.  There are certain people who just have an inherent need to be helpful.  

In the process of being helpful they have literally building their brands by sharing their knowledge base.  

I’ve touched specifically on twitter interactions, but believe this same attitude is universal through all social media sites.  

The most successful people on social media are those with the “niceness” factor.  They have turned a desire to provide useful, applicable information into a successful brand.  

I’ve read hundreds of posts on how to be successful on social media from some of the top marketers in the world.  Without fail every single article will mention some form of personal engagement.  

Yes, there is a place for automation in social media, but don’t forget that ultimately your success is tied to meaningful engagement.    

So what are you going to do differently to engage your followers?





 

Amy White has over 16 years of experience in business operational management.  With the birth of her daughter, Amy recently resigned as the HR Director for a medical management company, which had grown from 20 employees to over 100 during her tenure.  This experience has given her a unique insight into marketing which lead to the development of her blog www.digitalmedia.education.  Digital Media Education began as an offshoot of her personal finance blog www.dailysuccessfulliving.com and was intended to highlight the learning process she experienced while blogging.  Amy loves the personal aspect of social media and blogging which allows her to reach a diverse audience.  On a personal level, Amy is excited to share her hobbies of rock climbing, canyoneering, scuba (that one may take a bit longer) and hiking with her daughter.

  

 

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But First, Let Me Take An (Un)Selfie by Miri Rodriguez

When Doug Sandler initially tweeted me to guest-write this blog, he gave me a few topic options: Entrepreneurship, Marketing or Customer Service. I thought, Great! I have so much to share on each of these subjects, I don’t even know which to choose? Then came a follow-up tweet: [Also] Give me your best quote on being a leader. Wait, what?

My mind started racing. LEADERSHIP? What can I say that somebody else hasn’t said already (much better than me)? What original excerpts have I posted that have gotten the most Likes or RTs? What’s for lunch? 

I went into overdrive, then suddenly drew a blank. Quickly checked my phone to see how much time I had before tweeting back and right before putting the phone down, received this text from one of my mentees:

If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” This is how you treat me.


And there it was. The most opportune reminder of what I believe good GREAT leaders (and leading brands) do: They take unselfies. That’s right. Remarkable leaders take time to showcase their most unselfish attributes…through others. They feature images of love, compassion, kindness and servanthood. They make it their first order of business to leave a selfless legacy. 

 



Leading brands can attribute much of their profitable success to taking unselfies. Organizations that make Corporate Citizenship a top priority are fruitful way beyond their bottom line because they’ve been able to turn both customers AND disadvantaged communities into fans. They also focus on providing a customized customer experience because they see people for who they ought to be: people.

I know this because I happen to work for a company that recently made Forbes Most Valuable Brands list, ranking at #1 in Customer Perception. It was also recognized by the Harvard Business Review for providing great customer service via social media channels. We get it. We take the focus off ourselves and put it back on who deserves it: our customers, our future generation, our legacy. Microsoft has donated over $1 billion to charitable organizations since it first began its Employee Giving Program, back in 1983. That’s a lot of unselfies!

Unselfies do more than capture a random act of kindness here and there. To true leaders and leading brands, unselfies are intentional leadership strategies that drive their every day. In a world increasingly growing with selfish motivation, unselfies help us stay noble and human. They remind us why we do what we do. If we are not genuinely serving others, if we are not helping people succeed, then what are we doing?

Last year a study estimated that over 1 million selfies were taken each day. That’s a lot of MEs. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against selfies. In fact, if you know me, you know I’m guilty of taking one (or two ☺)…but I often wonder, how wonderful our world would be if each of us flooded Instagram with unselfies too!  If for every selfie taken, TWO unselfies were posted. If you and I took twice the time and dedication to build other people up, as we take to build ourselves. If we shifted priorities, made it a point to go from good to GREAT leaders and first, took an unselfie.

Miri Rodriguez is the Social Media and Communities Lead for Microsoft Latin America. Her extensive career includes Marketing, Operations and Customer Experience. She is the mother of 2 boys and an American Bulldog. Her philanthropic work includes teaching middle school students at her local church, mentoring high school students at Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and discipling young women into business leadership.


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The 7 Best Tactics to Handle Online Crisis by Lesya Liu

Social media is like a microscope all companies have to surrender themselves to. Most of the time nothing that happens online, stays online. Major PR flops get picked up by traditional media or become a focus of the real-world discussions.

Before you know it, a not-so-well-thought-through tweet gets you an unwanted attention. All of a sudden, people become angry at companies for saying something insensitive and here is where the real nightmare begins.

Don’t post anything right away – think first

It’s tempting to start posting something right away, whether it’d be an apology, explanation or defense. Resist this urge and think first. If you’re in the midst of PR crisis, it’s better to avoid any kind of quick-judgement actions that can further put you in disadvantage. Gather as many team members as possible and discuss the best course of action. The more heads you can put together, the better. This will give you different perspectives on what happened and possible reasons for it as well as on how to handle it.

While you’re developing a crisis management plan, don’t keep people waiting. Post something along the lines of “working on it” to show an audience and all affected groups that you’re aware of what’s happening and you’re trying to get to the bottom of an issue before jumping to self-defense.

Don’t engage in negative conversations

While the crisis is happening, there will be people and groups who will be very vocal in blaming your company and attacking it as a whole and/or individual employees. It’s best to not engage in these conversations and ignore them to the best of your ability. Two reasons for it: First of all, you might say something that will further worsen your position. Remember: don’t post anything on the first thought of it.

You’re also running a risk of continuing this conversation and further angering those people. You’re asking to be put in more hot water. If you really feel the need to respond and don’t leave people hanging, post a well-developed short message along the lines of showing your appreciation for their concern and stating that you’re working on a solution. Try not to get too into details while situation is not completely clear. Finally, if messages your company receives are simply rude, defamatory and threatening, block those individuals, flag their comments and don’t even dare to respond.

Investigate and keep people updated

While you’re trying to share information with the outside world, your back-end needs to work hard on investigation. If causes of public outrage are not clear (or not completely clear), your team needs to get to the bottom of things. Was something done by an employee or an individual associated with business? What are the reasons for the behavior in question? What groups were affected by these actions? How can you make it better now?

If investigation takes longer than expected, keep your audience posted on the progress. Don’t share everything just yet, but let them know that you care and didn’t just let it “fix itself.” Oftentimes, when a company makes a sincere effort at fixing an issue, public is more understanding, tolerant and their anger doesn’t persist.

Explain what happened

When investigation is completed, share a picture of what happened. Share your stance. This is not to say that you need to present a situation in a favorable for you light, but most of the actions have some kind of logic behind them. Explain that logic and why things developed the way they did. Transparency can bring trust back.

Acknowledge mistakes

If there is any fault on you (and there probably will be even if it’s minor), acknowledge mistake. It’s easier to apologize and move forward than to show your arrogance and lose customers and positive public perception. If you do acknowledge your mistake, try not to repeat in the future. Learn from this experience and become better. If a company has a whole history of the same type of offenses (or even different ones), it’s really difficult to gain any trust again; and slowly but surely a company can simply be dissolved.

Work on enhancing a positive image

Now that the crisis is quieting down, it’s time to highlight your positive attributes and enhance positive image. This can be done by fixing the mistake, helping out groups that were affected or just being a better part of your community in general. Yet, there is a fine line between trying to get back on track and enhance your positive image versus being overly-promotional and too active with PR efforts. Make it meaningful, not flashy.

Document processes, details for future

Once the crisis is over, make sure your team documents everything that happened in this particular situation, what measures were taken, what processes were developed. Create a crisis management plan for the future, if you don’t have one yet. This will help you be better prepared next time (if it will happen) and make you more resilient to crisis in the future.

Have you managed a crisis before? Do you have a well-documented plan in place in case it happens? Share in the comment section below.

Lesya Liu is a blogger at The Social Media Current (thesocialmediacurrent.com), a photographer and a social media expert. Her passion lies in art and marketing (and combining the two). You can find her on Twitter: @LesyaLiu.

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5 Tips for Getting Started with Twitter Marketing by Sheena White

Would you believe that as of the first quarter of 2015, Twitter was averaging 236 million monthly active users. That is 236 MILLION people! And yet, if I was to go ask most people on the street, they would probably say that they don’t “get” the point of the microblogging site. That, or they would tell me that their target demographic isn’t on the site.

As of the first quarter of 2015, Twitter was averaging 236 million monthly active users.

The truth is that Twitter users consist of a mix of both genders, primarily between the ages of 18 and 49. However, 22% of its users are over the age of 50. So unless you’re trying to market to seniors, chances are that your audience is on Twitter. The bigger problem isn’t that people aren’t on Twitter, it’s that many businesses don’t know what to do with the site. Check out my five tips for getting started with Twitter marketing.

Optimize your profile.

Whether you’re setting up your account for the first time or you have an account you created long ago, you need to make sure that your profile is optimized with the keywords you want people to find you for. This doesn’t mean you can’t show your sense of humor or share personal details about your values or hobbies. But you need to clearly state who you are and what you do (if you want people to find you on Twitter for those products and services).

Create a content strategy.

Let me first say that posting nonstop links and promotions on Twitter is not a good strategy if you want more followers. People don’t want to be “sold” to all the time and it makes you look like a spammer. I recommend creating “buckets” with TYPES of content that you want to share. For example: inspirational quotes, humor, blog posts, tips related to your niche, your free offer, etc. And make sure you include some images as part of that strategy, since they get 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets.

Have a plan for community building.

If you’re just getting started and have a very small community, you’ll want to start slowly, following just 25 people per day. Eventually you can grow to 100 although I don’t recommend more than that or you may find yourself on Twitter’s radar (you don’t want to get thrown in Twitter jail).

Where do you find people to follow?

Well, you definitely want to follow the right people or you won’t ever create a community of people interested in your products and services. You can start by following the people who follow your competitors. You can also do advanced keyword searches to find people according to the kinds of things they’re tweeting or find people who have certain keywords in their bios.

You don’t want to get thrown in Twitter jail.

Make sure that you have a following and unfollowing strategy in place as well. In other words, make sure you’re following and unfollowing people at least five days a week in order to keep your account growing, but make sure you don’t unfollow people so quickly that they don’t have the opportunity to follow you back (not everyone gets on Twitter daily). Rapidly following and unfollowing is actually referred to as churning followers and is something Twitter frowns upon.

If you don’t want to deal with the tedious task of manually growing your followers, you can automate it using tools like Manage Flitter or Social Quant.

Build lists.

There’s a lot of stuff in the newsfeed that you may never find relevant. List building, though, is a great way to cut the clutter. Create lists of great content producers whose content you can curate, of key influencers in your niche who you want to develop stronger relationships with, even leads for your business that you want to engage with more regularly. And don’t worry; you can make the lists private so there’s no fear in tipping off anyone that they’re on your list of prospects.

Engage!

Engagement is key to being successful on Twitter. Engaging really just means practicing good manners. Respond to people who @mention you. Thank people who retweet your content. Start conversations around common interests.

At the end of the day, Twitter is a social media network and you have to be sociable. You never know where the relationships you’re building on Twitter will take you and your business.

Are you on Twitter now? Do you love it or hate it? What are your biggest challenges? I would love to hear from you!

Sheena is a social media strategist and copywriter and is passionate about helping small businesses maximize the power of social media to increase the success of their online marketing efforts. Twitter @sheenamwhite

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