Category Archives: Facebook

Managing Brand-Consumer Relationships via Social Media, A Conversation with Miami University’s Dr. Glenn Platt

Image courtesy of @GlennPlatt

Social media relationships between brands and customers are connected to an important shift in marketing, putting word of mouth in the digital sphere and bringing brands into the conversation. According to Dr. Glenn Platt, professor of marketing and co-director of the Interactive Media Studies Program at Miami University, this change puts the focus on value and utility. He notes, “marketers are no longer in the job of selling the sizzle, but rather are about showing how there is value in that product. If you use this product it solves this problem. It makes your life better.” Social media helps facilitate that message by allowing customers and brands to connect with each other about that utility or value.

Developing the Relationship

Platt asserts that there are three important parts of a successful social media campaign—creating personal connections with the customer, showing them the utility of the product, and addressing customer service concerns. According to Platt, social media marketing is all about communicating what is best and most valuable about your brand in a way that connects with the customer’s life. “Your job is not to convince people that coffee cures cancer…Your job is to say ‘This is a really delicious cup of coffee.’ This is what it is and this is why it’s great” Platt says. “Marketers get kind of a bad rap for trying to convince people of things that are untrue, but for the social media marketer–that isn’t their job at all. Their job is to find the things that are most true about the brand and elevate them.”

A key facet of building the personal connection is addressing customer concerns. While there are plenty of stories about people who didn’t realize they were on their personal account and sent out inappropriate tweets, according to Platt, “Classic mistakes for social media marketers are not responding to your customers, responding poorly or defensively, not being authentic, or trying to mislead people.”

He says that social media has “almost become a 1-800 line for the brand” and in order to develop a strong relationship between customers and your brand, as well as a trustworthy presence in social media, it’s important to respond to your customers in a timely, helpful, and sincere manner.

Using the Right Platform

In addressing those customer concerns, not all platforms are equally useful. A visit to the Facebook page for the lifestyle subscription service Birchbox historically showed a litany of customer complaints and referral codes to a competing brand. While Birchbox didn’t delete any comments and quickly addressed them, their brand-related posts often have been overshadowed by complaints.

Platt suggests that Facebook is not a great platform for consumer-brand relationships because of the chronological nature of the site. In order to keep relevant posts fresher on the page, brands have to be selective about what gets posted: “Once you know that a company deletes Facebook posts you don’t trust them. It’s just game over. You can’t delete stuff, but you want to delete stuff.” He suggests that brands like Birchbox move customer concerns to a specific tab and publicly post that policy, as well as in a response to any posts not filtered under the tab function. A better move, however, would be to address customer service issues on Twitter. Platt notes that successful brands such as Best Buy and Comcast already have multiple Twitter accounts, some designated just for customer issues. “It’s not in their face, but it’s public, which is the important part,” he says. “You want people to say, ‘Look, I’m owning all my problems. I’m dealing with them. Here you can see I’ve solved problems and I’m not trying to push things under the rug.”

Connecting with Influencers

Aside from helpfully addressing customer concerns, to make the most of your efforts on social media, it is important to get the attention of influencers, the people who will help get your posts and your brand seen by more people. As explained by Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point, there are different types of influencers, too. The first type of influencer is an expert, someone who contacts and friends turn to for their expertise on a particular topic. The second type is a curator or maven, a person who finds and shares interesting products, articles, etc. and tends to accumulate a lot of information. The third kind of influencer is the connector, a people’s person who is good at connecting people to each other. For example, if you have a question, a connector might not know the answer, but probably knows someone who does and would send you his or her way.

Platt says that influencers can be identified through social media by looking at the ripple effects of posts and retweets, tracking how information spreads throughout a social network: “Some people look to social media influencers to see how large their networks are…People with more followers are probably going to have more influence than people with fewer followers.” An influencer can be a big name celebrity or expert or someone with a smaller, more local network, as long as their activity makes ripples in social media activity. Platt argues that while people with big social networks may have more reach, because there are anthropological studies that suggest that a community can only really have 150 members, it is important not to neglect influential people in smaller more local communities. For example, he points out that in his local community there is a Facebook group for mothers and certain members of that group have a lot of influence. When they post events or activities, their posts tend to have a big, tangible impact in the community.

There are a number of ways to get the attention of influencers on social media, from direct messages to sending samples or products. Because bloggers are required to disclose if they have been given a free product for review, however, Platt suggests that more subtle methods may be more effective. “People immediately are not going to trust it as much when they see that [free products were supplied],” he says, “even if it is an honest post.”

Instead, Platt thinks an effective method of getting influencers’ attention is communicating to them how your product or brand is valuable to them or their community: “The trick with influencers is to find those things that are true about your brand and find a way to get them in front of them. Like someone who’s an influencer in the mommy group here in Oxford, they genuinely would be grateful to know if there’s a kids eat free day at Bob Evans.[…]And so simply reach out and let them know that, finding ways to just make them aware, not pushing it, not making it look like you’re bribing them.”

The bottom line in creating a solid social media relationship is cultivating a trustworthy presence through honest answers to customer concerns and product marketing that meets customers where they are, showing how your product or page adds value to their experiences.  ~Kasey

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What can we learn about marketing from CNBC’s marketing of The Profit?

Donald Trump. Mark Cuban.

Mr. Wonderful. 

Kevin oleary make up

In the last eight months, a new business teacher has emerged to entertain weary and wanna-be entrepreneurs.

Who is this new profit?

Marcus Lemonis- and his show, The Profit.  (Do you think the show’s name was purposeful?)

Lean in. We can certainly learn a lot about marketing from a network marketing machine trying to launch a new television show.

To start, watch CNBC’s The Profit.  It’s a newer show trying to build an audience in its second season.  At its start in August 2013, the show weighed in between 248,000 viewers and 254,000 viewers, but as of March 18, 2014, the audience grew to 415,000 in the 10 pm time slot thanks to the Worldwide Trailer Sales episode .

What has the series been doing to build its brand?

 

Airing Interesting Content

Piggy-backing off of the success of Shark Tank, the premise of The Profit is that accomplished businessman, Marcus Lemonis, can save failing businesses and ultimately generate profit, if current owners are willing to sell their majority shares for Lemonis’ infusions of cash, instruction, and hard work.  The Profit’s Worldwide Trailer Sales episode, for example, while controversial, ranked well with general audiences because it was a lesson in what not to do in business– don’t air dirty laundry in front of co-workers and employees.

The Profit team also delivers related business insights and advice via video and articles through the show’s CNBC web site.

Knowing your niche and casting stories that are interesting and insightful are integral components to success.  If you sell a service or a product, focus on delivering the best possible quality product.  Hire a team that understands how to deliver the type of content that’s needed for each channel. You can drive segmented audience traffic to your website or store, if you deliver a story that’s relevant, engaging, and right-sized for your customers.

I once had a college professor spilt our class into thirds.  Some of us were producers and had to conjure up show names and premises.  Some of us were advertisers trying to decide where we wanted to place our advertising, and the rest were sales people.  All of us voted on what shows we would want to watch.

The lesson?  In a public university college class, the most outrageous titles always won the popular vote and usually those had to do with sex, models, and alcohol.  Nice, straight-forward, and generally wholesome programming usually bombed.  Advertisers soon learned that they had to weigh exposure to more viewers against their brand’s image and associations.  Sales people didn’t want to get stuck selling low-rated shows to advertisers, so they pitched work more often with those producers who had a string of titles that resonated with audiences.  I learned that what I thought would go over big (nice, educational shows) didn’t and, in looking back, some of the voting was probably influenced by certain frats hosting the party that night.  The content has to fit the audience and be justified with numbers.

When I saw the Worldwide Trailer Sales Inc episode of The Profit, I had déjà vu.  That crazy episode- with the foul language and bad behavior, had all the makings of a winner in the ratings.

 

Real-Time Engagement on Social Media

So, after the show, @marcuslemonis stayed an hour longer to tweet with fans.  Without ruining the show for you (because it ends rather abruptly), this technique helped viewers to sort through reactions. What a great idea!  Use social media to start, clarify, or end conversations.  How?  Create a video or blog post about your service or product.  Then, expand upon the conversation in another channel.  Ask viewers to migrate there with you.  You’ll influence search, loyalty, and engagement with this technique.

Producers of the Profit received some decent feedback about the March 18, 2014 show and I suspect a sequel to the Worldwide Trailers episode was even discussed.  If not, the feedback was valuable for fine-tuning Season 3 criteria and upcoming episodes.  Test the market place for your product or service with feedback obtained from social media.

If anything, Twitter gave Lemonis the opportunity to share feelings and thoughts about the show.  He worked on developing relationships with his emerging fan base.The profit tweets

Lemonis uses his Twitter account to promote upcoming shows and to build his personal brand.  He asks for entries for The Profit’s next casting season and promotes contests that give fans chances to ask him questions and to meet him for lunch.

Is your CEO using Twitter to rally the troops and to promote your brand?

 

Create Memes

The Profit Facebook page employs another search marketing tactic.  It features memes.The profit meme

Take professional pictures of scenes from your story and add wording to those pictures to create memes or info-graphics that link to your website. People are more likely to share pictures and those shares- especially on G+ and Facebook can influence search engine results.  Pinners are even creating boards with sayings from the show!

What are your company’s sayings?  Take snippets of the CEO’s best speeches, add them to pictures, and ask the team to pin ‘em.

Lemonis and The Profit are also on Zeebox.  What’s Zeebox? It’s a place where TV fans go to hang-out with cast members and fans of their favorite shows.  The conversations in these micro-communities give producers feedback and insights, while feeding additional information to fans.

 

Create Videos

The Profit shares about ten full-length episodes on its website. It then breaks those videos into smaller tidbits with inserts of business advice from Lemonis.  You can do this, too.  What is your company’s story?  Its mission?  What does it do well?  Educate your customers, your employees, or your partners with a YouTube channel filled with useful videos.

 

Cross Promote other Channels

If you own other properties or are in relationships with partners, promote each other.

Lemonis tweets to Shark Tank investors, interviews with CNBC, and appears on CNBC’s Power Lunch.  The Profit even sponsored a Nascar raceLemonis is also visible promoting the show with interviews like this one with the HuffPost. Stories and interviews are cropping up on blogs like Inc., My Web Writers, and Ken McCarthy.

The result?  More exposure.

Growing ratings.

Increased profits for the companies vested in the show.

 

Marketing Take-Aways

What can you learn from the marketing of CNBC’s new show, The Profit?

  1. Know who you are and what you want to say to customers.
  2. Promote your mission in sound bites and actions through tweets, posts, memes, and videos.
  3. Be available. Stay engaged with customers.
  4. Cross promote. Find like-minded partners and help each other by interviewing and promoting each other.
  5. Provide relevant content that your niche will actually want to digest and share.

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Facebook, Google Plus, Infographics & Memes, Marketing, Pinterest, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Social Media contests, Twitter

How to Create a Hot Holiday Buzz for Your Business

By My Web WritersChristmas present

It’s that time of year! Get ready to have your inbox and newsfeed filled with holiday promotions of all shapes and sizes. It’s a marketing bandwagon worth jumping on because the holidays are when your customers are most likely to act on impulse and splurge more than the usual. But how do you go about creating a hot holiday buzz that will command attention and motivate action? Here are the top 5 tips to helps get your started!

Make your product or service relevant.

You should carefully select the product or service you’re promoting based on what is relevant to your customers’ wants this time of year. For example, a salon that runs a sale on its summer lipstick line isn’t going to connect with its customers. It may be tempting to promote the product that you want to move or offers you the biggest margins, but this won’t connect with your audience. Instead, pick a promotion that “makes sense” for the holidays. Put together a holiday gift set that is packaged and priced perfectly for a small gift for a loved one. Or offer a special on a service that is most likely to help your customers this time of year. Whatever you choose, first ask yourself, “Is this relevant?”

Build excitement.

You should decide on your promotion at least two months in advance of the holidays. This will give you enough time to build excitement with your customer base. Give them a sneak preview on Facebook or allude to the “very special holiday promotion” to come in your next newsletter. Prime your customers to be on the lookout for this exciting deal and then be sure to deliver!

Create incentive.

In order to create an effective holiday buzz for your business, your promotion or sale should offer an incentive (or benefit) for your customers to buy now. Set a limit on how long the offer will last. Will it expire on a certain date? Will it close after enough offers are claimed? Creating scarcity will help to create a buzz. It will also make customers prioritize your offer as urgent and motivate them to act now.

Make it more than an afterthought.

The more thought you put into creating a holiday promotion, the more business you’re likely to get out of it. From mid October through the holidays, your core marketing focus should be on positioning yourself to capture holiday business. Sure, these are busy times for everyone, but don’t get distracted or split your marketing efforts by announcing other news to your customers at this time. All of your communications should tie back to your holiday promotion.

Spread the word!

You’ve gone through the effort of creating a promotion, now you must market it across every communication outlet to make it truly effective. The biggest mistake many businesses make is running a promotion, but forgetting to inform their customers. Create articles for content marketing and circulate them via Google Plus, Facebook, or Twitter to segmented audiences. Use your web site, newsletter, press releases, other social media niches, blog, and anything else to spread a consistent message. Create a signature graphic for this deal that you can also place on all of these pages. We are visual people, so the more we see the offer the more likely we are to remember it when it comes time to gift buying.

The holidays are a time to both give and receive – for businesses as well! By giving a great deal and a little extra to your customers, you are more likely to receive their business in return. But simply running a holiday promotion won’t have people lining up at your door, proper placement and marketing is key. Try out these top 5 tips to help create a hot holiday buzz for your business this winter season!

~Stephanie


Other Posts:

12 Steps to Create Your Own Infographic

Ten Tips for Starting a Social Media Conversation

Tell a Better Story: Tips and Tricks from Mark Twain

Content for Less, Fat Brain Toys Involves Customers in Content Creation

Social Media Interaction in 2014- What’s your Plan?

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Email Campaigns, Facebook, Google Plus, Holiday Blog, Marketing, Newsletters, Press Release Writing, Social Media, Twitter

Teens & Tech – Instagram, Facebook, and Other Teen Fads

 By My Web Writersteens and tech

Teens are trend-hunters. They enjoy scouting out the latest and greatest clothes, technology and fads and being the one who introduces them to their entire network. Where they go many, many more follow. The same is true with teens’ use of social media. There is much we can learn about the future of social media by keeping a pulse on what teens are doing and saying on their favorite sites. Here are five teen trends worth knowing right now.

Video Challenges

Maybe you’ve seen some of the outrageous challenges being posed by teens to other young teens on YouTube, Vine and Instagram. Take this fad and turn it into a marketing positive. Give teens challenges that are safe, but fun.  You might find your brand riding the next viral video.

Snapchat

Snapchat allows users to share photos, but only for a brief period of time. The website highlights that you can snap a quick photo, regardless of whether it’s perfect, embarrassing or silly and share it with a small group of friends to “live in the moment.” Then, as quickly as it was sent, it permanently disappears. Snapchat’s feature has the opportunity to be innocent and fun, but also holds the recipe for danger – especially for teens. Just as the teen trend of “sexting” continues, Snapchat has started a trend where many teens will share proactive photos knowing Snapchat will delete the evidence moments later. But like any Internet technology, one small glitch in the system can cause a personal photo to be saved and shared across many other social media platforms. For anyone, especially teens, this would be a devastating outcome.

Moving Away From Facebook

This report from Digital Trends shows that teens are losing interest in Facebook. They are not logging in and interacting with their account as frequently as they used to and are finding other trends and forms of social media to replace the purpose Facebook once served. There’s no doubt that Facebook is among the most popular and most well-known social media platforms out there, which is exactly why teens are showing signs of being “over it.” They want to be on the cutting edge of starting new trends not following what’s already been discovered.

Moving Toward Instagram

While the teen trend is moving away from Facebook, it is moving toward Instagram. The most popular posts on Facebook tend to be the ones that include photos and Instagram takes this to a whole new level. Teens love experimenting with Instagram’s different filters and editing options that take the “selfie” to a whole new, stylish level. It’s a form of self expression and a way to see exactly what your friends are doing at all times. And because Instagram has yet to be deemed “too mainstream,” teens continue to flock to this social media platform.

Bullying Gone Viral

The days of the playground bully unfortunately still exist, except now the “playground” exists on numerous social media platforms. Social media bullies have been given an even bigger megaphone with which they can inflict public embarrassment and harassment upon others. This must be closely watched as an emerging trend because it is being encouraged and even glorified with the popularity of social media. And the repercussions are deadly. Edudemic.com states that 51% of kids say they’ve been bullied online and 49% say they have been the online bully. What can be done? Just like any trend, it will meet its demise once it’s deemed “uncool.” Whether you’re a teen, a parent of one or a fellow social media user who is connected with one, we can all do our part to discourage and counteract social media bullying through our own actions.

What else will teens come up with? It’s hard to say! The power and connectivity of social media has created a generation unlike any before it. But what can be expected is that the challenges and dangers of such trends will be equally as advanced as the technology that is used to create them. ~Stephanie


Other Posts:

From Blah to Fab, Freshen Up Your Web Copy

Adding Content to their Website Increased Our Client’s Keyword Reach

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases in E-commerce Content

Corporate Holiday Email Do’s and Don’ts

Attention to Details- What is Quality Content? Part 4

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Filed under Audience, Business Strategy, Capturing Audience, Facebook, Instagram, Marketing

12 Steps to Create Your Own Infographic

My Web Writerseaselly_visual

It seems like there are infographics to cover every topic. There are even infographics about infographics. What if you have information that you want to tell others, but there is no premade infographic that has all your information? It’s time to make your own. Stumped on how to do that?  Follow these 12 steps to create your own.

Infographic Prep Work

1.      Plan it Out. Know what information you want to give to your readers. Keep your message short, simple, relevant, and original.

2.      Be Specific. Give your readers more than superficial details. Go in depth. Be sure you have correct information. Correct and specific details build your credibility.

3.      Balance Information with Graphics. Infographics shouldn’t be too wordy, but they do need words to get your point across.

4.      Grab Attention with a Headline. Your headline brings in readers. Make it snappy!

5.      Keep Attention with Sub-Headlines. Sub-headlines draw your readers’ eyes through your infographic. Give your audience reasons to keep reading.

 6.      Match Your Tone to the Information. You do not want to detract from your message by making light of a serious topic. Humorous information loses appeal if it is presented in a serious tone.

You’re half way there!  Once you have the information portion of your infographic lined up, it’s time to focus on the graphics.

Designing Your Infographic

1.    Find a Template. There are many websites that offer free templates that you can use, but most of them require you to register with them.  The three largest sites are infogr.am, piktochart, and visual.ly.  There are also templates that work with Microsoft PowerPoint from this blog post. No matter where you get it from use a design that catches the eye.

2.    Choose Your Colors. Use color wisely. Too many colors look chaotic, but too few look boring.

3.    Choose Your Fonts. This is not the time to use every font you can. Focus on readability and restrict yourself to only a few font choices.

4.    Create Your Graphs. Just like with the sources for templates, there are many websites that create graphs for you. Microsoft Excel is also another source for graphs if your information is already in a spreadsheet.

5.    Create Space. As you are putting all the pieces together remind yourself, infographics that share too much information look messy. Allow some open space around your graphics for a more readable finished product.

6.   Put it Out There. After you create infographics, they won’t go viral overnight. You’ll have to work to get them noticed. Share them on Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus, and LinkedIn.

It may take a few tries to create the perfect graphic. If you have a relevant message and are using good information people will want to share it. ~Megan

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Filed under Content, Facebook, Google Plus, Infographics & Memes, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pictures, Pinterest, Social Media, Tumblr

National Brands without Physical Stores Struggle to Rank for Local and other 2013 #SMX West Insights

My Web Writers Attended #SMX 2013

My Web Writers Attended #SMX 2013

By My Web Writers

How can You Rank for Local, if You’re a National Brand without Local Stores?

Good luck.  There are few alternatives to building physical stores.  When a user types in a qualifying term like “pants Toledo”, he or she is probably looking  for a Toledo clothing store that sells pants.  Often the user is located within 1.5 miles of the store at that time.  In many cases, it’s becoming the norm for national chains, that solely sell online, to fall below the local listings of brands with stores.

How do you get around the local problem if you’re a national chain without physical stores?  Some panelists suggested building local pages on your website, while others suggested empowering affiliates to drive traffic for local, long-tailed keywords. Local landing pages are required and must have phone tracking, pricing, transparency, an adoption plan, and ensured alignment with the national PPC campaign.

Balihoo.com, which offers a free download of going local ideas, suggested starting with 4 – 5 affiliates and empowering them with incentives in local markets.  My Web Writers also published a post on going local back in 2012.

For those businesses that do have physical stores, Scott Nickels of Home Depot shared a story of a map pin to a local store that ended up in the wrong place. Traffic kept flowing to a residential home before the resident finally called to complain about the headlights in her back yard. Store managers have to be aware of the postcard process required for validation of the physical addresses and Maps needs to better hone in on the locales.

Home Depot’s word for 2013 is “local.” Nickels suggests creating one page per store and localizing social, too. He somberly shook his head when an attendee asked, “Do you mean if I have 53 stores, I have to optimize 53 Facebook pages?”

“Yes, yes you do,” he replied.

2013 #SMX West Insights

There are already so many, insightful, #SMX West 2013 recaps floating around the web from various attendees, but here are a few more insights as well as a list of the recaps.

Random Notes from Watching Sites Get Critiqued:
  • Put Java Script and CSS in external script.
  • Don’t use disavow if possible. Don’t tell Google you have a problem unless you have a PhD in understanding linking. You don’t want to accidentally remove links that are actually working for you.
  • Submit articles to Reddit.
  • Canonicals- make sure all products are given credit.
  • PR can build legitimate page links.
  • Shopping cart pages should be optimized with what the latest coupon codes are. Remember to 301 redirect expired coupons.
  • Experiment with Google Plus to get juice for search-ability.
  • Don’t blog just to blog. Consider putting monies toward PR opportunities.
  • Schematag.org – a plugin for WordPress
  • Enrich your Google Places ranking.

Take-aways from other SMX West sessions are as follows:

  • Authorship and identity will matter more over time. False identities will be found.  Do authorities and brands have rank? Individuals have their own brands and should use authorship to maintain them.  Big brands are still struggling with this, which makes it a good time for small companies to utilize Authorship.
  • “Links still have many good years ahead of them.” ~Matt Cutts
  • Social interaction helps to determine SERP’s.
  • Mobile is going to surprise a lot of people. It’s a critical factor.  Isolate mobile in Analytics. There’s a web page test tool that @AnneCushing likes to use to watch a video of how long it takes to load a client’s page.  It helps clients to see the importance of improving site speed- http://www.webpagetest.org/.
  • “SEO is no longer about tactics, but more about strategy.”
  • “Keep the company focused on metrics that matter to the company and not ranking reports.”
  • Duane Forrester says the most important SEO factor for next year is “usability.  It’s more important than h-tags.”
  • Ann Cushing said to “focus less on keywords and more on landing pages.”
  • Matt Cutts reiterated that the “global view is the same as in other years. Give the user what they want.” Annotate your web pages with ‘about of’ markup for Chrome users. You can also disavow at a domain level.
  • Rae Hoffman encouraged SEO’s to “Let go of how easy it used to be.”
  • Greg Bowser said, “Embrace the big data.”

Looking for additional #SMX 2013 Recaps and Insights?  Read these excellent posts:

SEO Success in 2013 & beyond: Matt Cutts & others’ insights at #SMX

Matt Cutts, Duane Forrester talk ‘Adventures in SEO’ at SMX West

SMX West 2013: Top Tips, Tools & Takeaways

Insights from a Conversation with Matt Cutts about Google Authorship

Live Blog Recap: SMX West 2013 Day Three

Live Blog Recap: SMX West 2013 Day Two

Live Blog Recap: SMX West 2013 Day One

My SMX West 2013 Takeaways- Sugar Rae’s blog

What ideas do you have for national brands that want to rank for local search terms? Is there a #SMX 2013 blog post that I missed that you like?

~Jean

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Filed under Algorithms, Analytics, Business Strategy, Conferences, Content Marketing, Facebook, Google Plus, Keywords, Marketing, Panda, Penguin, Queries & Articles, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Twitter, Website Linking

How Can I Better Manage My Company’s Social Media Accounts?

by My Web Writers
Manage Social Media

For many of us, managing our own social media accounts is enough to keep us busier than we’d like. But when you’re given the responsibility of also managing your company’s social media accounts, this task should be given a fairly different approach and a lot more consideration. There’s no doubt that social media holds the power to become a business’s first impression for many of its customers. Because of this, a professional and well thought out social media management plan is critical for any company. Here are a few tips to get you on the right track of tackling this important marketing component:

Create an editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar allows you layout all of your planned social media posts for the coming month. For a company structure where such posts need to be pre-approved by the owner, this is an essential tool. To create an editorial calendar, there are several templates you can find online, or you can simple create a calendar in a Word Doc and format it to fit your needs. All it needs to include is what you’re planning to post and for what accounts. Include the links to any videos or web pages to make for an easy copy and paste action when you do go to post. Finally, an editorial calendar is just as beneficial to you as it is to a company owner. You will be able to easily see how often you’re planning to post and if there are any holes you need to fill. While the calendar may take several hours to initially create, it will make the rest of the month’s social media posting nearly effortless.

Automate your regular updates.

In speaking of making social media posting effortless, what’s less effort than when something is automated? Web sites like HootSuite.com and TweetDeck.com both offer automated social media posting for little to no cost. Once you create your editorial calendar, you can easily plug in the posts and schedule them in advance so that the rest of the month your regular updates are firing off exactly when they should regardless of how hectic your schedule gets. Note: it’s great to use automation for the pre-written tweets and updates, but social media is meant to be live and in the moment. Don’t tune out from all the news and announcements that may crop up unexpectedly that should be shared on social media. Be sure to get these out ASAP the “old fashioned” way—manually!

Make it a group effort.

While one person in a company may be designated as the social media manager, it’s important to remember that social media is meant to be social after all! Make this task a group effort by allowing everyone to offer input on what should be promoted or emphasized on social media. Many of your co-workers might have great suggestions for a contest to run or a question to ask to spark discussion. This input will also help fill up your editorial calendar with fresh ideas without you wracking your brain each month.

Do less, but do it better.

Just as in so many other aspects of life, you simply don’t need to do it all! There are countless social media platforms available to you, but that doesn’t mean you need to use every single one. Your time is not best spent managing 15+ social media accounts at a mediocre level. Instead, focus on your top performing 3-5 social media accounts (the ones with the largest audience and most interaction) and spend your time making these exceptional. For many businesses, these will include Twitter and Facebook to start. From there, you may also find YouTube, Digg or Google+ to be beneficial. Depending on your business and the product or service that you’re selling, your social media focus might be different from other businesses—and that’s OK!

Not only should every social media platform be handled differently, so should every social media account—business or personal. Following these tips, you’ll be able to create a professional image for your company that is both effective and well thought out.  ~Stephanie

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, Marketing, Pinterest, Social Media, Social Media contests, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube