12 things brands forget about content that kills their results

  1. Clever content is only clever if your fans get it, like it and share it.
  2. Quadruple check your facts. Spreading incorrect data just because you didn’t take the time to make 1000% sure it was true is a poor excuse for making a mistake.
  3. You only need to write as much as it takes to make your point.
  4. Bold, italic and all-caps can be your friend, or worst enemy. Use wisely.
  5. Stop talking about everything your product can do, and start talking about what it does for me.
  6. Good visuals can make the difference in whether your content gets shared.
  7. Bait and switch may work once or twice, but also pisses people off. Is it worth it?
  8. While controversy works to start a conversation, solid content is what continues it.
  9. Spell check. Grammar check. Everything check. A misplaced letter or comma instantly destroys credibility.
  10. People like people, not robots. Human responses are always better than stock replies.
  11. Know where  you’re posting – different sites demand different content, tailor it to the right audience!
  12. Don’t ever, ever, ever post something after you’ve had anything that might inhibit your decision making, because it’s guaranteed you’ll make the wrong choice.

What things do you see about content that brands forget (and then suffer for later)?

The right time to tweet? Hootsuite thinks they know (and are willing to share!)

Hootsuite’s tweet scheduling feature has been an amazing piece of my personal marketing strategy as well as for the brands I’ve worked with. It makes it so convenient to make sure that I am getting specific tweets out during the day, even if I am swarmed in meetings and I can customize how/when I want them to send.

But, it’s always had one downside: human choice. Is 1:10 or 1:20 better? What about 9am vs 3pm?

So, when I checked out Crowdbooster about a year ago for the first time, I was intrigued by their ‘suggested tweet time’ feature and noticed they were pretty right on with the suggested times. But, because it didn’t integrate directly with hootsuite, so over time I forgot to use the suggestions (it was a pain to go look them up every day…)

Because of that, I had gone back to the ‘schedule based on the time I saw had the best results’. Unfortunately, I still knew I was missing something and was waiting for the right tool to pop up and help.

Well, thank you Hootsuite! When I logged into my account this week, I saw this little gem pop up when I went to sent a tweet:

I turned it on and spent yesterday testing it out. Other than replies to people (timely), I scheduled every tweet that I sent. In some cases, they sent just minutes after I scheduled and some sent hours later. The big shift I noticed was an average of 3-4 more replies per tweet that I scheduled. Maybe I was just more clever yesterday…but I’m guessing it had nothing to to with me and was all about the better timing of the tweets

Of course, the geek in me automatically starting wondering what crazy algorithm was under the surface, but the social media community manager in me was just happy to have something other than me to choose the time ;) The best part? Even if you click ‘auto schedule’, you can go into your scheduler dashboard and manually change the time later, if you don’t like what was selected. So for those Type-A people (of course that doesn’t include me…) you still have full control over the time of every tweet you send.

HootSuite CEO, Ryan Holmes did a great job explaining the new, totally awesome scheduler:

“It’s really quite simple – instead of our users manually selecting what time they want to schedule or post their social media messages using our Scheduling feature, they can opt to use our new AutoSchedule technology to optimize and automate the scheduling process. We want our users spending more time finding and sharing content and less time worrying about the best time of day to share it.”

Personally, I am excited to test it out some more and see if the trend of increased participation continues.

Do you schedule tweets?

If so, and you use hootsuite, what are your thoughts on the new feature?

If not…why do you choose not to schedule them?

 

Category: Social Media

Is ‘Blogging when you have something to say’ bad advice? Definitely.

I adore Allison Boyer – I met her in person (finally) last year at Blogworld and this is seriously a woman after my own heart. Not only is she one of the nicest (and funniest) women I’ve met, she is consistently on point with her blog posts. Her post from Monday entitled ‘Why “Blog When You Have Something to Say” is Bad Advice‘ is no different. After reading it, I spent some time thinking about my blog and what has happened with it over the last 6 months.

In the 3+ years I ran Wright Creativity as an agency, I had plenty of time to write my posts, since it really was a part of my job. I regularly had solid content, lots of ideas and plenty to talk about so blogging 4 times a week was not overly difficult. I actually had ‘content overload’ in many cases and was able to stockpile posts for those weeks that were tougher to find time to write.

But then I moved full-time with 5150. I had different priorities: their brand, building it, etc. So, I started writing less and less. Then, I was laid off. During the hunt for a new position, I was honestly a little drawn away from blogging. I wasn’t really motivated to get my blog back to full time since my focus was on finding where I wanted to be next.

Since joining MagnaFlow, my creativity is back, but I am funneling 100% of it into my ideas for this brand and how we can move everything forward. In addition, there are a lot of proprietary things we are working on, that while they would be great blog fodder, can’t be public yet! So, when I get home at night and sit down to write for this blog…my brain is always a little bit exhausted. Overall, I’ve moved my thinking from ‘write every night, no matter what’ to ‘write when I have something to say’.

Which, to Allison’s points in the post, is how the 2 really big problems arose:

  1. Because I am not forcing myself to keep writing 4 times a week, I am progressively getting worse and worse about making the time to write. Which leads to less content, which means less time I am thinking about my blog, which leads to even less content (nasty circle)
  2. I am losing my readership. With less content from me, there is less options for my readers to get connected and excited by what I share. Not everyone will like every post and having a wider variety of content to choose from helps with keeping more people intrigued.

Overall, my point (and hers) is that blogging only when you have something to say will leave you with less and less to say…until you’re not blogging at all.

What are your thoughts on how often to blog – if you blog less, do you notice it’s harder to get into and your audience is less receptive?

How to deal with pissed of customers…and the backlash that follows.

Whether you’re a small Mom & Pop shop or a Fortune 500 brand, you are going to make some one REALLY mad at some point. Even if you’re the sweetest, most perfect brand in the world (ha!) someone is going to get ticked off over something you say or do.

And they are going to tell people about it…a lot of people and on public forums (twitter, facebook, yelp, etc).

So, how do you deal with the bad press? How do you handle the complaints and backlash that come from an unhappy customer?

With my experience both dealing with the customers who have had (what they feel) is the short end of the stick…and being one of the customers who feels slighted by a brand, here’s my 5 steps for dealing with frustrated customers:

  1. Have a path for process. Knowing there will be issues is a great start – the better start is having a process in place to deal with these situations. This should include the escalation path for a problem, the names of people who can help with each type of issue and the structure for what you can/can’t offer as solutions.
  2. Acknowledge the situation. So often, brands just pretend the complaint isn’t there, or brush it off to customer service and hope it gets handled. This is the worst thing you can do when someone really feels hurt or slighted. You need to let them know that you understand they are mad/annoyed and that you want to help in any way you can. Note: want vs will is an important delineation. There is not always a way to help, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to and won’t try…
  3. Take it offline. Not all problems should be handled online. In fact, after 2-3 messages, every problems should almost always be taken to an email or phone conversation. Once you have acknowledged the issue and gotten the person to respond to moving towards a solution, the solution process should be privately handled.
  4. Admit when you’re beat. Not every problem will be solved and in some cases, continuing to try without success can cause more damage. At some point, in some cases, you are best off admitting that you can’t solve it enough to make them happy and part ways on the conversation. This is, of course, the last option…but it a needed one.
  5. Record the conversation and the results. There is nothing worse than having a situation resolved and then having no record of how you go there. Successes and failures in resolution should be tracked and then analyzed so that you can improve on those that went poorly and discover what worked great on those that were resolved.

What situations have you had to deal with in regards to pissed off customers (or being one yourself)? I’d love to hear how a brand was successful (or not) at dealing with the situation:

Dear social media, here’s my wish list…

I wish…

  1. Twitter had built in analytics for the average user (facebook & youtube do!).
  2. You could view an instagram profile (& follow/unfollow) from a computer.
  3. When downloading facebook insights, you could pre-select the columns in the spreadsheet to download.
  4. Google analytics had an inherent social filter as a source category.
  5. LinkedIn would allow for a more branded business page.
  6. You could pin images directly from Facebook to pinterest with a link back – even if just from brand pages.
  7. Twitter had a ‘sort followers’ ability (alphabetic, location, etc).
  8. Facebook brand pages could choose where ‘recommendations’ and ‘posts from fans’ show on the page
  9. You could have a pin be shown on multiple boards (without re-pinning it to the other)
  10. Google+ profiles showed if you were connected to the person on other channels they share so you know how you know them.
  11. #hashtagshadamaximumlengthbecausethisisridiculousbutokaytodoperregulations
  12. You could click on multiple people to reply to at the same time in hootsuite without having to drag & drop them in
  13. Mobile apps worked as well for the platform as the website…

What is on your social media wish list?

LinkedIn updated its design – did you even notice?

 LinkedIn is a great platform for building connections on a deeper level for the business side. I personally love LinkedIn for its simplicity and its focus on more B2B conversations. However, in the battle for social dominance, it’s definitely losing its footing. Most people don’t use the status updates, and for those that do, it seems to be just their feeds from twitter or blogs. Without that component, LinkedIn will never dominate the social chatter – but it is still a resource worth using for brands. With this round of updates, I am pretty happy with the new look:

  • Layout is more focused on the status updates and ‘recommended news’ immediately.
  • The avatar is about 20% larger
  • They have changes the status box to look more like what twitter used to look like and what facebook looks like now.
  • When new updates post in the feed, it no longer has just the text link ‘see # more updates’ it is now a blue box with white writing – gives more attention.
  • The images in the status updates have doubled in size, bringing more attention to the posts
  • The background has become larger, and they have narrowed the main columns. It is following the same design elements that exist on twitter and the facebook news feed.
  • The Drop down menu is cleaner, easier to read and have a more professional feel to them.

On the negative side:

  • The profile view looks basically the same (other than the changes to the navigation bar). It doesn’t match the new style and feels disjointed. However, I expect an update to this is coming soon.
  • Also disappointing is the updates (or lack thereof) to the company pages. I would like to have seen more focus on the branding of the company – the logo more prominent and the status updates as a larger focus. They have a ‘follow’ option for brands, but without a unique pull to those pages, why ever follow?

At the end of the day, the big question remains: Did the changes to LinkedIn make you want to increase your usage? Or is it still a secondary thought in your strategy?

14 tasks you can do in under 30 minutes that will make a HUGE impact on your social strategy

Social strategy takes a serious time commitement. But, some of the daily tasks of social can be done quickly if you know what you need to be doing! These 14 daily tasks can be done in under 20 minutes (I tested them to be sure) and will help immensely in your overall goals.

So start your timer, and start doing:

Facebook

  • Create a simple image and post it with an easy to answer question that will create debate (example from MagnaFlow’s Facebook: Gas vs Diesel trucks)
  • Check for new fan posts that are worth displaying on the fan page – 1 per day should be the goal.

Twitter

  • Follow 5 new people who are a mix between what you do in business and in your personal time – this will make for more meaningful (and fun!) conversations.
  • Reply to 4 new people you’d like to connect with further. Taking the initiative to connect pays off!

YouTube

  • Spend 4 minutes writing down every idea you can for new videos – thought points, shots, interviews, etc. Keep in a document to add to over time.
  • Comment on a video in your industry with an add-value or a strong question.

Blog

  • Share one of your old posts on one of the social platforms. Blog  posts with solid content, even months old, can add a lot of value to your network.
  • Write for 5 minutes straight about whatever you’re thinking. Save as a draft and come back to it later.

LinkedIn

  • Ask 1 new person for a recommendation that you’ve worked with recently.
  • Update your status!

Pinterest

  • Find an image you can pin first or upload to a board – starting a chain is better for traffic.
  • Find 3 images, and choose one to comment on, one to like & repin the third.

Instagram

  • Follow 1 new person who shares interesting images outside of your general audience
  • Take a new photo and share it just to instagram. It’s important to make some images exclusive to one platform.

 

What measurements should you be measuring in social media?

Each platform has its own measurements, and each brand will have some unique measurements it deems importatn. But, there are some general analytics that every brand should be looking at for the core platforms. With each platform, I have included the platform, the list of analytics measurements as well as the tools I use/suggest to collect that data. One note, this is just the details for non-paid ROI. Advertising (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, etc) should be tracked as well, but that data is unique and will vary much more depending on the brand strategy. The following criterion is specifically for organic and viral clicks, traffic and audience build:

Facebook – Facebook insights, Google Analytics

  • Total number of fans (likes vs unlikes included)
  • The number of people participating with the page (% of fans), organic and viral
  • The number of people that see the content because the fans (visibility to non fans)
  • The increase or decrease in conversation about the page (%)
  • Total consumption of the page (clicking on content)

Twitter – Hootsuite, Crowdbooster, Google Analytics

  • Followers of the brand
  • Clicks on links the brand sends out
  • Retweets and mentions of the brand publicly
  • Use of a brand hashtag (if applicable)
  • The top people who are talking about the brand

Blog – WordPress, Feedburner, Google Analytics

  • Subscribers to the blog
  • Shares (accross all channels) of the posts
  • Views and visitor count (repeat and unique)
  • Cross links to the site

Youtube – Youtube insights, Google Analytics

  • Video views (partial and to completion)
  • Subscribers (gain vs lost)
  • Likes vs dislikes, shares, favorites and comments
  • Results on clicks through to the website from the video

Instagram – Statigram, Hootsuite, Google Analytics

  • The number of shares of our instagram through outside platforms
  • The comments and likes on our images
  • Traffic to the website from shared links
  • Followers of the brand

LinkedIn – LinkedIn Analytics, Google Analytics

  • Follower count
  • Clicks on the product pages and back to the website
  • Requests or connection builds through LinkedIn
  • Comments or likes on status updates

Pinterest – Pin Reach, Cyfe, Hootsuite, Google Analytics

  • The number of incoming links from pinned images
  • The comments, likes and repins of the content
  • Traffic to the website from Pinterest
  • Followers of the brand

What analytics do you track for each of your platforms?