Is Your Brand Making One of these Social Media Mistakes?

Social Media is no longer a question of if brands should join its ranks, it’s now a question of how, when, where, and to what end? It should be a no brainer, right? Wrong. Brands, from those who are fresh to a network to veterans that were early adopters, should consider taking basic steps to enable fans to gain value and build a solid relationship that extends past the screen.

If you’re looking out for what could pose as a road block for your brand in social, or have come to a speed bump that you’re not quite sure you can clear, the tactics below may help. Think about these barriers next time you’re between a rock and a hard place, and re-evaluate your Social Strategy to work for your fans once again.

Social Media Mistake #1: Focus on Only One Social Media Network

Choosing the first Social Media Network to debut your brand’s presence is important, and should be picked based on where your target audience is most heavily engaged. However, budding brands shouldn’t necessarily stop there. For some brands, fans are concentrated on one platform, and if that’s the case it’s wise to stick to one alone, as long as research guided the selection of that specific network.

Otherwise it’s wise to choose a solid variety of networks to focus on. Keep messaging, imagery, and voice consistent while tailored to each platform’s target audience (LinkedIn for business, Facebook for friends, Twitter for networking, etc.). Providing fans with a range of networks to engage with allows fans to choose which network best suits them so they may get to know, connect with, share, and potentially builds a relationship with your brand where they already spend time online.

Social Media Mistake #2: Focus on Only One Measurement of Success

Whether it’s important to grow your presence, increase the number of shares of your content, get consumers talking with and about your brand, or allowing fans to bring content to you (UGC), all measures of progress and success in Social should be treated equally important. If you have a fan base of 1 million, great, but if no one is joining in to chat, share, and influence, your large fan-base loses its importance. Keep an eye on the metrics most important to each social channel & tie into social goals that directly relate to your engagement, awareness, ROI, and overall marketing goals.  Also, don’t forget to monitor that growth (or at least a consistent ebb and flow) is present throughout the month. Keeping an eye on KPIs is an essential way to know what’s working, what’s not, and what your brand can do to maintain a solid profile and community.

Social Media Mistake #3: Publish Content Curated for One Network Across Others

The process of researching, drafting, editing, scheduling, and finally moderating curated content for a platform can be cumbersome, but there’s a rhyme and reason. Tailoring content for each network’s target audience means the correct brand message is received and understood by fans every time. Not only does making sure your content is on point, interesting, and of value to consumers, carefully curated content shows your fans you care about the relationship you are building with each one of them. Although it is good practice to carry a campaign, voice, theme, etc. throughout all social networks consistently, each message should be tailored to fit its corresponding audience. Re-using content might save you time, but in the long run it will cost you brand credibility amongst your fans.

Social Media Mistake #4: Publish Content without a Focus

It’s essential to develop a solid content and social strategy before you start posting, especially if you’re new to social. Maintaining a healthy mix of content, as well as making sure it is on topic, and relates to a brand is key to consistently keeping the attention of fans. Defining and maintaining a focus is also vital for brands that have had a social presence for an extended period of time.

Whether it’s time to jump into social, or rejuvenate your content flow, brands should look at what their focus and goals are in relation to the content being published. If you’re a finance company, and only publishing videos of cats because they “work” on social, there just might be a slight disconnect between what works for your brand and audience in social, and what you are deeming as valuable and presenting to your fan-base. Having a variety of content, an open mind, and a sense of humor is great, but all content should relate to your industry, fans, and overall Social Strategy before the publish button is ever pressed.

Social Media Mistake #5: Ignoring the Content of what is Published         

You could be posting too much or too little. You could be filling your copy with marketing, sales, and business speak. Maybe posts are riddled with spelling and grammar errors that go unfixed, or the tone being used isn’t connecting with fans. Keep an eye out for these potential follies, as it will hinder you from developing a valuable and memorable conversation with your fans. Fans remember both the positive, and negative experiences they have throughout your conversations. Make it easy on your brand by making sure that all loose ends are tied; copy, images, and links are approved and correct; and your voice and tone are that of a person, not a billboard trying to sell something to your fans. Fans do notice mistakes and will call you out on it, just as a friend would in real life. Take note of brands that do not value the process of building a relationship, they are not so kind. So remember, treat your fans like friends, and give them the best that your brand has to offer to make their experience with you that much more valued.

Maintaining one Social Media channel is tough, and managing many is even more of a challenge. To keep everything in check, we ask you to remember these simple things to make sure you are successful, and build meaningful relationships with fans:

  • Focus on the quality and content of what you publish
  • Maintain consistency for your brand throughout it’s lifespan and on all networks
  • Treat all metrics as valued assets
  • Give each Network you choose to represent your brand on the time needed to build up relationships with fans

What are some examples of brands that you think have nailed Social Media?

Essential Graphic Design for Social Media Managers: An Introduction

Images can be a great way to emotionally connect to your audience. As you tell your brand’s story, the right image can evoke nostalgia, excitement, desire, and reflection. Coca Cola, for example, knows this, and has mastered the craft of storytelling with powerful imagery, whether it’s in the milestones of their rich history or a personal one between two people sharing a Coke.

Coca Cola Milestone Coca Cola Milestone 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compelling images, now more than ever, are an integral part of successful social media engagement, and the presence of images in social media has become more and more prevalent in recent years.

Photos and images are the foundation of popular social platforms like Instagram, Tumblr, and especially Pinterest, which, at over 10 million unique visitors, is the fastest growing social network in history.Tweets Get 88% More RTs

And, on Facebook and Twitter, images have become a reliable way to garner engagement. Tweets featuring images see 88% more retweets than tweets with links and 19% more retweets than those that are text only. Furthermore, Facebook posts with a photo typically see nearly 3 times more engagement than status updates. Facebook’s Timeline redesign and acquisition of Instagram also reflect Mark Zuckerberg’s affinity for the power of photos on the social network:

“You see the organic News Feed posts moving toward bigger pictures and rich media. The success of products like Instagram is because they’re so immersive on a small screen.” (Source)

 

Catering to the short attention spans of the social audience, images are quickly and effortlessly consumed on smartphone screens, making content easier to digest and share. With 57% of Facebook users now accessing the site via mobile device social media will likely become more and more mobile, making captivating images more crucial than ever.

With this emphasis on well-designed images, social media managers would be well-served to have a basic understanding of graphic design, especially design that works where your social audience spends most of their time: online and on mobile devices.

Facebook Photos 3x More Engagement

Designing for Social Media

Ideally, you will have access to an in-house design team that can create images for use on social media. In that instance, as social media manager, use the information presented in this series to provide your designers guidance, especially if they typically work in print or web media and aren’t as familiar with the needs of social media sites.

And, as social media often works quickly and reactively, you might not always be able to turn to your graphic design team to create the images you want. In these cases it can help to know the basics so you can make the images yourself.

In this series, we’ll cover the fundamentals, listed below, as well as provide instructional tutorials (with, and in some cases without, Photoshop).

  1. Photo Selection & Sizing: What to look for in a good photo & how to size and save your images so they display well on various social sites.
  2. Playing with Color: How to determine what colors to use to stand out, while staying on brand.
  3. Font Type & Lettering: The magic of combining text and photos, and how to select the right font.
  4. Composition: Putting it all together: how to compose an image that stands out, and how to create a collage.
  5. Examples & Inspiration: What are other brands are doing with images, and ideas you can implement immediately.

We hope you join us next week when we discuss how to choose a good photo and make sure it looks good on whichever social site you decide to share it to!

It’s so fun-ny, how we don’t talk anymore…

That’s what Sir Cliff Richard said in 1979 and that’s what a lot of other people are still saying now too.

With more than 8 trillion texts sent a year and over 400 million tweets sent per day, there are those who say that social media and texting has killed real conversation. They say that we never pick up the phone anymore. They shriek that we are disconnected as a community.

In 2013 though, we don’t have to do this to stay in touch. We can read updates, we can tweet, and we can share articles we think our friends will be interested in. We should of course, still make the effort to chat on the phone and have real-life conversations. But have you ever wondered how many of your friendships wouldn’t have survived if it wasn’t for social media helping you stay connected?

We would hope that we’ve seen the last generation of old ladies keeping the gasman on the phone just for someone to talk to. We are more connected than ever. Whether that’s to friends and family, or to strangers on the other side of the world.

The same goes for brands. Consumers have more access to brands, and brands have more access to consumers. Brands are still in the relatively unchartered territory of having to listen to customers. Really listen. Because customers are telling them out loud, in public what they think of their company. How they can improve, what they are doing right and what they want from them.

Does that sound scary?

It shouldn’t, because it’s gold.

Previously if you cared enough about the future of your company, you might carry out research to see what your consumers really thought. Brands were in a position of power, they didn’t have to listen to the ‘little man’, but that wasn’t necessarily a good position to be in.

Unhappy customers could still vote with their feet and go elsewhere, before the brand even got the chance to rectify a problem or even know that there was one.

Social media can guide your company in the right direction. It can help ensure that you’re making the best decisions for your company and the right decisions for your company to succeed.

Sure — it’s a brave new world when everything is so public and people can openly review your products and services in front of the whole world.
But if this is going to help shape your company vision and inform the decisions you make, who better to listen to than your customers?

That conversation must be two-way though. All too often we still see negative reviews unanswered, decisions being made behind closed doors and brushed under the carpet.

Recently, Amazon UK was on the receiving end of some pretty negative reviews on both their website and their social presences. One of their sellers was stocking unsavoury t-shirts, which once picked up, caused a flood of comments, posts and reviews, all asking for the merchandise to be taken off the Amazon site.

Inside the walls of Amazon, decisions were being made and they were acting upon their customer’s demands. However, you would have had no clue of this on their social platforms. Their Twitter feed was still happily posting and all comments and mentions were seemingly being ignored.

Percol coffee

 

 

 

 

This had the effect that, even after they had removed the merchandise, people were still threatening to stop using Amazon if they didn’t remove the goods, long after the goods had actually been removed.

Amazon’s open review system is fantastic, it’s an extremely transparent way for consumers to judge the quality of their potential purchases, and as a result we’ve seen countless companies adopt the same system. It’s just a shame that, the same transparency hasn’t yet filtered through to the way some brands manage their social media platforms.

In order to mitigate the amount of posts and let people know they were being heard, ideally Amazon would have made sure the social team was in place to do the following:

  • Release an update on their social pages to apologise and reassure customers that they are looking into complaints and reply direct to customers where they were able to do so
  • Release another update to confirm that they have dealt with the offending products

On the surface of it, ignoring the problem does mean that eventually the problem will seemingly go away. People will inevitably get bored of tweeting about it and they will move on to the next big drama – but what does that do to the reputation of your company?

Miss Representation

 

 

 

 

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Just like our personal relationships, brand and consumer relationships only work if they are two-way. A friendship won’t survive if only one person is making the effort to keep in touch and the same goes for brands. Listening is one thing, but brands also need to make sure that consumers know they are listening.

Otherwise, you may well eventually find your brand at the bottom of the friend pile.

What Does Facebook’s Graph Search Mean For Brands?

Facebook Graph Search is coming. The latest and greatest new feature from everyone’s favorite (or “favorite”?) social media platform is Facebook’s jump into the search space. While not a tool to search the entire web, Graph Search is a useful tool for users to search through their Social Graph to find the results that are the most relevant to them. Facebook is betting that this more targeted search will make users more likely to engage with more content and people on Facebook. Google and other search engines have tried to make their results more relevant and targeted, but Facebook’s access to each user’s shared social connections means that they can go a step farther and make each search result an implicit recommendation from a “friend”, therefore increasing engagement with those results.

Assuming that Graph Search is the game-changer that Facebook hopes it is, many opportunities and changes await for brands on Facebook as well. Here’s a rundown of some steps that brands can take to optimize their Facebook presence for Graph Search.

Location-Specific Graph Search Results

The biggest change for many brands is going to be the increased prominence of local Pages. Brands with multiple local locations will want to claim any local Pages that they do not know under Facebook’s Parent-Child relationship, and update all local Pages with accurate contact and location information. While in the past it was useful for such large brands house all content on a master Page, with Graph Search it is important to publish relevant content to local Pages as well. There are tools that let brands publish content to all Pages at once, which, combined with targeted content published to each specific local Page, will keep local Pages relevant to users and highly ranked in Graph Search.

Acquire Relevant “Likes”

The more connections you have the more likely it is that your Page will be discovered. This means that gaining as many fans as possible is more important than ever. Applications and Facebook Ads to drive Fan Growth may now help drive engagement through more than just News Feed interactions. Of course, you want relevant Likes that sustain, so acquiring relevant fans who find value in your brand and providing consistent, relevant content to those Fans will keep your Page high in the Graph Search rankings.

Encourage Photo Sharing and Check-Ins

Where in the past photo tags and check-ins would have a one-time benefit to the Page from a broadcast into the News Feed, these types of engagements will now have a long-term benefit from Search. Encouraging users to tag a Page and check-in to a location will now prove to have additional benefits. In addition, Photos are their own category in Graph Search, making photos with your brand Page tagged in them an important part of your Graph Search strategy. In addition, photos from a brand’s photo albums will appear with equal weight to those posted in status updates, which will provide incentive for brands to be more strategic about what photos they put in their photo albums.

Additional Advertising Opportunities

While Facebook has not announced advertising opportunities within Graph Search yet, it is hopeful that they would not build a feature this big without the ability to include advertising at some point. Expect “Paid Results”, much like we currently see Sponsored Stories in the News Feed. This opportunity extends to the brands, as they will have the ability to insert themselves into searches that users make into their own social Graph, meaning that ads will need to be even more targeted and personalized.

When Graph Search is rolled out to all users we will know more about the unique challenges and changes that this feature presents to brands. For now, all we know is that those who adopt and adapt early will be able to reap the rewards.

How The Black Keys’ drummer could teach brands a thing or two.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the land of Twitter, @BurgerKing and @Jeep were hacked and @MTV and @BET pretended to be.

If you were following Twitter closely, you might have also seen the Twitter spat between Justin Bieber and the drummer from The Black Keys, Patrick Carney.

The Black Keys had enjoyed a successful night at the Grammy’s with three wins for the band and another for the lead singer Dan Auerbach. Afterwards, Carney was interviewed by TMZ and asked whether Bieber should have got a Grammy by now. He replied with “He’s rich, right?… Grammys are for music, not for money… and he’s making a lot of money. He should be happy.”

Bieber then took to Twitter to publish this Tweet to his 34 million followers.

 

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Almost immediately, Bieber’s loyal following had waged war against Carney. While this would have sent many running for the hills and deleting their Twitter accounts, Carney held his own by replying to comments using humour and retweeting particularly funny ‘disses’.

 

ONE HIT WONDER

 

LIKE RIGHT NOW?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally he boldly started to assume the singers identity by gradually changing his name to Justin Bieber and replying as if he was the singer. This of course, further infuriated Bieber fans – as well as picking up some unsuspecting followers who thought he was the real deal.

 

BIEBER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aside from annoying a small number of his real fans with a few days worth of ‘Justin’ tweets, he actually managed to ride the storm by meeting it head-on and he also got a lot of love from how he was handling the angry Bieber-fan onslaught.

 

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So what can brands learn from how he handled himself?

Carney dealt with the situation swiftly, without fear and he let his personality work for him.

He was of course, able to be far more ‘cheeky’ than most brands could hope to get away with and while we would never advise brands to use these particular tactics, there are some take away lessons here for brands posting their day-to-day content or experiencing their own social media crisis.

Don’t be scared.

Carney didn’t shy away from dealing with negative comments. Brands – particularly if they are new to social – can be tempted to bury their heads in the sand when dealing with difficult posts (or sometimes, any posts) and may choose to ignore them, hoping they’ll go away.

Ignore the ‘wrong’ one and it could have the potential to turn a customer service issue into a full-blown social media crisis. Rule number one — Make sure you respond quickly to questions or problems.

Carney was swift to act, replied to posts and also retweeted them so it was clear to everyone who visited his profile or anyone following his updates that he was dealing with the situation and may have even discouraged some angry tweeters from joining in. We’ve seen a lot of high profile cases recently where people have been driven off Twitter by a furious mob, simply because they felt like it was easier to run away, rather than weather the storm.

For these larger, social media crises, make sure you have a process written down for managing this type of event – while we’re sure Carney didn’t have his plan in place before the Grammy’s, his quick thinking did help him survive the fallout. Brands may have to go through a series of different stakeholders before a plan can be acted upon, so it is essential that this process be nailed down.

Be yourself. Be human.

We’ve all heard it before, but it’s true. Social should be social. People aren’t interested in interacting with boring staid messaging. They want to feel like a brand or person has an identity. Whether that’s in everyday posts or in how they handle a crisis.

Behind all the big strategies, campaigns and messaging should lie a human heartbeat. Carneys’ decision to go bold and his brilliant use of light-hearted humour in the face of some pretty nasty and sometimes homophobic posts, made this into a much more positive news story that it would have been if he’d hidden away from it. He could have passed this over to an agency and released a statement but he chose to ride the storm with his own personal brand of humour.

For brands, you will know when posts require a serious response but it’s just as important to know when it’s okay to interact in a more human, relaxed way.

People want to feel like they are interacting with a real person. I’m sure everyone following Carney’s news feed feels like they know him a bit better, even when he was masquerading as Bieber, and if you manage to convey this type of messaging for your brand, it will go a long way to help building some brand love amongst your following.

Use humour.

Don’t be afraid to use humour in your messaging if the situation or your branding allows it. A serious customer service issue would not be the place for this method but as Carney saw, treating his crisis with light humour, worked pretty well for him. You also saw this with the recent Burger King hack on their Twitter account. Once they had regained control, instead of releasing a very serious statement, they made it light-hearted and recognised that they had picked up a lot of new followers.

 

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Carney, Burger King and Jeep have all have seen this positive side of their recent social media crises as they’ve added some hefty numbers to their Twitter follower count. It goes to show that if dealt with in the right way, a negative can be turned into a positive. If they keep the right mix of entertainment, value and transparency and let their ‘brands’ personality shine through, they may just keep all their new followers happy.

Keep this mix in your social feeds and you’ll start to reap the benefits too!