Best of Social Media

 


Effective Event Management with Social Media, an Infographic

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If you are an event manager, your favorite superheroes are probably not the cape-wearing, shield-wielding kind. Any successful event marketing professional knows that planning a successful event requires a great deal of organization and communication, not to mention heaps of positivity. You know that the success of your event depends to a very large extent on the way you use social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for marketing and reaching your targeted audience, which makes them the coolest and most powerful social superheroes the industry has ever seen. Check out this infographic from Maximillion which takes a close look at some of the coolest social superheroes of event management!

This article was originally published on www.maximillion.co.uk

Interested in digital classes on the topics discussed above? OMI recommends the below classes to get started:

Social Media Strategy for BusinessCreating and Curating Content People Love, 7 Elements of Highly Effective Facebook MarketingContent Marketing Strategy for Social MediaPinterest Promotions 101

Browse over 400 classes in the digital library at OMI. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.

 


Do Your Marketing Videos Cause “Failure to Differentiate”?

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Workplace with person working on laptop watching video player, concept of webinar, business online training, education on computer, e-learning concept, video tutorial vector illustration

Person watching marketing video

When buyers can’t figure out what differentiates a company’s solution, bad things happen:

  • They rule out the company.
  • They spend more time consulting third parties.
  • They put off the decision.
  • They just do nothing.

That’s according to a recent Gartner report titled “Failure to Differentiate.”

I’ve come to believe that the traditional approach to technology “explainer” videos may be contributing to the buyer’s failure to differentiate.

How traditional explainer videos can get in the way of differentiation

“Explainer” videos have been around for a dozen years or so. They started with IT solution and software vendors who needed to explain unfamiliar concepts that are hard to grasp quickly in text format — concepts like business process management, service oriented architecture, etc. These short video overviews became popular with tech companies and their salespeople as a way to engage prospects with content that was quick and easy to understand.

The traditional approach was straightforward: tell the viewer what problem you solve, how you solve it, and how it all pays off. This is still how most explainer videos are structured.

The trouble is that now there are many more technology solution vendors who claim to “solve” the same problem in different ways. And so many short videos are competing to get buyers to do something. The result is that the buyer is seeing lots of videos that start out with dramatizations of the same problem.

It’s true that animated characters coping unsuccessfully with problems have featured in terrific cartoons for more than a century [seek out Fantasmagorie (1908) on YouTube]. But in view of today’s short attention spans, the first 20 seconds or so of a video are crucial. If differentiation is your goal, you probably shouldn’t use those 20 seconds to tell the same story others are telling — even if you tell it better.

Stories around buyer motivations

A 2015 OpenView B2B Buyer Insight survey set out to find out what motivates buyers to contact salespeople. This is interesting from the standpoint of explainer video production for two reasons:

  1. Explainer videos are generally viewed during the part of the buyer’s journey where the buyers are doing their own research and actively avoiding contact with salespeople
  2. The main purpose of a technology solution video is to get the viewer to seek more information — the same thing they do when they reach out to sales

Here are the main reasons buyers said they would reach out to a salesperson:

  • To research a market
  • To replace a solution that isn’t working well
  • To bring about a major change in the organization

Keeping these motivations in mind as you plan out a video makes sense. You will develop the story buyers want to hear, and one that will immediately differentiate your message from the old problem-solution-benefits story your competitors are probably telling.

Videos for buyers researching a market

Buyers who are researching a market are probably not trying desperately to get out from under some problem — more likely, they wonder what cool new thing they might be missing. This calls for a cooler approach — like dramatizing the new possibilities your solution opens up for them. For example, Cisco’s Workload Automation solution has been around for a while (as Tidal Enterprise Scheduler), but was recently updated to integrate cloud and big data workloads. This is good news, but it means different things for people with different responsibilities. If you’re responsible for Big Data jobs, you may be looking into better ways of getting data into and out of the Hadoop ecosystem. If your responsibilities extend across a hybrid data center, things would be better if you could integrate new kinds of workloads into the job schedule. Cisco made short videos geared to these specific points of view, in addition to a traditional product overview. Same product, but different messages about big data workloads and hybrid cloud integration.

Buyers motivated to replace an existing solution

Many IT managers in non-profit performing arts organizations are looking to replace existing box office management and ticketing solutions because older solutions lack agility and don’t talk to software used in other parts of the organization — notably marketing and fundraising.

A video we produced for the software vendor PatronManager redefines the problem instead of dramatizing it. Instead of contrasting the confusion of siloed systems with the efficiency of integrated operations, the video simply shows how everyone can easily share quality data on the people who support the organization by buying tickets and making donations, and how that contributes to business success. You can see the PatronManager video here.

Buyers motivated to bring about a major change in the organization

Buyers who are eager to bring about a change certainly don’t need to be told what you think their problem is. You just need to encourage them to find out more about your better way of doing things. It’s “Here’s something you can change right now” (vs. “Here’s what we can do for you”)

So, for example, Software AG is a vendor active in the government market for solutions to help improve government service delivery. So their explainer video on the subject starts out “Sometimes, you just need an app.” It assumes that the viewer is motivated to make a big change in how things are done, and shows how new applications can be quickly assembled from pre-built components in the cloud. You can view the Software AG explainer video here.

Thinking differentiator-ly

The examples here are not templates for videos or meant to be prescriptive. They do illustrate our conviction that if you want to differentiate your solution, you need to stop talking about problems your buyers already know about.

A good way to come up with different approaches is to think about some of the reasons buyers reach out to sales — which are probably the same reasons they have for visiting your website and watching your videos.

  • To learn about what’s new in the market
  • To replace a solution that isn’t working well
  • To bring about a major change in the organization

Giving buyers some of the information they’re looking for in a video will encourage them to seek more information. And we believe that should be the goal for a tech company’s videos.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Browse over 400 classes in the digital library at OMI. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.

About the Author:

Since 2004, Bruce McKenzie, founding partner of 2 Minute Explainer has been developing videos to increase sales engagement for companies such as IBM, Cisco, Brocade, Compuware and many B2B technology startups. His free guide “Apply eLearning insights to improve your technology marketing videos” shows tech marketers how they should be designing their videos for sales enablement. Download this free guide here.

 


What’s the Best Strategy When Making a Viral Video?

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While some people might get lucky when it comes to getting a video to go viral, most of the time when it comes to videos made by brands, there is a highly tactical strategy in place before the video ever gets made. Did you know for example that the average viral video is anywhere between 15 seconds and five minutes. 15 seconds you might ask? Well think about Vine and its highly popular six second loops.

The golden rule of course for making any video with the aim of getting it to go viral is to focus on extracting an emotional response from the video’s target audience. Whether your aim is to make them laugh through slapstick comedy antics, make them cry with a heartfelt sob story or make them angry by purposely portraying a controversial topic in all its grandeur, the bottom line is connecting your audience with a story they will want to watch.

Have a look at the below infographic for a snapshot of top tips to assist you when planning a viral video, or for a more in-depth read around the strategies behind them, see this guide produced by One Productions.

one-productions-top-tips-to-make-viral-videos-igWant to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Browse over 400 classes in the digital library at OMI. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.

 


9 Ways to Save Time on Your Social Media Efforts

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SOcia

Social Media Network

Social media has become a crucial part of any online business. Social media provides a number of benefits, including  additional exposure  for your content. This can lead to increased brand awareness, and potentially position you as a thought leader if you are putting out great and useful content.

But social media isn’t only about brand engagement, it can also be an additional avenue for customer service. Customers these days assume a social channel is an opportunity to reach out, interact, and get help. Having an active social media presence can help you get closer to your customers, and potentially serve them better.

All the benefits aside, it does take a lot of time to manage social media networks.  Here are nine ways to make sure managing your social media doesn’t turn into a full time task.

# 1 – Understand how each social network  works

Before you start creating profiles everywhere, spend some time learning about each social media network. Find out which kind of content they are more likely to host, how the conversations happen there, and which formats are the most popular.

Want to dig deeper into understanding how each social network works? OMI suggests 5 Fundamentals of Integrating Social Media Into All Digital Efforts, check it out here

# 2 – Understand your target audience

You need to know where your target audience hangs out, which social networks they prefer, and what they chat about. It's important to try to find a trend in the kind of content they share most often. Use these findings to guide your post creation.

# 3 – Learn your competitors

Find out which social media networks your competitors have joined, and what kind of content  they provide.

To ensure that you won’t be following the wrong role model, read the comments shared on your competitor's content to learn how your audience reacts to them, and how often their posts get shared. Use these findings to guide your post creation.

# 4 – Read and watch what experts are saying

Read and watch what other digital marketing experts are saying about social media and it’s use and evolution. They are highly specialized professionals. Follow their social channels so you can stay up to date and adapt quickly.

# 5 – Ask for help

If you can’t do it all, ask for help. Help may come in the form of another  person to support you or you can enlist some of the best tools or apps, such as:

  • Hootsuite: Hootsuite will let you create, schedule, and publish your social media posts much faster and more efficiently. Hootsuite will also provide you with analytics reports and courses to improve your social media skills.
  • Buffer: Another content automation tool. Try both, and see which you prefer.  
  • Smart Paper Help: An online writing service specialized in writing any kind of text. Their team of professional writers can also help you to edit and proofread your content.  
  • Sprout Social: If you have a social media team in place, get them organized with several collaboration and sharing features that will allow them to work as a group in a much more efficient fashion. 

Want to learn more time saving tips for executing high performance social media marketing programs? OMI suggest Social Media Marketing Best Practices for SMB's, check it out here.

# 6 – Create a content vault

You probably spend a lot of time looking for images, resources, videos, and other materials to round out your content.  

To avoid burnout, create a content vault, a kind of library where you will keep all materials that you will need to create your posts so you can easily access them and don’t waste time browsing around.

# 7 – Brush up your skills

Pay attention to each part of the creation process, and check if anything needs improvement. It might be your writing, it might be the way you do research online, it might be how you choose and prepare the visual resources.

As soon as you identify what is slowing you down, either find a way to outsource that part, or find the time to practice.

# 8 - Plan your posts in advance

Create a month by month spreadsheet, and list every post you will create, the topic to be covered, where it will be published, the visual resources that will go with it, when you will publish, and which goal you are trying to achieve.

This upfront work will make the process much faster down the road.

# 9 – Use monitoring tools

Last but not least, you should consider adopting tools and services so you have a better view of how your content is performing. Some good options are Google Alerts to get daily or weekly updates of your chosen keywords. Or you can use Topsy or Social Mention to provide you with real-time information about your social media accounts.

The bottom line

There  are a number of  ways to save time on your social media efforts. Some of them will cost you some money, but most of them won’t be noticed by your budget.

Good luck!

Interested in getting certified in Social Media? Check out OMI's certification in Social Media Marketing, here.

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Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.

About the author:
Rick Riddle is a marketing consultant and an up-and-coming blogger whose articles aim to help people with digital marketing, blogging, entrepreneurship, and career. Feel free to follow Rick on twitter and LinkedIn.

 


How to Use the New Twitter Dashboard For A/B Testing

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Business Brainstorming Colleagues Corporate Concept

A/B Testing Social Media

Among today’s top social media platforms, Twitter is unique. It has the defining characteristic of being limited in post length, along with a breakneck pace at which content is generated. This combination of short messages and fast consumption make it a perfect place to perform A/B testing that quickly produces actionable results.

While basic A/B testing has always been possible on Twitter, the new dashboard offers a huge boost in analytics and data capture. Given this new development, I’m going to show you how you can test a variety of factors with A/B testing on the Twitter platform.

What Can I Test on Twitter?

Let’s start by looking at your options for testing on Twitter. It’s easy to assume there’s not much to gain from posting short messages that disappear as quickly as they appeared, but this accelerated lifespan of posts gives us the opportunity to test a wide variety of factors:

  • Specific wording, keywords, and message lengths
  • Your overall tone (witty, sarcastic, positive, casual, etc.)
  • The number of hashtags and their relevance to the content
  • Comparing different images or videos when paired with tweets
  • The days and times you send out tweets

All of these are excellent things to test with some clever strategies and use of the Twitter dashboard. This will result in new ways for your to generate leads on Twitter.

Getting Started With A/B Testing on Twitter (Using The New Dashboard)

Typically, A/B testing is done when you’re making a website and testing design elements, but the same principle can be applied to Twitter as a means of better understanding your audience and their preferences on this social media platform.  

Here’s a step-by-step guide to testing on the Twitter platform that also incorporates the analytics features from the new dashboard.

Step One: Setup Your Twitter Dashboard 

Start by heading to dashboard.twitter.com to get started with these new tools. Once you arrive on the page, click the “Try Twitter Dashboard” button.
twitter-dashboard

Once you’ve done that, you’ll be taken to a page where you’re asked to describe your business. 

The next step in the process involves selecting the terms and keywords you want to monitor on Twitter as a whole. Here you could input anything related to your company or simply your company name in order to track any relevant mentions.

Once this is set up, you’ll be able to see all your mentions in one place without having to use a third-party app. This is great for tracking purposes and catching opportunities to engage with your audience.

twitter-dashboard-categories

Another great feature is the ability to schedule tweets within the dashboard, which further eliminates the need for third-party tools. We’ll cover the analytics portion later in this post, but for now, you should familiarize yourself with the dashboard as you prepare to start A/B testing.

Step Two: Construct Your Tweets

As with any good A/B test, you should focus on a specific factor, or a few specific factors, you’re looking to test. Keep everything else the same as a control so you can accurately observe the differences between the two tweets.

As an example, let’s say I’m promoting a new post on my blog about succeeding on today’s social media platforms. I want to test two different tweet lengths to see which one gets more engagement.

I’ll start by creating two tweets: one short, and one long:

twitter-short-tweet

twitter-long-tweet

Next, I’ll schedule each one at different days and times. I’ll choose different times to tweet so I can measure which one performs better and how the day/time affected that performance. This is a great first step, and it will provide a framework for what days and times work best for my audience.

It’s also worth noting that you can use a tool like Bitly to shorten the length of your URL. This is an excellent way to gain back more character counts in your tweets. Once we’ve finished sending out these tweets, it’s time to track their performance!

Step Three: Track Performance

When you enter the analytics portion of the Twitter dashboard, you may find yourself overwhelmed with all the new data. You can track a variety of factors ranging from 7 to 60-day intervals.

Here’s what you can see at a glance:

  • Tweet performance
  • Media tweets
  • Replies
  • Follower growth
  • Overall performance
  • Profile visits

Within the “tweets” tab you can see how specific tweets performed. This is where you’ll find the information you need to judge your A/B testing. While the main dashboard shows how many likes, retweets, and replies it received, you can look at the engagement totals with a single tweet by going into the analytics of the dashboard.

You can export the data to a CSV to see the breakdown by engagement type. You'll also be able to see what interests your audience members, broken down my industry. This will give you valuable insight into the types of topics that will resonate most with them.

The detail doesn’t stop there. You can go deeper by looking at the demographic tab, which breaks down the location, income, and gender of your followers. All of this can be used to inform your A/B testing and provide valuable feedback on each of your efforts.

Step Four: Expand Your Efforts, Never Stop Testing

With A/B testing, your job isn’t finished after one test, or even ten. Intermittent testing only serves to give you incomplete data. You need to create a consistent testing schedule that’s ongoing to continuously tweak and alter your approach.

Here are some steps to take as you move forward with your testing:

  • Repeat tests on different days/different times
  • Incorporate additional variables like promotions and CTA tweets
  • Move past Twitter and start testing on other networks

While Twitter is at the forefront of analytics with their new dashboard, that doesn't mean you can’t apply these same concepts to A/B testing on other platforms. Using this strategy will allow you to ensure that everything you post on social media resonates with your audience and increases engagement.

Remember, when you get your results, you should employ a method of observing and applying the data you’ve gathered. Here is a process inspired by the scientific method of testing:

  • Start with a question
  • Pose a hypothesis (changing the length of a tweet will alter its performance)
  • Test your hypothesis with an experiment, in this case an A/B test
  • Analyze the data you receive on each tweet and draw a conclusion
  • Showcase your results to others on your team and move forward with new testing

This simple approach will allow you to create a routine for testing that moves smoothly from test-to-test.

Final Thoughts

A/B testing is a common practice for marketers and a major step in the optimization process. With Twitter’s new dashboard, you can bring this type of testing to social media to improve your engagement and performance with each new tweet.

How do you utilize A/B testing on social media? What experiences have you had with the new Twitter dashboard? Let us know in the comments!

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here.

 


4 App Store Optimization Aspects You Need to Master

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App Store Icon On Apple Deivice ScreenWith the consistent year-on-year increase in mobile apps, app users and app downloads, it's essential that you understand how app stores work in order to use this knowledge to your advantage.

All app stores present a varied landscape of players, from app development companies with million dollar budgets, to small developers or hopeful entrepreneurs. Regardless of your marketing budget or type of app, everyone realizes that getting your app discovered and then download is progressively more challenging.

What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

In contrast to search engine optimization (SEO), ASO deals with understanding of algorithms of app stores. However, what SEO and ASO have in common, is that ASO is concerned with controlling and managing everything that is possible to increase the likelihood of being discovered as well.

Why is ASO essential

In contrast to SEO, the exact ASO ranking factors and their importance are not so well known. Additionally, you are unable to consistently add value on app stores to potential users through blogs or other content. Because of this, it's essential you ASO your apps.

Failing to do so will cost you an enormous amount of traffic and possible users. According to Forrester, 63% of all apps are discovered via app stores.

You need to start thinking about ASO in order to:

·         Be discovered by users, as app stores are the biggest source of app downloads

·         Outrank your competitors

·         Rank higher for your keywords

·         Rank higher in Google´s semantic search for applications

·         Present your app and brand professionally and improve your other business assets

There are numerous ways to quickly find out how well you are optimizing your app store. You can test your knowledge with fun and detailed app store optimization quizzes that let you know exactly what needs to be improved, you can use automated tools, or refer to a checklist like the one we're about to share with you.

We will look at 4 crucial aspects of all ASO campaigns. In today's article we won't describe the importance of updates, screenshots, preview video and ratings. We will however talk in detail about your app's:

·         Name

·         Keywords

·         Description

·         Icon

1.    App name

The importance of your app name (also known as title) hopefully doesn't need to be explained in too much detail. Because it guides understanding of what your app is, it needs to be short and easy to remember, yet unique. A long name will be hard to remember, and you run into a possibility of having the name shortened with added ellipses. However, including keywords to app names is highly recommended. It will help your ranking, but stay away from keyword stuffing. Including your main keywords is a strong indicator of your app's relevance to the search term. A research by TUNE found that apps with a relevant keyword in their title ranked, on average, 10.3% higher than apps without a title keyword

Ideally, include a maximum of 3 keywords in your app name. To preserve and increase the value of your brand over time, try not to change the name too much - unless you have a good reason to do so. To my big surprise, TUNE also found that 84% of apps in their research didn't include keywords in their description.

Having an optimized name is a crucial aspect of ASO, and you must use it to its full potential.

2. Keywords

As mentioned above, adding keywords to your name is advised, but don't overdo it. Keywords must be also present in your description.  It represents a space where you can 'sell' your app. However, similarly to SEO, keyword stuffing your description is considered to be a black-hat technique and is likely to hurt your rankings. Apart from the description, you can add keywords also to other areas of your app store, such as updates and reviews. Although not confirmed, reviews with keywords can possibly contribute to higher rankings. However, asking for fake or inauthentic reviews is considered black-hat, so doing this on a mass scale is not advised. There is, of course, a dedicated area just for keywords too. Use all the 100 characters offered. The best practice is to list your keywords with a comma between them. However, don't add a space before or after the comma.

3. Description

We touched on keywords in point 2 above. Instead of spamming your description with keywords, focus on providing accurate description of your app's features and benefits that will convince the reader to download it. By doing exactly this, you will (most likely) include contextual keywords. You should always adhere to one rule when writing a description: write for readers, not search engines

The content needs to be compelling and written for people who will make the final decision of downloading your app. After you finish writing your description, revisit it and edit it by adding keywords where appropriate and where it will sound natural. It's important to remember that people will see only the first 3 lines of the description. Because of this, use the well-known copy writing technique of front-loading the benefits.

Front-loading benefits 

Ads, app stores or any other content for that matter on whatever medium represents a battle for your audience's attention. The chances that a user will read the whole description are close to null. Therefore, you must spark the interest with your readers as soon as possible. A proven way of doing so is by including the main benefits early in your copy. This will entice them to continue reading or to download the app straight away. On the other hand, if you decide to save the best for the end, you are making a great mistake. The reader is more than likely to be bored and disinterested quite quickly.

Lastly, make sure to include a compelling call-to-action in your copy. If your app has a low acquisition barrier (i.e. it's free), a great copy and call-to-action will entice users to try out your app.

4. Icon

Last but not least, we need to talk about your icon. Actually, your icon is one of the most important elements of your app. Similarly to your title, it is likely to be the first touch point with your brand or app. The users will instantly compare it with other icons, and make a split second decision whether they like it or not, and whether they will want to know more. Because of this, your icon needs to be optimized to the highest possible standard. If poor design will deter a lot of potential users, all the work you put into other elements such as the description, keywords, screenshots or video will be in vain.

Best practices

·         iOs dimensions: 1024x1024

·         Android dimensions: 512x512

·         No words in your icon

·         Simple and salient design

·         Colour and style consistent with your app

·         Unique (design, colour, idea) to differentiate yourself from others

·         Once launched, don't change it (unless necessary)

Making minimum changes to your icon is essential for brand consistency and recognition. Remember that users will see only the icon on their phone. Therefore keeping it same will contribute to the mere-exposure effect (liking something because you are frequently exposed to it) as the time passes on. App designers often overlook this important point. However, when Instagram changed their icon, even social media gurus like Gary Vee reported that they stopped using it as much! And if this can happen to a social media giant like Instagram, what consequences will brand inconsistency cause to your app?

Wrapping it up

ASO is a complicated concept involving a lot of small elements that need to be carefully optimized. However, tackling these one-by-one with a strategic approach can significantly improve your rankings.

Remember that the competition for your users is increasing on a daily basis, while your users' attention is decreasing!

ASO plays an important role to your overall success, and therefore it needs to be tackled with the seriousness it deserves. Because ASO is an ongoing process, you need to keep on top of the latest algorithm changes to stay ahead of your competition.

The strategies discussed will however give you a great start to optimizing your app store.

Want to learn more about any of the topics discussed in this article? Visit the Online Marketing Institute  to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space. Ready to start learning? Sign up here here.

David Kanika is the CEO and marketing strategist at App Marketing Mind’s (http://appmarketingminds.com), an agency providing marketing services and education to app developers. He uses a variety of marketing techniques to acquire customers and oversees implementation of client campaigns. He is a vegan and he loves to tell people. You can connect with David at david@appmarketingminds.com.

 


Avoid PR Disasters with the Perfect Social Media Policy

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Belgrade - May 07, 2014 Facebook, Twitter And Other Popular Soci

Do your employees know which countries giraffes reside in? Have they ever heard of the Challenger disaster? While these questions may seem pointless and completely unrelated to social media, they have actually been the cause of several PR disasters. During the 2014 World Cup Championship, Delta Air Lines congratulated Team USA on their victory over Ghana by tweeting a picture of the Statue of Liberty for the U.S. and a giraffe for Ghana. Twitter users quickly pointed out that there are no giraffes in Ghana.

That was a relatively minor slip up compared to a month later, when American Apparel posted a picture of the space shuttle Challenger explosion on their Tumblr. According to their official apology, their social media manager was born after the disaster and was unaware of it.

This doesn’t mean that all of your marketers should receive history and geography lessons. The dozens of other PR disasters that happen on social media every year occur for any number of reasons. What it does mean is that your organization needs a social media policy to prevent PR mistakes and to mitigate the damage if any potentially harmful messages are released.

Preventing Social PR Disasters

The best way to prevent social media blunders is to only allow company messages to come from one person and one social media account. Unfortunately, that’s not the best way to receive any real engagement on your social channels.

Social media messages that are shared by employees reach 561% further than those shared by official company channels.

Using employee social advocacy safely and successfully requires that you and your employees have a clear understanding of what messages are encouraged and which should be avoided.

Build a Strategy and Social Media Policy to Guide Your Employee Advocacy

If you have a social media strategy, share it with your employees. Giving them an understanding of what your social goals and positioning are will show them how their networks can best support the brand. In addition to strategy, a clear social media policy should also define what employees can and cannot do online.

Establish Guidelines for Posting

Avoid sending your employees a 50-page document of Social Media Don’ts. Your guidelines should encourage sharing! Make your guidelines simple and based on common sense. Most of the information will be better communicated through training, but it will be valuable to have an official document in case any incidents occur.

Train Your Employees on Social Media

53% of salespeople say they’d like social media training. Despite this fact, 93% of them have received no formal training from their company.

Look to Dell for an example of an excellent social media training program. Over the past 5 years, Dell’s Social Media and Community University has trained over 15,000 of their employees on social media best practices. The benefits they’ve seen extend to all areas of their business:

  • Sales via social media has seen a 69% year-over-year increase.
  • With 4,000 customer service cases a week on social media, they hold a 98% first-time resolution rate.
  • 89% increase in the number of external hires coming from employee social referrals.

Provide Employees with Social Media Content to Share

Supplying employees with suggested social media content is another way to increase advocacy while also controlling the messages being sent out. You can send out regular post suggestions or for certain salespeople and brand advocates you can post on their behalf through a social media lead generation tool like Socedo. This is particularly valuable for sales reps who need to regularly share messages to leads in a timely and relevant manner.

Responding to Social PR Disasters

No matter how well trained and informed your employees are, eventually a social media crisis will strike your company. However, that doesn’t need to spell disaster for your brand. Many companies have been applauded for how well they handled a PR disaster.

Two companies that prove this fact are DiGiorno and Entenmann’s. Both companies received backlash after unintentionally leveraging trending hashtags that were related to sensitive issues. Entenmann’s tweeted using the #NotGuilty hashtag related to the Casey Anthony murder verdict while DiGiorno used the #WhyIStayed hashtag related to domestic violence.

Entenmann’s responded by avoiding Twitter for years until they had lived down the crisis. On the other side, DiGiorno personally responded to offended Twitter users and went to great lengths to own their mistake.

Because of their response, DiGiorno was able to limit the damage done to their brand and continue to use Twitter as a valuable channel.

Create a Social Media PR Disaster Plan

In addition to your social media policy, you should have a formal plan in place that defines what a social media crisis means to your brand and what actions you will take in the event of one. Some incidents may require personal apologies to every offended customer, like in DiGiorno’s example. Some incidents may require you to put out a press release or issue a formal statement. Understanding what is required in various situations and having the resources in place to respond quickly will greatly reduce the damage a social media PR incident can have on your brand.

Monitor Your Online Reputation

Responding to PR disasters and regular customer complaints in a timely manner requires that you actually know about them. While users reference brands on Twitter all the time, less than 3% directly @mention the brand when they do. Monitoring real-time keywords can help you identify potential disasters the moment they occur so your response can be quick and effective.

Social media PR disasters happen. However, if you create clear guidelines so you and your employees can be authentic and communicate with honesty, you can limit the potential for major incidents and limit the damage they will have on your brand.

This article was originally featured on Duct Tape Marketing Network 

Teena ThachTeena Thach is Socedo’s social media and marketing specialist. Socedo is a demand generation system that empowers marketers to discover, engage with and qualify prospects through social media to generate revenue at scale.

 


Promote Your New Blog Post Like a Pro: An 8 Step Checklist for Small Business Owners

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Who’s been here?

Someone – maybe a friend, coworker, or blogger – planted a tiny seed in your mind. That seed:

Wouldn't it be great to start a company blog?

The benefits to your business would be enormous. It would skyrocket traffic, leads, and sales. The idea was so appealing that the seed finally grew into action. You slaved away with what little free time you had. You navigated the complicated blog setup process and settled on a design.

Once everything was in place, you started creating content. It seemed simple enough. Content is king, right?

But there was a problem.

Once you hit publish, nothing happened. Your traffic never took off. Those leads never appeared. Sales haven't changed.

What’s worse, you’re not even sure how to promote your content or where to start.

Sound familiar?

I promise you’re not alone. Many business owners struggle with this same problem.

Today, I’ll share a step-by-step process you can use to promote new blog posts like a seasoned pro.

Why Hitting Publish Is Not Enough

In case you didn’t get the memo , publishing content in 2016 is no longer enough.

There are upwards of 2 million blog posts published every day. Most people are overwhelmed with the sheer volume of content presented to them daily.

Aside from writing long form content and using an arsenal of other tactics to stand out, you still need to promote your content. Otherwise, chances are good no one will see it.

In other words:

You need to promote your content like crazy. But not like a crazy person.

You want to avoid haphazard promotion and a lack of clear planning. Small business owners need to make the most of what little time we have.

Instead, I'll show you how to implement a strategic plan and turn it into a company-wide process to follow. This will help you achieve the success you’ve been hoping for since the beginning.

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Internal Linking

Here's the first step to take after you hit publish:

Link to your new content from other, more powerful pages on your website. Sales pages, product pages, or other blog posts… it doesn't matter.

Why? The reasons are twofold:

  1. Navigational – We’re creating more places website visitors can discover your content.
  2. SEO – Internal linking is a great way to get more traffic to a new post. It’s also a great way to give it a rankings boost. Strategic linking from older, established, and more trusted pages on your website to a new page helps funnel authority.

Just make sure you’re linking from relevant pages. Take a moment to find the places where it makes the most sense to link to your new blog post. Write them down, and add them after reading this article.

Step 2: Social Media Scheduling

Next, you’ll want to share your new blog post on social media channels.

The most productive way to do this is through social media scheduling. For this, consider tools like Buffer or Hootsuite.

How many times should you share a new blog post? Check out this handy visual for some guidelines:

Now, you might think: "This is useless. I have no followers or fans.”

That may be! But if you want to grow your social following, you have to start somewhere. That means sharing content.

You can’t expect other people to share and link to your content if you’re not willing to promote it yourself. Don’t expect others to do the heavy lifting for you. Be a voice for yourself, first. Allow your ambition and enthusiasm to be contagious, and others will follow suit.

Step 3: Find Relevant Social Sharing Sites & Niche Specific Social Networks

Consider options outside of the major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and Instagram.

Untapped traffic sources can include social sharing and bookmarking sites, like Reddit and Stumbleupon.

Not sure how to use either? No need to worry. There are tons of online marketing guides that address these platforms, like this one and this one.

Another great idea is a niche-specific social network. While there may not be a specific social network for every industry, these can prove to be a gold mine for your business.

Here's an example:

Pack Dog is a social network for dog owners. If you were in the pet business, joining Pack Dog would be a great move. You could share photos of your dog and links that interest you and other dog owners. Your new blog post about dogs would fit right in!

Perform a few Google searches to see if you can identify any relevant niche-specific social media channels or social sharing sites that could bring you more traffic. Once you've found sites that are a good match, create an account and become a member. This will allow you to share your content with hyper-targeted groups of people.

Just make sure to become an active participant in these communities. Avoid spamming by only sharing content that promotes your business. That is a quick way to lose goodwill (and possibly get banned).

When in doubt, follow the 80/20 rule: 20% promotional content and 80% non promotional.

Step 4: Share With Your Email Subscribers

If you’ve been building and grooming an email list, don’t forget about these super-important people!

Why? They’re your biggest fans!

Anyone who's opted in to receive email, news, and information from you should never be ignored.

Create an email campaign to let subscribers know about new content, and encourage them to check it out. Provide a strong call to action, inviting them to share it with friends or leave a comment.

This is a great way to generate early buzz and engagement on your post.

Step 5: Contact Weak Ties

Despite what you might think, everyone has what’s called “weak ties.” These are people who will happily promote your content.

Who are these people? Brian Dean refers to them as people in your professional network, or even acquaintances. But I think they can go beyond that. Maybe it’s your mom, your partner, close friends or family.

Don’t be afraid to approach them. Now’s not the time to be shy or proud. Ask for a social share.

Weak ties may also be old colleagues, people within your company or department, or even your employees. Chances are you’re both on the same team, or work within the same industry. Most people will want to promote their profession and see their place of business succeed. Many will be more than happy to lend a hand.

Most importantly, don’t view this as begging for help. This is a strategic marketing move to generate buzz.

Don't be afraid to get out there and hustle!

Step 6: Reach out to Previous Linkers

This is one of my top link-building secrets.

When you perform any kind of email outreach or link development campaign, you should keep track of your efforts. This means recording:

  • Whom you contacted
  • When you reached out
  • For what reason
  • Responses

Think of this as your little black book of recurring link prospects. When you’re working on something new, comb through your records for what I like to call “previous linkers.”

These are people who linked to you in the past, and with whom you’ve built up a rapport. Often, you can count on them again for a link or social share.

Be careful not to ruin these relationships by spamming.

Only reach out if you have something they may be interested in or something that's relevant. If so, reach out again.

You'll be surprised at just how effective of a tactic this is.

Step 7: Contact Brands or Influencers Mentioned in the Post

Next, review your content for any mentions of brands or influencers, even if you didn't mention anyone directly. Did you share an idea, tip, tactic, or strategy of theirs?

If you have, contact these people! Shoot them a quick email letting them know they were referenced in your article. Gently ask for, or suggest, a social share.

While you won’t get a response from everyone, this is a valuable tactic. It uses a share trigger called social currency.

People want to share content that proves their position or makes them look good. If you featured their work in a positive light, they'll want to share that with their audience.

Most brands or influencers will likely have a larger social following than you. This type of strategic promotion will send you traffic, increase social shares and engagement, and possibly open the doors to new potential customers.

Give credit where credit is due, and reap the rewards.


Step 8: Conduct an Email Outreach Campaign

By now, we’ve done a good deal of legwork to generate early buzz and acquire quick links.

This is crucial. We've created what's called social proof. We're now going to leverage this in the rest of our outreach efforts. If we can show other people are engaging with our content, it makes other prospects more likely to do the same.

Basically, we have people talking, and now we're going after the big fish.

This is where you begin an email outreach campaign. The type of campaign and tactics you'll employ will depend on the topic and type of content you created.

The ultimate goal is to find other people, blogs, and publications that are likely to share your content, and reach out to them to make them aware of it.

If you're unsure of where to start, I would read Moz's How to Start a Link Building Campaign. Another gem is Neil Patel's The Link Builder's Guide to Email Outreach (complete with email templates and all).

Now, get out there and get started!

Recap

Content promotion takes time and effort. But it’s critical to content marketing success.

Even the busiest of people can find the time to implement at least a few of these suggestions. At the very least, getting organized and following a strategic, step-by-step plan will increase your chances of success.

Again, the 8-step process goes like this:

  1. Add internal links
  2. Schedule social media posts
  3. Utilize social sharing sites and niche-specific social media networks
  4. Share with email subscribers
  5. Ask “weak ties” for help
  6. Reach out to previous linkers
  7. Contact brands or influencers referenced within content
  8. Conduct an email outreach campaign

Give this 8-step content promotion process a try, and leave a comment letting us know how it worked out for your business!

A link to said memo might be great here?

I didn't cut this line, because I was on the fence about it, but I think it's prime for cutting. It doesn't seem strongly implied elsewhere that the reader will immediately take to their new blog post after reading this article.