Writing Better Posts will Get Your Message Further in the Social Stream
The social marketing space is extremely crowded and loud. Twitter alone has approximately 500 MILLION tweets flying out PER DAY! (approximately 6 million every SECOND) Twitter is a stream flowing wild and full with interesting content and … not-so-interesting clutter. Your goal on your social media channels is to share interesting and helpful content that others find good enough that they pluck it out of the stream and pass it along through ReTweets and shares.
To help your social media messages stand out and be read more often, here are 5 things to keep in mind:
Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.
Being controversial isn’t a bad thing on social media channels… occasionally. Tell us how you feel about something, while still being civil. People want to chime in and agree with you… or disagree with you. If you are just quoting everyone else, it gets old. It’s like that old saying, “Be yourself…unless you’re a jerk, then be someone else!”
Become a better writer!
Punch a bit of drama, humor or even intrigue into your tweets and posts where you can. Can you say it in a way that is more entertaining or humorous? “Craving that last piece of cake” can be tweaked to read, “I kept hearing my name being called in a seductive voice. I turned to find the last piece of cake winking at me.” Just more fun to read and pass along! “Busy day ahead” can be made more interesting AND helpful by telling us a bit about you with, “Working with clients to tame their clutter today-I love scary closets” or “Busy day ahead expanding minds–this could get messy!”
Share it More Than Once.
We all know that once is never enough for anything great, so why not share your post more than once. Unless it is time sensitive, put that post out today in the morning and then again perhaps tomorrow afternoon. Keep in mind that people are not sitting at their computer or on their phone JUST reading your posts (I know…shocking!). I’m sorry to burst that bubble, but people are reading lots of content and perhaps they missed your post today but will catch it tomorrow. Try adding two different images to your posts and see which captures the attention better. Speaking of images…
Add more photos and videos to your posts to allow people to SEE what you are saying.
Social media is all about photos, videos, and all things visual. Make sure and utilize this on your posts. While there are LOADS of great sites to find stock images [see: STOP USING THESE CRAPPY IMAGES ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS] you can also create your own with photos you snap, images you create with tools like Canva or other tools, or fun Gifs you find or create!
Be quiet sometimes.
On any social media platform, my philosophy (that even I do not follow at times) is BE HELPFUL, BE INTERESTING, or BE QUIET! If you post tweets when there is nothing interesting or helpful to say…you might start being ignored. Of course, we are talking about SOCIAL media, so there are times you are socializing and chatting it up with folks, but if you are just posting what you are doing without asking yourself “Can I make this more interesting or helpful?” you might want to just go for a walk.
YOUR TURN TO SHARE: Of all the posts you have shared in the past week, what was it that grabbed YOUR attention and inspired you to pass them along?
Here is our FREE resource to help you use Twitter to build your business — Download Now:
You’ve been asked by your manager to set up a Facebook Page for the business and most of what you read says you have to do this from your personal profile. You don’t want this business page attached to YOUR personal profile. After all, what happens when you leave (hey, it can happen!) Perhaps it’s YOUR business, but you still don’t want to link it to a personal profile that you use for family connections and REAL friends.
FEAR NOT! You CAN do this. It may feel like you’ve been asked to turn over your personal diary for the world to read on your business page, but I assure you, your secrets are safe. Even though you are linking them for access, you are not linking them for the world to view.
So let’s understand something up front. When I create a business page, it is like creating a website for a business. I will need access to the backend of the site to load or change content, but nowhere on the site does it have to give my name or contact information, unless I want it to. It is the same with Facebook. Your PERSONAL profile is your access point or portal into Facebook but from there you can create and manage as many business pages as you’d like. You don’t need a special login and password for each page, and you don’t have to share passwords with anyone. (If your mother didn’t tell you this a long time ago, you should NEVER give your passwords to anyone. Whether they are your manager or not. There is no need for anyone to use YOUR password.) You log in and go to the pages you have admin access to. Your manager, or other team members, can log into their own personal profile and have the same access point if they are made an admin for the page.
If, and I hear this all the time, your manager or co-worker does not have a Facebook account of their own, so they ask to log into your account to check the business page, tell them you would like their login information to their bank account to check on your payroll first! They need to create their own account–it’s FREE and they don’t have to ever use it or share their horrifying vacation pics. If they need to log into a site, including Facebook, they need their own login credentials. There are just some things, like a glass of milk, a toothbrush or social media passwords, that should never be shared with other people.
When you are logged in from your personal profile and then jump over to your business page (easy to switch between the two from the dropdown arrow in the upper right) people on the outside do not know you are associated with the page. They cannot see any of your personal information and they are NOT automatically made FRIENDS of yours if they LIKE the business page.
With that out of the way, let’s get started! To begin, log into your own personal Facebook profile and THEN go to Facebook.com/pages and click CREATE PAGE in the upper right. You will be asked to name your page and select the category (not-for-profit, local business, etc. And don’t worry too much about the categories since they can be changed at any time. Your name is not so easy to change so choose wisely!).
Fill out the basic info and you are well on your way!
In the SETTINGS for your new page, look to the left and find PAGE ROLES. This is where you add an additional admin to the page, such as a team member or your manager (who will need to have a Facebook account). You can select different ROLES for people such as EDITOR (someone who cannot add or remove others but can post and comment AS THE PAGE.) You can select MODERATOR, ANALYST, even JOBS MANAGER to give specific rights without allowing people to add or remove others. If you leave the organization, you simply make sure there is an ADMIN assigned to the page and then remove yourself in this same area.
Now that we’ve covered how to set up your page, let’s move onto the REAL WORK…. creating and posting content every day!
That’s where things get scary! Happy posting!
No, No, Not Content Creation
Gina Schreck is the founder of SocialKNX. Their teams help organizations connect to their world and convert LIKES into DOLLARS! Be sure to find more geeky goodness on our own Facebook Page!
I know most people are skeptical about Yelp, Google Local, TripAdvisor and other review sites, and none more skeptical than a business owner with a bad review posted on one of these sites. “It’s probably one of my competitors, posting a false review.” Whether it is your evil competitor trying to take you down or your newest fan raving about you, these sites cannot be ignored.
With over 178 million monthly users on Yelp, 260 million users posting reviews on TripAdvisor , and 2.23 BILLION active users on Facebook, (as of June 2018) all itching to have their voices heard, companies have to monitor their brands and make time to engage and reply to these reviewers. With a little attention to these reviews, you can turn around a bad experience and build loyalty, and on good reviews you can boost the love and create a viral spread.
Reply to comments and social reviews quickly
When someone takes the time to write any comment about your business, they are giving you a gift. Don’t leave that gift unacknowledged. Make sure you have notifications turned on for comments on your website and that you either check once or twice a day all of your social channels or turn those notifications on as well so you don’t miss comments there. There is nothing worse than leaving a question or comment and never hearing back. Whether you receive a great compliment or a horrible review, be sure to thank the person for taking the time to provide you with feedback. One thing I learned from raising my 4 children is, what you recognize or reward will be repeated. Thank people for bringing you the feedback.
Again, something I learned from my kids during those teenaged years; an apology that starts with SOR-RY and includes BUT… is not an apology. It is an excuse. I had the opportunity to sit with a woman in a cable company call center, Mary Delgado, who was the escalation desk for the vilest of customers. She took call after call from people who were cussing at her, screaming into their phones (over cable TV, no less). Mary would listen without interrupting and then her first response would be, “Oh my goodness. I am so sorry you have had to go through this. This should NOT have happened. I am going to get this taken care of.” It was so classic. You could almost see the person on the end of the line squirming as they tried to come up with another comeback. Their anger couldn’t compete with her willingness to own the problem and seek a resolution. Sometimes all a wronged customer wants is to be heard and to hear a sincere apology.
Don’t delete the comment
Show, in public, how you are going to make things right or at least ensure it doesn’t happen again. Most review sites don’t allow you to delete a review, but Facebook does if the comment is left on the page and not in the review area. I have seen companies delete negative reviews, thinking the person will just quietly go away. If you delete an angry comment on your site, the customer will take it to a public space where you have no control and it WILL get ugly. I am shocked to see review sites where a company either denies that the problem happened, basically calling the customer a lier (Most classic is the Blue Sky Hostel owner in Glasgow who calls the customer a blind, fat, a retard and the firestorm of comments back and forth between the owner, the angry customer and everyone else who chimed in for entertainment that wasn’t available on any television network. You can find the Buzzfeed post here with screenshots. Which is another reason why you should never delete a negative comment–the person has most likely taken screenshots in case they need to go to the public.
So what can you do about it? If it is something you need to investigate to find out if it is true, you can HIDE a comment on Facebook, but on any site, you should contact the person who posted the review and ask them to contact you via private message to resolve the issue. When they don’t respond, you can assume the person isn’t looking for a resolution.
Whether it’s a negative review, an old embarrassing photo of yourself, or anything that shows up on the web that you wish would just go away, the one thing you CAN do is put out lots of good content that is attached to your brand, to push those old reviews down. It will take time, but it works.
Ask for reviews and recommendations on your social media sites.
When a delighted customer tells you they had great service or loves your product, immediately ask if they would mind writing a review for you on one of your social sites. Let them know how it helps your business and then thank them. Talk to your team and remind them to think digital first and get those recommendations in video, on social sites or anywhere else that the world can see.
I’d love to hear from you. Have you left reviews on a social review site? Do you expect a response? How do you feel if you get one?
If you need help keeping up with all of the responses and connecting with your social audience, contact us today.…it’s what we do!
I have a friend who would never allow people to pop in or come over if her house was not perfectly clean and orderly. She had two small children and she said she didn’t want people to see the mess. I always laughed and told her, if that were true for me, I would never have a visitor, announced or not.
There are some businesses that can’t allow people to pop in on them for fear they may see something less than perfect as well. They want everything well scripted and professionally produced before they will allow the world to stop by on their social media channels. They don’t like live-streaming for fear of being imperfect and some don’t even like allowing comments from fans on social media channels for fear of what they might post.
The problem with social media is it should be more… SOCIAL! It is “in-the-moment,” spontaneous, and yes…sometimes MESSY. If your team is waiting for approvals and meetings to take place before a response or post can go up, and you can’t share or ReTweet something from someone else’s profile because it was not screened ahead of time, your brand will struggle to be “social.” Social media is the place to let your audience peek behind the curtain and see how your products are made, your books are written, your team learns together, and how you play.
Some still think social media marketing is best for B2C businesses, but the reality is whether you are a B2B or a B2C, we are all in P2P relationships. Person to Person. We want to connect as one person sharing and providing value to another person. People like to see who they are dealing with at another business. They also want to connect with real people.
Like inviting a new friend over for coffee, social media in a B2B or B2C environment allows you to get closer and begin building the trust needed to establish a relationship. While people may not want to become “besties” with their cell phone provider, they do like to know they have someone there that cares and can help answer questions when they have one.
When I started researching for this post, I found a few B2B companies that were doing an amazing job with their ability to be social and show a human side to a rather technical industry, and of course I found a few that should close their social windows, draw the shades & sit quietly until people pass by.
Let’s take a look at a few good and bad examples of businesses on social media:
AGCO offers a full line of tractors, combines, and other agriculture equipment. They sell to distributors who sell to the end-user (farmer or rancher). You may think an equipment company would have no place on social media sites, but you’d be wrong. This company and their 5 brands are connecting and having real conversations with their distributors, fans and those seeking answers about the equipment.
What they share:
Lots of informational and helpful tips mixed with fun and more playful or personal photo posts. One that I found showed the spontaneity and fun. (Rainbows don’t wait for a committee to approve them.).
What social sites they are active on:
They have a WordPress Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and my favorite was their YouTube channel. They have an incredible collection of educational and informative videos (thousands of videos!) from their own team as well as from their community members.
What we can learn from them:
Provide as much information and helpful content as possible and be where your customers are to answer their questions. Be casual and conversational. Allow your community to be involved in teaching others about your products or services.
The Funeral Industry
This industry is one that you might shudder to think of on social media, but when you consider the fact that at least most of us, will need to secure the services of a funeral home sooner or later (hopefully much later), some make it a very “lively” social experience on their pages and profiles. Most funeral homes are very active in their communities and one, that shares great information as well as these fun community event photos, is Bartolomeo & Perotto in New York.
What they share:
Tips for caregivers and families dealing with aging parents or loved ones. Resources such as Meals on Wheels, hospice care contact information, local blood drives and fun charity walks and runs. You can find information on creative memorial services and explanations on cremation versus burial services. You will also find information on events they are involved in, such as their annual butterfly release (photo below), the 9/11 memorial parade, and their very popular “Stockings for Soldiers” campaign. The community shares the posts, shows up at their events and supports the causes that are close to their hearts.
What social sites funeral homes are active on:
While we found Pinterest boards filled with cemetery statues, memorial ideas, songs for memorial services, floral arrangements, urns and more there were only a few funeral homes who had created boards. Most of the content was user-generated. We found many funeral homes on Facebook and Twitter, and a few savvy enough to answer the many questions consumers have about funerals on YouTube.
And of course there are businesses that try to fit into a typical social mold but their target audiences don’t want to talk there. While I believe any business can learn to be social, the platforms each chooses may need to be very different. A Blog can be a safer place to learn about bipolar disorder than on Facebook, where I wouldn’t want anyone to see that I liked a page let alone that I asked a question or commented there. YouTube videos, and perhaps even Instagram are a better place for someone to learn how to treat acne than for me to follow and engage with @ZitBeGone on Twitter.
Medical and dental offices can be very social if they share helpful, fun and interesting information for their audiences. However, if you take out the fun and interesting posts, it leaves only content about veneers and crowns. There are only so many posts one can take showing the inside of people’s mouths combined with information on root canals. We did find several who know how to be social and are sharing fun community events along with helpful information. Love to Dr. Jim and his Tooth Fairies at Southwest Pediatric Dentistry. (We spent 6 years visiting these fun folks with 3 out 4 of our kids in braces!)
We can see the personality of a business on social media sites.
Download our FREE assessment to see HOW SOCIAL IS YOUR BUSINESS and get tips and tools to improve starting today!
So before hanging your social shingle out letting people know you are on social media, you might want to ask a few questions first:
Is our potential audience active on social media sites?
Which sites and platforms?
Do any of our competitors have active communities on these sites?
Can we write content, regularly, that is more casual in nature and “social” than what is found on our website? (You cannot simply regurgitate your web content over and over and call it social marketing.)
(Here are 30 ideas of things to post on your social media accounts when you don’t know what to say.)
Are we okay with sharing photos, videos, and stories of our team and the daily activities behind the curtain?
Are we okay with allowing our community to share their stories, videos, and photos on our pages and profiles or their own?
Are we okay with people posting feedback about our company, our products and services and even our team members on our pages?
What is the personality of our brand? Not what do we WISH it was, but what IS IT currently? Write the words that describe your brand and your team. Don’t portray one personality online and shock people when they come in to do business with you and your team members.
Are we prepared to let our social marketing team (or person) have some freedom to engage with people and respond in the moment without needing to micromanage?
Being successfully social means being a little vulnerable, and a little more honest about who we really are when the staged photos of fake team members are taken down and the perfect web copy fades away. Being successfully social means having a sense of humor and a more playful spirit. It means letting people pop in without worrying about them seeing a few toys and crumbs on the floor.
How do you feel about letting people see behind the curtain of your business? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or connect with me on your favorite social media channel… I’m everywhere YOU want to be! @GinaSchreck
Sometimes I think I should have been a nun instead of getting into marketing and social media. Not the kind of nun that sings, like on Sound of Music or Italy’s “The Voice,” but the kind in the 1950’s who walked around with a ruler, ready to smack children on the knuckles when they used crappy images on their social media posts!
There are only a few things that send me over the edge when it comes to how poorly some companies are using social media: One is when they don’t respond to a comment or question left for them on one of their social sites, proving they don’t really want people to talk to them, they simply want everyone to read their stuff.
Another is when people use those idiotic services like TrueTwit validation to make others on Twitter prove they are not robots by going to a robot site and jumping through a bunch of hoops. (See a past post for more on that rant here).
And the one that my team, here at SocialKNX, has heard me preach over and over again (with my ruler in hand) is when people and especially brands, use crappy images on their social media sites. I think my issue started back in the days when Microsoft’s Screen Bean characters were all the rage in corporate presentations and marketing material.
I wanted to rip things apart when I would see them. (Anger management courses have helped a bit.)
But today it’s even worse when great visuals are available everywhere and the cameras we carry in our back pockets take fantastic photos, there is just no excuse for poor images (except laziness, or a love for screen beans) being used on our websites, blog posts or social media sites.
Every social platform allows for very large images and we want to take advantage of every pixel we can. I love using Canva to ensure we are sizing the images correctly. Their templates for social media sites are very helpful, and they do a pretty good job of keeping up with the ever-changing sizes.
Here are some of the types of images that will get knuckles cracked, and why:
Clip Art (of any kind)
These just have the same smell as my great grandmother’s TV room. They are old and stale. A great photo of an actual boy on a tricycle or a cool close up of a tricycle would be more intriguing and interesting than this one. Take a trip this weekend and snap some great photos to use instead.
Oh, these are bad on so many levels, it’s hard to know where to start! First, any of the overly staged, fake corporate team photos tell the world you don’t even try. You may have purchased these photos from Shutterstock or iStockPhoto, but you didn’t look past the first 3 or 4 choices. A personal favorite is the overly enthusiastic team meeting photo that shows everyone giving high fives around a flipchart! Come on! Show us, REAL people, doing real office activities. I know they are harder to find. You have to look at new collections or unique sites like Unpsplash. Better yet, get your own team members to pose for a few shots, or look for great photos that depict the message you are trying to convey. The fake looking, overly-staged pics are called corporate porn. They should be banned and someone should lose their job for even looking at them on company computers!
No explanation needed! You’re just embarrassing yourself if you are using these anywhere. Don’t make me get my ruler out.
Where to Get Great Images
So where do you go to find these GREAT images? Here are 12 stock photo libraries to get you started. You will still have to look through their collections to find the great ones.
The photographs from the first 8 sites are free from copyright restrictions or licensed under creative commons public domain dedication. This means you can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
However, some photos may require attribution. We’ve done our best to identify which license they fall under but we still advise you to do your own research and determine how these images can be used.
The last 3 resources are paid stock photo sites that are great for those who blow through hundreds or thousands of images a month. You need more than one place to find just the right image to tell your stories!
Here you go:
Unsplash – This website offers amazing and beautiful photos absolutely free. It’s one of my favorites.
Pexels – Pexels is another great resource offering high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.
StockSnap – This website offers many similar images to the paid subscription sites (probably the images that didn’t get purchased from them). They are free and free from copyright restrictions.
Life of Pix – a great collection of high-resolution images with no copyright restrictions.
BURST (by Shopify)– All photos are licensed under Creative Commons CC0 and can be used as you see fit.
Picography – Beautiful free images to use however you’d like.
PicJumbo – This site offers free images you can use without copyright restrictions and you will also find a “premium” level for more hidden gems.
StyledStock -This site offers free “feminine” stock photography for every woman entrepreneur. The collection is totally free for your commercial & personal works.
Pikwizard– This site offers over 100,000 completely free images on the site and over 20,000 are exclusive to Pikwizard. They have a lot of pictures of people in business settings which is helpful for corporate accounts.
Deposit Photos– a typical subscription stock photo site. You must pay for individual photos or buy a monthly subscription to download the images.
Shutterstock– a typical subscription stock photo site. You must pay for individual photos or buy a monthly subscription to download the images.
iStock Photos– a typical subscription stock photo site. You must pay for individual photos or buy a monthly subscription to download the images.
Don’t forget that photographer inside of YOU. You can take some great pics with your mobile devices and then add a bit of pizazz with apps like A Beautiful Mess, or even Instagram. Don’t settle for boring images.
Do you have a type of image that makes you cringe? Do you have another great resource that you use for great images? I’d love to continue the conversation here in the comments or on our DIY.social Facebook Group.
Connect with me on Twitter or via email Gina@SocialKNX.com
Everyone wants to know, “What social media platform should I focus on if I am just starting out?” or “Where do I begin my social media marketing if I am starting from scratch?” These are not questions that have a simple answer, although everyone wishes they did. If only the answer was, “Just post one piece of content each day on Facebook. That is how to begin” or “Definitely start on Twitter. That’s where you should always begin.”
I love springtime and gardening. I’m not that good at it yet, but every year I want to know what I need to do to plant and nurture a beautiful garden. What should I do first? What’s the easy way to plant 100 bulbs? Gardening is a lot like starting out, or reviving a stalled social media marketing plan. There is no quick and easy button.
The reality is, there are several things you will want to do if you are starting from zero and putting together your marketing plan. Of course, you need to take some time to really explore who your ideal audience is. Sure you want to target everyone, but as the saying goes, if your content is for everyone, it is for no one. After identifying your ideal (keyword there is IDEAL) customer, do some research to find out which social media platforms they are active on. Where are they engaged? What type of content are they commenting on and sharing?
Now it’ s time to fire up two engines simultaneously — your content creation engine and your community building engine. It’s like love and marriage, or peanut butter and jelly. You can’t have one without the other.
You need to begin sharing your expertise and creating content that you can draw people in with. Your blog content can be written or it can be video, or perhaps a little of both. The core of your social media marketing is your blog or website. You have to spend time creating content there that you will share on your social channels. Set a schedule to write one post per month or one per week, depending on the amount of time you have. [READ: 8 Blogging Tips to Connect Better with Your Readers]
Create Content for Your Social Media Channels
There is a temptation when starting out on social media, to just start connecting with people. But if they come and see an empty profile, you may have a harder time getting people to connect back with you. Before connecting and inviting people to come over and LIKE or FOLLOW your brand, decorate the house just a little. Be sure you have 7-10 posts loaded on any social channel you are using so when someone comes to check you out, there is enough there for them to know what your area of focus is. Make them visually appealing. Make them different, intriguing, inviting. Not sure what to post? We have you covered. Download our “20 Types of Facebook Posts“. You can use these strategies for any platform.
Find and Follow (the RIGHT) People Everyday
Aim to find and follow at least 25, people each day on Twitter and Instagram to follow. This should take you no longer than 10-15 minutes a day. Use hashtags, geolocation, keywords, and other accounts that your target audience would be following, to find people. After following these people, scan your streams and spend about 15 minutes a day commenting, liking or retweeting their content. Let the relationships begin.
On Facebook and LinkedIn it’s a little more work since you can’t necessarily just follow individuals from a Facebook business page and if you just started randomly sending connection requests on LinkedIn, you’ll probably get “dinged” pretty quickly. You have to find other business pages and groups and get involved. Become a welcomed and valuable member of these “communities” and they will want to come and check you out. Comment, answer questions, do NOT try and sell or be spammy with “come and check out my page” comments. That will turn everyone off, except other spammers who will want to recruit you!
Email and Lead Generation
I don’t want to scare you or overwhelm you, so just know that after you have done the first three steps, you need to start thinking about building that email list and nurturing the subscribers to convert them from LIKES into LEADS. If you have not set up an e-mail service provider (different from your internet service provider), check out services like Mailchimp or Drip. This is important to do as early in your business as possible. I cannot tell you the number of people who say “I wish I would have started building my e-mail list earlier. When someone subscribes to your list, think about how you will nurture the relationship with them. Will you send a monthly newsletter? A weekly tip or word of encouragement or just hold on to them until you want to sell something (not the best idea).
Once you have an e-mail service provider, you can use tools like Leadpages to create easy templated landing pages that will collect e-mail address in exchange for a piece of content you have created. Sometimes these are called “lead magnets” “value offers” or “freebies” but the concept is the same. I create a valuable piece of content and you exchange your contact information for the item. You can then add the link to the value offer in your social posts and blog posts to begin building that list.
Stick with It
Like anything, social media marketing takes time and consistent care to grow your audience and content inventory. Make time each day and each week to keep these activities up and you will see lasting and beautiful blooms in no time!
What has been the hardest piece for you getting started, or even if you have been using social media in your marketing mix for quite a while and now are wanting to put more focus on making your plan more strategic and helping you build your business, what is the hardest part? I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions.
If you need regular help with your marketing and you just don’t know where to turn, join our DIY.social group on Facebook for regular tips.