13 posts categorized "Social Media" Feed

February 13 Content Chat Recap: An Introduction to Social Media Growth Hacking

Neal FB #ContentChat

An Introduction to Social Media Growth Hacking

This week #ContentChat was joined by Neal Schaffer (@nealschaffer) who gave us a preview of the topic he's exploring in his latest presentation and upcoming e-book, An Introduction to Social Media Growth Hacking.

Q1: What is growth hacking, and how is it different from traditional marketing?

Continue reading "February 13 Content Chat Recap: An Introduction to Social Media Growth Hacking" »

Start the New Year Off Right With an Easy and Doable Weekly Social Media Plan

Your Ideal Social Media Schedule

Did you meet your social media marketing goals for 2016? Or do you feel like you spent a lot of time on social media channels but just didn't make any headway? 

For many small business owners and solopreneurs, social media activities are just one more item on an already overflowing to do list—if they make it onto the list at all. Social media engagement then becomes ad hoc and reactive, which rarely leads to driving business results. 

Social media has the potential to be a significant business growth lever, but only if you make it a priority, and commit to using it consistently to build relationships with your existing customer base, and your ideal future customers. It's not enough to create an account on every new social media channel and wait for someone to engage you in conversation. To unlock social media's potential, you have to set goals for what you want to accomplish and align tactics to those goals and track as you make progress against them over time.

What is your reason for creating and maintaining your social media channels? Are those channels meant to drive direct sales, increase traffic to your website, build relationships, provide customer support, or all of the above? Once you determine the why behind each channel, you can set appropriate goals to track your progress towards that goal. For instance, if your goal is to increase traffic to your website, a measurement to track progress against that goal would be the number of clickthroughs on the URLs you are sharing or the amount of referring traffic from social media as recorded by your website analytics. 

Defining Your Ideal Weekly Social Media Schedule

Before you jump in and start making your plans for 2017, take some time today to reflect on what you accomplished (and what you didn't accomplish) with your social media activities last year, as it relates to your social media goals.

For the channels where you were on track with moving toward your goals, write down what worked well, and how frequently you deployed those tactics. For the channels where you were off the mark, what could you try doing differently? How could you change up the frequency of your activities? Take those lists, and make a chart on how you can chip away at those activities, one day at a time.

Sample Weekly Plan

In this example, the solopreneur planned to spend an hour per day on social media maximum, working his way through the daily activities, and holding himself accountable by tallying up his completed actions on a daily and weekly basis. 

Pew Internet Research to Help You Determine Your Ideal Social Media Content Scheduling

 In our example, more times was being spent cultivating followers and engaging with influencers than posting content, because that was aligned with his goals at the time. But how do PI_2016.11.11_Social-Media-Update_0-07 you know how often you should be posting to your social media channels? Although the answer depends on your specific audience, there are some general guidelines you can devise based on recent Pew Internet research on social media channel usage.

  • Facebook. With 76 percent of users visiting the site or using the app daily, you'll want to be present on Facebook daily if possible. Plus, since visual content memes move fast on Facebook, if you're checking in with your page and your followers less frequently, you may miss out on what could have been a great engagement opportunity. If you're sharing a viral video two weeks after it hit its peak, you're just not going to see a high level of engagement.
  • Instagram. Although half the regular users visit daily, a fourth visit only weekly, with another fourth less often than that. This means you'll want to focus on high-quality content that is relevant for a longer amount of time, and can get away with posting once or twice per week. Are there relevant weekly/recurring hashtags you can commit to posting content around? A regular #FlashbackFriday or #MotivationMonday post can become something your followers look forward to engaging with week-after-week.
  • Twitter. Although only 42 percent of regular twitter users surveyed visited twitter daily, the fast-moving new stream format of twitter means it's more important to understand when your customers are likely to be on, and to post content more frequently in an effort to reach them while they are active. And those less often than weekly users are frequently those who turn to twitter to discuss large-scale cultural events (like the World Series, the Oscars, etc.) and for news content. Don't be afraid to have a flurry of tweets associated with a relevant news topic—a frequency that could annoy your followers on another social channel can work well on twitter.
  • Pinterest. A fourth of Pinterest users said they used the site daily, with the largest group, at 43 percent, visiting the site less than once per week. Many Pinterest users chunk their time on the site, populating a board on a specific topic when it's relevant. For instance, spending time building a wedding-related board, curating holiday recipes and gift ideas, etc. As long as you aren't flooding the site with repeats of your pins, you can also batch your time on the site without fear of overwhelming your followers. However, if Pinterest is a significant direct sales driver for your organization, consider using an app like Tailwind to target the timing of your posts to when your best customers are most likely to be online.
  • LinkedIn. If your ideal buyer is in HR or sales, chances are they always have LinkedIn open on their computer or mobile device. But 82 percent of users visit the site weekly or less often. This means for more organizations, daily Linkedin posts are nice to have, but posting a few times per week is adequate. You won't want to repeat content links on this channel without switching out your images and writing new copy, otherwise, your infrequent user followers may unfollow you, feeling as though you are pushing your content and your company too hard.

Don't let social media be something you put on your "to do eventually" list for 2017. Take a few minutes now, and block time on your calendar every day to ensure you make the most of what social media has to offer for building the relationships that can grow your business.


Your Lack of Social Media Guidelines is Killing Your Employee Advocacy Program

Social media guidelines

Why You Need Social Media Guidelines

Over the past two months, between attending Content Marketing World and MarketingProfs B2B forums, I’ve had a number of conversations with marketers who are working on launching or revamping an employee advocacy program. Most of these conversations centered around finding ways to gamify and incentivize employees to share company content, or finding tools to make it easier for employees to automatically share content to their social networks.
Although these are important considerations to take into account in building an effective employee advocacy program, they don't address one of the primary reasons that employees aren’t sharing about their employers on social media—they’re simply not clear on what’s allowed.
You may think that your intentions are obvious when it comes to encouraging employee social
engagement. But recent research from Bambu by Sprout Social found one of the most common obstacles that businesses are facing is hesitation from employees. Specifically, 77.3% of those surveyed don’t feel encouraged to share company news on social media. The survey further found that employees aren’t sharing because they don’t know if their company is OK with them sharing news.
Having well-defined social media guidelines in place, and including social media training in new employee onboarding is a prime way to fix this.

Focus on the Activities You Want to Encourage

I’ve heard more than once that organizations shy away from documenting and publishing a social media policy for fear that employees will react poorly to being told what not to do in their off work time, on their personal social media channels. 
This, however, makes two assumptions: first, that social media guidelines are about telling employees what not to do, and second that employee social media activity is something to be done outside of the usual course of work. Neither of these assumptions are necessarily the case.
In fact, your social media guidelines are your opportunity to directly inform employees of your social media strategy, what they can do to help you achieve it, and the resources available from you to help them do it. 

What to Include in Your Social Media Guidelines

With this perspective in mind, what exactly should your social media guidelines include? At a minimum, you’ll want to cover:
  •  Why your brand is using social media. What are you hoping to achieve through the brand social channels? Are you looking to cultivate crowdsourced content? Quickly address customer questions and concerns?
  •  What kind of content your brand is creating and curating on social. Are the latest memes in keeping with your brand personality? What about Buzzfeed quizzes? Is it acceptable to use emojis in brand-affiliated social content? Are any sources off-brand for curation? Clearly outlining your social content strategy makes it less likely you’ll need to go back to employees after-the-fact and ask them to remove social content that contradicts your brand promise.
  •  How employees can act as social ambassadors. Be clear about your ask of employees. Are you looking for them to help amplify brand social content? Or do you want to encourage them to be creating their own blog posts and visual content that supports the brand promise?
  •  Any restrictions on employee social media use on the job and why. No one is psyched about not being allowed to use social media while on the job. But there are some industries, such as healthcare and financial services, that regularly block the use of social media platforms on company computers in order to protect customer confidentiality. If you block use social media at work, let employees know versus them finding out when they try to access a website and can not do so.
  •  Do’s and don’ts for engaging with customers on social. Do you want to encourage employees to engage with customers and fans on social, or to flag customers needing assistance to a specific brand point of contact? Make the rules of engagement easy and transparent.
  • Employee social media resources. Do you have a social media training program? Or a monthly lunch and learn for employee brand ambassadors? Include them here. And don’t forget to note whom employees should contact if they have any questions about social that the guidelines don’t cover.
Are you using your social media guidelines to encourage your employee brand advocates? I’d love to hear in the comments. 

Making the Most out of Social Media Marketing World

Making the Most out of Social Media Marketing World

Twitter is already full of pre-Social Media Marketing World shenanigans in San Diego. Since I'm not flying down until tomorrow, in the midst of my FOMO,  I have time to share a few thoughts, as a returning attendee, on how to make the most of this unique event.

  1. Join in on the pre-conference virtual networking. On Slack, there are channels for everything from technology marketers to craft beer lovers—join the ones that will connect you with like-minded folks! There's also Facebook page and a Linkedin group to explore.
  2. Download the event app. Search the app store of your choice for Bizzabo. This is a great way to build and manage your sessions schedule, and planning meetups with other attendees.
  3. Pack backup device batteries. It's not too late to get them sent via Amazon Prime to your hotel. You don't want to run out of phone juice just as you're snapping that perfect selfie on the U.S.S. Midway tomorrow night, do you?
  4. Bring your walking shoes. The Convention Center is steps away from the Gaslamp Quarter, a neighborhood full of cafes, restaurants, and shops you'll want to explore. I highly recommend tapas and sangria at Cafe Sevilla.
  5. Eat tacos. Lots of tacos. Especially fish tacos. It's pretty much mandatory. When I was in college, we'd hit up Casa de Bandini in Old Town (it's since moved to Carlsbad), but more recently Huapangos  has been a favorite place of mine for margaritas and Mexican food.
  6. Visit the Zoo. San Diego's Zoo is an amazing park, with some of the best-designed exhibits I've seen. It's well worth the time and entrance fee.
  7. Bring a water bottle. It's easy to get dehydrated between the socializing, sunny weather, and canned air in the session rooms. So keep that water bottle in hand and filled up. If you forgot to bring one, it's likely you'll be able to obtain one from a friendly conference sponsor.
  8. Prep your note-taking setup. I'm a big fan of Evernote and create a new notebook for each conference I attend. Within those notebooks, I create individual notes for each session I'm attending. I try to ID the speaker's twitter handle in advance and add it to the note to make sure I'm tagging any quotes I share appropriately. I like that it's easy to share my conference notebook with my team, to share the learnings and resources from the event.
  9. Talk to strangers. This conference has facilitation of networking down pat. I'm an introvert, and really appreciate how easy (and painless) they make it for you to find people you're interested in connecting with. 

I'm going to go get packed now. Hope to see you there!

3 Tips for Making the Most of Your Big Corporate Announcements


Sure you could just send out a press release about your latest round of funding or your geographic expansion and be done with it, but where’s the fun (and audience engagement) in that? Get your employees amped up and your community excited by harnessing the power of your social channels.

1. Make it Personal

A press release inherently lacks personality — it’s a general mass communication after all. Put a personal spin on your announcement by creating a quick video (using your iPhone is OK) with your executive team sharing the big news. Then upload it to your YouTube channel, and embed it in that blog post you’re writing. But don’t stop there— if you’re announcing a new round of funding that’s earmarked for expansion into a new area, tap employees to share their excitement  about those new ventures via a short video as well.

Check out this great example from Social Bakers for some inspiration:

SocialBakers took the personal touch one step further in the video by inviting customers and fans to a speical Google+ hangout to get more details on how they intended to use the funding, and invited feedback from customers as well.

2. Create a Variety of Easy to Digest Content Blocks

Use a design tool like Canva to illustrate your announcement simply yet elegantly (like I did with this blog post), and include the image with all of your social posts. For extra social currency with a funding announcement, include the logos of your new investors in the image. Or take it another direction entirely, and share your excitement through animated GIFs like TrackMaven did recently.  You can also upload a few short slides to SlideShare summarizing your funding round details, including what the cash inflow will enable the company to work on next. And what about live tweeting the announcement? Many folks who wouldn’t click through to read a press release just might share or respond to your good news via twitter.

3. Pay it Back via Social

If you’ve done a good job in getting the word out about your big news, you’re likely to enjoy some social buzz and media mentions. Why not do a roundup of the coverage via Storify, and embed it a blog post? And if it’s a funding announcement, be sure to thank your investors—previous and current— in your social  coverage.

What are some of the other ways you’ve used social to make the most of great corporate news? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

Social Media Marketing World 2014

View of San Diego's waterfront from my room at the Hyatt Grand Manchester
View of San Diego's waterfront from my room at the Hyatt Grand Manchester
I'm spending the next two days soaking up the latest tips and trends in social media at Social Media Marketing World. So watch this space and my twitter feed for my highlights from the event.
My personalized SMMW14 badge
My personalized SMMW14 badge
Unsurprisingly, networking is a big focus at this event. There's a significant amount of agenda time designated for the purpose, a networking lounge, and your badges even get into the action. Upon check-in, you receive a sheet of stickers you can use to personalize your badge to reflect your areas of professional interest. Love this idea and hope to see more conferences doing something similar. My only regret is that I lacked a hello kitty sticker to add some personal bling to my badge.
This year, to make sure I keep track of all the folks who are tweeting about the conference, I'm collecting them all in a list.ly to crowd source an attendee list to help folks connect with other social media enthusiasts. If you're attending the event, add your twitter handle to the list!

Social Media Marketing World 2014 Attendees
View more lists from Erika
Not at the event but still want to get in on the action? Follow #SMMW14 on twitter. Watch out though-- I suspect the tweets will be flying fast and furious for the enxt few days.

Highlights from the iFabbo 2013 Social Media Conference

image from distilleryimage0.ak.instagram.com

I had a blast spending yesterday at the iFabbo Social Media Conference (disclosure: I was comped attendance at the event).

A more formal summary of some of the interesting things I learned will be here shortly. Until then, here's my Storify wrap-up of the twitter highlights from the event, after the jump. Enjoy!

Continue reading "Highlights from the iFabbo 2013 Social Media Conference" »

6 Easy Ways to Encourage Audience Participation via Social Media at Your Events

At a recent half day seminar on social media, I noticed a flat panel display off to the side of the stage. It appeared to be a twitter feed related to the event. Since I'm never one of those folks who sits up at the front table in a ballroom conference setting, I couldn't quite make out what the hashtag was that was resulting in the tweets being shown on the screen.

Over the course of the presentations, the display panels remained static, without a single additional tweet being added, until the very end when the event staff tweeted a thank you and goodbye. What was the cause of this lack of audience collaboration, you may ask? None of the even attendees had any idea what hashtag to use to join a collaborative conversation!

This miss on the part of the event organizers could have been avoided with a few simple tweeks to their pre-event promotions and their on-site plan:

  1. Add an event-specific hashtag to all pre-event promotional materials
  2. Remind participants at check-in of the event hashtag and any liveblogging they can comment on/join in with, such as on the corporate blog
  3. Include the hashtag or community discussion details on the event agenda that is left at each seat
  4. Have signage near the flat panel that displays the tweets that includes the hashtag
  5. Verbally give out the hashtag in your opening remarks and encourage attendees to give comments and feedback via their preferred social media channel throughout the event
  6. Kick off your post-presentation Q&As by taking a question from twitter/FB/LinkedIn

The best part about all of the above is other than the hashtag signage, they don't take a budget line item or a bunch of your time, just some planning upfront, and consistent communication throughout your event.