Article Archive by Marissa Mele

December 17 2013

Introducing “Instagram Direct”

by Marissa Mele

Just a few weeks ago Gigaom & Techcrunch reported that messaging was on the horizon for Instagram, and now it is here! The changes rolled out late last week. Dubbed “Instagram Direct,” this unique service allows users to share photos and videos directly with other Instagram users. What is really cool about this feature is that people that you elect to privately share your photos and videos with will be able to like and comment just like they would with any other Instagram post. Check out the video below to see just how easy it is to use:

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December 11 2013

Who Needs Third-Party Social Media Tools, When You Have the Facebook Scheduler?

by Marissa Mele

Facebook is constantly updating and many times those updates make our lives as marketers harder, but fortunately, the Facebook scheduler does just the opposite.

You no longer need third-party social media tools to schedule your Facebook Posts, now that Facebook has introduced its own native scheduler. Scheduling a post has never been easier! Just check out my step-by-step guide to see how easy the process is.

Step 1: Write a post. You can add a link, like I have, or add a picture, video, offer or event.


Step 2: When posting a link in your status update, Facebook will automatically display a picture from the link. Now if you would like more customization, all you have to do is click on the “upload image” hyperlinked text below the picture. Then you will be able to upload any picture you like to accompany your post.


Step 3: Once you have formatted your post and have chosen an accompanying link image, you are ready to schedule your post. All you need to do is click on the little clock icon in the bottom left-hand portion of the post.


Step 4: Once you click on the clock icon, you will be prompted to choose a date from the calendar icon and then add a time that you would like it to post. Once you have chosen your date & time you press “schedule.”


Step 5: After you have scheduled your post, this pop-up will appear for you to see your scheduled post and/or schedule another post.


Step 6: You can view your scheduled post in your “Activity Log” by clicking the “View Activity Log” in the pop-up or by selecting “Edit Page” at the top of the “Admin Panel” and choosing “Use Activity Log.”


You will also notice at the top of the “Admin Panel” in the “posts” section, there is a notice that states “You have 1 scheduled post. Review it in the Activity Log.” “Activity Log” is hyperlinked, so you can click on the text to bring you to the  “Activity Log” page to see your scheduled post.


Step 7: Here is the “Activity Log” screen, where you can view your scheduled post and do a quick quality assurance check.


Step 8: If you want to change the date or time the post is scheduled for you can do so by hovering over the down arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the post. You are also able in this menu to “Publish [the post] Now” or “Delete the Post.” (One thing to note is that once you schedule your post, you won’t be able to edit it again. If you realize you made an error and want to edit the post you will have to start over at step 1.)


As you can see, it’s very easy to schedule a post in Facebook. Also you have the added bonus of having more flexibility with adding or modifying images associated with the links you are sharing. The only disadvantage of using the native Facebook scheduler is that you aren’t able to edit your posts once you have scheduled them, but as time progresses, I would imagine that Facebook will add this functionality.

Try it out for yourself and let us know what you think!

October 16 2013

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

by Marissa Mele

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.

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