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.
The reality of social media and content marketing is such that no matter what business you are in, you are also in the publication business.
Publishing meaningful content is incredibly important for businesses to cultivate, maintain, and grow their business. A strong digital and social media presence can be a deciding factor for many consumers who are increasingly looking to digital and social platforms to assist them with their purchase decisions.
To develop a strong social media and digital presence, it is critical for businesses to create and sustain regular publication calendars.
The regularity that each business publishes content is really dependent on your respective audience and what platform you are publishing on. For some businesses this could mean publishing content several times per day, and for others it could mean once per month, or longer.
Regardless of how frequently you need to publish new content, it is absolutely necessary that you do so with dependability, and that the content you publish is strategically relevant to your business. Creating a publication calendar can assist with both of these things.
Following are a few of the reasons why creating and sustaining a regular publication calendar is imperative:
Keep consumers interested and involved with your business
Think about the websites and blogs that you visit on a daily basis. It’s likely that they’re constantly being updated with interesting content that is relevant to you. If those sites weren’t updated frequently and dependably, you probably wouldn’t have the same interest in them as you do.
When establishing a publication calendar for you your business or brand, ensure that you’re going to be providing new content frequently enough to keep your audience interested, engaged, and coming back for more.
Dominate search results
Search engines index some types of content independently. Blog posts and videos are prime examples of content formats that appear this way.
If your business or brand is producing content in accordance to a regular publication calendar, your business is going to be more likely to dominate search results for your business, industry, category, and related search terms. Ultimately this will lead to greater exposure, an influx of leads, and if you are able to convert, sales.
Feed your content pipeline
This is an obvious one, but still worth mentioning. Creating a publication calendar for your brand will help to keep content creators in your organization organized and focused on producing content on a regular and ongoing basis. This will result in a steady stream of material to feed your content pipeline.
Show consumers that you’re in business!
Have you ever arrived on a business’ website, blog, or social media network to see that their last content update was 7 months ago and thought, ‘I wonder if these guys are even in business anymore’?
Even if you haven’t thought exactly this, it leaves consumers with a negative impression of a business or brand when they appear to an ill-maintained digital or social media property. It can read as a lack of enthusiasm, dedication, or commitment to your business, which are all thoughts you don’t want your consumers to have.
The simple solve is – you guessed it – to create a regular publication calendar and stick with it. If you’re going to be publishing new content relatively infrequently, it might be worthwhile communicating your schedule in a highly visible place such as your ‘About’ page so visitors will understand when they should check back in for new content.
Continuous improvement and provision of value
Another great benefit to creating and maintaining a regular publication calendar is that it will keep you thinking about your business, consumers, category, products, services, innovation, and any number of ways you can provide value to your consumers through social media.
This will force you to stay relevant, to develop and grow the way you think about all aspects of your business, and your consumers will thank you for it by seeing you as a trusted source of value and leader in your category. Results of this can include increased brand affinity, loyalty, strengthened purchase intent, and more.
There are a huge number of benefits that publishing content on a regular and ongoing basis can afford. Creating and executing against a well-crafted publication calendar can help to keep you, your social media team, and social media contributors organized and working to maximize success.
How does a publication calendar help your organization stay organized on social media?
Have you ever had a negative experience from not employing a publication calendar?
What are the greatest benefits that you have experienced from executing against a publication calendar?
It would be great to discuss this with you further in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Real-time social media marketing can be incredibly powerful as it adds elements of context and relevance to your social media content and audience interactions.
The challenge for many organizations is that existing processes can stand in the way of engaging and interacting with audiences in a timely manner. Process by its nature takes time, and virtually strips organizations of being able to act in real-time.
Opportunity identification, legal reviews, running approvals up the ladder, creative ideation, risk assessment, production, organizing and rallying a team to create content are a few of the factors that can grind execution of the best intentions to a halt.
All of these components are important, but to capitalize on real-time opportunities on social media, certain planning and preparation will need to be in place. Also, in some cases, concessions or modifications might need to be made to your organization’s regular processes.
Following are a few suggestions and ideas for how you can prepare your organization to be equipped engage in real-time on social media:
Pre-establish roles and responsibilities
Pre-establishing roles and responsibilities will keep your team organized, focused, and ready to act. When an opportunity is identified you’ll be happy to have your team chosen and roles established so you can get straight to producing something amazing instead of figuring out who’s going to be doing what.
Set guardrails as a team
Consider working with all reviewers and decision makers on a set of guidelines to abide by for any real-time social media marketing efforts. Chances are that there is a fairly well defined set of dos and don’ts that can be applied across the board, regardless of context. If these are set from the get-go, you might be able to reduce, or even eliminate, review timelines down the road.
Organize an expedited process where possible
Getting all decision makers, reviewers, and legal advisers on board with expediting their respective processes to pass a piece of content is of utmost importance. If there are parts of your existing process that just can’t be changed, ensure that everyone involved understands just how critical timing is for real-time marketing to be effective, and perhaps they’ll be able to help with determining how to expedite their contribution to the process.
Create and publish now, apologize later
The fastest way to work through process is simply to eliminate it. Depending on your organization’s tolerance for risk, you may find that the best approach to real-time social media marketing process is to virtually ignore the bottlenecks, publish your content without all previously necessary reviews and approvals, and should anything go awry, work to solve that problem later. Hopefully if you have done due diligence to establish guardrails, you can avoid any issues.
Open your lines of communication
One of the main points of real-time social media marketing is to open the lines of communication between your business and your consumers to carry on a dialogue or conversation in near real-time. To facilitate this, your internal lines of communication will also need to be opened and streamlined. Save yourself precious time by finding opportunities to cut through hierarchy, politics, and any other circumstances that tend to slow or cloud internal communications.
Gain the support of senior leadership
Having someone in a senior leadership position as a strong supporter of your team and efforts will greatly ease your ability to act swiftly and minimize roadblocks. If you are not in a senior leadership position yourself, and need to gain the support of someone who is, try to recruit him or her by demonstrating the value of real-time marketing, and by showing them how it can be executed without spiraling out of control.
In order for real-time social media marketing to be practiced effectively, processes need to be adjusted, and in some cases, recreated. Every business will have unique needs for process, so you’ll need to determine what works best for your organization and adjust accordingly.
What processes does your organization have in place to facilitate real-time social media marketing?
How do you work through process in a timely fashion to allow for real-time social media marketing efforts?
It would be great to chat with you about this more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
When determining how to manage social media marketing efforts, many businesses – particularly smaller businesses – default to putting the intern in charge.
And why not?
They have time. They’re young and ‘into social media’. They have 1,000 Facebook friends, and 2,000 Twitter followers.
They’re perfect, right?
Well, not exactly. Putting an intern in charge of your business’ social media marketing is all but a guaranteed recipe for disappointment. Here are a few reasons why:
Do you expect them to fully understand and drive results for your business?
In order for social media marketing activity to generate real results for your business, a solid understanding of your business is required. Sure you can have others assist with developing your social media strategy, but at the end of the day, the person/people responsible for bringing it to life on a day-to-day basis, and those who will be engaging and interacting with your audience, need to know how to do these things in meaningful, impactful, and strategically relevant ways to your business.
Do you think they’ll be able to correlate all of your business’ functions and apply them to social media activity?
Activity on social media tends to yield the best results when it works in concert with other business functions such as marketing, advertising, sales, human resources, operations, customer service, and more. Simply put, for interns or junior employees to be able to draw connections between all of these functions and correlate them to appropriate efforts on social media will be all but impossible for them to pull off with any level of effectiveness.
Are you expecting them to be champions of social media for your organization?
Particularly in organizations with small social media teams, or perhaps no social media team, you need individuals involved to be real champions for your social media marketing efforts to ensure they are sustained and carried out with dedication and integrity.
Additionally, they should be able to fulfill responsibilities including the delegation of content creation, work with individuals that are resistant to contributing to your business’ social media activity, measure, analyze, interpret and make learning from analytics applicable and actionable, justify resources for social media to management, and many more. If your interns can fulfill these types of responsibilities, I’d love to know where you’re finding them.
What results do you expect to achieve in the next 4 months?
By their nature, internships are limited term employment and learning opportunities for those who fill them. Social media, on the other hand, requires long-term and consistent investment and effort. Needless to say, it’s far less than ideal to have to train someone new to fulfill your business’ needs on social media every three to four months. Also, it’s incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to achieve long-term goals without long-term leadership and consistency.
These are just a few of the reasons why putting an intern in charge of your business’ social media presence is not advisable. Just like any business function, achieving real results through social media requires experience, expertise, strategy, problem solving, management, project management, and many more qualities that just aren’t characteristic of, or found, in your average intern.
In your opinion, what are some of the drawbacks of putting an intern in charge of a business’ social media efforts?
If you’ve hired or assigned an intern to manage your social media properties, how did it work for you?
If you have any thoughts on this, it would be great to chat with you more in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial