Articles written in October, 2013

October 25 2013

Are You Using the “Photos of You” Feature on Instagram?

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In May, Instagram, the social media photo sharing application, announced a feature called “Photos of You.”  This allows users to upload a photo and then tag a company or individual within that photo. For many who view Instagram images, it solves the questions surrounding “Who is that?”, “Where Can I Find/Buy That Product?” or “Do I Know Them?”

“Photos of You” works when someone tags your name or brand within an image, it will automatically appear on your profile page, in addition to receiving a notification in your news tab indicating you were tagged.

Here is how to tag a person or company within an image:

  • On the last step of uploading a photo click “Add People”
  • Place the tag wherever you want the usernames to go on the image
  • Search for the Person or Company that you want to associate the tag with*

This new feature has been very popular and widely-used so far, as it relates to individuals tagging each other and liking that option.  However, companies and brands can leverage this feature too. It is a relatively easy way to collect user-generated photos of your executives, products, locations or overall brand, within the Instagram platform.  You can also see what customers or prospective clients are uploading that is associated to your business/brand.

Of course, the first step for a company to maximize the platform and this new feature (if you have not already done so) is to set-up an Instagram account for the business or brand.  Once set-up, here are some tips to use Instagram to promote your business.

*Validate that you can find your business location through a search on the app.  If not, then it hasn’t been added to Foursquare’s location database. You’ll need to add it in order to create a location page for your business on Instagram. Learn how to do that here.

October 16 2013

Social Stalking: Using Social Media to Drive Sales & Brand Loyalty

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Times have changed. The days of pushing out marketing messages are long gone. Marketers send messages vertically and most often one-directionally, for example commercials, billboards, banner ads, etc. Social media enables a two-directional conversation both vertically and laterally. Vertically through conversations on social media channels, in email, and over the phone, and laterally through conversations that take place between your customers without you. Sites like Trip Advisor, Yelp, Urbanspoon and even sites like Twitter and Facebook enable this lateral spread of ideas and messages. Lateral conversations take place daily about your brand with or without you, so how can you reward customers that value your brand and how can you convert haters into lovers? The answer is through stalking your customers.

Now I realize that saying the words “stalk your customers” sounds odd and I am sure many of you are thinking, “did she mean to say that? Was that a typo?” No, it’s not a typo and yes, I meant to say that. But when I say “stalk your customers,” I don’t mean find out where they live, work, eat, sleep and play and then follow them around in a trench coat with a video camera following their every move. What I mean is get to know your customers through their posts, tweets, updates on social media, and use that information to build trust, loyalty and intimacy with your customers.

When social media sites first started popping up in the early 2000s, I am sure you all remember how fun it was to stalk your exes, your childhood friends, that barista you had a crush on from your local coffee shop. And you loved social stalking didn’t you? So why not use your investigative skills to find out more about your customers?

I recently watched Gary Vaynerchuk’s 2011 keynote speech at the Inc. 500 seminar and was blown away by a story he told about how he gained a lifelong customer just by stalking them on Twitter. In case you aren’t familiar with Gary, he is an entrepreneur who turned his family’s liquor store into a household name by using the power of social media to drive sales, brand awareness and customer loyalty. Today, he is the president of his own social media marketing firm and was a featured mentor on Bloomberg TV’s start-up accelerator show, “TechStars.”

During Gary’s speech he talks about how his social media marketing firm, VaynerMedia has a department called the “Thank You Department” and that it isn’t a customer service department. To use his own words, “I think of customer service as offense and not defense.” Most businesses’ customer service departments are utilizing defensive tactics, fielding complaints, fixing issues, solving problems while for Gary’s business his “Thank You Department” focuses on offense. What that means is that they actively reward their customers without receiving any feedback either positive or negative from them. In the example he gave of how stalking a customer on Twitter led to gaining a lifelong fan of his business, he demonstrates this idea of having a customer service department focus on offense rather than defense.

From his example, a customer placed a sizeable order to his online wine store. He instructed one of the members of his “thank you department” to find out everything she could about this customer. They spent a month following the customer on Twitter and listening to their tweets and what they heard time and time again was that they loved the Chicago Bears and more specifically quarterback, Jay Cutler. He then had his team member order a signed Jay Cutler jersey off of eBay and send it to the customer. The customer later wrote them an email saying how much he appreciated the jersey and how much it meant to him. He then stated that he has been a regular shopper at a wine store in Chicago, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that the store in Chicago doesn’t even know his name. He is now going to buy all his wine at Gary’s store and that they have gained a lifelong customer. Gary’s wine store now stands to make hundreds of thousands of dollars just by sending this customer a couple hundred dollar jersey. Now that is how you can turn your social media stalking skills into driving sales for your business.

October 15 2013

How Facebook’s “Story Bumping” & “Last Actor” Will Impact Your Content Marketing Strategy

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With over 1 billion users, Facebook is still the megastar social media channel, and business owners and marketers alike are tapping into this large network of consumers like never before. Businesses, companies and organizations make up 15 million of the total 50 million Facebook Pages in hopes of grabbing consumers’ attention to spread their marketing messages & promotions.

Edgerank, Facebook’s algorithm, was developed to decide what posts are displayed and how high they will rank in the News Feed. Marketers continue to attempt to crack the Edgerank code in hopes of getting their marketing messages in front of their target demographic, but collecting likes, shares and comments require more than just a decoder.

Then a few months ago, Facebook introduced “Story Bumping” and “Last Actor.” These changes to the News Feed algorithm were a way to ensure that Facebook users see more updates from people they interact with, including Company Pages. Story Bumping allows engaging posts that users haven’t seen yet to be “bumped” up to the top of the News Feed while Last Actor takes into account the last 50 engagements a user has performed and gives those users a slight bump up in the News Feed ranking.

How Do Last Actor and Story Bumping Work?

Let’s say today you’ve been liking and commenting frequently on your friend Sam’s posts. Because of “Last Actor,” Sam’s subsequent posts will be pushed up higher in your News Feed, as posts from people with whom you’ve engaged with most recently will be given prominence over those you haven’t interacted with lately.

As for Story Bumping, let’s say your friend John (more of a periphery friend than a close friend) wrote a post on Facebook at 9 a.m., but you didn’t open Facebook until 12 p.m., so you missed the post by John since it was too far down the News Feed. Story Bumping to the rescue. Thanks to Story Bumping, John’s post from 9 a.m. is now eligible to be bumped back up toward the top of your News Feed. In order to be bumped, John’s post will have had to receive a lot of engagement – this means that likes, comments and shares all contribute to a post’s “bump-ability.”

How Do These Changes Affect You?

Simple. Unless you’re publishing engaging content, your posts might not get seen.

With these updates, no amount of deciphering or code cracking is going to get your organic Facebook posts in front of more fans. The ticket is creating engaging, thought provoking, and commentary-inducing content that people want to interact with. When you do, thanks to Story Bumping and Last Actor, you just may experience a windfall of Facebook views.

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