Articles written in November, 2013

November 19 2013

Want to Avoid a Social Media Disaster? Think Before You Speak

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You’ve probably heard by now about JP Morgan’s disastrous social media campaign, #askJPM, which quickly turned ugly last week with users taking to Twitter to ask tongue-in-cheek questions the banking giant probably didn’t foresee. Questions like:

AskJPM

This is likely not what the banking giant anticipated when they promoted the simple Q&A session:

AskJPM-2

How can you avoid similar social disasters?

Think Ahead – What Could Go Wrong?

Companies often make the mistake of viewing social media as a promotion device. And, while many can and do promote themselves and their services on social media, social media is not a TV commercial or a magazine ad. It’s not a one-way conversation. It’s an open dialogue – one that you, largely, can’t control.

With that in mind, before you Tweet, share or post, you should play out all of the possible responses to that Tweet. What could go wrong?

Often, the benefits will far outweigh the consequences. For every negative #maxinista Tweet, for example:

Maxinista-1

There are scores of positive ones:

Maxinista-2

Know Your Audience – And Your Platform

Twitter is kind of like a train station – there are lots of people coming and going, with a plethora of points of view. As such, it’s not the best place for an organization with a dubious reputation to invite questions from the public – unless, of course, it wants to be kicked.

So, before you decide to take to Twitter – or any social media platform – with a marketing campaign, ask yourself:

  1. What could go wrong?
  2. Who will we reach?
  3. Is there a better forum for this?

Or, you might just find yourself, like the folks at JP Morgan, going back to the drawing board.

AskJPM-3

November 12 2013

10 Social Media Marketing Tips for Businesses

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The idea of participating in social media can be daunting – there are so many channels, and so many opportunities to connect. But you shouldn’t allow this to deter you from getting involved. Ready to get started? Follow these social media marketing tips and learn how to put your best foot forward.

1. Start Small – Managing social media can be a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be. Businesses that want to succeed in social media should start small, and only participate in as many channels as they have time to manage.

2. Know Your Audience – There is nothing more important than knowing who you’re marketing to, and what they need from you. This will determine which social media channels to participate on, and the form your content will take (blogs, videos, Vines, Infographics, etc.)

3. Know Where Your Audience “Lives” Online – Sure, Twitter and Instagram are popular – among certain demographics. But, before you invest time and resources into a channel, you should consider whether or not your audience is there. For more on this, check out this chart from Business Insider that breaks down social media usage by channel and income bracket.

4. Provide Value – There are huge opportunities for businesses of all shapes and sizes to provide real value to their audience in the form of content – social and otherwise. You just have to decide what you can offer your audience – and do it better than your competitors.

5. Be Authentic – Your brand identity should be closely aligned with who you are as a business – and what you offer your customers. Whatever this is, it’s important that you, or whomever is posting on your behalf, interacts authentically. This means, sounding – and being – human.

6. Engage – If you’re using social media simply to broadcast updates, you’re only half way there. Social media is a communication tool. So, communicate!

7. Automate – This may sound like a contradiction to the directives to “be human” and “engage” but it’s not. Busy marketers should automate their social participation whenever they can. This will help with consistency, and will free up your time to participate more meaningfully. Use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule planned posts, and work it into your schedule to check in on your pages daily.

8. Promote – This is not a directive to promote yourself or your services on social media. Instead, you should be promoting your channels. Put links to your social channels on all of you branded content. And, when something worthwhile is happening on another channel (an interesting conversation on your Facebook page, for example) promote it on your other channels, asking users to weigh-in.

9. Track – You should be tracking your social channels using web analytics, and channel-specific tracking data, when available.

10. Be Consistent – In social media, consistency is key. This means consistency in messaging, in participation and in customer service. Don’t allow your channels to go dark because the person who handles them goes on vacation, and always respond to customer feedback in a timely manner.

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