Astronaut Chris Hadfield has successfully returned from a 5-month mission as commander aboard the ISS and has undoubtedly inspired a generation through his unprecedented use of social media and content creation.
When reviewing the history of his busy orbital publication calendar, it became clear that there are many important lessons and reminders about social media and content development that businesses, brands, marketers and advertisers can benefit from.
Here are 7 things that stood out to me from Chris’ success on social media:
1 – Even a tweeting astronaut needs a little help from a social media team
Chris’s son, Evan, was responsible for helping his father carry on conversations, post updates, link to related content, and more.
Establishing, nurturing and engaging social media communities can be significant work and can benefit from having multiple people not only contributing to day-to-day management, but also to strategy, content ideas, creative approaches to using social media platforms, content curation, production management, and more.
2 – It’s okay to laugh a little
With relative frequency, Chris posted updates that were light and humourous.
Humour is a fantastic way to entertain an audience, demonstrate personality, add variety to your content mix, make yourself seem approachable, and attract new audience members to your community.
3 – Even if you’re in space, you should remember that your audience is on Earth
Virtually all of Chris’ social media updates satiated the appetite of average people to learn the fundamentals of what it is like to experience living in space.
Oftentimes, the best performing educational content will not be the most advanced. The reason why most people seek out information online and through social media networks is because they don’t have a deep understanding – such as formal education or vast experience – of the subject matter that is of interest to them. Therefore, they’ll benefit most from what you might consider to be fundamental.
4 – Plan ahead to optimize your production value
It is clear that some of the content Chris produced while on the ISS was pre-planned, and it showed in the production value (view Chris Hadfield’s fantastic reimagining of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” here).
Planning the creation of content affords you the ability to think about optimal production techniques and processes, refine ideas, edit for superior quality, be comfortable and confident in your performance (if applicable), assemble a team to assist you, and achieve greater production value than would otherwise be possible.
5 – Involve your community of Earthlings
Throughout his mission, Chris responded to questions, video conferenced, and encouraged his audience to engage with his content.
It seems a bit silly to say, but don’t forget that social media should be social. Businesses and brands frequently operate in a vacuum on social media, treating it more like a broadcast platform than a tool through which to interact and engage with their audiences. Be social and get your audience involved.
6 – What seems mundane to you, can be fascinating to others
Many of Chris Hatfield’s most popular social media content is of his everyday experiences in space, which proved to be fascinating.
You are an expert in your field for a reason. You have experience and knowledge that others do not possess. You probably are chalk full of information, ideas, and experiences that your audience would find fascinating for you to share, even if to you it seems mundane and relatively basic.
7 – Add value by offering a new perspective
When you think of an astronaut engaging an audience on social media from space, you probably think they’ll be focused on the stars, planets, the vastness of space, and more otherworldly things. While Chris could have published content about these things, he chose to focus much of his attention back at Earth, effectively giving us a new perspective on ourselves.
Sometimes there is huge value to offer by giving your audience a new perspective on subject matter that is familiar to them. Whether you are creating content, or refining the value proposition of your business, try not to overlook what your consumers might think they already know, and try offering them a new view on the familiar. It can be extremely powerful.
What are your most memorable moments of Chris Hadfield’s mission and activity on social media?
Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial, it would be fun to geek out with you about this.
Do you have access to Facebook’s targeting options for your timeline posts on your business or brand Page?
Funnily enough, I’ve found that this feature isn’t enabled by default for many Facebook Pages, which means you may need to make a few adjustments to gain access.
If you don’t have access to Facebook’s timeline post targeting options, no worries.
You can fix this by adjusting your privacy settings. Skip to the step-by-step instructions below for how to adjust your privacy settings to be given access to this powerful feature.
Being able to target an audience for your Facebook updates can be incredibly powerful.
It allows you to create and publish content for your audience with added context, which will make your posts all the more valuable. Also, if you have messaging or content that is only relevant or valuable to a portion of your audience, you can target your updates specifically for them, so as to not spam the rest of your audience and risk dreaded ‘unlikes’.
Targeting your posts is win-win for you and your consumers.
Benefits of targeting your posts include higher engagement and interaction with your content, and your audience will see greater value in the content you provide to them, which can lead to greater brand affinity, loyalty, virality, or stronger purchase intent to list a few.
Currently Facebook allows you to target based on your audience’s gender, relationship status, educational status, interests, age, geographic location, and language.
Following are step-by-step instructions for how to gain access to Facebook’s powerful timeline post targeting options on your business or brand Page:
STEP 1: In the Admin Panel, click on the ‘Edit Page’ drop-down menu
STEP 2: Click ‘Edit Settings’
STEP 3: Ensure you’re on the ‘Manage Permissions’ tab
STEP 4: Check the ‘Post privacy gating’ check box
STEP 5: Click ‘Save Settings’
That’s it! Those few easy steps and you’ve unlocked a whole new world of possibilities for your business or brand on Facebook.
If you have just gained access to Facebook’s targeting options, how do you plan to utilize them?
If you’ve been using Facebook’s targeting options for some time, how have you effectively been using them?
It would be awesome to chat with you about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial, so please don’t be shy to share your thoughts.
There are amazing businesses and brands producing amazing content every day. This post will give props to BMW and specifically a concept vehicle rendering they recently created for Eli, a 4-year-old fan of the brand.
What they did
This was an amazing case of BMW listening, identifying an opportunity, and responding accordingly.
Jalopnik, a popular automotive and automotive lifestyle blog, recently posted an article about Eli, a 4-year-old nephew of a dedicated reader, and the incredibly imaginative details about his dream car. The car was to be a BMW, have 42 wheels and be 42 wheel drive, be powered by 19 Porsche engines, and have 3 steering wheels, to list a few of the features… oh, and the trunk was to be filled with toys so you can play in it. The article can be found here.
BMW, recognizing this as an amazing opportunity to make the vision and dream of a 4-year-old fan come to life, created an awesome rendering of what this car might look like. The rendering was posted to Facebook with a special note to Eli. Check it out here.
Why it’s killer
BMW listened and identified an opportunity to reach one fan, a fan that is a 4-year-old boy. By doing this, not only have they made a lifelong fan of Eli, but they’ve likely increased affinity amongst all who were witness to this story, humanized their brand, and successfully generated meaningful conversations in the Jalopnik community.
Also, talk about crazy levels of engagement; 3,250 shares, 668 comments, and 7,666 likes. Looking back at average engagement with BMW’s previous 10 Facebook updates, this represents 1,806 percent higher than average shares, 1,268 percent higher than average comments, and 369 percent higher than average likes. Wow.
What can be applied to your business?
Keep your ear to the ground
Listen to the chatter that is happening about your business or brand. What you hear might surprise you, and opportunities will present themselves to engage your audience.
Be open and flexible about those whom you engage
Sometimes the best way to engage your audience might be to engage people who typically fall outside of your target demographic. Finding engagement opportunities that are atypical can turn everyday content into a story that a broader audience can identify with.
Try something new
Even if your content strategy performs exceptionally well for your business or brand, occasionally try new things. Becoming complacent is a great way to lose the attention of your audience, so give them new conversation starters to rally behind, new content to engage with, a new perspective to ponder, and on.
Have you seen any killer content recently? If so, please share, I’d love to check it out.
It would be great to chat with you more about this amazing content in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Killer Content is a new theme I’ve been thinking about adding to my content mix, this being my first effort. It would be awesome to know what you think in one of the regular places; the comments, on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or LinkedIn
Creating content and engaging a multilingual Facebook community presents many obvious challenges, though none of which are insurmountable.
I live and work in Canada, which means many of the national clients I’ve worked with require that all marketing materials and content for social media be created in English and French. While this can sometimes prove to be challenging, there are a few tips and considerations that can make your life easier and help to sustain the impact of your content, no matter what language it is in.
Following are 3 tips for managing your multilingual Facebook Page and creating awesome multilingual content:
1 – Use the native tools that Facebook provides to target by language
Facebook provides a tool that controls who can see your posts. When posting to multilingual communities, you’ll want to limit who can view each of your posts based on peoples’ language preferences.
There are a few reasons why this is important; you don’t want to annoy consumers with posts that aren’t in their native language, you don’t want the content your consumers are interested in to be pushed down your timeline, and you don’t want irrelevant content cluttering your consumers’ newsfeeds, which could result in an unlike.
So, how do you control the content that can be seen based on users’ language preferences? Here’s a quick 1-2-3:
Click on the Public button.
Choose to target by location/language.
Type the language that your consumers should speak to view your post.
2 – Take cultural differences into consideration when creating content
Depending on the category in which you compete, there might be cultural differences that you’ll want to take into account when creating content for your Facebook community.
For instance, I live and work in Canada where we have two official languages – English and French. When creating content for French-speaking Canadians, who largely reside in Quebec, it can be helpful to know that they tend to have a much more cheeky, irreverent, and over-the-top sense of humour than English-speaking Canadians. Also, French-speaking Canadians tend to identify more strongly with products and services that have local roots.
Take time to learn the cultural nuances between your consumers who speak different languages, and how you can address those differences to create the best possible content.
3 – Don’t simply translate your content, adapt it
You create your content in language X, and you need it in language Y, so you should just have it translated. Right? Not exactly. A lesson I’ve learned more than once is that it’s not quite that simple. In different languages, there are many words that take on new meaning when they are translated, or contextually don’t make the same sense they do in the native language of your content. This is why it really pays off to have your content adapted by someone who is familiar with the linguistic and cultural intricacies of your targeted consumers. It could be the difference of your content being a hit, or a complete bust.
Do you have any tips or tricks on how to manage and create content for a multilingual social media community?
It would be awesome to chat about your thoughts in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
After a snowy commute home from work, and a bit of dinner, I logged in to get an update on today’s NHL scores, check on the last couple of hour’s social media activity, and begin writing a new blog post.
When I logged into Facebook I was met with a notification above my News Feed for a Graph Search tutorial, and that it was available to be used. Let me tell you, I feel like a kid on Wednesday!
Are you thinking, ‘Damn! Why don’t I have access to Graph Search?!?’
If you don’t have access to Graph Search, it’s currently in beta and you have to be a big shot to get an invitation to participate. Okay, okay – I’m kidding. Simply navigate to Facebook here, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click the large button that reads, ‘Try Graph Search’. Pretty simple. It took a couple of days for me to be given access, so hopefully it will be equally as speedy for you.
First things first, I’ve been using Graph Search for all of about 25 minutes, so this is by no means a comprehensive review, just a few initial observations and impressions, all of which are from a user’s point of view.
For the first time, I’m using Facebook with a sense of discovery
One of the things I love about Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and other social media networks is that I can discover content, easily meet new people, and participate in discussions without directly knowing those I’m interacting with, or the people behind the content with which I’m engaging.
Historically with Facebook, much of my engagement has been with people I’ve met in the real world, and with businesses, brands and organizations with which I’ve had real world experience.
All of the information we give to Facebook is finally being used to enhance our experience with the platform. Tonight, because of Graph Search, I’ve been using Facebook with a sense of discovery. I’m learning things about my ‘friends’ – what they’re into, what we have in common, groups of friends who might have like interests, and on. I’m browsing photos in a more meaningful way, not having to creep each of my friends’ photos one at a time. And, I’m able to already see that if I needed to tap my social graph for information or advice, I’d be able to do a search that would help me identify the most qualified people to engage. In short, I like what this adds to my Facebook experience, and I’m looking forward to digging into it further.
Design changes are minimal, but smart
Graph Search is located in the omnipresent blue notification bar that sits at the top of your page. The old Facebook logo that sat on the left hand side has been replaced with a white ‘F’ icon with the words, ‘Search for people, places and things’, directly beside.
There have been some additional small design changes made, but nothing really worthy of note.
Overall, the design adjustments work nicely, and the location of the search field will be convenient to use. I’m thankful that Graph Search is predominantly located as I can already see this being a useful tool.
Search hasn’t been completely reinvented, which is good
The search itself feels good. It works precisely how it has been explained in every blog post you’ve read about Facebook’s latest pillar. ‘My friends who play hockey’ yields, a list of your friends who play hockey. ‘Photos of my friends taken in China’ yields – you guessed it – photos of your friends that were taken in China. Everything is how you’d expect it to be.
I’m anticipating there being a short learning curve to get fully acquainted with all of Facebook’s search operators, but it’s also very intuitive.
In the near future, I believe that Graph Search will be a tool that is synonymous with the Facebook experience. We’ll reflect on a time when the platform seemed archaic for not giving users the tools required to filter through the gaggles of information that is already clumsily available. And, we will see the power that can be wielded when the shared experiences of our social graphs is properly organized, searchable and tapped.
What are your initial impressions of Graph Search?
How do you think Graph Search will affect your Facebook experience?
Do you think Graph Search will have any implications for businesses or brands on Facebook? If so, what?
It would be amazing to hear and respond to your thoughts in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
For related reading, check out my post, Facebook Graph Search: Implications For Businesses And Brands
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