Is Gratitude In Your Social Media Strategy? #Thanksgiving

As I’m thinking about Thanksgiving approaching (or “American Thanksgiving” as I call it because I’m Canadian), I was thinking about the themes of gratitude and thankfulness and how they apply to a social media strategy.

Being thankful or grateful shouldn’t just happen once a year. It should happen frequently, especially on social media. This is a powerful strategy for both personal and professional social media users. Here are some tips to express your gratitude on social media.

  • Say Thank You to Positive Comments – We get so caught up on negative comments that we often forget to show gratitude for the positive ones. Always say thanks to people who do something nice for you.
  • Compliment Someone – Compliments can make someones day. Even businesses appreciate a great review on a review site or a kind word online. Compliment someone or a business. Do it in a specific and meaningful way.
  • Use Your Platform to Shine the Light on Someone Else – Most of the time we think about using our social networks for ourselves, but our platforms can be used to make someone else a star. Shine the light on someone or something that could benefit from a little bit of attention.
  • Thank Your Fans or Followers – Take some time to thank your fans & followers. Give them something really valuable. Remember that them paying attention to you is a gift. Respect it.
  • Share What You Are Thankful For – Social media can change the way that people think, act and feel. Share the things that you are grateful for and give credit to those who have helped.
    Is gratitude a part of your social media plan? #Thanksgiving

    There is so much negativity online these days – use your platforms to share some positivity & gratitude.

This Week in Social Media… Facebook Changes Algorithm, Instagram Adds Edit Feature, and New Features Coming To Twitter

In this edition of “This Week in Social Media,” we talk about Facebook launching an update to its ads platform, Twitter gets an audio update, and Pinterest allows iOS users to Pin directly from their browser.

Facebook Reduces Page Posts Reach

Just a few days ago Facebook made a somewhat big announcement regarding posts made by Pages. Over the last few months Facebook has asked it’s users to take a survey to see what type of posts they genuinely like to see, and what they don’t. After researching the data, Facebook came to the conclusion that users prefer only to see posts that are relevant to them and not promotional.

Facebook Promotional Posts Facebook Promotional Posts Starting in January 2015, Facebook will start to regulate what type of updates from Pages will make it onto users News Feed. According to the survey, the following posts will see less distribution:

  • Posts that are posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app.
  • Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context.
  • Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads.

  • Additionally, Facebook rolled out new controls to allow users to alter the amount of posts they see from particular Friends and Pages. Users will now have the option to see fewer posts from a particular brand if they choose to do so. This means it is now more important than ever to create content that is relevant to your audience and what they want to see.

    Edit Your Instagram Posts

    One of the important features has eluded Instagram since its inception, but that is no longer. As of this week Instagram made what could very well be their biggest update, the ability to edit status updates after they’ve been posted. No more deleting a status update to correct a grammatical error only to re-post it moments later- you can now do that directly from the App (both iOS and Andriod support the latest feature).

    Instagram New Explore Tab Also, in the latest update the company revamped their search functionality. On the Explore page (magnifying glass icon) you will now see two tabs, Photos and People. The Photos tab still contains the photos and videos you are already familiar with and has not changed. The big addition comes with the People tab. The new People tab highlights interesting accounts for you to discover based on many factors including who you currently follow.

    What Twitter Plans To Launch

    While there are no new features or changes yet on Twitter, the company did release some insights as to what they are working on and what we can expect to see in the near future. The VP of Product, Kevin Weil, stated, “Ultimately, we believe there is something for everyone at any time on Twitter, and we want to make finding your niche simple from the start.”

    One of the biggest features discussed that we are excited to see rolled-out is the ability to create and edit video natively within the Twitter App. According to Weil, users can expect to see this feature be introduced in the first half of next year. Another change on its way is Twitter is building a way to highlight relevant Tweets that we might have missed earlier in the day. The goal is to “resurface” these Tweets the next time we log on to Twitter, so users don’t miss important information. No timeline was announced for this particular feature as of yet, but we can expect it soon. In the end Weil had this to say, “Over the coming months, we are picking up the pace of product changes and improvements.” ”

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Facebook to Marketers: You’ll Have to Pay to Promote

Facebook changes: Marketers must pay to promote

Today Facebook announced yet another change in how businesses can market on Facebook — starting on January 1, promotional posts will have reduced visibility in the newsfeed. You can read the post from Facebook on their blog here.

Facebook claims that this change is based on what people want to see in their newsfeeds…. however if Facebook was REALLY concerned about this they would probably reduce all promotional posts (including ads) vs. only the organic reach. It is relatively easy to read through the lines to see that this is more about making $$ vs. the user experience as Facebook claims in their post. While Facebook says that users complain about promotional posts in their newsfeed, they are probably complaining about the paid posts, which are from businesses that they don’t care about.

Yes, this is VERY ANNOYING, especially for businesses that have invested time and energy to grow organic interest for their business (including their sales).

What the Change Means:

Any post that is obviously promoting something (click here, join out list, sale, etc) will get even less visibility in the newsfeed vs. other Facebook posts. So, if you don’t promote on Facebook, this won’t matter to you. If you do promote, you’ll probably find that very few people will see your posts.

This means that you’ll have to be prepared to pay to use Facebook as a promotional tool. If you’ve worked hard to build organic reach to earn your way into the newsfeed with your promotional posts, forget about it. You will not have to pay to participate. At the same time, advertising rates on Facebook have been rising as more businesses begin to advertise on the platform. You may need to start looking at your ROI.

What Can You Do about This:

You have a few options to address this change:
1) Become an advertising pro: Accept that Facebook will ultimately charge you for everything and get really good at using it as an efficient advertising platform. If you can create impactful ads, harness the right type of targeting and drive action from your ads you may find that Facebook ads are an efficient way to reach your target audience.

2) Figure out how to game the algorithm: Facebook will have to use some sort of signal to determine a “promotional post” and will probably look for trigger words. You can attempt to test-and-learn your way to game the system and not get tagged as a promotional post.

3) Re-evaluate your social media marketing: The initial approach for Facebook was to create great content that people really cared about to increase your visibility. Now, even if you create great posts and earn the attention of your customers, they won’t see your promotions. ARGH. If you use Facebook for promotions, this will probably reduce the ROI of your Facebook marketing efforts. Re-evaluate your social media marketing plan and determine if Facebook is still the best place to spend your time, or if you can generate a bigger impact from other social networks.

Which social network should my business be on? Social Media FAQ

Which social networks should you business be onPeople often ask: “Which social network should my business be on?” or “If I can do just one social network, what should it be?”

The answer (annoyingly) is “It depends”. People hate this answer because they want a magic formula, but the reality is that you have to THINK and USE YOUR BRAIN to decide. There is no one answer to this.

This would be like blindly asking “What city should I live in?” or “ What should I be when I grow up?”. It depends.

So, while I can’t give you the answer, I can give you some ideas of how to evaluate this for your business.

Things to consider when choosing which social networks to participate in:



1. Is your audience there? There is no reason to participate in a social network that your target audience isn’t using. Start with this. Don’t beat them, meet them.

2. How can businesses play? Each social network has different rules about how businesses can participate. Start by learning about how businesses can participate in the social network.

3. What do people naturally talk about there? The more organic your efforts are, the better. For example, I may find that my target audience is on a social network, but they aren’t talking about business there. It might be difficult for me to interject a business discussion in a place where people are talking about something else.

4. How can your marketing objectives & goals be met? Each social network has different benefits for businesses. Know what your objectives are and evaluate the social network against its ability to meet your business goals.

5. What will it take to be successful? Finally ask yourself what you need to plan to invest to be successful in the network. Some networks take a lot of time/effort whereas others require less frequency. Some are cluttered and others are open. Determine how much time/effort/money you will need to invest to be successful.

BONUS TIP: Look for case studies from your industry to see how other people are using the social network strategically.

This Week in Social Media… Facebook Adds Rooms, Twitter Helps Businesses, Pinterest Updates Their App

In this edition of “This Week in Social Media,” we talk about Facebook launching an update to its ads platform, Twitter gets an audio update, and Pinterest allows iOS users to Pin directly from their browser.

Facebook Rooms

Recently Facebook launched a new feature called “Rooms.” The new feature comes amid the privacy conerns that have dominated news. Rooms are essentially an anonymous chatroom that let’s users connect with others based on sharedinterests. Example: You could start a room about your favorite television show, let’s say The Walking Dead. Then people could join the chatroom anonymously and chat with you about the show. Joining a room does not require you to identify yourself by your name but you are asked to supply a nickname.

rooms-screenshot-feed Initially, Rooms is only being introduced to iOS users with plans to roll it out to more platforms down the road. Rooms could be a great place for you to connect with your audience if you are able to locate them with in a particular chatroom. If you are a local business, you could join a Room that centers around your community. You might not want to be to forthcoming with the sales messages as this might deter users from engaging with you. What you could do instead is answer any type of questions, or make recommendations based off conversations taking place in the room.

Twitter Small Business Planner

Last month Twitter updated their Twitter for Business site updating the look and reorganizing the content of its hub for marketing instruction and resources. Just this past week a new Twitter app was rolled out for both iOS and Android devices geared towards small businesses. As the holidays are fast-approaching, Twitter wanted to help small businesses capture and convert as many customers as possible- thus they released Small Business Planner.

Twitter Small Business Planner The app features research, success stories, blog articles and e-books, but as you would expect it has several more interactive features. One of the interactive features available with the app is a calendar sync tool- now you can stay up-to-date with Twitter and all of your other marketing initivates. Additionally, you can get Tweet suggestions, Twitter Ads strategies, and information on Twitter tools to help maximize your time and efforts on the social network.

Pinterest Updates iOS App Again

Pinterest UpdateIn our last This Week in Social Media blog post we mentioned Pinterest rolled out a new feature in the iOS app. Now this week the social network gave the iOS version a face-lift giving it a fresh new look. The goal behind the redesign was to de-clutter and simplify the navigation on the app making it easier for users to browse Pinterest. The next time you see a product, place or article Pin, take a look close up at the Pin. You will notice the info and image have much more room on the screen. The app will be rolling out to other devices over the coming weeks and months according to Pinterst.

The big push behind the update was to get users to what they want to do faster- and that’s Pinning. Now when your customers are browsing your Pins they will be more prominent so make sure when you are uploading Pins that you choose very clear, and defined images that represent your prodcut, brand, and/or service. With the growing popularity of people using their mobile devices to browse social networks having good images can make a world of difference.

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Social Media Automation: What you should NEVER Automate

Social Media AutomationWhen it comes to social media, everyone is looking for ways to save time and become more efficient. One of the ways to do this is to automate social media. Even in the early days of social media, services automating almost every aspect of social media quickly emerged.

As social media usage by businesses and individuals has grown automation has become even more popular.

While social media marketers have opinions about automation – some say never automate anything and others automate everything – there is a happy middle ground. There are some aspects of social media that can and should be automated, like posting, while other types of automation can backfire and annoy people, like automatic replies.

Here is a quick rundown of what you should and shouldn’t automate.

What to Automate:

  • Scheduling standard posts (tips, advice, etc.)
  • Scheduling promotional posts
  • Repromoting your content (that is evergreen – even then be careful)

What not to Automate:

  • Replying to people
  • Automatically posting from one social network to another (customize your posts for each channel)
  • Direct messages
  • Automatic responses

What to Carefully Automate:

  • Following and unfollowing people
  • Likes/Favorites
The bottom line is that you don’t want to annoy people with spammy content or responses that are not relevant or genuine. While automation can help speed up some of your social media management, be very cautious about what you automate and be sure to check back to make sure that your automation is working the way you think it does.

You can’t just put it on autopilot and forget about it. Check back often to make sure that it works the way you think it does.

Social Media Question: Should I Create a Separate Account for X?

Should I have multiple social media accounts for my business?This is a common social media question, especially for businesses trying to bring their strategy to life.

People often ask me, should I create a separate social media account for X purpose?

Maybe it is for each department. Maybe for each brand. Maybe for a different audience. For example, non-profits may want different social media accounts for their donors/volunteers vs. the audience they service. A company may want different social media accounts for recruiting vs. marketing.

There isn’t one answer to this question.

Considerations when creating multiple social media accounts:

  • Is the audience different: If the audience is very different you may want to create a different account. Different audiences may be best reached with different messages.
  • Is the message different: If the audience is different, but the message is the same, you may not need a second account. Multiple accounts all posting the same thing isn’t necessarily the best use of time and resources. Consider if the message you would share is really all that different.
  • Is there a customer need: If you already have one account think about your customers, not your organization. Many businesses are organized into silos (like banks for example) but that doesn’t mean that customers perceive your organization that way. For example, my bank has different marketing teams for business banking vs. personal banking but to me, they are just a bank. I wouldn’t think to search for the bank business banking, I would just search for the bank.
  • Is the focus audience large enough to generate positive ROI: If you are reaching a very specific group with sub-accounts, you want to make sure that the audience is large enough to get results. For example, if you recruit 1 person a month, it may not make sense to put effort into a recruiting account for your social media presence.
  • Are you already successful with what you have: You don’t want to be learning on multiple accounts at once. You should already be running a main account that is successful before you branch off. Build success and best practices with one account before you even think about adding new accounts.
  • Do you have the resources: 1 well managed account is better than 5 poorly managed accounts. Ignored accounts can make your organization look bad. While there is a lot of enthusiasm for accounts, the question is really one of resources. Do you have the resources?

My Best Advice:

Not knowing a specific situation, it is difficult to give advice. My initial answer would be “It depends”.

The answer is that if you aren’t running 1 social account well, you will probably run 2 worse. If you are kicking-butt on your primary account and notice a customer driven need for something more/different, you may want to consider creating additional accounts that are more specific. Most big brands started with one account, and once they learned best practices and were getting results, they used their learnings to create additional accounts.

Start with the customer and evaluate your resources.

Social Media Tip: Brevity Wins

Brevity Wins social media tipWhen you are communicating keep it short.

People are overwhelmed.

They have too much information coming at them.

They don’t have time for you.

We learned this through social media, but it applies to everything. Whether it is email, direct mail, a letter… assume that people have limited time to listen to you.

Get them to take away 1 thing (that is all they can remember anyways) vs. cramming everything you want to say into an email.

Ask them to do 1 thing (which they might do) vs. 5 things.

Save the in-depth info for people who really want to learn more.

I thought of this when I was on LinkedIn a few weeks ago and saw the 2 messages below. Which one do you think I actually read and responded to?

linkedin message short Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 5.10.04 PM

An Overview of Ello, The Social Network (VIDEO)

A month ago, Ello was supposed to be “the next big thing”. Since then, interest has seemed to decline as marketers get back to work on the social networks that people actually use.

If you’ve bee interested in Ello but don’t have an invite or the time to check it out for yourself, I created a quick video overview of Ello. You can see exactly what Ello is and how Ello works.


The bottom line on Ello:

  • Very limited functionality
  • Not easy to use
  • People don’t seem to be on it
  • It can’t do much
  • No mobile app (50% of social network traffic is mobile)
  • Don’t waste your time (unless there are further developments)
If Google+ (which arguably has better functionality than Facebook) couldn’t get people to switch, Ello isn’t really going to make a splash.

Should I consider using Ello for Business Marketing?

No.

Fish where the fish are.

This Week in Social Media… Facebook goes local, Twitter gets audio, and much more

In this edition of “This Week in Social Media,” we talk about Facebook launching an update to its ads platform, Twitter gets an audio update, and Pinterest allows iOS users to Pin directly from their browser.

Local Awareness Ads debut on Facebook

Advertising on Facebook for business owners just got more interesting with the rollout of Local Awareness Ads. Now, advertisers will have the ability to target mobile users- who have their location settings enabled of course. How many times have you noticed everyone on their mobile devices while shopping, or even walking around? Before now, you did not have the potential to reach your audience that was within walking distance to your store.

Facebook Local Awareness Ads The new ad platform lets you target users who are as little as 1 mile away from your desired location. There is one major drawback to this new feature. In order to use the new ad platform, “all audiences must meet a minimum required size.” As of this writing the exact number has not been disclosed but we are assuming the absolute minimum would be at least 500. This means businesses who don’t have a good location or their search parameters are too specific might not meet the minimum requirement. The new feature is set to roll-out to all U.S. advertisers in the coming weeks.

Advertise Music on Twitter?

Not long ago Twitter introduced us to Twitter Cards. The feature allowed users to attach photos, videos and media experience to Tweets that drive traffic to your website. Many wondered why audio was excluded from the content that you could attach- well, that is no longer. Recently, Twitter made the announcement that they have partnered with SoundCloud to bring you a new audio experience.

Twitter Audio Card With a single tap, the Twitter Audio Card lets you discover and listen to audio directly in your timeline on both iOS and Android devices (and of course, your desktop). If you or your business creates podcasts, you can now share them with your Twitter followers- which can reach a much larger audience. There is one drawback with the new Audio Twitter Card. Only certain partners with SoundCloud have the ability to utilize the new feature. As they continue to test the functionality, they will begin to roll-out the new Card to more users.

Pin Anytime, Anywhere with iOS8

Pinterest introduced a new feature with the most recent launch of the iOS system. Now users can Pin directly from your mobile browser. Just a tap away, the Pin It button will allow you to share that must-save article, or that new recipe you just found without leaving your browser. All you have to do is click on the Share button within the browser on the item you would like to Pin and select Pinterest from the list of available options.

Pinterest Pin It Button What makes this a great addition, and in a sense more efficient while online, is you can save the Pin and continue on with what you were doing. Once you select an image, you would like to Pin (swipe right or left to select an image if the website provides multiple images), it gets sent over to your Pinterest app. From here, you can continue to browse the site you are on and the next time you open your Pinterest app on your mobile device the Pin you just saved will be there waiting for you.

Place Stickers on Facebook Comments?

Let’s be honest here for a minute, how many have you used Facebook stickers when messaging someone? I’m just as guilty as the next person. In fact, I sometimes go overboard! Facebook just announced the ability for users to leave these stickers that were only available in the messenger, on comments.

Facebook Stickers in CommentsI think stickers will allow people to reply to a variety of posts in a more fun way than words alone,” Facebook engineer Bob Baldwin wrote in a Facebook post. “You can now easily show your excitement for a post with good news, cheer up a friend who’s feeling down, and express a variety of more nuanced reactions.” As of now, and since the beginning, the stickers are available to use for free and are updated on a some-what regular basis. What do you think, are you excited to leave stickers on comments now?

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