If you’re a community manager like me, or use social media to market your business, I’m going to guess that you’re starting to feel burnt out. I have been plugged-in for almost 6 years now, which means I am checking online mentions of my employer every hour, 24/7. Yes, I am exhausted but don’t worry there is a solution, unplug.
It seems that unplugging is the new fad but for those of us who are always plugged-in it is a must in order to keep our sanity, and our job. I’ve read several articles lately suggesting that unplugging increases productivity, creativity and overall happiness. I unplug at least one week every year and I just plugged back in yesterday morning after returning from vacation. I wanted to share a few lessons I learned from my experience.
To successfully unplug there are 5 steps that you need to have in place:
1. Turn off the option for your friends to tag you:
This includes Facebook, Instagram and any other social network where you are often mentioned. Most of the time you’ll be ok but there’s always that one friend who thinks they’re funny and you always end up removing their tag. Remember you won’t be monitoring this since you’ll be offline.
2. Hide all social apps on your smartphone:
If you will be using your smartphone to take pictures or video while you’re on vacation then it will help if you remove the temptation to log on. I put the Facebook, Facebook pages, Twitter and Instagram apps in a folder that I never check. Out of sight, out of mind.
3. Prepare 2 weeks before you leave:
It seems like it’s more work to go on vacation than it is to go to work but it’s worth it. Planning ahead will help keep the anxiety away while you’re unplugged. Start scheduling content to your social channels to publish while you’re away if you do not have a team member to do that for you. Set up alerts so team members are notified when someone mentions your brand since you will not be monitoring this.
4. Make sure you have extra coverage:
Put a plan in place for your team members to monitor the company’s social accounts and give them instructions for what they need to do if they see a negative comment or review and who they need to contact. Also, make sure someone is an admin so they can thank your followers and respond to positive conversations.
5. Leave “out of office” updates on every account:
Leave a paper trail, It works offline and it definitely works online. Make sure your last update on all of your social accounts says that you are unplugging for vacation and you will not be monitoring anything online. This will save your butt when someone gets angry that you haven’t responded. If that person doesn’t see your last post, one of your followers will probably come to your defense.
Those are my lessons, this list grows every year. It is a lot of work to unplug but it is an absolute must for me. I feel so relaxed and de-stressed after 10 days of being offline. How often do you unplug?
I originally wrote this post after receiving many questions from Engage121 clients on “How do I find online influencers?” I know this is a hot topic and I know that you will also find it helpful so I had to publish it here. Thanks to Jack Serpa for the great photo.
Influencers is the new buzzword in digital marketing, and everyone preaches about building relationships with online influencers but no one shares tips for how to do so. Well today I’m going to change that. Yes, building relationships with influencers can greatly grow your business because it puts your brand name in front of new eyes, and especially those in your local area. If you’re a small business owner, or franchisee, this is a must add to your marketing strategy. But how?
First define your goals; do you want to get more people to visit your restaurant or local shop? If so, you need to find people who talk about your industry in your local community. For example, if you own a restaurant you should you should begin by searching Google for “good food in Norwalk, CT.” If you own a boutique you can search for “fashion, Norwalk, CT.” Your search results will show online business listings that match that search but there should be URLs that link to relevant online content. Some of these URLs will hopefully be blogs that belong to local bloggers. If you do not find any blogs, there should be a few local news organizations in your area that are publishing this type of information. If you look in the comments section on these sites you can probably find a few people who seem knowledgeable about your industry.
Do not have fear if you didn’t find any blogs, you can head to Twitter and do the same search there. Go to search.twitter.com and search for fashion or food and target your search to your specific geographic location. Your results should show some tweets that are relevant to your industry. Click on the profile picture in those tweets, and check out the bio of that person who tweeted the relevant information, as well as scroll through their tweets to see if this is a subject they discuss often. Don’t forget to click the URL they have in their bio, it might be a link to their blog.
You can repeat these steps on every social network. Now that you’ve identified a few key influencers in your local area, what do you do next?
Here are 4 steps for building relationships with those influencers:
If you’re providing great content on your own blog and promoting your social networks in your store then you might not need to do these steps. However, make sure you connect with your offline customers, online and build relationships with them to secure customer loyalty and guarantee repeat business.
How did you find influencers for your business?
Facebook Advertising seems to scare people, probably because of all of the different types of ads and targeting options. I wrote this post to provide some insight and help for getting started. This post originally appeared on the Engage121 blog & Social Media Today. Enjoy!
I think Facebook Advertising is one the best ways for you to 1. Build your Facebook Community 2. Get more leads 3. Gain more visibility. However, to be successful, there are a few things you need to know!
It all comes down to one word, targeting. You can run anything as a Facebook Ad and you will get lots of clicks, and even some new page likes, but they won’t be from people who care about your business. They’ll be spammers or people who do not make up your target market. How can you ensure that your Facebook Ads are being seen by the target audience for your business?
First, you need to determine which type of Facebook Ad you would like to use. Below are targeting options that pertain to all 3 types of Facebook Ads, but I’m going to focus on Sponsored Post Ads, in other words, a published post on your timeline converted to an advertisement.
Geographic Location: You can target your advertisement to people who live in a certain country, state, city or zip code. You can also check a box to include cities near that location within a 10, 25 or 50 radius.
Age: There’s no need to show your ad to people who are 13 years old and older if your target audience is retirees. Select the age range that is most appropriate for your business and the content you are promoting.
Gender: Is your target market mostly men or women? Or, is your target market men, but women also contribute to the buying decision? You can select them both or just one.
Interests: This is what I consider the “gold” of Facebook Advertising. You can select certain interests to ensure that your ad is placed in front of the right audience. For example, if your target market is stay-at-home moms, you can target your ad to Parenting, Family, Kids, Kid Activities, etc.
Connections: You can show your ad to anyone, people who already like your page, or people who do not yet like your page. However, the “platinum,” is friends of connections. By selecting this option your ads will show to friends of your existing fans (those who already like your page). The great thing about this is that your ad will show with the viewer’s friends name in it. For example, my Facebook friends would see “Jenny likes Engage121″ or “Jenny likes New Blog Post by Engage121.” See the potential? We know everyone values their friend’s input, especially when it comes to buying decisions.
Advanced Targeting: If you’re not socially savvy, you can skip this paragraph. I’m just kidding! The one targeting option here that you should select is language. If you’re advertising in the United States select English (US), or if you’re targeting other ethnicities add Spanish to your selections or whichever language reflects your audience.
Budget & Time Frame: Lastly is the budget you set for your ad or campaign. You can run a Facebook Ad for as little as $5/day. You can also say you want to spend$50 on the ad, which wouldn’t require you to set a daily limit. There are other conversion options, but I’m going to keep it simple for now. Comment below if you’d like to get techy with me.
Why do you need to do all of this work? By targeting your ad you will ensure that those clicks you’re receiving aren’t from spammers. How? Because spammers on Facebook do not fill out their profile and so there is no data such as age, gender or interests associated with their profiles.
I previously wrote a blog post on How to Get Results with Facebook Ads for SpinSucks, which outlines the return I received from using Facebook Ads. There are some additional points in that article that I think you would find helpful.
Have you ventured into Social Advertising yet? Or are you still skeptical?
I’m often asked “what does it take to become a community manager?” My answers usually turn people away, so instead of focusing on how difficult it is, I’m going to focus on what it takes to be a good community manager once you’ve landed the role. Although, you don’t have to take my word for it, I interviewed 3 rockstar CMs to share their thoughts.
Here are 6 tactics that will get you to the top:
Research: This never stops, and it shouldn’t no matter what profession you’re in, but with social media marketing you need to be the “go-to person” for Facebook questions, and any other social network that your clients or company is using.
How-To: Read blogs, a lot, written by the top content producers in the industry, such as Mashable. Also by the top influencers in the industry, for example David Armano, Gini Dietrich, the list goes on.
Connecting: You need to build relationships with the people I just mentioned above. If they are true “influencers” and actually use social media daily, and don’t have their assistant do it, then this is possible.
How-To: Read their blog posts, and comment on the posts by giving your thoughts. I know it’s scary since you’re just starting out and this person is a big-wig but I promise that they’ll listen. I remember the first time I commented on Spin Sucks, I was so scared I think I read my comment 15 times before publishing.
Experimenting: Take risks, immediately. In the beginning you’ll only have your own personal networks to experiment with but that’s ok.
How-To: Write a controversial blog post, tweet someone you wouldn’t dare to on a normal day. Post content that you know will piss someone off. This is how you push the envelope in Social Media, and it is the only way you’ll learn what the boundaries truly are with your audience.
Listening: Listen to what others are telling you, in your company and online.
How-To: You need to be able to take the feedback you receive and implement it into your current strategy. Sometimes, heck most of the time, you won’t agree and you’ll know that it’s not “best practice” for completing a task but you need to find a way to show them that you are listening. You’ll need their help later getting more people on board using Social Media, as well as getting budget for events and applications.
Tracking: If you’ve landed a role in Social Media Marketing and you don’t have data to take with you, then you mine as well stay where you are because getting a job somewhere else, especially if you’re moving up, is going to be tough without analytics in your portfolio. If you only have access to your own personal networks that’s ok, you can track your followers, the engagement you received for certain types of content. But being able to show the growth you achieved for your employer by conducting your current social strategy is a game changer.
How-To: Tools, they’re out there, and if you don’t have a budget you can use some that are free. If you have a budget I would highly suggest paying for a SMMS, Social Media Management System. Using an SMMS you can create charts that track data for you, compare them against your sales data for the month, and so much more. Plus using an SMMS makes your job so much easier, and gives you much more free time to do things like write blog posts.
Pushing Back: You are in your role because you know what you’re doing, remember that. If you have years of experience using social media marketing to grow a business then don’t let someone tell you that you’re doing it wrong, again you need to Listen, but stand your ground.
How-To: You’ve got data to back up your strategy, use it to show them why you’re right.
Do you agree with my strategy above? If so, why? If not, let’s have a debate in the comments below!
I originally wrote this post for the Engage121 blog because I knew many of our clients would find it helpful but I know that you will also find it helpful so I had to share it. Comment below if you have any questions or if you would like to chat about my strategy.
I recently read an article from Business Insider, which previewed a study outlining what really matters to your Twitter followers, and what you need to do in order to increase your followers. There’s some great information and I suggest you read it, along with the following points on building your Twitter community.
This post isn’t only focused on numbers but on building the right type of community, which in turn will increase your number of followers.
Twitter is my #1 favorite social network, I like to say “it breaks down the barriers.” What do I mean by that? Twitter allows you to have a direct connection with a CEO of a fortune 500 company, and you can build relationships with some of the biggest brands on the planet. If you use Twitter correctly it can be the biggest networking opportunity you’ve ever experienced. However you need to use it “correctly.” How should you “tweet” in order to build the right community & gain new followers?
Here are a few tips:
1. Search: Find conversations that are happening in your industry or about your brand. The easiest way to do that is by using search.twitter.com, enter your industry or brand in the search box and look at the results to see if any of the conversations are relevant, and if you could add helpful advice by joining the conversation. For Engage121 clients you can do this in your Explore tab.
2. Provide informative & relevant information: Make sure you’re giving your followers a reason to follow you. Provide them with links to helpful articles in your industry or around your business. Make sure the information you tweet mostly mirrors your Twitter bio. This will ensure you are building the right type of community. It is annoying to follow someone on Twitter because their Bio is interesting to you but they never send any tweets that are relevant to that information.
3. Be consistent: Like any social network you need to be consistent with your publishing, and with Twitter it’s has to be more frequent. It will be hard to gain new followers if they look at your feed and you haven’t tweeted in 2 months.
4. Use Keywords: People search on Twitter more for keywords that are relevant to them than hashtags. Make sure you are using relevant keywords for your industry or business, this will help you get found. If you are providing relevant information for your industry you will not need to worry about using keywords, they will already be in there.
5. Branding: You know the saying “no shirt, no shoes, no service?” On Twitter if you have no bio, no picture, then you get no follow from me. Use a professional picture for your profile image. Create a bio that is relevant to you and what you’ll be tweeting, and provide a link to your website or a site where people can learn more about you.
6. Promote: You need to put yourself out there in order to be found. Put a link to your Twitter profile in your email signature. List your profile on websites that help you gain new followers by subject, such as Twellow.com. Also put a link to your Twitter profile on your other social networks, such as Facebook.
Do you find Twitter to be a valuable tool?
What is that? Great question! A Google+ Hangout is a video-conference tool powered by Google. If you have a Gmail account you have a Google+ account, you just need to activate it. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.
Participating in a Hangout lets you see everyone you are talking to on one screen, up to nine people. Why would you want to video-conference instead of doing a conference call?
Here are 3 reasons why:
1. Face recognition: Being able to see who you are talking to helps reinforce the relationship you have with that person, or helps you build a relationship faster. Seeing their face will make it easier to connect with them online in other social networks. This is a great tool to use with clients and prospects.
2. Facial expressions: Being able to see how someone expresses the message they are delivering is much easier on video than it is over the phone. This also helps you in the same way. Isn’t it easier to sell your products in person than it is on the phone?
3. Show you care: When someone asks me to video chat, and actually looks at me the whole time I’m talking, I am impressed. How often do you do a call with a client or friend, and end up multi-tasking by sending emails while you’re on the phone. Your clients deserve your attention, show them.
Do you use Video to communicate?
This post originally appeared on the Engage121’s blog but since I am an advocate for Google+ I had to share it here!