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Community Management

State of Social (August 2018)

State of Social (August 2018)

Our podcast is heating up! 🔥We recently spoke with Heather Neilson of @louisvillesitesandbites. She discusses how influencers can help support local business and her favorite place to eat in Louisville. Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcast, Google Play, Spotify, or click this link.

Social Media Tips: Frequency and Best Time to Post

Social Media Tips: Frequency and Best Time to Post

Whether you’re managing your personal account or 10 client accounts, you want to make sure your content has a chance to get seen. While good content, above all else, is the most important factor in engagement, frequency of posting (and timing) should be considered. Read on for our tips.


Social Media Resolutions for 2018

Social Media Resolutions for 2018

Social is always changing, and we, as marketers, need to adapt with the ever fluctuating algorithm or network du jour.   There's no better time than a new year to ask yourself how you can step up your social media game. From great visuals to better community management, we break down five good social media habits for 2018.

5 Tips to Improve Organic Facebook Engagement

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5 Tips to Improve Organic Facebook Engagement

It’s no secret that Facebook has the largest audience when it comes to social media, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to gain interaction and engagement with fans in the overcrowded space. Check out these five tips to improve your engagement.

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Three Social Media Pitfalls to Avoid in 2015

The landscape of social media is constantly changing. The networks are changing how they serve up content, consumers expectations are changing around the quality of content posted by brands, and the skillset of what's needed to do social media well is changing. Good job security for those in the know, frustrating for those who don't have the time to keep up. To help navigate, here are three pitfalls to avoid in 2015 on social media.

1. If you post it, they will come.

As more businesses come on board, there is more clutter than ever in people's newsfeeds. The content you create not only has to be quality to stand out, it will also need to be supported with advertising. Facebook has decreased organic reach for the last few years and has publicily come out saying: "The free ride is over in 2015." You could have 10,000 fans but only 1 - 5% are ever seeing your content. The Solution? Set aside ad dollars in this year's budget, even if it's a small amount. You can throw $5 behind a Facebook post and reach the right audience efficiently. Don't forget, Facebook knows more about your interests and life events than some of your closest friends. As a marketer you can use that information to your advantage.

2. Telling your story in words.

The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Standing out on social starts with a great image. Once you pique someone's interest then they may read what you have to say. Be sure to line up the right partners - photo, video and graphic design, when creating content in 2015, and think about how you can tell your story in a visual manner. If budget is tight consider inexpensive stock photography on sites like canva.com

3. Being too trendy, a.k.a. jumping on every trending topic.

When social media first started marketers were told not to "hard sell" on social. They were taught to be fun, light and casual, which led to a slew of "Happy Friday" and "National Cookie Day" posts. In 2015, you need to think of social media as a series of circles - what's relevant on social (the current conversation), what's relevant to your brand (your business objectives or story) and that magical area that intersects. If talking about a certain holiday or topic is an awkward fit, don't push it. Twitter users slammed the Seattle Seahawks for tweeting out a MLK quote with a photo of one of its players, they didn't see the connection, yet revered Krispy Kreme for a tweet which read: "Ours are fully-filled" after the deflate gate episode. No matter what the hot topic, your content should drive business results and should be relevant to your brand story in 2015, if not fans will let you know.

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Facebook's Call-To-Action Button, Worthwhile?

Any good community manager knows the action is in the newsfeed on Facebook. People like your page once and then interact with your content via the newsfeed page. Facebook's redesign of the page itself over the years has placed less and less importance on page design, outside of the cover photo, which when changed, feeds into the newsfeed. That's why I found it odd that Facebook rolled out the "Call to Action" button, a button which prompts fans to "Shop," "Contact," "Book," etc, and can only be accessed by visiting a business' page. Now you can make the argument that if someone needs to reach out to you they'll visit your page and behave in a more proactive manner, but those fans are few and far between. At least that's what my gut told me. I decided to test this theory by activating several "Call to Action" buttons on client pages and here are the results.

Out of the 10 pages I activated, only 1 click on a "Contact Us" button has occurred in the last two weeks and I'm not convinced that wasn't from me testing. These are active pages which are supported weekly with advertising and are gaining new fans daily. On the other hand by including a website link in a promoted post I received several clicks to "Shop" on my client's website. Not surprising as the content appeared in the newsfeed, not just the page.

The "Call to Action" button is free to install, so there's no reason not to do it, but don't rely on it to do the heavy lifting. If you really want to drive action you need to be where the action is and that's in the newsfeed. Include links to your site and promote your posts to a targeted audience to see results.

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Content Gathering for Social Media Made Easy

Social media requires a constant stream of content including visuals, links, text. I know what you're thinking...but that's a lot of work. Why yes, it is. Here are four tips for making that content gathering process a bit less tedious. 1. Plan ahead. Map out you content weekly or in a perfect world monthly. You can always add to it as things arise.

2. Create structure. Think of a content bucket or theme for each day. You don't have to necessarily call it out as such on social, but it will help you create content more quickly. Wednesdays are deals, Thursdays are trivia, etc.

3. Clip as you go. Use a program like Evernote to save interesting articles you see on the fly, or "favorite" interesting tweets and posts on Twitter and Facebook. Some of your content will be more evergreen while other will be more time sensitive. It's always good to have a stockpile of interesting articles that you can plug in to your content calendar as needed.

4. Build an archive of images. You can take 30 interesting photos in one day of your product, service or organization and sprinkle them throughout the year. No one but you has to know they were taken in one day.

What tips do you have for making the content creation process run smoothly?

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When to Give Admin Access

Giving Admin access to your Facebook page is like handing over the keys to your car. There should be some level of trust, some level of mutual understanding and some knowledge that no matter how well your friend "drives" you're opening yourself up to more risk. If you are going to give someone access to your page make sure you take the following steps:

1. Select the right role:

Facebook allows you to select various levels of access from Admin (all powerful) to Analyst (simply has access to page insights but no power to post or comment as the brand).

2. Discuss expectations:

If you are going to give someone more access versus less be sure to define who is doing what so you aren't double posting or worse, assuming the other person will respond to fans / customer service issues. To a fan it is all one brand voice so you don't want to stumble over one another internally.

3. Limit access but not too much access.

You should have at least two people from your company as admins at all times in case one person quits or forgets his/her password. There's nothing wrong with giving agency partners access but once you've moved on from that relationship, be sure to remove them from the page. Same goes with an employee who quits or is let go.

You want to believe the best in people, and you should, but always remember to protect yourself and your brand identity at the same time. Too often people are too casual about admin access.

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How Much to Pay for Social Media Support

As a social media marketer I find myself dabbling in all areas of marketing from copy-writing to customer service to design and media buying. Often a good social media marketer has to take on several roles to run a page successfully. And a really good social media marketer knows when to outsource the areas that just aren't his or her forte (insert graphic design here for me). Sometimes there will be the dream client with a load of great information already packaged in bite-sized 140 character nuggets, tons of beautiful imagery and a specific ad budget set aside for promoted posts, but most often, this isn't the case. Usually your social media marketer is going to have to pick up the slack where your creative assets fall short. Herein lies the problem - you can't pay as much for a well-designed Facebook photo as you would for a magazine layout, yet visuals are key on social. You can't pay as much for a well-crafted tweet as you would for your brochure copy, but pumping out content frequently is a must. You can't pay an hourly rate to watch your pages around the clock, yet we live in a 24/7 world. To pay the same prices you've been paying for traditional media on social would be outrageous, but in some ways you need more support than ever - more content, more coverage, more "always on" advertising to feed the hungry Facebook beast.

Should you throw in the towel now? No. There are those of us out there who are coming up with social media packages every day which offer realistic pricing. We're figuring out what content already exists that we can repurpose, how many customer replies on average you'll get a week and the most efficient way to spend your ad dollars to extend your reach.

It's the wild west out there in terms of pricing and there is a range. Talk to several companies and if someone is selling you social media services for what seems like an incredibly low rate be sure to ask them these questions.

- How many posts a week will you create? Do the posts include visuals?

- How many days a week will you monitor my page?

- If I run an ad campaign will you set that up?

- Does this quote include any reporting/measurement?

- How do you plan on using social to help me meet my business goals?

The social media marketer of today is a hybrid marketer merging a variety of talents in order to create content on the go. If you're getting your social for the low low cost of $99/month, there's probably something wrong.

 

 

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Creating Solid Social Media Content

Your social media content should be three things - Relevant, Engaging and Strategic. It's a fine balance but do it right and your content will work harder for you. Here are a few examples: - It's Martin Luther King Day, which means it would be very relevant to talk about him today, but alas, I'm an orange juice brand. It's not really relevant for me. Find those larger conversations happening on social that you can legitimately be a part of and jump on them, but please don't force fit an awkward situation. It really is awkward for everyone involved. By creating a social media content calendar ahead of time you can identify those relevant time periods in advance and come up with a plan to own the days that make sense.

- Who doesn't like Someecards? Practically everyone does. So much so that if you post one on your page people aren't going to remember you. Recycling Someecards content, or other people's jokes on a regular basis may get you likes, but it won't build any loyalty. That kind of social media content isn't ownable, it doesn't differentiate you from the thousands of other wine brands posting a snarky cartoon about Wine Wednesday. Find a way to be engaging while telling your story - you know, the one that's unique to you.

- Your social media content should work hard for you. It should drive to a larger purpose for you and your fans. What do you need to accomplish and what do your fans need from you in order to help you accomplish that goal? Perhaps it's building awareness (great storytelling content/reason to believe) or perhaps it's to sell more stuff (coupons/deals). Look at your business goals and see how social can fit into them. Yes, social is a fun, relatively new space, but that doesn't mean your content should be permitted to run wild with no accountability. We all have to pull our weight. You can hear the crowd chanting "ROI, ROI..." can't you?

 

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Facebook Images - High Engagement, Low Reach

Recently I uploaded a post which contained a recipe and a photo (after all it's fairly common knowledge that images help increase engagement). The post did well garnering more than 100 shares and 200 likes. Yet, something interesting happened. The next day I posted on the same page a post that contained no photo. The text-only post reached twice as many people as the popular recipe post, even though it had far less engagement. I tested the text-only approach again on a different page and received the same results. So why does a post without a photo almost double your reach instantly?  Here's one guess - the post without an image shows up in the news ticker on Facebook. When you upload a post with a photo the Facebook ticker simply reads: "(insert page name) posted a photo" versus the actual text of your post. If people don't click on the news ticker, and Facebook decides not to serve up your post because of its newsfeed algorithm, your reach may remain low.

I'm a believer in images, especially interesting, eye-catching photos, but lately, I'm also a believer in occasionally throwing in a few text-only posts. They help increase your reach, and in a newsfeed that is now flooded with photos, can help you to actually stand out. Go figure...what's old is new. That's the thing about social, it constantly pushes you to test, try and reinvent yourself in order to keep your place in the newsfeed.

What have you done to reinvent your content lately?

Good Customer Service on Social Media

In a world of text, tweets, chats and non-physical face-to-face conversations it is much easier to let someone down. Want to cancel dinner? Just text you have a headache. Didn't really quite enjoy that first date? He can be dumped in less than 140 characters. Recently, I watched in wonder as people took to a Facebook event wall to cancel just hours before a party started. You have to ask yourself if they would have sucked it up and come had they been forced to call and speak to someone. So admittedly, technology in all its wonders does have some draw backs, it makes it much easier to "hide" or to be in a way unreliable. For brands and companies though, the opposite seems to hold true. When a dissatisfied customer takes to technology, it is less about hiding or running and more about helping as quickly as possible. No one can be sure how fast the message will spread or how many others will see it and jump on the conversation. Some companies have a policy of answering within 24 hours, others within the hour and some get to it when they can, probably not the best approach. When thinking about your response strategy think about the following:

- What is my capacity? If you don't have someone dedicated to monitoring and responding, then make sure you try to set some standards for fans. Being up front and honest is half the battle. "We'll respond to requests within seven days. If you want a more immediate response call this number."

- Where can people go for customer service? If social isn't where you are putting your focus for customer service be very clear how people can reach you otherwise - phone, email, website. Despite having this people may still want you to respond on social. Very often people want to be responded to via the same medium they reached out on.

- What is your response? If you have a list of common questions or complaints, you can always format a library of responses, allowing even a a third party to be able to respond on your behalf. It saves you time and it satisfies the fan.

Technology may allow people to hide  but it also allows people to have their voice amplified. Make sure your company is prepared.

Social in a Crisis Situation - Newtown

When Newtown happened you could feel the shock and sadness slowly rippling through the social media world. A tweet here, a link to a story there, posts of prayers and disbelief came flooding across news feeds. Here's when a community really can become a community one in which there is support and shared emotion. I have to admit, I was disappointed to see page after page put out a statement about Newtown. I may like tequila but I didn't need my brand of tequila telling me how bad they felt during that moment. It was just odd.

As marketers we want to believe that our brands represent so much more to the consumer than a tasty drink, a good meal, a fast car. But when it comes to tragedy, all that brand positioning kind of goes out the window. Instead, you should remain silent, let people talk to people. Don't try to capitalize on a tragedy even if that isn't your initial intention. There's a time and a place to jump in on the conversation. Part of being a good community manager is to know when it's your turn.

Old School Message Boards - Yep, I'm Pregnant.

Message boards? Those are so 1990's errr...was it early 2000's? If I was giving advice to a client I would definitely steer them toward something more modern. Set up a Facebook page, hop on Twitter, Pin something for goodness sake. But I have a confession to make. I've been spending more time on Message Boards than I have any other social network lately. Why the throwback, you may ask? I'm pregnant. Yes, it is true, and I am trolling the mommy boards on the What to Expect When You're Expecting site like no other. At first I was just a lurker, but now I'm a poster. I'm asking questions about which stroller to buy, whether or not I need to strap my baby on to me and if so, what do I do with the other one? (Did I mention it is twins?)

I have to admit these Boards are extremely useful, and here's why.

1. Anonymity. I don't want to be friends with these ladies on Facebook. Maybe it's their hormones or maybe they always skew toward the unhappy, but there are some "feisty" women on these boards. The Forum / Message Board function allows me to get what I need out of it without getting personal.

2. Common bonds. These ladies are just as obsessed/terrified/excited as me. We are all going through this new experience together. All due in July. And despite differences in personalities, political views, geography, all feeling the same aches and pains. Forums are great for bringing people together with a strong common interest.

3. Separation from my "social" social world. I'm not a big fan of posting every day about my pregnancy. I have a few photos of me pregnant but that's only because I went on vacation and happened to be pregnant. It gets to be overload when your friends share every moment of their pregnancy, soon to be followed by every moment of their labor and new child. I've been on the receiving end of the newsfeed and I swore I wouldn't do it. The forums allow me to have a place strictly for baby comments and for people who actually care about baby stuff.

4. You get to learn a new language. You know you're a part of an intense community when you have to learn the lingo to participate. DD (Darling Daughter), MIL (Mother In Law), FTM (First Time Mom), TTC (Trying to Conceive). I could go on and on. It took me awhile but I am in. It's kind of a barrier to entry, and inevitably some newbie will get on and actually ask what everything means. Please, you think these ladies are going to take the time to explain? You need to figure that one out. It's a rite of passage.

5. You get to listen in. Marketers should be here. I can't help it. Even when talking about my pepperoncini cravings I'm thinking with my marketing hat on. If I was a company in the baby products industry or even a doctor I would be listening on this board like no other. The women are constantly talking about their needs, recommending products, complaining about OB GYNs. It's like Yelp, Urbanspoon and TripAdvisor rolled up into one for the baby industry. Trust me, you want in on this conversation.

I'm not saying abandon Facebook or Twitter by any means. What I am saying is find the online communities where your hard core consumers are having an in-depth conversation and you'll find rich insights and feedback to be had. Maybe you can host one yourself (more tricky when they know the brand is listening) or maybe you can just be a fly on the wall, but don't disregard this space, unless you can't stomach all the husband bashing, odes to Taco Bell and Mother In Law rants. In which case, I completely understand.

Facebook and Twitter - the Conversation Bandwagon

I’m a firm believer that you should treat your Facebook and Twitter content differently. Don’t link them up. They are two different audiences and two different platforms. That’s just being lazy, no matter how much you tell yourself you’re being efficient. My belief was confirmed as Valentine’s Day rolled around and then Mardi Gras. Something struck me as I saw brands and people posting about the various holidays – on Twitter it benefits you to join in on the conversation, while on Facebook it can hurt you to be the same.

Here’s why: If there are 30 posts referencing Valentine’s Day on Facebook your post may very well be tucked into a grouping of all the others who posted about Valentine’s Day. Facebook groups similar topics together on your newsfeed. Great for the user but for a brand trying to break through,not so much.

Twitter is totally different. If Valentine’s Day is trending because so many people are talking about it, you should leverage keywords like Valentine’s Day. People who currently don’t follow you but are searching the topic or clicking on the trending topic, will then find you.

Long story short – find ways to stand out on Facebook to get your spot in the newsfeed, and find ways to jump in on Twitter to be a part of the larger conversation and gain more exposure.

Just another reason you should really treat your Twitter and Facebook management differently.