Tag Archives: business

The 3 Most Important Factors For Growing Your Social Media Community

It seems that almost daily we come across social media marketers, enthusiasts and brands that still seem to have limited understanding of social media best practices. Often the social media “consultant” is even missing key factors in their own social presence that hinders their community, reach and growth. You’d think we would be beyond this in 2014, but sadly that is not the case.

How to grow a social communityWhen it comes to growing your social community there are three main factors that either propel or restrict your growth of your engaged, targeted audience. These three “buckets” are not the sole factors for growing a targeted audience, however they are the most important items you need to start with.

Let’s be clear and point out that the information within this post is specifically speaking to the marketer, brand or business professional that uses social media for marketing of any type. If you are social networking without a business purpose, and therefore not doing social media or social marketing, this information does not apply to you directly, however it is our professional opinion that you should still read and consider changes to what you are doing.

The 3 Most Important Factors In Community Growth:

1) Profile

One of the first things people do when you follow or friend them on a specific social network is look at your Profile. If you have not strategically completed your bio and information details properly, you are dramatically hindering the connections you make. Since there are so many social networks, we will focus on Twitter and Facebook as examples. Here are a few things you need to consider.

Twitter is one of the most informal, effective social platforms. Being human is extremely important if you’re going to be effective. Below are some of the biggest mistakes we see on Twitter profiles:

a) Privacy – If you’re doing social media, do not lock your privacy setting. Your community will never grow.

b) Profile pic – No pic, no follow. It’s that simple. Beyond making sure you have a profile pic, you need to consider whether you are an established brand or just starting out. People connect with people, not brands, logos or companies they’ve never heard of. Give them a human to connect with, rather than a logo they’ve never heard of.

c) Name – That’s great that your Twitter handle is @WhoTheHeckCares, but who are YOU? We see so many Twitter accounts with a great pic, and in the name field the person just put their Twitter handle again. Tell people your name. At the very least your first name and put it in the NAME field in Twitter. That’s why it’s there.

d) Bio – If you want people to be interested in you and what you do, make it easy for them to know you and what you do. All too often we see Twitter bio’s that contain cryptic tag lines, garbled incoherent sentences or no information at all. You need to know that you are leaving your potential followers confused and they are moving on instead of connecting with you.

Facebook is a social network with multiple profile types, such as a personal profile and business or community pages. These different account type are truly different and need to be managed as though they are. It is also extremely important to understand that business IS personal. The days of separating these two things are long gone. People do business with people, not faceless brands.

a) Personal Profile – When you lock your personal Facebook profile down, you are limiting your potential connections with prospective customers. Be sure your profile security settings let prospective connections get a sense of who you are and what you do.

b) Your BusinessfacebookprofileAll too often people add their business or employer to their profile hastily without intent. This leaves their business page not connected and opens a default Facebook profile for the mentioned company in your profile. This default tells nobody anything about the company or what it does and makes it impossible to build a following. Check your personal profile to ensure you have connected it to your business page. (see example to the right)

b) Facebook Business Pages – Fill out all of the profile information, and write it in a way that someone unfamiliar with you or your business will understand. Be sure your cover photo adds to the messaging and understanding of what you do, so when someone visits your page, they “get it” quickly and decide to connect.

2) Stream

a) Value – For the love of everything holy, you need to realize that social media is not direct sales, telemarketing or email spam. It is about earning relationships. When people check your social streams and find only content and messaging that is all about you, your brand, products or services, most will run. You must be selfless and realize it’s not about you, but your audience. Post content that they find interesting and relevant that is not about you, and you will earn the right to pitch your stuff to a receptive audience. Fail at this and you will get far fewer connections than you could.

b) Frequency – I heard a social media agency owner tell me last week that they were told that posting more than three times per day on any social platform was not a good idea. Really? Who told you that? Their response – “A social media guru that was speaking at an event we attended.”

Let me be really clear here. This is not 2005. If you are only posting 3 times a day on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or any other social platform, NOBODY is seeing anything you post. You have to have relevant, valuable, interesting content that YOU post, not Retweet or click Share, all day, every day. Yes, the volumes differ from platform to platform, but 3 posts isn’t the number on ANY of them.

3) Engagement

a) Conversations & Relationships – The other thing a potential social connection will typically do when reviewing your newsfeeds is look for engagement. They want to know that if they connect with you or your brand, you respond, thank, get into conversations and relationships ensue. This is SOCIAL media remember. It’s not spam media or pitch my stuff media. Be social and leverage the media and you will get many more connections and a growing social community.

When someone considering connecting with you or your brand on social media, they will unconsciously cycle through your profile, your bio and your streams. Using what they see, they quickly determine whether they want to connect with you. Focus on these three important factors and see your community grow faster than you have before.

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Filed under Agency, Audience, Community, connection, Content, Engagement, Facebook, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Twitter

7 Traits That Define A Company’s Business Culture As Social

What defines a Social Business CultureThis last week I was involved in a few conversations that surrounded businesses that are on social media, more specifically those that either are executing it well and those that are just there. It got me thinking about the millions of brands, both large and small that have a social presence, yet clearly do not have a corporate culture of social within their organization. As I pondered this, I also thought about our organization that not only lives in social, but was born out of a social media agency and used this as our guide.

Since many large brands are now in social media and easily garner large audiences due to their prolific branding and massive advertising budgets over many decades, it is important to point out that MOST have anything but a corporate social culture. In fact many of the larger brands we all know around the world have some of the worst social media marketing execution. I am not talking about just the epic fails we read about from these massive corporations, but even their daily social media activities are a slap in the face toward what any experienced social media professional knows about this space.

For this and many other reasons, I personally avoid large brands online. I stay clear of their noise, self-promotion and other social marketing efforts. If I based my shopping on their lacklustre social media marketing and poor engagement, I would never be able to bring myself to visit many stores. But I digress.

Rather than detail all the failings of brands within social media, we decided it might be far more helpful for many small and medium brands to develop a list of traits that are displayed by brands that have created and fostered a corporate culture of social within their business. We got feedback from our awesome community as well and are including their thoughts on some of the traits.

Though this is not an exhaustive list, we believe it embodies the large bucket items that define what a social business is.

7 Traits That Define A Company’s Business Culture As Social

1) Priority Top Down – Bar far, the most important trait that establishes social into a business culture is top down leadership. When the executive team at the top make a clear commitment to social media, done properly, it becomes clear to everyone inside as well as outside that organization. Without embracing social as a corporate priority, social media departments are clearly handcuffed and it shows. Empowering teams around social from the very top of your business not only unleashes the other traits in this post to be free to execute, it mandates the traits into every member of the company.

Tangent – Just last week on a call with our CTO (Chief Technology Officer) going over our development priorities, we were discussing something an existing Bundle Post user brought up that they really needed. Our CTO said “Well that is a current customer that has a strong need, so I think that should be a priority.” Adjustments were made to the priority list accordingly because our entire leadership has a social focus.

When the leaders of an organization have a commitment to and then drive a social culture, nothing but good will result.

Tiffany Keuhl

Keri Jaehnig

Ben Risinger

2) Consistent Communication – A social business culture isn’t just ON social media, they continually communicate internally their social priorities, what those priorities mean and how they are expected to be executed.

Timothy Hughes

Nancy Kenney

Tabatha B

3) Transparency – A social business doesn’t hide their mistakes internally or externally, instead they admit to them quickly and take steps to correct them. They don’t pretend to be perfect and portray a sense of reality of their business that is human and approachable.

Brian Vickery

Bryan Kramer

4) Responsiveness – It’s true that people want to know they are being heard, but even more importantly, they want a response. Social media is social AND media combined. When a brand has a presence but doesn’t respond to the good, bad or otherwise, people feel that they are not heard. Even worse they are made to feel they and their issues don’t matter to the brand. When a brand is responsive to their customers and prospects on social media, and do it in a timely manner, the opposite impression is made. Brands that truly understand this and have a social culture in their organization build life long customers.

SherylBionic

5) Sincerity / Authenticity – It’s one thing to go through the motions, it’s another thing to actually care. When a company has fostered a culture of social in their organization, every team member has sincerity and authenticity in what they do. Customers are never left wondering if the brand cares. It shows through the way the brand conducts their social media efforts.

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RebeccaC

6) Empathy – Social businesses teach empathy within their organization. It is a priority that all levels of the organization understand the plight of their customers before and after the sale. This means that the business educates its teams on the pain points their customers have, how their products and services ease those pains, but most importantly the importance of the customer later in the relationship. Not just the ongoing revenue opportunities down the road, but the utter importance of handling that customer properly when they have a problem.

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7) Customer Priority – The social business doesn’t necessarily believe that customer is always right, but the customer is definitely a priority in the business culture and it shows.

What we find so interesting about these traits is that they are the same traits that any successful business should deploy. What I mean by that is, if the social media element was removed, the leadership, customer centric empathy within all of these traits are what great businesses have been doing for decades. Instill them in your social business culture as well and the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts will breed loyalty, revenue and sales growth beyond your expectations!

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Filed under Engagement, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

Is Social Media Certification The Solution Or A BandAid For The Symptom?

Is social media certification a game-changer or something else?A few weeks ago I shared a post that claimed that social media certification was a game changer for social media professionals. The thread from the post exploded with people on both sides of the fence. The two camps seemed to line up around long-time industry professionals that were opposed to the idea and those that see it as something that is badly needed.

Here are some of the comments and views from the two sides of the debate:

The For Certification As A Solution Camp:

1) Brands need in-house employees to be trained.

2) Important for business to understand the strategic role and benefits of social media in the total marketing mix.

3)  It’s a sign the industry is getting more cred that certification is needed to separate some of the wheat from the chaff.

4)  This is an important step to corporate credibility.

5) A call for validation and certification means the industry is gaining credibility and acceptance

6) We do need something in the industry for certification and accreditation, proof of ethical standards

The Against Certification As A Solution Camp:

1) I find that most of the people teaching the courses have never worked in social media and don’t know anything about doing it successfully.

2) A certificate does not mean you are an expert any more than a college degree says you are ready for the business world.

3) Social Media changes so frequently it will be outdated before it’s even printed.

4) I have an issue with this program. Who is teaching the certificate program? IMO the best and brightest in our industry actively working to serve their clients. I do however, think we all have a responsibility within our industry to teach through internships, etc so that we continue to grow our talent pool for future hires.

5) Social media is evolving way to rapidly to have a certificate in it.

Sometimes a piece of paper does not truly reflect someone’s natural ability in social media, initiative, work experience, passion or a common sense marketing approach. Ultimately if you don’t understand the customer and their marketing goals and strategy then it’s unlikely a certificate will provide all the answers.

6) Anyone can create a certificate program on anything. Calling this a game changer only indicates how few people actually get what SM is all about.

Certifications are very important to the companies that sell them…

7) Basically what they are doing is taking money from people who are gullible enough to believe that this will all be relevant in a month or two.

My Summary On Social Media Certification:

At the end of the day, social media certification is not an entirely bad thing, nor is it anything close to a game-changer. As the industry evolves, brands and professionals will need ways to educate their teams and most don’t have internal resources for this. On the other hand, the questions surrounding who is creating and teaching the curriculum for such certifications is troublesome. If the intent of these certifications is to ensure that someone understands theory, terminology and concepts, it could be a good starting point for many. Unfortunately I fear that the ways these certifications are marketed by providers and certification holders alike, leaves much to be desired about the required knowledge and experience required to execute effective social media marketing. Brands and businesses that don’t know anything about social media marketing could be easily duped by people touting their certification with no more ability or experience in social media than my 15-year-old daughter.

What’s your view on this topic?

Reference Article: http://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-certification-gamechanger-for-professionals/

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Filed under Certification, Marketing, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

How To: Expand Local Business Social Reach Through Content Creation

Even the smallest brands and individual online marketers need to create relevant content for their target audience. It’s about creating thought leadership in certain topics, staying top of mind with your audience and driving traffic to your site through your blog or other social platforms.

Expanding Social ReachThere are many types of content creation that marketers and small brands can and should be doing. Some of the types of created content are; Blog posts, video, images, graphics, infographics, email newsletters, landing pages, events. Most of these kinds of content creation can be done with limited resources, using smart phones or by outsourcing to experienced small agencies.

Expand Your Social Reach:

One of the important and often overlooked reasons consistent content creation is so important is that it provides the opportunity for local businesses and small marketers to expand their social reach. By consistently creating content that is relevant and valuable to your target audience, you also generate content that other social media users want to share.

At the heart of effective social media marketing is sharing or “curating” relevant content from others. In fact, when done properly, about 80% of what a social media marketer posts should come from sources other than themselves. This means that they need recent, relevant content on a daily basis and a lot of it!

Some How To’s:

  • Be consistent with at least 1-2 blog posts per week. Make it easy by using images and videos you capture in and around your daily work and personal activities as the basis for your posts.
  • Optimize your posts around locality and topics both your audience and content curators are interested in.
  • Share your content with hashtags both your audience and content curators are using and following around your locality and topics.
  • Write for legacy, not always events. In other words, create content that is not event-driven but is timeless and can be posted, read and consumed long-term, not just for a specific date or event.
  • Identify and build relationships with social media accounts that post and share about local content frequently. By developing these relationships, they will likely find and share your content as well.
  • On the day’s you publish your posts, schedule shares on Twitter up to 3-4 times across the day and once on other social platforms.
  • ALWAYS include at least one graphic in your posts.
  • Share the graphic from your blog post on image networks like Instagram and Pinterest with a link to the blog post it came from.
  • Share your legacy content in your social streams repeatedly over time.
  • Start conversations with your target audience when they post something that is connected to one of your recent posts. As the conversation develops you can mention a blog post you did on the topic and share the link. (when appropriate)

Some Never Ever’s:

  • Never tag people/accounts when you share it on social media. We call this spam. Earn relationships that want to share your content.
  • Don’t create content that is only and always about you, your company or what you do. Instead create content around what interests your target audience at a rate of 80% and 20% of your blog posts should be about you, your products, services and specials, etc.

Content creation can be a very effective way for local businesses to drive traffic to their website. It is best done when it adds value to the target audience and is not-self centered. Include outreach campaigns to develop relationships that need your content for their social media strategies and always thank those that mention and share your content.

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Filed under Blog, Content, content creation, Curation, Infographic, Marketing, Relationship, SEO, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Spam, Strategy

The Latest in Social Media Job Trends

Can Bundle Post Give You the Edge in the Job Market?

Dreaming of a new job? Love social media? You’ll be happy to hear that social media is the #10 up and coming job according to job trends analyzed by mega job search site Indeed.com. That means it is the tenth fastest growing keyword in online job posts. While not all the jobs included in this analysis were purely social media, it was one of the major responsibilities included in the job description. For those bitten by the social media bug, this is good news.

Where Social Media Jobs Exist

From coast to coast social media jobs abound. While major centers have a higher concentration of these jobs, you can also find them in any city in the country. Any business with a marketing team is bound to need a social media specialist, manager or consultant.

Social media jobs are not just for advertising companies or Internet based retailers, although a large percentage of such jobs are found in those industries. Banks, universities, distributors, insurance companies, manufacturers, resorts, theme parks, recruiters and traditional retailers are also now filling social media jobs within their companies. This means that no matter what your background, you can find social media jobs in your area of expertise.

What Makes a Social Media Tinkerer into a Master?

Social Media Job TrendsSure, we all use social media in our private lives and for business.  What that translates to, is that it’s easy enough to consider yourself a master if you spend countless hours a day using it. However, social media for fun and social media for marketing are two completely different animals. When business people start to dabble in social media, they often find that their efforts are not paying off. That’s because they lack the skills and knowledge to use social media advantageously for their business.

Knowing how to transform your social media prowess into a marketable skill means knowing why, how and when to use social media. It also means knowing the importance of audience: who they are, how to reach them and how to engage them. It also includes knowing how and when to use social media tools like Bundle Post and Hootsuite, and how to determine which best fits your purposes, budget and time.

The Proof is in The Results

In order to show that you are indeed a social media master, you need proof. That’s where measurable success comes into play. Social media as a marketing tool is not just about producing content and putting it out there via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or other platforms. Data collection and analysis are critical aspects of the job. Being able to show the growth of a brand, company, following or sales numbers will be the proof positive that you can handle a company’s social media needs.

Savvy entrepreneurs are coming to realize the power of social media in their marketing efforts. More and more they are embracing high quality content management systems and specialized personnel who know how to take an online existence and make it deliver measurable results. Even if your business is not quite large enough to warrant a social media hire, mastering the skills needed and using the tools of professionals will make your company’s social media efforts take off.

This was a guest post by:

TiffanyTiffany McDonald is a mommy, wifey, blogger and cat lover. She is also addicted to coffee, the Internet and all things social. She will talk to anyone willing to listen and is currently on an education campaign regarding family safety and security. She believes the new technologies surrounding home automation will empower caregivers for those of all ages. Connect with Tiffany on TwitterLinkedinor Google + 

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Filed under Content, Marketing, Social content management, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing

Has Social Media Eliminated the Need for Face to Face Networking?

After a slow period of adaptation for many business people, nowadays most savvy business people are soundly embracing the Internet and social media for their networking and marketing needs. Even those who held out against social media use in their business are now realizing that this powerful force is here to stay and that using it is cost-effective and delivers results. In fact, many are starting to wonder if social media has eliminated the need for real world networking.

Face to Face Networking Remains Relevant

Digital NetworkingWhile online marketing is incredibly efficient and widens your scope of who you have the opportunity to network with, networking face to face is still incredibly important. This is especially true if your clientele is at least partially local. Getting out and meeting people will do wonders for your business, because those who may be on the fence about using your business will be more likely to be swayed in your direction after getting to know you.

There are many things that you can achieve much more readily in person through face to face networking. These are the things that tend to be more challenging to achieve when you only network online. Face to face networking lets you:

  • Build relationships that will lead to cross marketing opportunities with other businesses.
  • Establish yourself as a subject matter expert with your local community.
  • Stand out from the competition that is not doing face to face networking.
  • Get immediate feedback and responses that take much more time online.

Integrate Online And Offline Networking for Maximum Results

Integrating online and offline networking can produce the biggest benefits for your business. In fact, doing so allows you to be very strategic in your networking efforts and make the most of the time you dedicate to real world networking.

Use your online efforts to connect with others who would be ideal customers or fellow business people that you could partner with. Share local networking opportunities with these people and plan to meet at a real world networking event. Not only will you benefit from solidifying a relationship that you have started online, you will likely meet other people through that connection. When you attend networking events, check in via social media and you will likely find that there are other people you are connected to online who are in the same place.

As with any time you meet up with clients or business associates who are virtual strangers  to you, keep safety in mind. Always choose a public meeting place and use your own vehicle to get there, so you can leave quickly if necessary. When possible plan to attend daytime networking events or meetings. Share your plans with a trusted individual, who agrees to check on you if they have not been contacted at a prearranged time.

Even though the Internet is a much safer place to interact with strangers, there are distinct advantages to meeting face to face. Be wary when you do so and you can reap the benefits while not putting yourself in danger. Get the best of both worlds when you network online and off.

This was a guest post by:

TiffanyTiffany McDonald is a mommy, wifey, blogger and cat lover. She is also addicted to coffee, the Internet and all things social. She will talk to anyone willing to listen and is currently on an education campaign regarding family safety and security. She believes the new technologies surrounding home automation will empower caregivers for those of all ages. Connect with Tiffany on TwitterLinkedinor Google + 

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Filed under Community, Social Media, Social Media Marketing

First Ever Social Media Agency Training, Collaboration And Support Group – FREE

As we all know, there are plenty of free and paid solutions out there to learn about social media marketing. There literally thousands of blogs that produce millions of articles on the subject. No matter whether you are a small business wanting to understand how to set up a Facebook page, or an established company interested in expanding your effectiveness on Twitter, there are numerous resources available to you.

Ultimate Social Media GoalBut what if you are a social media agency? What if you are a social media professional considering starting your own social media agency?

Sure, you are excellent at managing social media marketing programs and maintain a steep learning curve of everyday changes that occur in the industry and across the many social networks, but what about the details of your business?

Nobody is writing, educating and supporting this area of the social media marketing industry and everyone is left on their own to guess, make mistakes and try to make it successful. I believe that the social media agency is the single most important segment that needs this support and I have done my best one-on-one with hundreds over the past year and a half to do so, however I am only one man with limited time.

Back in May I got an idea after a coaching call with a startup social media agency and decided to do a quick YouTube video to share my idea and get some feedback. Here’s the video…

The response both in feed and privately was very clear. Tons of people needed and wanted this. So… We created a biweekly Social Media Agency Collaboration Group that delivers the following to its members:

1) Free – Always and forever

2) Goal – The goal of the group is to help all members be more profitable as a company and more effective for clients. We believe it is important that we create a group of agency leaders that are doing exceptional work and making really good money. There is so much business out there and we want to work together to be better at finding and executing it.

3) Support – Social Media Agencies with varying experience supporting one another.

4) Facilitation – Since my company was previously a social media agency, I facilitate the biweekly meetings and offer our experience do’s and don’ts to help the group.

5) Input – Everyone is asked to provide input and feedback on all the topics we discuss, all with a focus of helping each other.

6) Recordings – We record all of our meetings to ensure that those that might miss a meeting or two, or those that join later can always be up to speed with the conversation by listening to previous meetings.

7) Topics – We cover topics from sales, social media management, tools, prospecting, rules to follow, mistakes we’ve made, managing client relationships – just to name a few.

There are no hidden agenda’s or marketing within the group, just people and companies helping each other to improve an industry from the ground up. After only three meetings, over 70 members are involved.

If this industry is going to continue to grow and thrive, we as an industry must make it extremely effective for our clients and very profitable for ourselves. Not doing so could lead to a dot bomb equivalent. You can join the free group on Facebook, which is where we have centralized our communication, sharing of documents and templates as well as links to next meeting webinar, etc. Join Now to get the link to this weeks online meeting!

We would love to get your feedback on what we are doing and ways we can make it more effective. Pop on over to the Facebook group and let’s work together!

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Filed under Agency, Facebook, Fanpage, Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized