Does your conversation with your social media audience feel like this. Ask yourself, does your social audience feel like you just felt watching this video? By this I mean, you can definitely identify a conversation is taking place, but you can’t seem to get anything out of it. One of the biggest frustrations for social media managers is to spend a lot of time and effort producing content that has low engagement. However there’s two reasons for this: Content Matching and Social Buy In (post on buy in coming soon).
It is important that after researching on which networks to use that you match your content to the right place. This is an essential thing to do because of what is known as the mindset divide. This is how people determine the networks they use and gravitate to. So people typically use social networks for two major reasons: to invest or spend time. On some networks like LinkedIn people are more interested in investing their time in learning and working. Whereas people on Facebook are there to play and spend time checking out cool stuff. Each network user therefore has different expectations of what content is suitable. So we should use this knowledge to target the right content to the right people and networks.
Ideally you must match your positioning to message context by tailoring your content to the personality of the network. On Facebook for example, we should focus more on the interest of our audiences and not try to be as brand focused. On LinkedIn you must present yourselves more professionally and really dress your content in a suit and tie. Each network has it’s own personality and therefore dictates what works and doesn’t work on it. Here’s a quick breakdown of the big four:
Twitter “the buzz generator”
- More informal
- Great for sharing content that reaches a lot of people
- Needs less rapport to establish connection
- Not great for long form content
- Great for curation
- Needs a lot of attention to remain relevant
Facebook “the humaniser”
- Users have an exception of friendship
- More personal and friendlier
- Users appreciate less frequent and more valuable updates from their brands
- Must like business to become a fan so it’s heavily opt in in nature
- Great for humanising your brand
LinkedIn “the professional”
- More formal; users generally have fewer connections
- Share industry and business-focused content
- Reserved for business conversations
- Great for demonstrating expertise and knowledge
Google+ “the search optimiser”
- Less active than some, but favours valuable content
- +1 buttons showing up next to results can improve click through rates
- Great for local search optimisation
Content matching is extremely important and can allow for you to establish what content to create, and above all, what networks you should be on. There’s no industry that shouldn’t have a social media presence. Like I always say, Social media is not a trend, its an innovation of conversation. Social media essentially gave internet users something to do when their not researching, hence why it is responsible for a large percentage of overall internet usage. This informal training led us into sharing content differently and connecting with people differently. To be successful online you must utilise all the tools of the internet, and social media is one of the biggest. This is achieved by allowing people to connect with you online and inspiring them to share your content.
However, be careful not to get caught in the trap of using social media as a front to present yourselves as something you aren’t. Neither should you establish a social presence without thinking carefully how your going to manage it. Setting up an online presence alone won’t suddenly make an organisation more social. The question for a organisation to ask is not whether to use social media. The question to ask is how to make your organisation more engaging. An antisocial organisation using social media is still an antisocial organisation. Figuring out what content you want to create and then matching it according to the audience and the network their on is just one of the few steps required when delving into the world of social networking for business.
I recently came across an ebook entitled “Social Media is about People and not Profiles”. The book did a tremendous job of highlighting some of the grievous mistakes we make when we begin to treat our communities as numbers and statistics, and not actual people like ourselves. My favourite quotation from the book is the featured image for the entire post. I loved it so much that I decided to turn it into an instaquote, and now a blog post. To be successful at anything online means to be a facilitator of active participation around your product or service. The best way to do this is to create content that speaks to your audience and leaves then in awe of you and your work.
The big question is: “What does this content look like, and how do you make it?”
If content is king, then context is it’s personal aid. Content blasts don’t work and they are a waste of time. So the ideal situation is to create the right content for the right people, and then put it in the right places. You want to leave people with the impression that you understand them and that you are an organisation that knows how to fix their problems. In order to do that you must be able to identify them and then seek them out and to identify them you must engage in a process of defining and creating what are known as buyer personas.
Creating Buyer Personas
A buyer persona is a term used to describe your target audience. For instance, if you are a marketing manager at a hotel, you might have five buyer personas: an independent business traveller, a corporate travel manager, an event planner, a vacationing family, and a couple planning their wedding reception. When running marketing campaigns or creating content, you will need to adapt your message to these different buyer personas. Buyer personas will dictate every marketing activity you do.
Buyer Personas help to, first, identify what your message is and who it is for, and second, make an informed decision of what networks to be on. Buyer personas are identified through thorough research of your customers and knowledge of your product and what you offer. The first thing to do in this process is to listen. What are your customers saying? What concerns them? What is happening in your industry? Listening really helps in the process of figuring out content strategies and defining buyer personas. By far, the best content for increasing your online community is solution based content. John C Maxwell says:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Why Buyer Personas help
If you spend the majority of time showing off your expertise and trying to prove that you know it all, you risk only having one-sided content. Alternately if you aimlessly put up posts for the sake of keeping a page active you might switch people off entirely or bore them off your product. Solution based content ensures a healthy balance between demonstrating credibility, and providing solutions that keep people coming back for more. The easiest way i know how to create this content is to first develop buyer personas. If you need inspiration on what this might look like, visit this page here.
The ultimate goal in all this is to develop a compelling and enticing user experience that speaks to your personas makes them loyal followers and potential customers. Maya Angelou said:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This speaks clearly to the user experience you should be aiming to build and the impression you want to give. LEt me know what you think in the comments below or better yet contact me and let me know how i can help you become an online marketing legend.
Social Media is not a trend it’s an innovation of conversation. In today’s information age, sharing information and connecting in communities forms a very big component of the way we communicate today. Organisations that thrive well on the internet are those that can facilitate productive communication around their service or product.
At the recent Waste and Recycle conference i was asked to speak on ways local government could use social media to develop and engage their communities. I presented an idea that Local government and other related industries could use this medium to better communicate with the people they serve. Take a listen to find out more.
Staying in business is no longer about exchanging business cards and calling it a day. Its now about, staying connected with leaders on LinkedIn, following colleagues on Twitter, and Googling each other to see what we’re all about. In today’s information age it is important to take control of our individual images so that the people e influence can learn more about us. This used to be a daunting task but since the advent of social media its becoming increasingly easier.
Introducing Let’s Get Social: a collaborative ebook designed to aid CEO’s and individuals on how to use social media to leverage themselves and the organisations they represent. You can watch the presentation for the launch of the book below or download free ebook for yourself using the link below:
Social media is here to stay and being committed to improving the way your organisation does it is almost imperative to your online success. However, the biggest setback in our ability to successfully use social media lies within our very own organisations. This post is dedicated to highlighting the seven deadliest sins, or rather, seven things organisations dude to slim their chances of social media success. This list is no particular order. Remember to comment
1. Outsourcing Everything
Outsourcing marketing and advertising is not a bad idea, particularly if your organisation hasn’t got the capacity to produce the necessary material you need to get certain messages out. Outsourcing social media is also not a bad idea particularly if you do it with the right people, however, you definitely shouldn’t should outsource everything. No matter how convincing an agency may sound, they cannot possibly understand your organisation the way you, and your employees do. Social media in business is a conversation between people and the organisations they love. These people have questions, concerns, and interests that they turn to social media to have answered. I don’t see how Jane from Joe Blogg’s agency could possibly understand how to answer those key issues and respond to them adequately. It pays to have a staff that knows how to handle social media internally and can turn the channel into a powerful tool that provides value to the people you serve. Turn to the professionals when you have campaigns or strategies that need to be drawn up, but regular posting and responding to questions should always be handled internally.
2. Using Social Media Inconsistently
Social Media is a commitment not a campaign. It’s not something you do for a few months and then move on to the next thing. The reason why? Social media is not a trend, it’s an innovation of conversation and connectivity. The advent of the internet and modern technology has transformed the way we communicate. People share information, like and comment on things they find interesting, participate in forums and join communities online. A study on Australian online behaviour showed that 13 million Australians spend up to 18 hours online on more than one device. The same article also states:
“Creating relationships between brands and consumers requires more than just a clever tagline and some posh marketing materials. To truly connect with customers, we need to understand their behaviour and motivations.”
To be effective online using social media you must commit to understanding how people engage with your organisation, and improve on connecting people around your service or product. This means being present and visible on social media as well as your other mediums of communication. Social media is not a magic bullet, but rather, an opportunity to learn things about your clients that you wouldn’t otherwise know if it weren’t for the platforms they use to talk to you. Check out these interesting case studies.
3. Content Blasting
Content blasting is when an organisation posts information just for the sake of it. There’s no strategy or purpose behind it, they just post because it’s content they have created and don’t want to waste, or on the other hand, it’s content they think their audience wants to see and hear from them. The problem with content blasting (shooting in the dark) is that it narrows your chances of seeing any progress from your social media activities or extracting vital information from your audience. A good content strategy is the key to curbing content blasting because it should help do the following:
- Identify your audience
- Schedule and control distribution of content
- Categorise and prioritise content
- Help with providing relevant information to put on social media
- Dictate tone and style of engagement
With a good strategy in place you will begin to see results from the time you have invested in to creating remarkable content. Have a look at Amana Living’ s Facebook page and see how they have turned their page into a platform to celebrate their staff and the people who make their brand special.
4. “Social Ownership”
Having worked and consulted with various organisations around the subject of Social Media, I have noticed a deadly trend that I have called “Social Ownership”. Social Ownership is when a particular person or group of people within an organisation are given the task of handling all social media duties and responsibilities. These people are left alone with little to no support, and are expected to deliver results as if they are. If management within an organisations are not willing to help create an environment where social media can succeed it is doomed to fail. Ideally social media should be an organisation wide activity run by a person or group of people. For your social media team to feel supported in what they do, makes them much more productive in creating content, and building a productive social presence.
5. Broadcasting vs Humanising
I’ve come across countless organisations that have turned their social media channels into glorified news letters. Organisations that do this have totally lost the plot and do not understand how social media works. To avoid becoming an organisation that interrupts as opposed to providing quality content you must apply the “cocktail party rule”. The cocktail party rule simply dictates that the most interesting person to talk to at a cocktail does three things: Facilitate great conversation, Involve people in the conversation, Talks about themselves and others.
So people typically use social networks for two major reasons: invest or spend. On some networks like LinkedIn people are more interested in investing their time in learning and working. Whereas people on Facebook are there to play and spend time checking out cool stuff. Each network user therefore has different expectations of what content is suitable, depending on they have decided to spend time. So we should use this knowledge to target the right content to the right people and networks. When you content blast you risk alienating your audience by not being able to match your content with their needs and interests. Check out the Plastic Free July Facebook page and observe how they balance broadcasting and being human.
6. Using Social Media Against the Odds
As mentioned in sin number two earlier in this post: social media is a commitment not a campaign. Using social media against the odds is when you only use social media when you’re in crisis or at your convenience. So let me paint a picture for you of how this could typically look in an organisation. You realise that you haven’t got a budget to print out fliers or go with a traditional route of marketing, so you turn to social media to compensate for this problem. However, in the mean time you haven’t invested anything into your social media but still have expectations for it to work somehow.
Most organisations struggle with understanding why people don’t like their content and don’t provide that “viral” magic that everyone seems to talk about. In the world of social media you actually have to earn the right to ask people for their help or to nurture their support towards your initiatives. Think about it this way. How many charities, companies, retail outlets, restaurants, and franchise want your to pay attention to what their doing or get on board with their cause. Heaps. So in this time where people have more choices and less time to pay attention to these choices, people are now conditioned to ignore things that don’t add value to their lives. So if you’re organisation represents interruption and not value you will forever be ignored as yet another thing. In order for you to get the respect you need and see the results you want you have to invest in the people you serve.
7. Using Social Media with Anti-social Rules.
It surprises me that to this day, that there are some organisations that are afraid that they may be people out there who don’t like them, or have anything nice to say about them. It also surprises me that organisations today still believe that they have never had an unsatisfied customer. This leaves them with the fear of seeing negative comments or responding to people’s not-so-nice questions on social media. They have this fear that if everybody sees such comments, they will start to see them as a bad organisation that don’t do good by it’s people. As a result, organisations tend to ignore people who complain and have serious questions, hoping somehow they will still have their respect tomorrow.
Organisations then create rules about how people can engage with them, which in turn, creates a negative response from its customers, who realise that you’re not to there to help them, but rather to use use them for your own benefit. Social media success is a two way street where an organisation listens, and its customers give back to the company, vital information, or business. Take Qantas as an example. Qantas uses their Twitter account as an outlet for customer service. Just watch the feed, and see how they interact with their customers. Don’t get me wrong, its not always a rosy affair (Just look at this), but their bravery to take on those people has earned them a lot of respect. Qantas essentially used their twitter to show their human side. the side that cares its customers frustrations can be handled and dealt with effectively. How does your company handle it.
I hope you enjoyed these 7 Deadly sins. Be sure to share them with your colleagues.
Social Media is a powerful tool in engaging, mobilising, and organising communities around specific goals and initiatives. Its viral and social nature allow for an easy, and cost efficient way of spreading your message to a willing audience. Organisations must start to use social media to leverage their permission marketing capacity, and begin to harness quality feedback and support from a willing community of like-minded people. Engaging with a committed audience puts your organisation in a unique position that allows them to do the following:
- Improve services and service delivery
- Share content with their friends willingly
- Influence people to join movements
- Create characters and champions
- Provide a place to gather social media intelligence
However the key to having a well-run, well-organised social media machine is in building lasting relationships with the communities you lead by harnessing the power of Social media Intelligence.
Being Online Means Being Social
In the late 80’s and early 90’s the first version of the Internet also known as Web 1.0, was fairly popular attracting 45 million users globally, and had around 250,000 registered websites. Web 2.0, which is the current version of the Internet, has over 1 billion global users and over 634 million (and counting) registered websites. What happened to the Internet that caused it to become so popular and cement itself as an indispensable tool in our lives? It‘s simple: it became friendlier and easier for everyone. Web 1.0 was about producing content for consumption only and Web 2.0 is about producing content for active participation and sharing. Therefore the basis of the Internet is about sharing and active participation, and real success on the Internet is governed by how well an organisation can facilitate that for its audience. Many organisations feel/felt alienated by the Internet because of the nature of their industry. Industries like Government, Health and Mining are still feeling their way around the medium and are slowly coming round to using it well. There is a real need for these industries to start learning how to use social media to their advantage, and it starts with understanding that being successful online means being facilitators of active participation.
Social Media should be about leading a Community
Most organisations have seen the benefits of having a social media presence and are starting to take real steps towards using it effectively as a successful communications tool. However, most people put themselves under pressure to have millions of followers or create the next Gangnam style. This pressure unfortunately has resulted in the creation of numerous Social Media “Ghost Towns” (accounts that exist but have no activity) and many organisations quitting after feeling inadequate, or disheartened, by the “lack” of activity on their pages. Admittedly it can be difficult to work the Social Media machine but that’s because most of us go about it the wrong way. Social Media should be about leading a community and learning how to talk to them. Too often we are to broad with our message and can alienate our audience by seemingly talking to someone else. This often happens when we create content that does not resonate with them at all. To curb this we need to be intelligent.
Social Media Intelligence
Social media intelligence is insight gained into the people you serve by collecting key information from social media platforms. This information includes the following:
- Their likes and dislikes.
- The content they respond to and ignore.
- Some of their issues and interests.
- The touch-points you share
- Their true feelings about your service
The key is then to leverage this information in your favour and use it to improve their lives or online experience. This two-way style of communication benefits both parties as on one hand your audience gains quality information and you gain knowledge on how to serve.
At the end of the day, social media is about people not profiles and statistics. It’s the people you communicate with that determine how you should use it and if you’re using it well. If you are on social media start gathering intelligence and use that information to develop better relationships with your community. If your aren’t on social media it is important to note that creating an online presence alone won’t suddenly make an organisation more social. The question for an organisation to ask is not whether to use social media. The question to ask is how to make your organisation more engaging. An antisocial organisation using social media is still an antisocial organisation.