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Collected advice for marketing and branding on social media, community engagement.

"Because of social media and the fact that there's so much transparency, the consumer today knows everything. And they are making decisions not only on what things sell, and features and benefits, but your values and your sense of purpose. And if you don't do the right thing, they're gonna reject you, and that's why I think more people will do the right thing."

- Howard Schultz, CEO and chairman of Starbucks (on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, June 17, 2014)

"End of the day, you need to provide value. You need to follow through on the promise you made with your share. [...] Facebook has repeatedly rolled out algorithm updates that reward authenticity. They found that memes and asking for likes were throwing off the News Feed."

- Digital Marketing Consultant Jon Loomer, August 26, 2014

Resources

  • Facebook ad manager
  • Social Media Examiner
    • Weblog. Daily news, tips, tricks, tutorials, reports, statistics and more from the world of social media. Has podcasts. Geared towards business owners, marketers.

Interesting News, Data

General Notes

  • Keep copy short and precise, to-the-point.
    • Include CTAs.
  • As always, build relationships first!
  • Publish content on social media on Friday and Saturday
  • Make social sharing easy! Read more here: customizing share buttons
  • Ask your followers for what you want them to do: shares, likes, retweets, responses, comments...
  • Follow others - at least industry leaders, followers and customers
    • Share their content!
    • Endorse or like it ("+" in Google, "favourite" in Twitter)
    • Engage: comment and converse, thank, ask, suggest, help
  • Allot time daily for maintaining your social media presence!
  • People spend more time on visual networks:
    • Pinterest
    • Tumblr
    • Instagram
    • Youtube
    • Facebook

Why be on Social Media?

Article by Peter Roesler on inc.com

  1. Increase brand awareness
    • Article presents statistics
  2. Legitimize a brand
    • People go to social media to learn more about you
    • Static website changes little once it's set up
    • Social media pages, instead, should be alive
    • Number of fans indicates popularity to prospects
    • Danger: poor marketing can backfire on you
  3. Increase sales
    • Great benefit: target particular audiences
    • Leverage social networks' knowledge about consumer behaviour
  4. Improve customer service
    • Responsiveness is customers' primary concern
  5. Distribute content
    • People enjoy sharing content that interests them

Which Network to Use?

  • Generally: find out what your customers use and pick the same
  • Find out where your customers' and competitors' conversations are happening

Propositions from Copyblogger:

  • Google+: tech, hobby
  • Twitter: general interest (also: customer service)
  • Tumblr, Pinterest: creative niches (photography, design)
  • LinkedIn: B2B professionals
  • Facebook: everything

Using Social Media Right

  1. Brainstorm topics ahead of time so you can maintain a consistent message over time
  2. Focus on two or three platforms so you don’t spread yourself too thin
  3. Develop a helpful, easy-to-use website, and use social media to drive followers there
  4. Add your logo and web address to social media images you create
  5. Use email marketing to send your most important messages to your followers

Social Media Plan

Article on Social Media Examiner, Jul 24, 2012

  • You need structure and commitment!
  • Create a plan (checklist) with daily maintenance, recurring tasks, milestones
  1. Commit to posting even when it feels like you're stagnating.
    • Establishing a social media presence will likely take >1 year!
    • Consistently invest time, energy and resources
  2. Find out if you have a fanbase and where (Yelp? Youtube? Reviews online?)
  3. Schedule how and how often you'll engage with your audience
    • Steady and frequent! Daily practice!
    • Twitter moves fast, Facebook is slower...
  4. Create expert content: no commercials, but conversation
    • Industry news
    • Thought leadership
    • Talk about your customers
    • Start a blog
    • Creative white papers
    • Explore trends
    • Release case studies
    • Create infographics
  5. Run contests, promotions
    • Every couple of months
  6. Experiment - broaden your horizons
    • Try some new apps on social media presence
    • Start posting on Youtube
    • etc.
  7. When you grow, delegate

Posting Strategy: Guidelines

Code of conduct/methodology:

Determining good content (from Facebook):

  • Is this timely and relevant content?
  • Is this content from a source you would trust?
  • Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
  • Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g., asking for people to like the content)
  • Would you call this a low quality post or meme?
  • Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?

Preparations: Article on Personal Branding Blog

  1. Identify your goals! (e.g. 30% web site traffic increase)
  2. Target market? Demographic, geographic, psychographic, job titles
  3. Which network?
  4. Listen: observe competitors, influencers, prospects
  5. Define your persona / brand personality
    • Which parts of your personality flow into this?
    • Which things will you not post about (e.g. your family)
    • Humor? Pop culture references? etc.
  6. Set up your profile: include nice backgrounds, headers, logos
  7. Define strategy: how often to post? Who can post? What content? Responses?
  8. Analyze. Web site analytics, e-mails/queries, sales, fans...
  9. Automate. Hootsuite, Facebook pages' scheduled posts

Strategy: Article on Social Media Examiner (Dec 11, 2014)

Share your content more than just once!

  1. Facebook
    • E.g. one day link to article, another day a video from it, and later an image
    • Always use different copy and images
    • Ask people to share your updates
    • Share with groups that might be interested
  2. Meetup
    • Share with groups that might be interested!
  3. Twitter
    • 3-4 times in first 24 hours
    • Less if you don't tweet so often (only few times a day)
    • In-between, share other stuff
    • If somebody retweets, start conversation
  4. Pinterest, Instagram
    • Pin all your blog post images
    • Pintrerest for middle-aged or older audience, Instagram for younger
  5. LinkedIn
    • First 24 hours: both as link and long-form blog post (through Publisher)
  6. Google+
    • First 24 hours: share either a quick blurb + link, or full text if you want to
    • If relevant, also share to G+ communities

Creating your Profile

Advice from SME's "Get Started" guide

  • Make it thoughtful
  • Fill it completely
  • Professional, but personable
  • Humble, but confident
  • Authentic
  • Interesting
  • Use keywords! (possibly with hashtags)
  • Include links to website
  • Use good imagery (profile, header/cover images)

FB: Cross-Promoting other Profiles

Article on Social Media Examiner, May 18, 2015

  • Include links in "About" section, e.g. long description
  • Add to cover photo description
  • Add custom tabs using apps
    • e.g. Woobox, TabSite, ShortStack, Pagemodo
    • Customize thumbnail to match your branding!
    • That way, e.g. Twitter feed will appear on FB
    • Ensure they're mobile-ready
  • Create photo album of social icons!
  • Share content from other social channels
    • Article includes network configuration tips
  • Automate sharing
    • Article lists numerous services

About User Behaviour

  • User motivations article on Content Marketing Institute
    • Likes or +1s: admiration.
      • Entertaining, positive, inspiring, beautiful content
      • Images including people, celebrities. Portraits
      • Static and vertical images
    • Shares: identification, self-reflection
      • Memes, animated gifs, quotes, animals, food
      • Horizontal images
    • Comments: text posts (as opposed to visual)
  • So: do I want to gain admiration (a) or exposure (b)?
  • Combine visual content with written quality

Customer Service

  • Providing customer service (article on Social Media Examiner) on Facebook: answer quickly
  • Give updates and be honest about them (e.g. when resolving issues)
  • Be generous: give customers exposure, praise, benefits

Social Advertising

  • Before advertising, make sure you have an amazing offer!
    • If the product sucks, it doesn't matter how amazing the ads are.
  • A large community will easily draw more people: they see there are already large numbers liking it, so it must be good
  • Integrate: e-mail and social.
    1. E-mail for customer retention
    2. Social for bringing in new clients
    3. Use one to boost the other (invite ppl to join, test headlines, convert e-mail content to status updates)
  • Include tweet/share buttons on every part of my web site, and Twitter widgets, transactional tweets ("I just signed")

Leveraging Facebook ads

  • An ad is a regular post that will show up in people's newsfeeds
  • Use descriptive and inciting headline, make ad conversational, friendly and engaging (image as well!)
  • Place Facebook pixel on your website and other locations to evaluate who visits
  • Targeting is supremely important:
    • Countries: research where you might stand out (where is less competition?)
    • People interested in your services
  • Research: on ads in your own newsfeed, select dropdown arrow and, "Why am I seeing this ad?"

Extensive tutorial video from Aug 2016

  • You can either boost individual posts
  • Or create a new campaign
    • In ad manager, select intention
    • In conversions, select conversion tracking (need to set up beforehand)
    • Follow steps through "Ad Set", "Ad"
    • It will offer to use an existing post for the ad
      • You can (and should!) use one that already has likes and engagement
    • After setting up ad, modify it in the power editor
      • Duplicate and set different targets: countries, interests
      • Every time with small budgets (e.g., $2 per day)
      • Compare and test which ones work best
  • Tidbit: mastering FB ads is a very valuable skill on the job market
  • Getting approval for an ad from FB can be complicated: e.g. certain words or thumbnails will be automatically rejected
  • Jerry Banfield pursues a 3-tiered strategy:
    • Involves creating a large funnel where at the top, you catch large numbers of people with entertaining or interesting unrelated content that gets a lot of engagement, e.g. video games.
    • Out of those, generate sales in your actual business
      1. Page likes campaigning
        • Get as many page likes as possible
        • By placing ads in lowest-cost countries
        • Use simplest, most direct brand message
      2. Promote most entertaining videos
        • e.g. gaming
        • Anything else exciting
        • Descriptive copy + CTA, followed by link (e.g. YouTube)
        • Video attached directly on FB
      3. Website traffic & remarketing campaign
        • Small set of ads to go for actual sale
        • e.g. get people on e-mail list, buy courses
        • Narrow end of funnel
  • Takeaway: make videos!
    • They are the gold standard on Facebook: live videos > videos > pictures > links etc.
    • Start on your personal profile to learn to make good videos
    • Once you're more professional, make a page and create ads for vids
  • Takeaway: ads on videos unrelated to your business might bring you sales
    • Example: "Call of Duty" let's-plays reach many viewers, generate sales of marketing courses
    • Skip to 19:20 in the vid for more about this

Engage: What and How to Post?

  • See also: "Social Media Interaction" on Community Management page
  • Add "play" button to my images (for psychological effect - even if it's not a video!)
  • Subtle calls to action: sound like a friend's recommendation
  • Capitalize on major holidays, events
  • Make silly jokes once in a while
  • 70/20/10 rule for content:
    • 70% brand- and business-building, i.e., valuable info for customers
    • 20% foreign content
    • 10% self-promotion
  • Again: good customer service
  • Post often: at least once a day
  • Respond to everyone!
  • Deliver content that interests the fans: not necessarily my own stuff, but what else fans may be into
  • Use video to tell stories
  • Capture the mood of every season

SME: Use Visuals to Engage (Jan 2015)

  • Thank your followers
  • Show your company culture
  • Embed social posts in blog
  • Incorporate questions in images! (e.g. voting?)
  • Crowdsource photo captions!

User-Generated Content

Article on Social Media Examiner

  • Crowdsource new feature/product ideas
  • Finish this article!

Sharing Content on Social Media

Social Media Examiner: 26 ways to succeed with Social Media marketing

  • Excellent info from Social Media Examiner! Steps for:
    • Featuring content on Facebook
    • Tweeting
    • Google+
    • LinkedIn
    • Pinterest
      • + strategy proposal for marketing campaign
  • Include CTA and backlink to my web page with posts
    • Give people a reason to click through
    • e.g. urgency!
  • Make message coherent:
    • Headline to text to image to goal to landing page

Software, Tools

Browser Extensions

Article on Social Media Examiner

  • Instagram for Chrome
    • Allows all kinds of typical Instagram interaction
  • Giphy for GIF integration in Twitter
  • Bitmark: customize (personalize), catalogue, share shortened links
  • Buffer to schedule social media posts
  • Riffle for extensive Twitter statistics

Using Visuals

This very useful section has its own sub-page.