Six signs you are using social media wrong

Using social media as a marketing tool can reap rewards for your business. When used correctly, you can successfully promote yourself, brand, or product. But if something goes wrong online, you can risk harming your reputation, both personally and professionally. It is important to consider what you should and shouldn’t be doing with social media to market your brand. So I have put together six signs you could be using social media wrong. I hope this will make you think about your current social media strategy and if you need to change it, before it’s too late!

  1. Hello? Is there anybody out there? One of the worst things you can do is ignore your audience and potential customers. Social media is all about the conversation. If you’re constantly just making statements and not asking questions or engaging with your followers, then you’re missing out on the big benefits that can come from true engagement. Never ever just ignore a negative comment and delete it. Trust me. It will come back to bite you on the bum!
  2. Why does no one want to follow me? Gaining followers isn’t a perfect way to measure social media success. However, if your social following isn’t growing as a result of your marketing efforts, you need to revaluate your strategy. Try to come up with something new that will engage a larger number of people across wider demographics.
  3. Lost for words. The number-one cardinal social media sin is not posting on a regular basis. If your followers can see that you haven’t posted in the last few days, weeks or months at a time, they’ll either not bother to follow you or just won’t engage at all.
  4. Who needs a plan for this sort of stuff? I know social media is instant, but it also requires a lot of pre planning. The companies that get the best results are those that develop an overarching strategy for connecting with their followers. If your business doesn’t yet have this in place, invest some time in planning some goals.
  5. One size does not fit all. Do you auto post all of your updates across all your social channels? Twitter and Facebook are very different channels and each warrant tailored content, across each one to suit its audience. Always think through who you want to target and ensure your content is specific to your audience and the platform you are posting on.
  6. Just go away! You ignore or worse, delete negative comments. No matter how ‘good’ your brand is, negative comments will happen. And when they do happen, there’s only one way to deal with it. Respond. Say you’re sorry, ask for their details and private message them or take it offline.

 

How SEO friendly is your social content?

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So you’ve just about nailed your social content, but are you considering how SEO friendly it is?

For 81% of consumers, search influences what they think about a company (Weber Shandwick) and of companies that invest in content marketing, 78% use paid search and 69% use SEO to increase audience discovery of that content (eMarketer.)

Search engines will favour high value content in search results. Social media sites favour sharable, linkable content. So by combining smart social media and SEO tactics you can create a competitive advantage for attracting new customers whether they search Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube or blogs. You can in turn bring more targeted traffic to your site while increasing your rankings. So bringing both social and SEO together can be a very powerful way of boosting your website traffic.

Here are five top tips to help give your social media posts an SEO boost:

1. Include your keywords

Ensure your social content includes the keywords that will help people to find your content. Your brand name is also a keyword, so try and also include that where you can.

2. Put it in context

Google’s algorithm, Hummingbird aims to understand the intent behind web searches rather than just the keywords used. Put your keywords in context within social posts.

 3. It’s a popularity contest

Have you ever mentioned someone who is widely recognised, with a huge follower base? Try it! Mention them when you share your content. If that influencer’s followers see it, maybe that influencer will also share it or mention you. You could also try asking industry experts with a high follower number to share your content relevant to their industry. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!

 4. Say it with a picture

Content that is visually appealing is ranked higher and more likely to receive click through and shares, therefore being ranked much higher. A post with an image is less likely to be missed by someone scrolling through their feed. You could also add a descriptive keyword in the image name.

 5. Add Share Buttons within Your Post

You can add the simple ‘share this’ buttons, but there is also a way now that people can share your content with options to share quotes or other sentences they find interesting within your posts.

 

4 Tips and Tools for an effective Social Media Approach

You might be just getting started with social media or already flying high. But are you doing everything to ensure the most effective approach?

  1. Use Social Media internally. Use tools to improve communication between team members and your best customers. Collaboration tools include: Wikis, Basecamp HQ and Sharepoint. Meeting tools include:       Webex and Skype. Instant Messaging tools include: MSN, Gmail chat. Cloud computing tools include: Google Apps. Internal social network tools include: Yammer and Salesforce Chatter.
  2. Set the ground-rules and ensure you have a social media policy. Even if you are not officially using social media, chances are your employees are, so you need a policy. The policy should clearly outline how employees should behave online, what they should and shouldn’t say. You may also need a response guide outlining how you will respond to good and bad comments about your organisation online.
  3. Listen and respond. Social Media is a series of online conversations and all good conversationalists are great listeners. Listen to what the leading organisations in your sector are doing, listen to your customers and keep up-to-date with industry blogs. Try these available tools: Google Alerts, Socialmention.com, LinkedIn groups, Twitter search and Open Facebook Search. When you have listened and understand what people are saying and where they are saying it, start responding on specific industry blogs, joining Twitter discussions or starting discussions on LinkedIn.
  4. Measure. Everything online is measureable. Regularly check your analytics to see what is working and not working. Repeat what’s working and stop what’s not. Try using Measuring tools such as Klout, Radian 6, Twenty Feet or Sysomos.

How social media can help your SEO

The traditional ways of SEO have changed, and it is important that businesses just like yours understand how this could be affecting you and your online presence. Google has found smarter ways to measure the popularity of your website. It’s called social media.

Social media is critical to your online presence and your search engine rankings. Your website and social media channels must work together with keyword-rich content. My big tip to ensure your website ranks highly in searches is to ensure your online content is dynamic, engaging and interactive and this is where social media can help you.

Here are four ways you can use social media to help your SEO efforts for an awesome online presence:

1. The better the social presence, the higher your website ranks.

The old SEO used links to determine which websites ranked the highest. The more links you had the better your SEO was. So SEO companies started building links manually. Then Google got smart and realised that SEO link building would never work long-term for ranking websites. So many websites were penalised and saw massive drops in their former SEO success. Google now looks at social media channels which are much harder to manipulate.

2. Being online and being social will build your online presence

Social media is a dynamic world of interaction and activity where something is constantly happening in real time. In order to make your online presence a success you have to be active and social. This is the fastest way to multiply your online presence simply because it’s where everyone is.

3. Use Social media to build buzz around your website

When you have a following on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, you will be growing fans who will share your content. That’s what social media is all about, being social! So when you write a blog post, you can take that content and share it on Twitter and then get some of your followers to share your content. You can also allow your website visitors to share pages from your website or blog on social media. You can do this by adding simple social share buttons, allowing people to quickly and easily vote for your content.

4. What’s your social signal?

Google measures your website’s social shareability and your effectiveness on social media channels, and ranks you from your social signals. How often do you share content on social channels? How many fans or followers do you have? Does your website have social sharing elements available? Google measures your Social signals which are based on your social media presence. So this is why a social media presence is so important.

 

Three tips for increasing your social media engagement

If you are anything like me, my family and many of my friends; you will have at least one device that allows you to check your social media channels on a regular basis, wherever you are in the world. You can use social media to help your business solve problems, generate positive word of mouth, and increase customer engagement. Here are some really simple tips to ensuring your social media is engaging:

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  1. Capture your audience’s attention with an online character 

It isn’t easy coming up with new, fresh and engaging content every day. But why not try ‘borrowing with pride’ from some of the tried and tested ideas where brands have already done it so well; with the introduction of an online company character. Creating a character that acts as another voice for your brand can work really well. Think of Compare the Market’s Orlov and the M&M’s characters, you could even caricature yourself. One of my personal favourites is Boo, the internet famous dog. Boo is known as the world’s cutest dog, and I’m not going to argue with that! Boo’s Facebook page started in 2009, with the accompanying description ‘My name is Boo. I am a dog. Life is good.’ Since then he’s gained nine million fans. He’s got books, branded merchandise, a deal with a toymaker and is the ‘spokes dog’ for Virgin America airlines, which featured photos of him in an airplane along with advice for people traveling with pets.

  1. A picture says a thousand words…

It really does on social media! Pictures have been proven to engage more than text. Photos get 53 percent more likes, 104 percent more comments and 84 percent more click-throughs on links versus text-based posts (Kissmetrics.) And keep the image text short and sweet. Ask a question or ask people to share. This could help generate greater awareness of your brand among the masses.

  1. Show a bit of personality

Don’t just push out content. Provide a ‘reason’ and ‘value’ for your customer to want to engage with you on a regular basis. Check out Tesco Mobile and their Twitter feed for some inspiration. I am not a Tesco Mobile customer but often find myself just checking out their tweets for pure entertainment value. They recently engaged in a very funny conversation with Jaffa Cakes and Yorkshire Tea. Buzzfeed called it the best Twitter conversation you’ll read today, and they were right! Tesco Mobile successfully takes away the sales talk and just talk to their customers as real people. On social media, personalities can break up the noise and engage and connect with the masses. You can use personality in your own social posts so that your business isn’t just some company or brand, but instead a group of people, who all share the same sense of humour and likes.

Image borrowed from www.postadvertising.com. If you want me to take it down, just let me know and i will do it right away. 

My blogging throughout 2013, in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,700 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

The best social media campaigns of 2013

Creating and delivering a killer social media campaign is all about thinking about your aims, audience and message.  I am also a big believer in not trying to reinvent the wheel, but ‘borrowing with pride.’ So lets take a look back at some of the best social media campaigns of 2013 and you could tailor some of these hugely successful campaigns to develop your own approach to suit your brands aims and objectives.

  1. Three’s Dance Pony Dance

Three, the UK mobile network created a viral campaign. It started with a TV advert of a Shetland pony moon-walking. But what made this pony go viral was the accompanying hashtag #danceponydance. This was tweeted over 140,000 times in the first five days of the advert.  A clever hashtag and cute pony propelled this brand into the limelight.

  1. #ASOSSale

Clothing retail giant ASOS wanted to create early anticipation of their sale. They wanted to create the same hype that big brands achieve when customers camp outside a store waiting for the doors to open. They set up a series of live Twitter games where fans could win prizes in real time. Games included ‘Confessions of a Queue Jumper’ where users were rewarded for Tweeting or posting on Facebook what they would do to jump the ASOS queue. Every confession included the url asos.to/TheSale and the hashtag #ASOSsale.

The games ran for four hours, with more than 15,000 people taking part over Twitter. The campaign resulted in ASOS achieving its highest single revenue day ever.

  1. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches

Currently the most watched video ad of all time, Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches has a moving message. The video shows a forensic artist meeting a series of women who are asked to describe how they look. He was unable to see them and prompted them to describe themselves from hair length to their most prominent features, so that he could sketch them.

Each woman was asked before the study to get to know one of the other participants. The forensic artist then asked each woman to describe the other’s face. Watch the video and see the surprising differences. But what made the video such a success? The ad evokes an emotional reaction and its self-esteem boosting message clearly resonates with its audience.  Dove shared the video across multiple platforms.

 

  1. 4.    #Firstworldproblems hashtag hijack

The hashtag #firstworldproblems hashtag is used by many to tweet about trivial life situations such as your hair straighteners breaking or complaining about not having heated leather seats in your car. Charity organisation Water is Life set out to hijack this hashtag and raise awareness about serious developing world issues.

Water is Life began the campaign by creating an anthem commercial that features Haitians reciting some of the tweets that included the #firstworldproblems hashtag. Check it out. It will make you think twice.

The campaign raised 1 million days’ worth of clean water.