Commitments to make before starting social media pages.

These days, social media pages for businesses are everywhere. You open a cafe and feel the pressure to be on social media as well. But we've seen it time and time again, you start the page and then find out how much work it is to maintain. Then you have a social media page, which everyone says you should have, but it's a poor representation of who you are and your business. 

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It's true, opportunities are missed when you aren't on social media. It's true, you should have some social media presence if you want to attract customers. But I don't think it should ever be an afterthought. I don't think you should create on a whim, I don't think it does anything for us (your consumer) or for you to throw things up on the page just for the sake of it. 

Now here is the juicy bit. I think business owners should realize that social media is an extremely useful part of your business - and if you want to be on social media, you should treat it like a must-have task of your everyday business. 

Here are 6 commitments to make to your business if you are going to start a social media page:

  1. Make it a priority. I just touched on this, but really - it should be another everyday task of your day-to-day, and something you truly dedicate a chunk of time to plan. 
  2. Don't throw up content for the sake of it. Strategize, create content that will be successful, design your pages to help you reach your goals. 
  3. Be personable. Be likable, be human, even if you're coming from a business voice. Social media needs to be light and fun, and if you try to keep it strictly just business talk or promoting your latest product or service, you're only going to miss your audience completely. 
  4. Learn. Take time to truly teach yourself social media channels and what the strengths and weaknesses are for each platform. Take a class. This will not only make you successful, but it will help your hard work be best represented. 
  5. Participate. If you have comments, that's great, but when you participate with those comments it goes so much further. A few minutes in the morning to have a small conversation with your followers will make a great impression on them and other customers browsing your page. 
  6. Ask for help. Not all business owners or marketing managers have the time to dedicate to social. That's common, and its fine. There are a ton of people out there who are willing to jump in and make your life easier while making your social shine (like me). 

Have questions? Need help? Want to learn? Reach out! I'd love to chat with you about any of this. You don't have to struggle through it all alone. 

Ready to start looking for an influencer? Start here first.

Never hire someone just on a follower count alone, never. Follower counts are nice to note, but don't carry much weight. In fact, brands are catching on that accounts with smaller followings (known as micro-influencers) sometimes carry more bang-for-your-buck than those with millions. When starting research for a client there are more important questions to ask than knowing how many followers they have. Get on the phone with them and get some answers. Here are a few to get you started... 

  1. What is their story, uniqueness, what makes them likable or interesting? How does that match up with your goal? 
  2. Have they done similar campaigns with similar goals? How successful have they been, what have they learned and want to improve? 
  3. What is their engagement rate? Depending on the industry, a good engagement rate should fall between 3-6%.
  4. What is their audience, and how does it compare to the target audience?
  5. What is their engagement value? Are there strong comments, community building opportunities, or is it all just likes? Strong, unique comments and conversations will always carry more weight.

It's important that when you contact them there is a level of professionalism. Influencer marketing is still so new and because of that that I think sometimes it's taken for granted. As an influencer, and someone who is making a living from working with brands on social media, anyone you contact should know the answer to these questions and more. If an influencer doesn't have an understanding of their own following, what works and what doesn't, and is saying yes to any project that comes through - they probably don't have much influence at all. The more you know... 

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Facebook is testing colored comments...

You know those loud, crazy, bright and strange looking status-updates that keep popping up in your newsfeed and groups? 

Facebook is testing the feature in comments, taking us back to 2008 Myspace days where colors, disorganization, and the user's ability to customize everything was running wild. 

Check it out below, what do you think? Something we'll all get used to quickly or do you think Facebook will kill it before it ever goes live? 

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Why you should have a person dedicated on social media.

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Okay, I understand I'm biased (hire me!). However, I always say a lot of my job is education because no matter how great you are at your marketing-related job, you probably don't realize just how intense social media can be. 

Unfortunately, social media isn't just creating great content, quickly using easy-to-understand tools to push it out to the world, and watching it go viral. If it was I would either A) not have a job or B) be laughing at how easy my job was. 

Let me explain... 

  • Social media needs to be the most integrated part of your marketing department in order to work. I know what you're thinking, "yeah right" or "Julie, get real" but hear me out. Everything your marketing team is doing is important, from events to retail, to e-commerce, to creative, to PR, and everything in between - why shouldn't that all live on social media? It should and in order to make that work, you absolutely need to have someone focused on making that happen. Hi, I'm right here. 
  • Social media is becoming really complicated. One platform does what another doesn't, some tools are available to some brands but not to others, why does it look like that when I post, why is my image distorted, etc., etc. Social media platforms are doing a great job at one thing, complicating things. However, there are a lot of benefits for companies in the changes they are making, you just need someone on your side who is keeping up with those daily changes and shifting your strategy to work in real-time. 
  • Am I successful? It's unreal how much data is out there, and unfortunately, the ones that are most focused on these days don't mean much in terms of true social media success. You need to have a dedicated person who understands social metrics can help understand what is truly working and what metrics should be focused on to measure success for your specific campaign or goal. Hey, still here to help! 
  • Woah, where did the day go? If you're not in social media platforms daily, and not scheduling, creating, organizing, managing platforms all the time - trying to do any of those things on social media can be the ultimate time-suck. Often I hear from clients that managing social media was such an annoyance because the admin side of it took up so much of their time that could be focused on other projects. If you hire a dedicated social media manager, someone who knows how to do these things with their eyes closed (me) then all the sudden the job gets done and you're not wasting your day doing it. 

Social media can flow, flourish, and free (up a lot of your time) easily by having someone to focus on social for you. Let's set up a call today and we can discuss how we may be able to work together. 

Nested comment threads launching on Instagram.

Instagram announced yesterday that they are launching the ability to nest your replys under users comments, similar to Facebook. 

BOOYAH. Do you hear me? Goodbye are the days of seeing a response 20 comments below the person it's intended for. Hello are the easy to read conversations from users. 

My opinion? I think this will improve engagement on brands pages because users will be able to quickly read comments and put in their own opinions easier than scrolling around the puzzle that was Instagram comments before. Plus, multiple conversations on each thread will make it more lively as well. It's like this picture... 

Multiple conversations, beautiful image-like background...

I'll stop. Instagram started sending updates to users app yesterday, so you should see it arriving on your mobile account soon! 

Multi-image advertising from the Instagram app is now available!

Consumers and businesses alike were quick to begin using the newest Instagram feature after it launched earlier this year. Not news to anyone, they added the ability to add multiple images and/or videos to your Insatgram posts - giving a slideshow, carousel, storytelling ability to users (all users, businesses, and consumers). 

However, there was one limitation that was frustrating to businesses. You couldn’t promote these posts. So a post with 4-5 images would be subject to just the traditional news feed reach, which to some – isn’t enough weight for all that content.

Of course, there is always the carousel feature in ads manager on Facebook to run these kinds of ads on Instagram but that takes so much…work.

Starting recently though, Instagram has begun to place the promote button under these posts, allowing for businesses to do the promotion from directly in the app (which we all know, is the best and easiest way).

Happy advertising, businesses!

Psst: Influencers aren't only on Instagram...

I think one of the biggest mistakes I see from marketers who are trying to build their brand using influencer marketing is focusing only on Instagram. 

Depending on the services or products you offer, there is a good chance that your ideal influencer audience may not even be on Instagram. Sure, we watched as influencer culture grew over the years exponentially on Instagram and the world of micro-blogging was introduced through daily posts on the channel.

But the truth of it is, your ideal audience, they may be watching YouTube video or reading blogs at the same engagement rate that they are Instagram. Now as a marketer, would you rather someone read a 500-1000 word blog, pin something to a board for later, watch a 2-minute video... or double tap an image as they mindless scroll through their feed?

Just food for thought... I challenge you, I truly challenge you for your next influencer campaign to search outside of Instagram and explore micro influencers as well! A lot of brands have been very successful using that strategy... but that's another blog, for another day. 

Photo by Levi Guzman on Unsplash

Photo by Levi Guzman on Unsplash

GIFs now available in comments on Facebook

Hey Facebook, thanks. Thank you for this new feature which will ultimately lead to me giggling behind my screen as I read through dull comment debates and conversations daily. 

GIFs (ghiff not jiff, but you could argue with me about that) have been available to post on Facebook for a while now, if you know the trick and have a place where you host the GIF. In order to do this, you need a link that generates the GIF for you. In order to do this, you need to upload it as a file to your website or publish it to a website like GIPHY to generate the link. Then you plug the link into the post and it will generate the GIF for you. Boom. 

In messenger, you could share GIFs from a few GIF hosting databases to add more "hahaha" to your chats which made life very easy and rapidly more entertaining. Sometimes an image simply can't say it correctly, you need the eye-roll, or hair flip, or sassy reality TV start to help you. They have now added that to your comments section.

Note: This is only available on user posts though, not yet introduced to Page posts.

 

 

What are vanity metrics?

Buckle up, a lot of information coming at you! I could talk about analytics and proving social ROI for hours (but I won't unless you ask me to). I could even counter-argue myself through most of what I'm about to type. Why? Well because with social media there is never a one-size-fits-all strategy. Depending on the company, the brand, and the goals it's all going to domino affect and change. But let's start with the basics. 

Number of Followers
With the way that algorithms work across the social world these days - it's possible to have tens-of-thousands of followers and zero engagement. It's possible that you could have 26K followers and not a single person would see it in their newsfeed. Why? The algorithms are designed to show the user the content they want to see, it's based on participation on your page. If someone likes your page and then decides to never pause on your content, like your images, comment on your video - they will slowly stop seeing your posts in their feed because the social channel they're on assumes they are not interested in your content. 

So keep that in mind as you move forward, the most important thing you can focus on with new followers and likes, is to retain their interest. Make sure that the followers you're gaining are genuine and interested in what you have to offer. If they're liking or commenting, engage with them to see if they then start participating more. Create a community, not a social media page.

Number of Likes
Go on a social media field trip with me for this one. Think about traditional advertising on your TV screen. You watch 2 (or more) hours of TV a day and in those hours you are fed let's say 15 advertisements or business messaging. Of those 15, you probably in your head connected to or thought strongly about say seven of them. Now, here's the good part, of those seven - how many did you go on to talk about with friends, learn more information on the brand, purchase products, etc? I'm going to go on the wild side and say one, two maximum....maybe even zero?

Think about likes as those seven advertisements that you well, for lack of better words, liked. You thought they were cool as you were mindlessly watching TV (scrolling through your newsfeed) but you really didn't get a big impression of the brand engraved into your mind, did you? No, you didn't. And that's how social media likes work. 

Field trip over, head home now!

Number of Page Views
If I'm completely honest, this one I tend to bounce around with professionally. Sometimes page views can tell you a lot and sometimes page views can tell you a lot of nothing. I think my argument here is that there is just much more valuable metrics to be following when it comes to your website: conversion, repeat visitors, bounce rate, etc. 

People landing on your page 100K times a month, referred from social media, great! And what percent of those sessions are repeat visitors? Are they converting? Are they landing on the page and running away within seconds because they realize they're not getting what they were looking for? These are the questions you should be focused on. 

I think that's where my love-hate comes from with Page Views. That number, whether it's low or high, should actually open a can of worms for you if you're doing it right. You should be curious to figure out what happens beyond the page view and what that story tells. A page view number on its own is a dud but taking the time to fully analyze all the follow-up questions that come after that, strategic. 

So what metrics matter? Start with engagement. 
Engagement will help you understand what kind of community you are building and how your followers are reacting to your content. You want people to share, comment, tag or mention their friends. These are all actions that take more than two seconds of time and will leave impactful impressions on your followers. Try to get more comments and shares every month, without enticement (like a contest), and that's when you truly know your content marketing is dialed-in and that the voice you're using to talk to your community is what they want to hear.

After engagement, focus on your goals and run reports on analytics that are going to help you understand if you're a little bit closer to reaching those goals. Is your KPI sales? Content marketing, engagement, and conversion. Is your KPI brand awareness? Engagement and influencer marketing. 

Stop using Instagram bots and automation, please.

Instagram is such a fun platform because there is such a sense of community. For the brands I work with watching people share, comment, and talk about the brand on Instagram is really exciting. You can find inspiration, ideas, friends and clients all in one place. But unfortunately, I'm forced to roll my eyes daily at accounts who are actually PAYING money for the "benefit" of having a high follower count. Sorry, it doesn't work like that. 

It's becoming really popular for bloggers and small business owners to purchase Instagram automation techniques to try to grow their accounts and increase their likes. Have you ever gotten comments on your page that are generic and boring, mentions like, "great!" Sometimes you get the, "nice pic!" Others go as far to include an emoji of no relevence to your page. 

Yeah, those are fake. The accounts are real, probably run by people who have blogs, influencers accounts, or small businesses looking to grow their channels but the comments are dead. They are generated by a computer, and the comments are designed to be able to be posted on ANY photo. So unfortunately, no real person actually went out of their way to comment "great" on your photo.  

Why would people use these generators?
Many people get into social media and quickly develop the idea that they need to get likes and followers. If you use organic Instagram growth strategies, your account will grow slowly and most people don't have the patience for that. They want an "insta-famous" account, and they want it now. 

That sounds great, why wouldn't you want to do that?
The likes and followers that you gain from these automation programs aren't going to be the kind of likes and followers you're hoping for, the comments and likes you're telling the robot to leave are fake and the followers and likes you get are just that, fake. The more followers you have doesn't directly mean you'll instantly be making tons of money, your services will go viral, your feed will be talked about - no, not with automation. The new followers aren't going to be genuinely interested in your account and about half of the time, they're spam accounts that follow anyone who follows them. If you grow your account slowly, using real Instagram strategies you'll end up building a community, a community of people who are genuinely interested in your account and feed. 

You also risk the chance of your account being SHUT DOWN.
Instagram will figure you out if you're following 7000 accounts a day, liking 2000 photos, and commenting "wow" on 1000 images a day. This is against Instagram's terms of use, and if caught - they will close your account. It happens all the time. 

Overall, these programs will do what they say - grow your followers and likes exponentially. However, the new followers you gain are not valuable for your brand, and the impression you leave on other accounts with your blanket comments can be damaging. 

Social media takes patience, it does. If you use the right strategies and grow your account the right way, you'll find yourself with a community of really well-intentioned followers and clients who are interested in your products and services. Isn't that the goal in the first place?