When’s the last time you invested in a conversation with someone you didn’t know, wouldn’t tell you their name, and that you couldn’t look in the eye?
I’ll go out on a limb and guess that you’ve never done this, or if you have, it’s been a terrible experience. Beyond the obvious reasons why you wouldn’t engage with someone under these circumstances, another reason why you’ve likely never had this experience is that people tend to have better judgment than to try to engage you without providing you with context about who they are, and what they are all about.
Why then, is this commonly practiced in social media marketing?
Profiles with no name, picture, or mention of a human being. Content that is created with the sterility of a surgeon’s table. And an almost concerted effort to hide the faintest hint of a heartbeat. These are all characteristics I see far too often from businesses and organizations on social media.
So, with this said, what can be done about it? The good news is that there are a few quick and easy ways to give your business a pulse, make it easier and less intimidating for your consumers to engage with you, and ultimately improve your social media presence.
Following are 5 simple adjustments you can make to humanize your organization on social media, today:
TELL PEOPLE YOUR NAME
Go ahead and tell your consumers what your name is so they know who they’re talking to on social media, and who they should address if they’d like to engage with you. You can include your name in your profile, about section, biography page, in status updates, by signing off as yourself, or any number of ways.
SHOW PEOPLE YOUR FACE
Your organization’s logo is probably brilliantly designed and will stand the test of time, but the problem with this being your profile picture is that it doesn’t allow people to see who they are engaging with. Consider featuring yourself in your profile picture, or including a picture of yourself on your ‘about’ page.
TAKE OWNERSHIP OF YOUR CONTENT
Whether you are writing a tweet, or lengthy blog post, don’t shy away from writing in the first person. Your organization doesn’t think anything, or actually feel any particular way, it is the people in your organization that do. Your content will be more personal, meaningful and impactful to your consumers if you take full ownership of your content, and expose at least a little bit of your personality within.
WRITE WITH VOICE & PERSONALITY
In most cases, content written with a voice and personality will resonate much more strongly with readers than content that is not. It’s nice to read a piece of writing and feel as though you can hear the author’s voice as you progress. If you can do this, I think you’ll find more people who are willing to stick it out through longer format content, and will be more likely to further the conversation you’ve started by way of commenting, asking a question, or adding their two cents.
DON’T WAIT FOR PEOPLE TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOU
Be proactive about building relationships with people. Don’t sit back, post your content, and hope that someone, somewhere might have a comment to share. Put yourself, and your brand out there and comment on other people’s content, share interesting things that they’re posting, be encouraging to those you admire, thank someone for teaching you something, contact someone on social media who you met in real life, and on, and on. If you’re the shy person sitting in the corner of the room, people will be less likely to be drawn to you; you’ve got to put yourself out there, at least a bit.
These are just a few thought-starters for how you can humanize your brand and social media presence. You don’t necessarily need to do all of these things to be successful, but if you’re doing nothing to let your consumers really get to know who you are, I think you’ll find it difficult to build, nurture and sustain long-term relationships on social media.
All of this said, there are cases where less of this is required. For instance, there are revered brands that can get away with not being overly personal, because they’ve so firmly established their essence, what they stand for, and have a dedicated consumer base who can so strongly identify with them, that speaking a little more broadly from the brand works well.
How do you showcase the human side of your organization on social media?
How do you build relationships with people through social platforms?
It would be great to hear what you think in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Consumer reviews are incredibly important. I reported in a previous post that over 70% of consumers trust the reviews of others more than any form of advertising. Further to this, in a comScore survey, over 75% of review users reported that reviews have a significant influence on their purchase, and depending on the category, that number can be as large as 87%.
It is clear that reviews are important, but what if you receive negative reviews?
In my experience, I’ve had clients respond in a number of very different ways to negativity. Some want negative reviews pulled from their social media properties immediately. Some view negative comments as constructive criticism. No matter how you view the receipt of negative comments, don’t panic when you see them inevitably appear.
There are actually a number of reasons why the receipt of negative reviews can be very positive:
Consumers have been trained though experience, advertising, media, education, and many other external influences, to be skeptics of anything that appears to be ‘too good’. While I certainly won’t argue against the obvious value of receiving mainly positive reviews, the odd negative review can actually mitigate consumer skepticism by pointing out the flaws that exist in every product, service or anything they might be making a decision on. That’s right, you’re not perfect, and neither am I – gasp! The end result is that consumers will be able to formulate what they feel is a more complete picture of your product or service, and will make their purchase decision with increased confidence.
OPPORTUNITY FOR CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
The pursuit of continuous improvement in today’s hyper-competitive business landscape is not a competitive advantage, it is a necessity. Negative reviews can function as a modern day comment box and provide you with valuable information and insight on how you can improve. Even negative comments that come across as spam or trolling can provide valuable insight if time is taken to understand their context. For instance, if comments that come across as trolling were posted by individuals that fall dramatically outside of your target demographic, it could solidify that you’re targeting strategy is correct, or save you from an ill-informed attempt to broaden the appeal of your brand.
CREATE BRAND EVANGELISTS
Receiving a negative review can be a huge opportunity to convert those individuals into brand evangelists. Because of the inherent consumer skepticism that exists, if you are able to over-deliver on how you address a negative review, you have an opportunity to parlay that negativity into a huge emotional swing for the consumer and shift them toward becoming a brand evangelist. Additionally, a similar transformation can occur as a result of instilling a sense of ownership in the brand to consumers whose negative comments are properly addressed.
As a community manager, it is important to leave negative reviews visible for all to see. This demonstrates a willingness of your business or brand to be transparent with consumers, which will result in increased consumer trust, greater value given to positive reviews, and a perception of increased legitimacy of brand or corporate communications.
Despite the positive effect that negative reviews can have for your business or brand, this is like anything good in life; it’s all about balance. In the case of reviews, you will certainly want them to primarily be positive. The purpose of this post, however, is simply to point out that the receipt of a negative review here and there isn’t the end of the world, but instead should be embraced as opportunity and even as being positive.
How do you handle negative reviews? Do you view them as being opportunities or a shot in the arm? Do you find constructive ways to utilize this information? It would be awesome to hear from you in the comments.
If you’d like to contact me directly, you can do it here:
Too often when developing marketing, advertising or communication plans, the inclusion of social media is an afterthought. Integrating social media in your marketing, advertising and communications plans is an important step to achieving meaningful success with your social media marketing efforts. In part because of a lack of integration, social media marketing efforts often don’t meet expectations (though for this to truly be the case, expectations need to be properly set – I’ll touch more on this in a future post), and as a result, future financial and resource investment is reduced, and the perceived marketing value of social media is diminished.
I’ll dig into how social media can be incorporated into other elements of your marketing, advertising or communications plans in future posts, but the focus of my following points will be to provide a few thought-starters for how social media can be integrated with broadcast mass media:
Drive from your mass media advertising to your social media properties with a clear and concise call to action and reward consumers with:
- Extended/director cuts
- Bonus content
- Alternative endings
- Behind the scenes access
- Story conclusions
- Actor biographies
ACTIVE REAL-TIME INTEGRATION
To enhance your consumers’ experience with your content while it is being broadcast, you can again, drive them to your social media properties to:
- Be given real-time statistical updates (think sporting events)
- View trivia on the brand, series, actors, settings, etc.
- Vote on a predicted outcome
- Challenge friends with content-based trivia
- Complete content-based scavenger hunts
- Answer questionnaires for a chance to win a prize
An alternative to following the typical creative development and production process, you can get your social media community involved earlier in the creative direction of your brand by:
- Holding a contest to develop your next script
- Allowing your community to audition for an acting role in your next spot
- Encouraging the submission of endings to an incomplete spot
- Giving your social media community a script for them to interpret and produce themselves
- Write dialogue for a spot that is acted without any
- Score a radio spot for dramatic or comedic effect
- Remix a radio jingle
There are, of course, many additional factors that contribute to the successful integration of social media into your marketing mix, but hopefully the aforementioned thought-starters can help to spark some creativity.
How have you integrated social media into your broadcast mass media advertising? Do you have any successes or failures that might be helpful to share? Do you have any thought-starters that can be added to the lists I started above? Let me know in the comments.
If you’d like to contact me, I’d love to hear from you in any of these places:
When creating or curating content for your social media communities, there is one golden rule to follow: ADD VALUE. Value is what draws consumers to your social properties, keeps them engaged with your brand, and ultimately influences them to share their experiences with their respective social graphs.
3 WAYS TO SUPERCHARGE YOUR CONTENT AND ADD VALUE TO YOUR COMMUNITY:
Teach your community something. Ensure their engagement with your content provides new and relevant information associated with your brand, product(s), service offerings, usage occasions and circumstances, culture, and lifestyle. Also consider educating your community on complimentary or related products, services and information.
Whether your social media community laughs or cries, is awe-struck or intrigued, make sure they are entertained. Be a storyteller and aim to make your community feel something when engaging with your content. If you can accomplish this, consumers will be drawn to your brand, want to stick around for further entertainment, and be inclined to share your content with their social graphs.
Convert your social media community’s dedication and engagement with your brand into real-world, tangible value. Offer them a discount, exclusive offer, product sample, free service, access to an event, or grant them priority treatment, to name a few examples of how you can add value in this way.
No matter how you plan to add value to your social media community, be sure it is within the context of who they are, what interests they have, and what led them to being a member of your community in the first place. What you’re likely to find is that this context closely mirrors your brand, and keeping your content relevant in these ways will allow you to continue attracting, retaining and amplifying your social media efforts to the highest quality community members.
How do you add value to your social media community?
Have you experienced any benefits from adding value with your content?
Do you have experience deviating from a social media strategy that is focused on adding value? What was the outcome?
If you’d like to chat, have any questions, or would like to share your comments on this post, please feel free to contact me. It would be great to hear from you.
Photo credit: Veer
Crafting and posting content on a regular basis for various social communities can be an overwhelming task, particularly for incredibly busy brand managers and business owners. While there are many tools, tips and tricks that can help you efficiently maintain your social communities, this post will focus on how to use a content calendar to ensure you are posting regular updates, and how you can actually do this while saving time on a daily basis.
A content calendar is a fundamental tool for community managers. In essence, it is a document or spreadsheet in which the community manager pre-writes content for a given period of time – typically weekly or monthly. This allows them to craft content in bulk, eliminating the need to take smaller portions of time on a daily basis for this task. As I’m sure you can imagine, it can help greatly with time management to dedicate a couple of hours monthly to writing content, versus having to make time for this on a daily basis.
Businesses of all sizes can benefit from using this tool as it helps to guarantee that you will have content to post on a regular basis, it gives you another opportunity to think about and plan ahead for the happenings of your business and/or brand, it will give you a record of all of your social content in one convenient location, it can assist with an approval process for content (if necessary/applicable), it ensures that content is created with greater purpose, more easily facilitates review and editing – the list goes on.
DOWNLOAD A TEMPLATE: I’ve created a sample content calendar that can be retrieved here. Feel free to use it as is, or adapt it for your needs.
As mentioned, this is just one tool to help you efficiently manage and create content for your social media communities. I’ll follow-up in future posts with more tools, tips and tricks. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments below, or send them to me by email at email@example.com